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4 Reasons to Visit Quito This Year

Colonial buildings, trendy restaurants and new direct flights from the U.S. are a few enticements.

U.S. News & World Report

4 Reasons to Visit Quito This Year

Gothic Quito

With boundary-pushing cuisine, easy access to the Galápagos Islands and new direct flights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, now is a great time to plan a trip.(Getty Images)

South America is a melting pot of culture, history and natural wonders. Considered the "middle of the world," Quito, Ecuador, offers travelers a unique opportunity to walk the equatorial line and immerse themselves in amazing cultures while reaching staggering heights. The city stands at 9,350 feet above sea level, and according to Quito Turismo, the city's official tourism bureau, Quito is the only place on earth where one can simultaneously have one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere.

Quito extends along the western edge of the Andes Mountain Range. The climate varies, which is why it's best to always have a jacket handy, even on sunny days as temperatures can fluctuate. The city's dry season spans from May until September; the rainy season lasts from October to December. And regardless of when you want to visit, there are plenty of enticements to go. Without further ado, here are four reasons to visit Quito in 2016.

There Are Plenty of Historic Spots

The capital's historic district, considered the largest and best preserved in Latin America, was declared a World Heritage site. Across the city, you'll find spots such as La Compañía de Jesús, the Baroque masterpiece of America and La Plaza Grande, the center of Quito's historic achievements, which narrates the history of the city. After checking out storied sights, visit the San Francisco religious complex and walk along La Ronda, a cobblestone street filled with charming workshops and galleries.

There's Top-Notch Cuisine

One of the top reasons worth visiting Quito is its flavorful Latin-influenced traditional dishes. According to the Quito tourism board, the Locro (potato soup), seco de chivo (braised goat stew), fritada (fry-up), empanadas, envueltos (corn dough wrapped in leaves and steam cooked), chili pepper sauces, fruit juices and helado de paila (sherbet) are not-to-be-missed staples. These authentic plates can be found in traditional restaurants and markets across the city.

The Unbeatable Location

As a gateway to geographic treasures across the region, Quito serves as an excellent jumping-off point for exploration. During your trip, make sure to check out the Pacific Coast's quaint fishing towns and beaches. Another geographic highlight: the Andes. Plus, Quito offers easy access to the Galápagos Islands and the natural wonders of the Amazon.

New Direct Flights From the U.S.

Recently, JetBlue Airways started offering daily flights aboard its spacious 150-seat Airbus A320 aircraft between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO). 

"Quito is one of the fastest growing destinations in Latin America and a world-class tourism destination. We are thrilled to bring our award-winning service and low fares to this underserved market," says Dave Clark, vice president network planning at JetBlue Airways. Quito is one of  more than 80 destinations served by JetBlue, which offers many flights to the Caribbean and Latin America.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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