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Getting To and Away From Ecuador


Ecuador Airports and Airlines
Two international airports are in Ecuador. The majority of international flights touch down at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), located about 19 km (12 mi) east of Quito. It takes approximately 1 hour to get to the city from the airport.

Some airlines offer service to the southern coastal city of Guayaquil. Flights to Guayaquil touch down at the Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín de Olmedo (GYE). Formerly known as Simón Bolívar International Airport, it was renamed in 2006 to honor the former Ecuadorian president, poet and first mayor of Guayaquil.

The following airlines offer international flights to Quito and/or Guayaquil:

  • Aerogal
  • Copa Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Continental
  • Delta Airlines
  • Iberia
  • KLM
  • LAN
  • Lacsa
  • TACA
  • Tame
  • United Airlines

Flights to Ecuador from the United States
Continental Airlines and United Airlines offer flights to Quito from Houston, while American Airlines and LAN fly out of Miami and offer direct service to both Quito and Guayaquil. Delta Airlines flies out of Atlanta with year-round service to Quito and seasonal service to Guayaquil.

Flights to Ecuador from Europe
Iberia offers international flights to Ecuador with a stopover in Madrid. KLM also offers flights from Europe to Ecuador with a stopover in the Netherlands. Europeans can also fly American Airlines or Continental; however, KLM and Iberia are much better for finding cheap flights to Ecuador from Europe.

Flights to Ecuador from Canada
Avianca Airlines offers service to both Quito and Guayaquil with a stopover in Bogotá, Colombia, and operating through codeshares with Air Canada. Delta Airlines operates out of Montreal and Toronto and offers service to Quito and Guayaquil, with at least one stopover in the United States (Atlanta and/or Detroit). A final option for Canadians is Continental Airlines, which offers service to Quito from both Toronto and Montreal, with a stopover in Houston (and sometimes multiple stops in various other U.S. cities).

Flights to Ecuador from Latin America
From Quito, various regional carriers provide service to Latin American Countries. LAN offers flights to Lima, Peru; Medellín and Cali, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Santiago, Chile. AeroGal also flies to Lima and Bogotá. Tame services Bogotá, as well as La Habana, Cuba and Panama City, Panamá. Copa flies to Bogota, Colombia and Panama City, Panamá. Taca has flights to Medellín, Colombia, and San Salvador, El Salvador. Lacsa flies to San José, Costa Rica. Many of these airlines fly from Guayaquil to various Latin American cities.

Cheap Flights to Ecuador
If you're looking for cheap flights to Ecuador, visit during the low (wet) season (October-November and February-June); ticket prices are much more reasonable during these times. If you purchase your return ticket in Ecuador, call the airline or travel agency where you purchased your ticket 72 hours before your flight to confirm, or you may be bumped from the flight. If you are traveling to Ecuador during the high seasons - from the beginning of July to the beginning of September and December to mid-January - you will find that airfare to Ecuador is much more expensive; expect a bump in ticket price and limited availability. When planning a trip during the high season, be sure to reserve your ticket well in advance.

Ecuador Airport Departure Tax

The airport departure tax (Tasa Aeroportuaria or Impuesto de Salida Internacional) for flights out of Quito and Guayaquil are now included in your airline ticket.


Ecuador may be reached by land from Colombia and Peru. For specifics on border crossing, see the respective cities. Taking a reputable international bus company is ideal because it eliminates the potential complications that can occur at border crossings. Some of these companies also have service to other Latin American capitals. The borders are also open to private vehicles for those who are crossing the border by bicycle, motorcycle or car.

Getting to Ecuador from Colombia
At present, only two border crossings are open to international travelers. The most commonly used one is Rumichaca, on the Pan-American Highway, connecting Tulcán, Ecuador, and Ipiales, Colombia. The second option is through the jungle, at San Miguel. This journey begins in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, and ends at Mocoa, Colombia.

Getting to Ecuador from Peru
Three major border crossings exist between Ecuador and its southern neighbor, Peru. The fastest option is Huaquillas, Ecuador, a coastal city south of Machala by the Río Zarumilla to Aguas Verdes, Peru. Another popular route—and the safest—is at La Tina, south of Macará, Ecuador. Both borders are open 24 hours and have international bus service. The third choice is a beautiful, several-day journey through jungle mountains from Vilcabamba to the La Balsa border south of Zumba.

International Buses
Taking a reputable international bus company to and away from Ecuador is ideal because it eliminates potential complications, like excess fees and rip-off money changers, that can occur at border crossings. Buses will stop at the border and wait for passengers to complete immigration procedures.

Rutas de America (URL: offers direct service between Quito or Guayaquil and Lima, Peru (24 hr, $50-60). It also has direct trips to: Colombia (Bogotá, $60; Cali, $30) and Venezuela (Caracas, $90), and indirect trips to: Bolivia (La Paz, $145), Chile (Santiago, $160), Argentina (Buenos Aires, $200), Brazil (Río de Janeiro, $300). The company has two Quito offices in Quito (Selva Alegre OE1-72 and Av. 10 de Agosto. Tel: 593-2-254-8142, E-mail: In Guayaquil, the office is at La Garzota 3, Manzana 84, Villa 1 (Tel: 593-4-223-8673, E-mail:

Panamericana Internacional also provides direct service between Ecuador and Caracas, Venezuela, and indirect services to Colombia (Bogotá, Cali), Peru (Lima), Chile (Santiago) and Argentina (Buenos Aires). The company’s Quito office is in the La Mariscal neighborhood (Av. Colón 852 and Reina Victoria. Tel: 593-2-255-7133).

Expresso Internacional Ormeño (URL: operates buses to Colombia (Cali, Bogotá, Cúcuta) and Venezuela (Caracas). Southern destinations are Peru (Lima, Cusco, Puerto Maldonado), Brazil (Rio Branco, São Paulo), Bolivia (La Paz), Chile (Santiago), Argentina (Mendoza, Buenos Aires). Its Quito office is near Parque Carolina (Av. Los Shyris 34432 and Portugal, Centro Comercial La Carolina. Tel.: 593-4-213-0847, E-mail: In Guayaquil, Ormeño’s offices are near the Terminal Terrestre (Av. de Las Américas, C.C. El Terminal, Bloque C, Oficina C-34. Tel.: 59 3-4-214-0487, E-mail:

Loja Internacional ( has several buses per day from Loja to Piura, Peru.

Other companies that offer service from Guayaquil and Machala to Tumbes, Máncora and other destinations on Peru’s northern coast, via the Huaquillas / Aguas Verdes border crossing are: CIFA Internacional (URL:, Civa (URL: and Cruz del Sur (URL:


Traveling to and from Ecuador by boat can be both expensive and inconvenient, but is inarguably the most adventurous method of transportation.

To Peru
The river crossing from Ecuador to Peru on the RĂ­o Napo is becoming popular once more. The trip goes from Coca (Francisco de Orellana) to Nuevo Rocafuerte and then to Pantoja and Iquitos, Peru.

To Colombia
Presently, the river journey up the Rio Putumayo into Colombia is not recommended, as it passes through the red zone of Colombia’s civil war. By sea, a cargo-passenger service ploughs the waters between Esmeraldas and Tumaco, Colombia.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Ecuador: Getting To and Away from Machala, Getting Around Vilcabamba, Transportation To/From the Galápagos Islands, Pico y Placa, Border Crossings To and From Peru, Getting Around Quito, Getting to and Away, Getting To and Away from Tena, Getting To and Away From Mindo and Getting to and away from Lago Agrio.

18 Nov 2013

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