Top choice in Quito

For spectacular views over Quito’s mountainous landscape, hop aboard this sky tram, one of the world's highest aerial lifts, 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 – ask about the safety situation before attempting the climb and bring warm clothes.

Don’t attempt the hike to Rucu Pichincha until you’ve acclimatized in Quito for a couple of days. You can go alone or 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’). Visit the TelefériQo, and certainly begin the Rucu Pichincha hike, in the morning, when the views here are best; the clouds usually roll in by noon. A taxi here costs about $5 from Mariscal Sucre.

Vulqano Park, a children’s amusement park, is at the base station. The ticket price covers you out and back to the base station.