Quito Elevation: How High is The Capital of Ecuador?

On the top of Quito Ecuador

Quito, as well as several other places in Ecuador’s highlands area, are located at a high elevation. The air here is thinner, making your body work harder. This situation can cause a few small complications, but most individuals can adjust to a shift in altitude with little care.

The second-highest capital in the world is Quito which is situated at 2,850 meters / 9,350 ft above sea level. The pleasant, spring-like temperatures throughout the year are the greatest benefit of Quito’s high elevation. I would recommend taking ChlorOxygen 1-2 weeks ahead of the trip so it’s easier to deal with high altitudes.

Even though Quito is only 25 kilometers from the equator, the city’s high altitude tempers the oppressive heat and humidity experienced in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s coastal metropolis.

At the top of Teleferiqo in Quito, Ecuador

When planning a vacation to Quito, knowing what to anticipate and how to deal with the effects of altitude might be beneficial.

We will discuss the consequences of altitude, as well as what altitude sickness is, how to avoid it, and how to manage the symptoms.

Preparing for High Elevation in Quito

Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve view from the peak in Quito

If you are considering a vacation to Quito, you should definitely prepare ahead of time.

First, we highly recommend ChlorOxygen, Chlorophyll Concentrate Softgels that help you to adjust at such an altitude. We started taking them 2 weeks prior to our trip and it was a great help.

Aerobic fitness training is a great method to get in shape for your vacation to Ecuador. Your lungs will be able to endure the shock of Quito’s thinner air easier if they are stronger.

Try to go to the gym, treadmill, or aerobics classes more frequently in the months leading up to your vacation. Walking and jogging will get your lungs (and legs) working and will help you become in shape.

Using TelefériQo Cable car in Quito Ecuador

TelefériQo Cable car

Make a detailed itinerary. Acclimatization is the ideal method to travel in the mountains, therefore you must avoid large, abrupt height changes in your itinerary. If feasible, spend a night or two in a Quito hotel to acclimate before traveling higher.

Remember that acclimatization begins anew when you return to sea levels, such as in the Galapagos or the Amazon. Bring altitude medicine or natural treatments with you in case you need them.

What is Altitude Sickness?

Going down from Pichincha stratovolcano after using Telefériqo Cable Car in Quito

Locals refer to altitude sickness as Soroche. Even Ecuadorians get altitude sickness while going from sea level to Quito.

There is no need to be concerned because altitude sickness is infrequent in Quito, and symptoms are usually minimal. Individuals may develop altitude sickness at heights of more than 2,500 meters (8,200 feet), according to international health authorities, although Quito is only 350 meters above that limit.

In fact, many people (including us) experience no negative effects from Quito’s altitude, or only mild symptoms for one or two days.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness has a lot of symptoms that you may suffer if you arrive in Quito from a substantially lower altitude, which many people do.

  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy,
  • Running out of breath when ascending the stairs
  • Decrease of appetite.

These symptoms are generally minor and usually last for a day or two.

Tips to Avoid Elevation Sickness

Going up to Rucu Pichincha volcano in Quito

Do not worry about altitude sickness; most people’s symptoms are minimal and will not interfere with the fun of your vacation. To avoid or minimize the effects of altitude sickness, you may follow our tips below:

  • We highly recommend start taking ChlorOxygen, Chlorophyll Concentrate Softgels 2 weeks prior to your trip to Quito
  • Staying hydrated by drinking enough water is the best method to adjust rapidly to minor symptoms of altitude sickness. 
  • Alcohol will make you feel worse, so avoid it for a day or two. Eat small meals because large meals might aggravate nausea in certain people.
  • You may need to use painkillers for headaches in some circumstances. Aspirin may be useful in alleviating the symptoms.
  • Try not to do too much while you adjust to your new altitude. When individuals come and immediately go trekking in the mountains, they are more likely to encounter more severe symptoms, such as vomiting.
  • Rushing out for a strong stroll is unlikely to make you feel wonderful, so avoid it.
  • Aim for light, easy-to-digest meals, and avoid red meat for a day or two. Extra carbohydrates might also help you feel more energized if you’re tired.
  • Avoid smoking so your lungs can concentrate on breathing in the thinner air.
  • Allow yourself to rest and gradually acclimate to the shift and its consequences on your body.
  • If you encounter more severe symptoms of altitude sickness, you should consult a doctor immediately and/or descend to a lower altitude.

Remedies for Altitude Sickness

Rough trail at Going up to Rucu Pichincha volcano in Quito

Water is the most effective treatment and preventative for altitude sickness. Headaches usually subside when you drink enough water. Chocolate and sugar are also high in energy and morale.

These over-the-counter medications may also help alleviate altitude sickness:

  • Paracetamol, aspirin, and ibuprofen are examples of pain relievers. I would recommend taking ChlorOxygen 1-2 weeks ahead of the trip so it’s easier to deal with high altitudes.
  • Diamox, an altitude drug containing acetazolamide.
  • Oxygen inhalers might assist you in regaining your breath.
  • Chlorophyll boosts the number of red blood cells in your body. The more red blood cells there are, the more opportunities for oxygen to be absorbed, thus, the effects of altitude sickness are reduced.
  • Altitude sickness may be treated naturally with Coca tea, Gingko Biloba pills, and antioxidant vitamins C and E. Climbers have reported using all of these to naturally mitigate the effects of high altitude.

Sun Exposure at High Elevation in Quito

Group of people hike to Going up to Rucu Pichincha volcano in Quito

Sunburn is another concern you may have when visiting regions at high altitudes. The proximity of Ecuador to the equator, along with the high altitude and constant exposure to the sun, will result in a terrible sunburn! UV light exposure increases by around 4% every 300 meters (1,000 feet). 

Don’t forget to wear a hat and UV-protected glasses. Use high SPF grade sun cream many times each day. Don’t underestimate the power of the tropical sun, which may burn even on cloudy days.

Bottom Line

The altitude of Quito is quite high but most tourists experience little or no altitude sickness. So, don’t be frightened – simply follow our recommendations in this article for a pleasant and fuss-free Quito Ecuador holiday.


About the author

Oleg Galeev

I'm Oleg, and together with my wife, we've explored Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, journeying through more than 20 cities (Quito, Cuenca, Banos, Tena, Puyo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Otavalo, Mindo and more) and nearly every island in the Galapagos (including iconic ones such as Bartolome Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island and more). In this blog, I give you my real thoughts about each place we visited. This info can help anyone planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or mainland Ecuador. I'm just a traveler, not a tour company, so I'm not trying to sell anything. That means I'll tell you the truth—both the good and the bad — about traveling in Ecuador based on what we experienced.

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