San Francisco de Quito is the capital and most populous city in Ecuador, located on the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano just south of the equatorial line. International visitors to Quito come to stand on the equator at “la mitad del mundo,” explore the architecture of one of the world’s best preserved historic centers, and to stop over before launching off to the Galapagos Islands and other points in Ecuador. For Ecuatorianos, this historic city is an important center of domestic and international business, with major industries including textiles, metals, and agriculture. Running in Quito can be complicated due to elevation (2,850 meters above sea level), traffic, and smog. However, there are some lovely spots strewn throughout the city. Note: If you’d like to have a guided running experience in Quito, we highly recommend our affiliate partner Go! Running Tours.
For sheer beauty, the best place to run in Quito is the trail at the top of the Pichincha Volcano, reached by the Teleférico. It’s trail running, but not too challenging. In the city, some of best places to include Metropolitano, Carolina, and Bicentenario parks, which have great running tracks and enough trees to help runners breathe easier. We’ve also put together a ‘runseeing’ tour of Quito’s Centro Histórico. Near there is a tour of three parks, as well as an ascent to the summit of El Panecillo. A great long distance run just outside the city is the Chaquiñán Trail, starting from Cumbayá.
The well-connected bus system is the most economical way to get around Quito and can be a fun adventure for travelers who don’t mind decoding somewhat complicated routes and braving packed crowds. It’s also easy and fairly cheap to call or hail a taxi, which most tourists find to be the friendliest option. While walking/running the city sidewalks is doable, most runners will want to stick to our selection of routes as a nice respite from the hectic traffic of Quito. Notes: it’s a good idea to bring a friend and keep valuables stored in a safe, discreet spot. Also, be aware of Quito’s elevation. Think about acclimating, hydrating, and the usual altitude precautions.