5 Things to Do in Ecuador as an Expat With Kids

Posted on May 24, 2016 | 1 comment

5 Things to Do in Ecuador as an Expat With Kids

While Ecuador is pretty well know as a haven for U.S. retirees with the average expat age of about 59, it’s capital city of Quito is a spectacular place to raise kids. If you live in Quito or are planning a trip to Ecuador soon, don’t miss these top five day trips within an hour of Quito.


1. Take a Picture on the Equator

What could be cooler for school-aged kids than straddling the Equator? Mitad del Mundo literally means middle of the earth and the Intiñan Solar Museum, located about one hour north of Quito, does not disappoint. For $4 per adult and $2 per child, you get to experience life on the Equator.

A guided tour teaches you about Ecuadorian indigenous cultures (don’t worry, this part of the tour is short for kids with short attention spans) before letting you explore the wonders of gravity on the Equator with four science experiments.


In the first, you see how a sundial works directly on the Equator. After that, kids get the chance to see water spin one way in the Southern hemisphere (just a few feet off the Equator), the opposite way in the Northern hemisphere (just a few feet off to the other side), and fall straight down when positioned exactly on the Equator.


The third experiment of balancing an egg vertically on the head of a nail (apparently only able to be on directly on the Equator) earns a certificate for anyone who can do it. And finally, kids get the chance to see how it’s a little tougher to balance while walking in a straight line directly on the Equator.


2. Climb to New Heights on the Teleferico

Translated as cable car in English, the Teleferico in Quito is so much more than that. Kids have the chance to ride up the side of Pichincha Peak which overlooks Quito to an altitude of nearly 13,000 feet (one of the highest in the world) and view the entire city on a clear day. For older kids, a trail starts at the top where you can continue and summit Pichincha.

For younger kids or us young at heart, the base of the Teleferico is home to Vulqano Park, an amusement park with rides most appropriate for kids between three and ten.


3. Eat Brunch in the Valley

Quito’s weather is one of its best assets with temperatures between 65 and 85 almost all year long and no humidity or insects. Because of this, everyone, but especially young kids are outside almost all the time. One of the most relaxing things for a parent to do on the weekends is to take the family out to one of the brunch restaurants in Cumbaya or Tumbaco, two valleys to the east of Quito. The drive there will take between 15 and 30 minutes from Quito. Most brunch places have both outdoor and indoor seating and play areas outside that include playgrounds, toys, farms, ponds, and all kids of areas for kids to explore. Parents sit and relax and eat and kids get the chance to play. My top picks for brunch just outside of Quito are: Mu Lala, Casa de La Rafa, and Ristorante del Cavallino.


4. Hike or Bike the Chaquiñan Trail

An old train route converted to a bike trail that extends 21 kilometers from Cumbaya to Puembo is a delight for kids who love biking and hiking. The Chaquiñan Trail is full on the weekends and about one mile from the start you can peel off and have lunch at Scala Mall, stop at a playground, or just take a rest at the lookout point. This might be just enough for small kids. Bigger kids will want to keep going. Beware that the trail slopes downward from Cumbaya so allow more time for your return trip! The starting point in Cumbaya is home to excellent juice bars and some great traditional Ecuadorian restaurants like Patria right on Cumbaya’s main square.


5. Spend a Saturday or Sunday at Parque Carolina

Parque Carolina is Quito’s Central Park and nearly 50,000 people spend some portion of their weekend there. Playgrounds abound, there is a larger than Olympic size track, exercise equipment, a skateboard park, a BMX bike track, and a two mile sidewalk surrounding the whole park. If you’re looking for exercise, or to try to tire your kids out, this is the place!


If high energy is not in the cards for you, check out the Botanical Gardens where for $3 you can see all of Ecuador’s flora in one place including spectacular roses, orchid greenhouses, and the kid favorite carnivorous plants greenhouse. After the Botanical Gardens, head to the paddleboats or the Vivarium where you can see frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles.


If you’re hungry afterwards, check out Al Forno, Quito’s best pizza place just about a block off the park or El Caffeto which serves a great Ecuadorian breakfast and wonderful ice cream.



By: Anna Sparks, Expert Global Career Consultant


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One Comment

  1. You should rename the to be “5 things to do in Quito”. I would say if you’re gonna leave it as Ecuador consider adding: Whale watching in Salinas, Amazon tour, Hotsprings swimming in Banos, Cajas national Park trout fishing at a “Pesca Deportiva”….

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