The Museo de la Ciudad is certainly worth a visit though it’s not nearly as interesting as the Casa Maria Augusta Urrutia. Set in a lovely restored 16th century hospital, a leisurely stroll through its rooms will give you a good idea of life in Quito through the centuries as depicted in dioramas. Particularly interesting are models of indigenous homes including a very detailed kitchen. When we went it seemed we were funneled onto a tour which rushed about while I would have preferred to enjoy it at my own pace. It was $3 and I would say it was my least favorite of the museums we visited in Quito but if you have time and are so inclined it’s certainly worth a go.
The Museo de la Ciudad (or City Museum, for those from Roxboro) follows Quito's everyday life across the centuries in this colonial building. I think this museum would be more fun for the kids than the other one. I saw a whole group of local children having fun with a colourful and interactive exhibit with the weather. The museum is in the interior of the building that once housed the San Juan de Díos Hospital (1565) and includes exhibits of the city's history from the pre-Hispanic times through to the 19th Century. The museum opens from 9:30am-5:30pm. Admission: $2 adults, $1 students, 50¢ for children.
The Museo Camilo Egas is well worth a peak for 50 cents to view a small but impressive collection of the noted artist’s strikingly poignant depictions of indigenous life. It’s housed in a handsomely restored colonial home in a quiet part of town that makes for an interesting walk that you can combine with a trip to the Mercado Central or Basilica del Voto Nacional.
Nice museum not far from colonial Quito or the US embassy and located in the Casa de la Cultura. It host most of the gold treasures that the indigenous Ecuadorians had collected before the arrival of Europeans. It really give you a pretty nice view of Ecuador's history as it contains chronologically organized archaeological exhibits, pre-Hispanic gold, colonial paintings and religious portraits, modern art, and indegenous crafts. The most popular and memorable part of the exhibit surely is the selection of pre-Hispanis gold. This museum is probably the most extensive museum covering Ecuador's history that you will find and it is popular among tourists.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm.
Quito Natural History Museum is situated in Parque Carolina, just next to the Botanical Gardens. So after visiting the Botanical Gardens I thought it was a good idea to visit the Natural History Museum too. It is not a big museum, but only have a few exhibition rooms. There are lots of stuffed Ecuadorian animals on display; mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. There is also a geological section with fossils and minerals.
Admission to the museum was $ 2.00 (June 2011).
This imaginative and apparently well-funded museum is located in an old hospital building, the former Hospital San Juan de Dios. A visit will help you understand the ancient history of Quito, the brief Inca juggernaut, the Spanish conquest, and the "modern" times. Everything is presented with imagination and verve. Photography is prohibited in the exhibit rooms.
Considering that only 1% of Ecuador's GDP goes to education (shame, only Equatorial Guinea fares worse according to my Economist Pocket World in Figures) this museum is an amazing resource.
Get over the fact that this museum is named for the National Bank of Ecuador, and just GO. This museum is in Quito's new town, and forms one part of a large cultural complex. For two dollars, you get the run of one of the best museums I've seen in Latin America.
The collection is vast, and is divided into sections covering periods of Ecuador's history. The Archeological Court's collection dates from 12,000 BC to 1534 AD, the year that the Spanish invaded the region. We spent hours in this gallery, which is enormous and beautifully presented. The whole history of the region is depicted in text (English and Spanish) and graphics, accompanied by thousands of artifacts. The Golden Court, also containing pieces dating from the pre-colonial period, holds a dazzling array of gold objects from the various indigenous cultures that peopled this part of the world. The Colonial Art Court is devoted to crafts and religious decorative arts from the three centuries of Spanish rule, 1534-1820. Finally, the Republican Art Court contains paintings, sculptures, and other pieces from Ecuador's independence in 1820 to the middle of the 20th century.
This place will amaze you. Sure, you have seen on TV some examples of pre-columbian art, but nothing compares with seeing the size and detail of these objects up close, and realizing that they were made centuries even before the incas. Detailed signs explain in detail development of these civilizations as well. There is also a hall, albeit rather small, with a collection of gold masks and objects from Incas. On the upper floors there is a collection of Catholic art, and modern art as well.
