Knowing little about Quito, and somewhat preoccupied by anticipation of our Galapagos trip, I was pleasantly surprised by this beautiful city. The Basilica del Voto Nacional is a gothic inspired cathedral in the historic center of Ecuador's capital of Quito. Upon seeing the cathedral, you're reminded of the Notre Dame in Paris. But in the Basilica, the grotesques or gargoyles that line its exterior are not far from the usual - instead they are Ecuadorian animals such as iguanas, armadillos and Galapagos tortoises. For about US$2 you can also climb up the cathedral towers. For those who aren't afraid of heights, the view of Quito is simply spectacular.