The cable car up the Pichincha- A travelogue from Quito

If you want a really beautiful view over Quito, or even want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city for a few hours, you should definitely visit Pichincha. The Pichincha is the house mountain of Quito. The volcano has two peaks, but only the higher one, facing away from Quito, is still active. The higher peak is the Guagua Pichincha (also Wawa Pichincha). It measures 4794 meters. The smaller peak that can be seen from Quito is called Rucu Pichincha and is 4690 meters high.

Since 2005 you can go up the Rucu Pincha very comfortably a piece with a cable car.

So, on a sunny Wednesday morning, we packed our bags, called an UBER and took a leisurely ride to the TelefériQo cable car valley station.

Where is the TelefériQo cable car?

The TelefériQo cable car is located on the western outskirts of Quito. However, it itself is already a good bit uphill. Its bottom station lies at about 3050 meters  altitude. It takes its passengers up the Cruz Loma mountain flank at about 3950 meters. This made it the highest cable car in the world at the time of its opening.

How do I get to the TelefériQo cable car in Quito?

The easiest way to get to the base station is by taxi or UBER, which drops you off right at the base station. Those who are good on foot and ut can cope with the thinner air, however, can also take the bus to the stop Antonio Jose de Sucre Y N25 or Jose Berrutieta Y Antonio Jose de Sucre (2) and from there walk the almost three kilometers uphill to the valley station. You can find more bus stations nearby on Google Maps or Rome2Rio.

While we took the UBER up the partly quite steep hill, we also saw some pedestrians we didn’t envy a bit.

How much does the  TelefériQo cable car cost in Quito?

The entry to the TelefériQo cable car costs $8.50 for adults and $4.50 for children. The price include the ride up and back down. On Fridays and weekends, adults can also purchase a Fastpass for $11, which allows them to “jump the queues”. With this knowledge in mind, it is therefore recommended to avoid the weekends for the visit.

We arrived at the cable car at about 10:00. It was Wednesday and nothing was going on. Max bought the tickets and didn’t even have to stand in line to do so. We also got into the gondolas right away.

How high can I go up Pichincha by cable car?

The TelefériQo cable car takes its visitors to an altitude of 3950 meters. There is a mountain station and a restaurant. From the top station, several paths lead to various viewing platforms at up to circa 4120 meters. From these one has a magnificent view over Quito.

We had a fun cable car ride with a long time traveling retired couple with whom we had a wonderful exchange about the trip. In general, Pichincha is certainly the best place in Quito to meet other travelers. The trip took barely ten minutes

What all can I do at the top of the mountain?

  • First of all, of course, you can enjoy the wonderful view over Quito on Mount Pichincha. There are several viewpoints for this.
  • In good weather, you have a great view of the volcanoes Cotopaxi, Cayambe and Sumaco.
  • There is a swing at 4100 meters, where you can swing into this great view.
  • At several places there are wooden loungers, where you can comfortably enjoy the view. Who wants to stay here longer, however, should bring a blanket.
  • In the cafeteria of the cable car you can kaffeetrinken with a very nice panorama.
  • Who has adrone, this can also rise on the mountain, but should note that it has significantly longer braking times due to the height and the wind.
  • There is a picnic table at 4100m. Who wants to grab him, however, should be here early. Since he is right next to the swing, he is, however, consistently besieged by photographing people – it is the perfect place to meet other travelers.
  • For $1 you can shoot photos with llamas

We let our drone fly, Martina swung extensively and we enjoyed the view to the fullest. Of course, we also took a lot of pictures. We did not climb to the summit. We didn’t cuddle the llama either. But we had a nice chat with some other travelers.

Can you climb Pichincha?

Of course, you can climb to the top of Pichincha — at least the Rucu Pichincha. From the viewing platforms, a trail leads first across the plateau and then into the hillside. At first, the path is well paved . Gradually, however, it turns first more and more to scree, later to sand. Therefore, good shoes and surefootedness a must. The view from the summit is magnificent. The hike to the summit takes somewhat more than three hours, depending on your constitution.

Note that the weather can change quickly in the high Andes. So take appropriate weatherproof equipment with you.

Rucu Pincha is popular for acclimatization hikes to get used to the altitude. Accordingly, people who are not accustomed to altitude should be cautious. The high altitude air can be treacherous.

It should be clear that themountain top is not a walk like going to the observation deck. Who wants to climb it should already have some experience with mountains.

What should I definitely bring to the Pichincha

  • Rain jacket / windbreaker: At 4100 meters it is cold and windy
  • Water: At altitude you should drink a lot, because the body consumes more water
  • Picnic who wants: Who wants to chow down once with a magnificent view, has the opportunity here.
  • Sun protection: Even with cloudy skies, you should definitely put on lotion and a cap. You get sunburn significantly faster than in the valley.
  • Shoes with good profile, if you want to go further up the mountain.
  • Money for admission, drinks and possibly photos.  

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