A Wheelchair Accessible City Guide to Quito, Ecuador

At over 9,000 feet above sea level, Quito is a city whose beauty and altitude will take your breath away. South America had been on my bucket list forever, but I always thought that it’d be extremely difficult to navigate as a wheelchair user. However, after I discovered the accessible tour company Ecuador for All, it was all uphill from there. On my recent trip to Ecuador, I was pleasantly surprised by all of the places I could go in my powered wheelchair. wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the time I spent in the capital city of Quito, Ecuador. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it! There’s absolutely no reason to let a set of wheels keep you from enjoying Quito just like everyone else. Below is a wheelchair accessible guide to Quito, so that you can make the most of your time while there.

 

My mom and I in Quito with our Panama hats!

My mom and I in Quito with our Panama hats!

 

What To Do In Quito:

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

Tour the Old Town

 

 wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

 

First off, you definitely can’t miss visiting the Old Town! Or, as the locals call it, “El Centro Historico.” The Old Town of Quito was one of the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and while it is very old, it is surprisingly accessible to roll around. It’s not only free to walk around, but it is also a beautiful place with gorgeous architecture, museums, delicious places to eat, and street vendors selling little trinkets. And most notably of all, there are tons and tons of old churches to see!

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

Admire the Churches of Quito

 

Compañia de Jesús Church

Compañia de Jesús Church

 

As I said, there are quite a few churches in the Old Town. They are, of course, quite beautiful to look at from the outside and definitely worth it to visit just for that. However, if you would like a look inside a church, Compañia de Jesús Church is wheelchair accessible and breathtaking! The church is called the “golden church” because on the inside everything is covered in gold. I’ve been to churches and cathedrals all over Europe, but I have never seen one so beautiful. There is a small entry fee of $5, but it’s definitely worth the price and more.

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

Visit the Presidential Palace

 

 

Definitely don’t visit Quito without touring it’s version of the White House, the Presidential Palace. The guided tour is free, but it is best to book in advance. Also be sure to bring your passport or some other form of documentation to be allowed into the building. The building is very beautiful, and it is equipped with elevators making the tour quite accessible. You can even pose with some of the guards for pictures!

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

View the City from Panecillo Hill

 

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

 

If you’re a fan of good views, definitely check out Panecillo Hill! There is no charge to be on the hill. It provides an amazing 360 view of the beautiful landscape and city. While there, you’ll also be able to see a statue of an angel overlooking the city. It’s absolutely magical to see Quito in all of its glory.

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

Foch Square

 

 

If you enjoy nightlife, Foch Square is the place to go! This is a great spot to find tons of different restaurants (I enjoyed an American themed one), bars, and musicians. There’s always some sort of party going on in this part of Quito. It’s free to be there although, of course, you must pay for any food or drinks that you want.

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

Ride a Cable Car

 

 wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

 

Have you ever ridden a cable car? Now’s your chance! Teleferico is a cable car in Quito that runs from the edge of the city center up to look out over Cruz Loma. It’s one of the highest aerial lifts in the world! Teleferico has a ramp that they can put in place for wheelchair users so it’s no problem getting in and out of the cable car. The cost is $8.50 for foreigners.

 

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

We made this fun photo at the top of Teleferico with a green screen.

 

Sit on the Equator

 

 wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

 

Another highlight in Quito is something we’ve all heard about, but not many have seen it. It’s the Equator! If you’d like to visit the line dividing the earth into northern and southern hemispheres, Quito is the place to do it! They have some interesting attractions there, and it’s cool to be able to sit on the middle of the earth. I had half of my wheelchair in the northern hemisphere and half in the south… so cool! It’s free to be there, but not all the activities are free.

 

 wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

 

Taste the Flavors

 

Yes, that is guinea pig.

Yes, that is guinea pig.

