What is the altitude of Quito, Ecuador? Tips to Prevent Altitude Sickness

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The altitude of Quito is around 9,350 feet (2,850 meters) in the Andes Mountains. Only La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, is higher than Quito, located at 11,893 ft (3,625 m) above sea level.

It is surrounded by several mountains with higher elevations, some of which you might explore on your trip to Ecuador. You may encounter a very severe change in the altitude of Quito if you fly or take a bus from sea level, which could cause some moderate altitude sickness symptoms in some people.

Altitude sickness is the result of your body not getting enough oxygen. The higher the elevation, the lower the concentration of oxygen in the air. So, when visiting Quito, it is important to pay attention to your body. Keep reading for tips to prevent altitude sickness.

San Francisco
Front view of the San Francisco Church and Convent.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness

Many travelers arriving in Quito will be coming from substantially lower altitudes, which might cause many symptoms associated with altitude sickness. These side effects may last a day or two and can be mild. Even though it’s rare, sometimes more serious symptoms can manifest. These include excruciating headaches and breathing problems, such as feeling extremely out of breath, even when resting. You should consult with a doctor if your symptoms continue. Locally, these symptoms are referred to as soroche.

Because Quito is located along several valleys, the surrounding areas also vary in altitude. When taking part in an activity, should travelers feel the effects of altitude sickness, the best course of action is to descend to a lower altitude, if possible. Alternatively, quality hotels, like Casa Gangotena, have trained staff and oxygen tanks to help relieve the effects of soroche.
Quito altitude sickness can cause:
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizzy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble breathing

Altitude of Quito

Did you know…? – Because Quito is situated at a very high elevation directly along the equator, visitors and residents need to guard against the powerful rays of the Sun. So, keep your sunscreen handy, and bring a hat, just in case.

Tips to Prevent Altitude Sickness

As much as you can, rest.

Thanks to the altitude in Quito, some travelers may feel a slight or mild lack of oxygen and experience shortness of breath. While strolling through the city, walk at a leisurely pace, breathe in deeply, and stop whenever you feel like your body needs a rest. This also means that you shouldn’t push too hard or exercise at the beginning of your trip.

Take as many days as necessary to adjust to the altitude of Quito.

Everyone experiences the acclimatization process differently. Some people need more than a day or two to acclimate, while others may need a little more time. Choose your activities in Quito according to how you feel; pay attention to your body.

Drink plenty of water.

Try to drink more water than average—about three liters per day—and abstain from alcohol at the beginning of your trip to lessen the effects when you arrive in Quito.  There are many teas, like guayusa, that naturally help mitigate the effects of altitude on the body.
You will be closer to the Sun at a higher altitude, which is another crucial point to remember. Ecuador has excellent year-round weather; even when it’s gloomy or overcast, it is advisable to use sunblock and wear a hat.

Think about checking in with your doctor before traveling to Quito.

Your health is important. Some cardiovascular diseases or autoimmune conditions may increase your chances of experiencing altitude sickness. It is always a good idea to chat with your medical provider if you have any concerns.
Huéspedes explorando la Calle La Ronda en Quito, Ecuador
Huéspedes explorando la Calle La Ronda en Quito, Ecuador.
Quito is the second-highest capital in the world, so altitude sickness is a possibility. Remember to drink plenty of water, pay attention to your body, get plenty of rest, and wear sunscreen. This way, you can enjoy everything Quito has to offer, from churches and historic buildings to museums filled with interesting artifacts, beautiful art, and intriguing sculpture.

Visit or stay at Casa Gangotena to enjoy the best of Quito’s Old Town.

Travelers exploring the unique landscape near Finch Bay, showcasing the luxury experiences offered by the Gangotena Boutique Hotel network in the golden triangle.
Our Premier Ecuador Experience: The Golden Triangle
A Complete Experience that brings you the very best of Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands. With a stint in the Heart of Quito, The Mashpi Reserve, and a stay at The Galapagos Islands most lauded Hotel, Finch Bay.


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