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We planned to take the kids up to the top of the Pichincha volcano this morning, riding up in the “teleferiqo” or cable car that was built I think just 3 or 4 years ago. The facility, if I am correct, is run and owned by the Municipality of Quito.
Unfortunately, we made some basic assumptions that were totally wrong. First, we thought there might be an ATM there. Nope, no ATM, no cash. Then we thought we could pay by credit card. Nope, no credit cards. Well, they do accept them, sometimes, when the card processing machine is working, but nope, not working. We thought we’d be there early, around ten, when the line would be reasonably short. It was reasonably short, all tourists, but it was still a forty-five minute wait, not something easy to do with a 5 and 3 year old in tow.
The picture above is a good reflection of the state of disrepair the whole facility lies in. The escalators were broken, so we had to make the hike up the hill. All the shops were closed and taped off with “Peligro” yellow tape. Even the bathrooms were out of order. The signs were rusty and discolored. All in all, very disappointing. This operation was built to be a major tourist attraction for the city of Quito. As it is, foreign tourists might be discouraged and even frightened to go up in it given its appearance. For marketing purposes, there’s no way to take pictures of the facilities showing an enticing image with the facilities’ current state. I’d be hard pressed to figure out how they are going to keep this operation running if they can’t even perform the most basic maintenance. Just the image of the facilities would make one doubt about climbing into a cable car dangling several hundred feet above a very steep ascent, at times nearly vertical. We won’t be back here anytime soon!