North of the colonial centre is modern Quito, an altogether different place. Its broad avenues are lined with fine private residences, parks, embassies and villas. Here you’ll find Quito’s main tourist and business area: banks, tour agencies, airlines, language schools, smart shops, restaurants, bars, and cafés and a huge variety of hotels in the districts known as La Mariscal and La Carolina.
Quito is surrounded by scenic countryside well worth visiting on one-day or multi-day excursions. There are nature reserves, wonderful thermal baths, mountains to climb, quaint villages and – of course – the monument to the equator, all within easy reach of the city. The western slopes of Pichincha, also close at hand, are covered in beautiful cloud forests where nature lovers can indulge their taste for adventure.