Ringed by mountains, Quito has no shortage of viewpoints, but the ultimate view of the Ecuadorian capital has to be from the peak of the Pichincha Volcano, reached by the Teleferico Quito. Opened in 2005, the gondola lift runs up the east side of the still-active volcano, reaching a height of 3,945 meters, which makes it South America’s highest aerial lift. The dramatic ascent, which takes around 10 minutes, offers impressive views over the city and surrounding mountain valleys, but the best lookout point is on arrival, from the top of the Cruz Loma plateau.
As well as riding the Teleferico, visitors can follow a number of marked hiking trails, enjoy a horseback riding excursion or dine at one of the mountaintop restaurants and cafés, while the Vulqano Park amusement park, located at the foot of the mountain, makes a popular distraction for younger members of the family.
The Teleferico Quito runs up the east side of the Pichincha Volcano, just west of downtown Quito and is Monday to Friday from 9am-6pm, weekends from 9am-8pm. Adult admission costs $8.50.