Things to do in Quito
Climb up icy Cotopaxi
Nestled amidst the Andes, Quito offers a number of interesting climbing options nearby. There are popular routes around Volcán Pichincha and some further away such as icy Cotopaxi, which is not for beginners. If you're grappling to get up there, Cotopaxi Climbing (tel: +593 2 290 3629; www.cotopaxiclimbing.com), based in Mariscal, can show you the way.
Cycle down Chimborazo
Biking around the foothills of Volcán Pichincha and beyond is a popular activity for visitors feeling hemmed in by the vast city. Other options include descending the Cotopaxi volcano, visiting the Indian communities of Quilotoa or freewheeling down the Chimborazo. For tours and bike hire, Biking Dutchman (tel: +593 2 256 8323; www.bikingdutchman.com) is the only choice.
Hike the hills around Quito
Trekking through the peaks surrounding Volcán Pichincha is popular with outdoor types. Don't be tempted to venture out after reaching the summit of the TelefériQo gondola (tel: +593 2222 996; www.teleferico.com.ec) though; even experienced walkers need time to acclimatise to the high altitude so it is best not to hike as soon as you arrive.
Learn Spanish with a family
English is not widely spoken in Quito, so it's a good idea to book a few Spanish lessons. Say Hola to Cristóbal Colón (tel: +593 2 250 6508; www.colonspanishschool.com). This Spanish school has an excellent reputation and reasonable prices, and can even organise a homestay with a local family to perfect your skills.
Learn to salsa in an Ecuadorian dance school
With a thunderous nightlife spread through its salsa venues, Quito is the dance capital of Ecuador. If you're afraid of getting out there on the dance floor, loosen your hips by trying a few lessons at one of the dance schools. Ritmo Tropical (tel: +593 2 255 7094; www.ritmotropicalsalsa.com) can help even those with two left feet.