National and foreign tourists make El Panecillo a must-see site. The virgin has her story and was put together in parts. Photo and video Piero Olmos

The image of the Virgin of El Panecillo looks majestic and imposing due to its size and design. From various parts of the city you can appreciate it, as it is located in the heart of the city, 3,000 meters above sea level. With his deep gaze towards the north of the city and with his raised right hand, he invites national and foreign tourists to visit it and learn more about its history.

Getting to the summit is easy, either by public or private transport. From the Historic Center, the trip takes 10 minutes. At the top, the enormous image dazzles visitors, since when looking at it it seems that its crown is united with the clouds.

The monument rests on a base that measures 11 and a half meters and on it a huge globe, which represents the world. Above is a snake, which is crushed by the feet of the Virgin of El Panecillo, which measures 41 meters.

Visitors can even enter the globe. On the first floor are the replicas of the churches of the Colonial Quarter of Quito and in the windows some beautiful vitals with religious images stand out. On the second floor there are photos of the construction of the monument and pieces to scale. On the third floor is the viewpoint, from where you can see the Historic Center, the domes of religious temples, the tile roofs of colonial houses, as well as the slopes of Pichincha.

In addition, a part of modern Quito, the Itchimbía and something from the south of the city. A privileged view to admire the volcanoes that surround Quito and the dizzying urban growth.


The wings of the Virgin of El Panecillo measure 90 meters and were assembled on the ground before being put in place.

The work is made of aluminum and each of the 7,400 pieces was numbered for assembly. The wings, which measure around 90 meters, were assembled on the ground and then attached to the body of the monument with great labor. The crown is composed of 12 stars, which represent the 12 apostles or the 12 tribes of Israel.

In itself, the image is the representation that good triumphed over evil, proof of this is how the virgin holds the head of the viper with a huge chain.

The face of the sculpture, as well as the rest of the parts, were brought from Spain. The weight of the statue is 124,000 kilograms. It was inaugurated on March 28, 1975 and ranks 58th among the tallest images in the world, even larger than the sculpture of Christ the Redeemer, the icon of Brazil.


A few meters from the monument there are craft shops, such as the one owned by the merchant Ana Ugsha. Photo Martha Flores.

¿What else to do in this place?

In addition to visiting the monument, in El Panecillo, tourists have several options for recreation. They can walk the trails on foot or take a horseback ride with a guide, as well as take a picture with the alpaca named Paquito, together with its owner David Puruncajas, who wears the typical costume of 'Diablo Huma'. Each photo costs one dollar.

A few meters from the monument there are several craft shops, where you will find a variety of items for decoration, clothing, traditional toys, etc. Ana Ugsha, a merchant, says that tourists have a variety of options and prices range from $1 to $80, like a painting painted in acrylic on canvas. Other merchants offer novelties, such as artisan coconut and mortiño wines. Mauricio Salazar is dedicated to this activity. The bottle is between $18 and $20. (I)


David Puruncajas dresses as Diablo Huma and with his alpaca Paquito they pose for photographs. Photo Martha Flores.

For all palates

Gastronomy is also part of the attraction of this site considered a symbol of the capital of the Republic. There are dishes for all tastes and pockets. Gregorio Pitac prepares the traditional paila ice cream and the sweet espumillas. Visitors have at their disposal the food court, where they will find an appetizing gastronomic offer:

  • A chicken roast: $2.50
  • A hamburger with fries: $3.50
  • A paila ice cream, for $1
  • A skewer, at $1.50

If you prefer something more elegant, walk a few meters down a stone street and you will arrive at Pin's Panecillo restaurant. A cozy and conformable environment to taste national and international food. The menu offers starters, main dishes, soups, drinks, among other delicacies. From this place you will enjoy the splendor of the Historic Center and, at night, the churches and squares show their architectural beauty with the lights of different colors. For the cold, you can't miss the hot canelazos (cinnamon water with sugar and a little liquor) at $1 a glass. (I)



  • Taxi from the Historic Center: $2 Transhemisférico.
  • Bus (goes along Córdova Galarza and Mariscal Sucre avenues): $0.40.
  • Double-decker tourist bus (tour of the Historic Center): $15 adults and $7 children.

Visiting hours

  • Monday to Wednesday: 09:00 to 17:00
  • Thursday to Sunday: 09:00 to 21:00

Horse trips

  • From 12:00 to 22:00. You can choose between five beautiful specimens.
  • Price: 2 dollars

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