Quito suburbs

To the east of Quito lie the valleys of the Machángara, San Pedro, Pita and Huambi rivers. Formerly Quito's market garden, the area is rapidly filling with suburbs and the towns are now part of the city's metropolitan area. With a milder climate the valleys and their thermal pools attract inner city dwellers at weekends.

The beautiful district of
Guápulo
, a colonial town, is perched on the edge of a ravine on the eastern fringe of Quito, overlooking the Río Machángara. It is popular with Quito's bohemian community and a worthwhile place to visit. To get there, take bus Hospital del Sur-Guápulo from Calle Venezuela by Plaza de la Independencia, Guápulo Dos Puentes eastbound along Avenida Patria, or walk down the steep stairway which leads off Avenida González Suárez, behind Hotel Quito.

The
Santuario de Guápulo
,
is a lovely 17th-century church, built by indigenous slaves and dedicated to Nuestra Señora de Guápulo. It is well worth seeing for its many paintings, gilded altars, stone carvings and, above all, the marvellous carved pulpit by Juan Bautista Menacho, one of the loveliest in the whole continent. Next to the Santuario, the
Museo Fray Antonio Rodríguez
, has three halls with religious art and furniture, from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Guided tours (Spanish only) include a visit to the beautiful Santuario de Guápulo.

Overlooking the city from the northeast is the grandiose
Capilla del
 Hombre
,
a monument to Latin America conceived by the famous Ecuadorean artist Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919-1999) and completed after his death. The fate of people in this continent is presented through the artist's murals and paintings. An eternal flame represents the ongoing fight for human rights, in the extensive grounds are sculptures (including a Maya
stela
) and conmemorative plaques.

A few blocks away is the fine
Museo Guayasamín
. As well as the artist's works there is a Pre-Columbian and colonial collection, which is highly recommended. You can also buy works of art and jewellery.

The
Valle de los Chillos
lies southeast of the centre of Quito. It is accessed via the Autopista General Rumiñahui, which starts at El Trébol, east of the old Terminal Terrestre. The first suburb you reach in the valley is San Rafael. One block from the main park is
 Museo La Casa de Kingman
, www.fundacionkingman.com. The home of this renowned artist, unchanged from when he lived there, is now open to the public. In addition to a collection of the artist's own work, you can see colonial, Republican and 20th-century art.

Sangolquí
(population 82,600) is the largest town in Los Chillos. It has a pleasant park and a nice church. There is a busy Sunday market (and a smaller one on Thursday) and few tourists. On two roundabouts east of town are lovely mosaic sculptures by the well known 20th-century artist Gonzalo Endara Crow: an ear of corn, the main crop of the valley, and a hummingbird. South of Sangolquí is the Río Pita canyon .

North of Los Chillos is extinct volcano Ilaló, which can be climbed, and the
Vallede Tumbaco
. Here are the suburbs of Cumbayá, Cunuyacu, Tumbaco, Puembo and Pifo, accessed by Vía Interoceánica, the road leading east from Quito to Papallacta, Baeza and the northern Oriente.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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