Quito is a long and narrow city, flowing like a river down the valley and splashing up the mountains that surround it. The TelefériQo, a tourist attraction built in 2005, is a wonderful way to get up high and view the city and surroundings.
Quito’s altitude is 9,350 feet (the highest official capital city in the world). The cab ride to the base of the TelefériQo brings you another 1,000 feet. The 15-minute gondola ride ascends a further 2,700 feet to 12,943 feet. It is high, and can be windy and chilly. We were comfortable in just a light fleece or windbreaker at the top on a day that was warm enough for just a T-shirt at the bottom.
At the top, there are bathrooms, a couple of places to grab some food, a telescope, and an oxygen bar if you need an extra hit of O2 at that altitude.
The more adventurous come prepared with packs and walking sticks, and hike the trail to the rim of the Pichincha volcano. We just enjoyed the outstanding views.
- A cab ride from the city is a flat $5 rate (porque es arriba, the cab driver told us, and it was–very high and hard on his car). Cabs take you right to the base at the building of the gondola where you can buy your tickets. A driver soliciting for return rides as we got off the gondola offered the trip down for $7. We walked to the side of the building where the rest of the cabs waited, and grabbed an official cab for $5.
- $8USD/person for the gondola ride.
- Bathrooms at the top–$.50. Bathrooms at the bottom–free.
- Oxygen–$3.50 for 15 minutes (I think that’s what I read–we didn’t try it).
- There is an amusement center at the base of the gondola. Lots of families seemed to be heading there.