The Quito Basilica is one of the most popular attractions in Ecuador's capital city. It is known for having the tallest bell towers in the country, and adventurous travelers can go for a climb and be rewarded with fantastic views. The Basilica del Voto Nacional may be known for the best view in town, but like the Banos basilica, it also a stunning attraction in itself.
Before you climb up the clock tower, take the time to explore the basilica and the artwork in 24 chapels. It is free to explore this part of the church, but if you want to the incredible views, it will cost $2 per person to climb the bell towers. If everyone in your group doesn’t want to attempt the climb, don’t worry, there is a café on the third floor where less adventurous travelers can enjoy a little refreshment. One additional tip is not to listen to the people who offer their services as guides of the church when you walk in. They are not employed by the church, as it is free for you to walk around and explore independently.
Climbing the towers of the Quito Basilica is not for the faint of heart—the perch at the top is over 375 feet above ground. The beginning of the climb is a series of wide stairs that don’t seem too challenging. After the wide stairs is where the real adventure in Basilica del Voto Nacional begins. First you will walk across a narrow wooden bridge that crosses the top of the arches inside the basilica. Next, a series of sturdy ladders must be climbed to continue your trek towards the top.
Once you’re midway to the top, you begin to see the spectacular sweeping views over the city. There are still plenty of narrow stairs to go to the top, but the platform at the top is definitely worth the effort. Travelers should keep in mind that they will need to take the same stairs and ladders back down, so if you come across something you wouldn’t be comfortable repeating in the opposite direction, it might be time to stop your climb. Many travelers would say that this is the best $2 you can spend in Quito.