 

I have to say, no matter where I go and no matter how beautiful the scenery or interesting the museums, one of my favorite parts of traveling is always the food. Quito is no exception! Definitely be sure to visit the markets and try out their many restaurants! One of my favorites is their empanadas. Empanadas are pastries that can be either savory or sweet. They’re usually filled with fried cheese and either topped with a sprinkle of sugar or dipped into hot aji sauce. They’re absolutely delicious; and, that’s only one example of Ecuadorian food! I also had fried bananas and even guinea pig while in Quito. The guinea pig was not the tastiest thing I’ve ever eaten, but the experience was priceless. Definitely have fun tasting all the different things they have to eat!

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

Where To Stay In Quito:

Swissôtel Quito

If you want to stay in a luxurious hotel, Swissôtel Quito is the place for you. This wheelchair accessible hotel offers six amazing restaurants, a spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sauna, steam bath, fitness center, squash, and racquet and tennis courts. They are conveniently located with easy access to the Old Town, as well as the airport. Their rooms are around $210 per night, and it is possible to find deals to drop the price a bit.

The building is modern and clean and quite comfortable although it doesn’t have a ton of extra frills. The rooms are a good size and the bathrooms are spacious as well. While there, I stayed in a wheelchair accessible room with a roll-in shower. It couldn’t have been any better. There is also a supermarket about a block away so if you plan on purchasing any food or other items it wouldn’t be a long walk at all. Lastly, the breakfast buffet was excellent and had a large variety of items.



wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

Holiday Inn Express

This hotel is on Francisco de Orellana Avenue, one of the most important avenues in the city. It has wonderful places to shop, as well as cultural and tourist centers. It is 45 minutes away from the airport and has a bar, restaurant, fitness center, business center, and free breakfast. It is a comfortable and clean place to stay and enjoy Quito. And of course, it is wheelchair accessible so no worries about that! While there, I stayed in an accessible room with a roll-in shower. The room here was actually more spacious than Swissôtel, which I didn’t expect since it was cheaper.

The Holiday Inn Express is also within walking distance to Plaza Foch. If you recall from what we talked about above, that area is great particularly if you are a fan of nightlife. If you prefer to be in at night however the plaza is also a wonderful place to eat and walk around. I recommend taking the elevator up to the gym on the 12th floor. There’s a beautiful 360 view of the city! The price is about $120 per night, but as always, don’t forget to check in case there happens to be a discount as there are often ways to drop prices.

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

Additional Tips:

 

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

I loved this statue in downtown Quito!

 

Tour with Ecuador for All

Since Quito has a lack of wheelchair friendly transportation, the best way to get around the city is with a tour company. Ecuador for All has an accessible van with a lift and tie-downs to secure your chair.

 

 

Same Voltage & Currency

Ecuador uses the same voltage as the United States, so you won’t need a converter for your wheelchair charger if you live in the States. Also, feel free to bring your US dollars, as that’s the local currency.

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

As you can see, being in a wheelchair doesn’t have to mean you need to give up on the idea of visiting South America. Quito is an absolutely beautiful place to visit with lovely people. I highly recommend visiting Quito with Ecuador for All for your next vacation. Be sure to keep this guide in mind as you plan your trip so you don’t forget any of the places you can go. There are so many different churches, museums, activities, scenic places, and of course, restaurants and bars with delicious food and drinks! Don’t be shy trying out new activities and tasting new flavors. Wheelchair or not, you can definitely have a fun, relaxing, enjoyable, and quite an exciting time in Quito.

 

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

*A Note from Curb Free with Cory Lee: This post includes affiliate links. When you click on a link, I may receive a small compensation, which will help this blog grow into a better resource for disabled travelers.

wheelchair accessible quito ecuador

c

3 Comments

  • Noelle says:

    I love the photo you took in front of the green screen! Hilarious.

  • Mizy says:

    Me encantó el montaje, muy emocionante.

  • Emily Kydd says:

    Great post Cory,

    Glad to hear Old Town is relativly accessible, not only does that mean it is open to all but it means they are keeping those old cobblestones up fairly well. Quito is definitely on my list for future travel, after a trip to Peru I’m pretty hooked on South America and would love to see more. I tried cuy when I was in Arequipa and while it was tasty enough, it may have been the red wine…
    Cheers,
    Emily

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