Traveling in Ecuador

Airplane: airplane is a common mode of transport in Ecuador. Ecuador’s main domestic airline is TAME, followed by Icaro and AeroGal. With the exception of the flight from between Tulcan and Cali (Colombia), TAME does not offer any international flights.
AeroGal flies between Cuenca, Quito, Guayaquil, Isla San Chritobal (Galapagos) and Isla Baltra (Galapagos).
Icaro serves Quito, Manta, Cuenta, Guayaquil, Esmeraldas, Lago Agrio and Coca.
TAME flies to Esmeraldas, Cuenca, Coca, Isla San Cristobal (Galapagos), Isla Baltra (Galapagos), Loja, Guayaquil, Tulcan, Lago Agrio, Quito, Macas, Manta, Portoviejo and Cali (Colombia).

With the exception of flights to the Galapagos Islands, domestic flights are usually quite cheap (often no more than $ 70 for a one-way flight). All flights on the Ecuadorian mainland take less than an hour. There is a two-tier price system for flights to and from the Galapagos Islands and Oriente; foreigners pay more than Ecuadorians. The main airports in the Galápagos Islands are Caráquez and Baltra.

If you couldn’t buy a ticket anymore, you can drive to the airport and be put on a waiting list. Often passengers do not come. When making a reservation, you should confirm the flight three days before departure.
Most flights depart from Quito or Guayaquil by

Ship:Passenger traffic on boats is quite widespread in Ecuador, especially in the Amaonas region and in the Orient, where there are few roads.
The most common use of motorized canoes, which operate as water taxis on the most important rivers in the Orient (especially the Rio Napo) and the northern regions. On the way to the Amazon rainforest, this type of travel is often the only option.
Often there are 30 to 40 passengers on these canoes. The luggage is stowed under a tarpaulin, so required hand luggage should be carried with you. Bring seat padding (towel, item of clothing) with you, as you usually sit on wooden boards.

Rain and sun can be quite annoying on the canoe trip, an umbrella can help here. Sunscreen or clothes with long sleeves, long pants and a sun hat are also very important. When the sun disappears or the rain starts it can get chilly, so a light jacket should be with you. Good insect repellent pays off at stops on the river. Finally, think about bottled water and a few snacks to eat.

The motorized canoes mainly go on the main rivers. When traveling on the tributaries, you will often have to resort to a dugout canoe (with an oar or motor).

You can travel to the Galápagos Islands with ships of various sizes (from sailboats to cruise ships). Passenger ferries connect the mainland with the Galapagos at irregular intervals and are the cheapest travel option.

The cruise ship Manatee Amazon Explorer sails on the Rio Napo.

Train: According to neovideogames, Ecuador’s train system basically consists of two passenger trains. The most famous is the spectacular descent from Alausí along La Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose), one of the world’s greatest achievements in railway engineering. The second is the train connection between Quito and Area de Recreación El Boliche near Cotopaxi. You can ride on the roof of the train.

Buses in Ecuador are inexpensive and drive almost all regions of the country. They are the main mode of transport for most Ecuadorians. However, the buses are not particularly safe, which is mainly due to the drivers.

Every larger and almost every smaller city in Ecuador has a main bus station where most buses depart and arrive. Most of the time, this bus station is close to the city center.
If you don’t have a lot of luggage, take it with you on the bus. If your luggage is stored in the luggage compartment or on the roof of the bus, pack it in plastic bags to protect it from rain.

There are only a few air-conditioned buses with toilets on some long-haul routes.

When buses are full on remote routes, it may be allowed to travel on the roof. There is no comfort here, but a wonderful view.

Most companies have specific departure times, but these change often and cannot always be met. When a bus is full, it often leaves before the actual departure time. Conversely, a bus that is not yet full can drive around town for a long time trying to collect passengers. At the larger bus stations there are places where you can get information about routes, prices and departure times.

Tickets must be bought in person at the bus station. Except on weekends and during the holidays there is almost always a ticket, but it never hurts to buy one in advance. If you arrive an hour or two before departure, you can secure a good seat on the bus. The suspension at the end of the bus is usually much worse than at the front, so seats in the front are in great demand.

Local buses, which mostly go to the surrounding villages, are usually slow and narrow, but also very cheap. Outside of Quito, buses don’t stop at designated stops, but rather where passengers are waiting.

Automobile:Driving your own vehicle in Ecuador can be very challenging. The road network in Ecuador is quite extensive, but driving conditions vary. Several routes are being expanded, especially in the southern part of the country the roads are not in the best condition due to floods and earthquakes. Asphalted roads connect Quito and Latacunga, Quito and Guayaquil as well as Ambato and Riobamba. The most important north-south connection in the country is the Panamericana. This international route, one of the world’s most famous roads, runs through Ecuador and is relatively well preserved here, but not without potholes and ruthless bus and truck drivers.

Rental prices

Few visitors rent a car in Ecuador, mainly because the bus network is well developed. To get to the really remote places, a car is of course helpful. Most of the major international car rental companies, including Avis, Budget, Hertz and Localiza, have branches in Ecuador, but hardly outside of Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca. With some international agencies it is possible to book the rental car before departure.

To rent a car, you must be at least 25 years old, have a credit card, valid international driver’s license and passport. Occasionally companies also accept a minimum age between 21 and 25 years, but then the down payment is higher. Prices start at around $ 40 for a small car and can go as high as $ 100 per day for SUVs. A price comparison can be worthwhile.

Thieves often break into rental cars, so don’t leave valuables or bags visible in the car. It is also recommended to park the vehicle in a guarded parking lot at night (if possible).

With limited travel time, you can visit numerous tourist spots in Ecuador only through an organized tourreach. This does not always mean that you travel with a lot of strangers, trekking or climbing tours are offered for two or more people. However, the more people get together, the cheaper it becomes per person.
The best place to organize a tour is Quito. Numerous tour operators offer excursions (including to the Galápagos Islands), cruises, climbing and trekking tours, rainforest tours, mountain bike tours, horse riding, hacienda tours and excursions to the most important cities in Ecuador. However, there are tour operators in numerous cities and their tours usually cost about as much as in Quito.

The tour prices are of course very different depending on the requirements. The cheapest jungle camping tour can start at $ 40 per person per day, while the most expensive lodges can cost you $ 200 per person per night. Galápagos cruises range from $ 700 to more than $ 3,000 per week per person (excluding flights, taxes, and entrance fees).

Taxi: There are several models of Ecuadorian taxis, but they are all yellow. Most taxis have a lighted “Taxi” sign on the roof or a “Taxi” sticker on the windshield.
Always agree on the price with the driver before departure, otherwise there is a tendency to be charged too much. Outside of Quito (where they are compulsory) there are seldom taximeters.

It is also possible to hire taxis for full days for $ 40 to $ 60. If you rent a taxi for several days, you will usually need to provide room and board for the driver.

Traveling in Ecuador