You will see signs that say the Solar Museum. I didnt pay much attention to these signs and I had never been to the Museo Inti Nan until now. Usually people go to the Mitad Del Mundo monument as it is now advertised and it is a more popular place.
This museum is in the exact location of the equator and for less than a dollar you can enjoy this place with a guide if you choose to have one.
The museum is the location where certain indigenous tribes called home and you will be able to see how they lived, how they hunted and what kind our artifacts they used.
They will show you demonstrations to prove that is is the middle of the world, the equator.
You will also learn about the different indigenous tribes of all of Ecuador. It is a very interesting place and well worth it to visit.
For more info check out my travelogue.
The Vivarium is situated in Parque Carolina and as I was in the vicinity, and already had seen the Botanical Garden and Natural Science Museum the previous year, I decided to visit. It is not very big but here you can see around 100 live reptiles and amphibians. Beside the terrariums there are signs with some information about the species in it (in Spanish) and where in Ecuador they are present. There are turtles, tortoises, frogs, boa constrictors, different poisonous snakes and more.
While I visited they showed a long python in one of the rooms. After some information about pythons the people who wanted could have their photo taken with the snake for $3 (June 2012). I have had an Anaconda found in the nature around my neck (in Venezuela), so I skipped this.
The Vivarium is open on Tuesday – Sunday between 9.30 – 17.30.
Admission was $3 (June 2012).
This place was amazing! I almost didn't go because of the name (it didn't sound very intriguing), but it was one of the most culturally fascinating things I did the whole time I was in Ecuador.
The first floor is full of artifacts.. more than I could even imagine... including an entire romm of gold figurines and masks, etc...! The second floor had a lot of religious art (early Christian stuff), and the third floor had modern Ecuadorian art. Wonderful diversity here and well worth the $3 or so admission.
You can’t miss this beautiful building when you are walking around Quito - The Templo de San Francisco is one of the largest and most important catholic religious centers in Quito.
It has a lot of religious art and the design of the building itself is quite impressive, with inner patios and corridors where monks still live in. You might see some of these monks walking by -- I did not though.
This is also the base for a radio station belonging to the San Franciscan order.
Admission was only $1 per person when I visited.
Open Hours 0900-1800 M-Tu, 0900-noon Su
The Ecuadorian painter Camilo Egas (1889 – 1962) came from Quito. He studied art in Europe and later moved to New York. The Museo Camilo Egas is situated in a beautiful restored house from the colonial era and here you can see paintings from his different phases.
Camilo Egas is mostly famous for his paintings of the daily life and traditions of the Ecuadorian indigenous people, and there are a few beautiful of these ones in the museum. In the museum there are also paintings from his other phases; expressionism, surrealism, cubism and abstract paintings.
The museum is open between 9 – 13 on Tuesday – Friday.
There is no admission to the museum (August 2012).
One of the great treasures of Quito is the Guayasamin Foundation Museum, located in the El Batan neighborhood.
This museum houses many of the paint, print, and sculpture works of Ecuador's most famous artist, Oswaldo Guayasamin.
Both inside the buildings and out, you will be amazed by beauty. The house is up on one of the valley walls, so you have great views of the city and of the Guapolo neighborhood.
The entrance fee is $3. Call for their hours.
Casa del Alabado is housed in an old colonial house built in 1671, just half a block from Plaza San Francisco. It is a small beautiful museum displaying artwork from the pre-Colombian time. At Casa del Alabado you will not find the objects displayed in a chronological order but they are grouped by theme and the material they are made of.
The first time I visited Quito (in 2011) I didn’t know of this lovely museum because it was not opened until April 2010 and thus not in my guidebook. I’m lucky I got to know about it before my next visit to Quito.
Admission was $4 (June 2012).
The museum is open 9 – 17.30 on Monday – Saturday, and 10 – 16 on Sundays.
There is a store attached to the museum.