Image by David Rojas Five Hundred Pixels
For spectacular views over Quito’s mountainous landscape, hop aboard this sky tram that takes passengers on a 2.5km ride (10 minutes) up the flanks of Volcán Pichincha to the top of Cruz Loma. Once you’re at the top (a mere 4100m), you can hike to the summit of Rucu Pichincha (4680m), a 4km (five-hour) round-trip – you should ask about the safety situation before attempting the climb, and bring warm clothes. You'll need to start walking before 11am.
Don’t attempt the trip to Rucu Pichincha until you’ve acclimatized in Quito for a couple of days, and go with a qualified guide. You can also hire horses ($15 per hour), which are about 500m from the upper station (follow signs to ‘paseos a caballo’). Try to visit in the morning, when the views here are best; the clouds usually roll in by noon. A taxi here costs about $5 from the Mariscal.
Vulqano Park, a children’s amusement park, is at the base station.