After lunch at the Central Mercado in Quito we caught a taxi to the Motriz platform, in the foothills of the Rucu Pichincha volcano, to take the TeleferiQo, a gondola lift to the Cruz Loma Lookout.
The TeleferiQo opened in May of 2005 and is one of the highest aerial lifts in South America, the highest being in La Paz in Bolivia. The gondola begins at the Motriz platform, at 3.117 meters (10 226 ft) and takes about 18 minutes to reach Cruz Loma at 3947 meters, (12 943 ft) traveling about 2.5 km.
The view as you ascend in the gondola is great, but once you reach Cruz Loma there are various lookouts or miradors that offer spectacular views over both Quito and the various surrounding volcanoes.
Once you reach Cruz Loma there are various activities that are available:
- During the weekends and holidays horse riding is available either as a half hour ride for $5 USD or a return trip to Paseo al Ruco for $25 and tickets can be bought online.
- There are various hiking trails that vary in length from 30 minutes to 8 hours, it is also possible to hire a guide.
- Camping is permitted but you must bring your own gear.
- Climbing can be done on your own or with a guide.
- Downhill bike riding – You can transport your bike on the gondola and then navigate downhill on one of the tracks. The cost for a single turn is $3 (Mon – Fri) or $4 (Sat – Sun) or alternatively all day is $7 (Mon – Fri) or $8.50 (Sat – Sun)
- Bring a lightweight jacket, the average temperature up at Cruz Loma is only 6 degrees Celsius and it is often windy.
- A hat and sunscreen is essential due to Quito’s high altitude and the zero latitude means that you are exposed to higher levels of UV rays. We have been caught twice in Quito without hats and been sun burnt.
- The best time for a gondola ride is in the morning and during the week as it gets busier as the day goes on and during the weekend. There is a higher chance of rain in the afternoons.
Tourist Information for Teleferico
- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 9 am – 8 pm
- Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday: 8 am – 8 pm
Prices: (for tourists)
- Adults – $8.50 Children (11 and under) – $6.50 Seniors (over 65) – $6.50 People with disabilities – $6.50