South of the equator, Ecuador's capital city is blessed with elemental endowments – nestled in the lap of the Guayllabamba River basin and gracing the eastern slopes of a volcano in the Andes range, it towers at 2,800 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level. Its beauty is further marked by the presence of the first ever neighborhood to be designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, its timeless historic center. This old-world vicinity underpins a wealth of heritage buildings that hearken to the city's colonial beginnings, from the unmitigated grandeur of the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus, to the pride of the Americas, the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Underneath its colonial veneer lies a taste for the new and the exciting, as is manifested in tens of gourmet restaurants and nighttime haunts that dot its wide streets, as well as a burgeoning retail paradise that is tucked away in the comfort of the La Mariscal neighborhood. With a keen eye for the new, and a historic spirit that will not soon fade, Quito is a towering city packed with natural scenery, enticing culture, and an inextricable colonial heritage.