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Getting to and away from Cuenca

From Quito, the fastest and most convenient way to get to Cuenca is to fly. Tame, Aerogal and Icaro offer regular 50-minute flights from Quito to Cuenca, at a cost of approximately $90-120, round-trip. Cuenca can also be reached via international flights with American and Continental Airlines, among others.

The ride from Quito to Cuenca by bus is 9-10 hours (usually overnight), and costs about $10. Panamericana Internacional (Tel: 02-255-7133/7134/9428) makes this trip.

Cuenca’s Terminal Terrestre (Av. España and Sebastián de Benalcazar) is several blocks away from the airport, making it easy to arrive in Cuenca and make travel arrangements for your next destination, hassle-free. The station has several ATMs, bathrooms, a few restaurants and even a hair salon. You need to pay $0.10 to leave the terminal after buying your ticket, so make sure you have the change on hand.

From the terminal, buses leave regularly for Guayaquil, Loja, Quito, Machala, and to Máncora, Piura and Chiclayo, Peru:

Buses to Gualaceo ($0.60) leave every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and return every 15 minutes from 5 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Cooperativa Transporte Cañar (booth #4 in terminal) has two direct buses per day to Ingapirca (9 a.m. and 12:20 p.m.; 2 hr, $2.50).

Flota Imbabura (booth #18) has buses to Quito (9 hr, $12) at 6:40 a.m., 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (continues to Tulcán), 9 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 9:45 p.m., 10:40 p.m., 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Cooperativa de Transporte Loja (booth #19) has two buses per day to Loja (4.5 hr, $7.50), at noon and at 10 p.m. It also has one direct bus to Lago Agrio at 8 p.m.

Ejecutivo San Luis (booth #11) has buses to Loja (4.5 hr, $7.50) at 7:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and midnight. Viajeros Internacional (booth #10) also services the Loja trip, with more frequent departures (11 daily between 5 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.). Both companies' buses pass through Saraguro after three hours ($5).

Alianza-Atrain is the recommended bus company to Guayaquil. Buses go through either El Cajas (4 hr) or through Cañar (6 hr); both cost $8. Those through El Cajas leave every 20-40 minutes from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and every hour from 7 p.m.-midnight and from 1 a.m.-7 a.m. The ones through Cañar leave every 15-30 minutes from 12:30 a.m.-9:40 p.m.

Super Semería (booth #3) also services buses to Guayaquil ($8), with eight leaving per day through El Cajas and nine per day through Cañar. Schedules change daily.

Pullman Sucre (booth #14) has the best international buses to Peru. It has three departures per day to Piura, Peru (7:15 a.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m.; 10 hr, $15), which pass through Máncora after eight hours. Its buses to Huaquillas leave at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ($7). It also has buses to Machala ($5.50) every 15-45 minutes from 5:15 a.m.-11 p.m.

Azuay Internacional (booth #5) has buses every 30 minutes to Machala ($5.50). It also has one bus to Zaruma at 4:45 p.m. (8 hr, $8) and one international bus to Chiclayo, Peru ($20) at 9:30 p.m., which passes through Máncora and Piura.

Turismo Oriental (booth #7) has 11 buses per day to Macas (7 hr, $8.50), with the first bus leaving at 6 a.m. and the last at 11 p.m. It also has six daily buses to Quito, with the last bus leaving at 11:15 p.m.

Cooperativa de Transportes Patria (booth #12) does a Cuenca-Alausí-Riobamba-Quito route eight times per day (4:15 a.m., 5:15 a.m., 9:40 a.m., 11:20 a.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.). Buses pass through Alausí after four hours ($5) and through Riobamba after six hours ($6).

Cooperativa de Transporte "Express Sucre Internacional" (booth #13) has 13 buses per day to Quito, 11 per day to Machala, and five per day to Santo Domingo (7:15 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 7:10 p.m., 9:50 p.m.; 10 hr, $12).

By Nili Larish
I'm a reader, a writer, and a traveler, the kind of gal who likes to get as filthy as possibly on a camping trip, and then spend hours in the bathtub...
29 Oct 2012

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