We begin our adventure driving through southern Quito until we reach Lloa, a small colonial town on the outskirts of the city. From Lloa, we turn toward Pichincha and start driving up, gaining altitude as we drive along rural roads with incredible
vistas of Quito below. Pichincha looms directly over the city, and we enjoy panoramic views that span from the residential neighborhoods in the south all the way to the old airport in the
north, with many of the city’s highlights visible from above. Although we’re only minutes away from the bustling metropolis, the environment changes dramatically as we gain elevation. We pass through the paramo vegetation line at the
3,600 meter level and continue climbing through dramatic canyons and ravines until we reach the end of the road. Here we begin our hike toward the rim of Guagua Pichincha. Our guide teaches us about the endemic paramo ecosystem and
local wildlife, as well as the natural history and geology of this life-giving volcano. The air gets colder and the native plants smaller and hardier as we climb. Weather and fitness permitting, we continue all the way to the summit and crater
rim at 4,776 meters. After our hike, we enjoy a healthy and delicious picnic lunch on the slopes and return to Quito in the afternoon.