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Getting To and Away From Quito

Quito is one of two main transportation hubs within the country, the other being Guayaquil. From the capital, you can pretty much get to anywhere inside of Ecuador, either by bus or plane. In addition to being the center of the domestic transport network, Quito is also well connected to international locations by both air and long-distance buses.

By Air

All international and domestic flights arrive and depart from Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport (Code: UIO) which is 18 kilometers (11 mi.) east of the city, near the small town of Tababela.

Transportation between the airport and Quito:

The company Aeroservicios S.A. (www.aeroservicios.com.ec) runs WiFi equipped buses 24/7, leaving every 15 minutes at rush hour (7-10a.m., 4-7p.m.), or every 30 minutes during normal hours. Buses depart from the old airport to the new one at a rate of $8 per passenger, taking about one hour to an hour-and-a-half in getting there. Tickets can be bought online or before boarding.

Alternatively, public transit will provide buses departing from the Rio Coca terminal to the new airport every 15 minutes for $2. The catch is that you’ll have to patiently wait through 5 brief stops before finally getting there. Estimated transport time between the two points will be at least an hour-and-a-half to two-hours until traffic conditions improve - specifically once the bypasses are constructed (the main Collas-Tababela highway that is being built from the city to the airport is not expected to be completed until April of 2014)

The third option is to take a Taxi, which will cost an estimated $25 to get to the airport from most places in Quito (and vice-versa). To consult the chart of fixed taxi rates, divided up by neighborhood, click here.

From Quito it is possible to fly directly (non-stop) to the following destinations:

International Flights

In Latin America:

  • Bogota or MedellĂ­n (Colombia)
  • Caracas (Venezuela)
  • Lima (Peru)
  • Santiago (Chile)
  • Saõ Paulo or Manaus (Brazil)
  • San Jose (Costa Rica)
  • Panama City (Panama)

In the United States:

  • Miami
  • Houston
  • Atlanta

In Europe:

  • Madrid (Spain)
  • Amsterdam (Holland)

Domestic Flights

  • BahĂ­a
  • Coca
  • Cuenca
  • Esmeraldas
  • Guayaquil
  • Galapagos
  • Lago Agrio
  • Loja
  • Macas
  • Machala
  • Manta
  • Portoviejo
  • Tulcán

Served by three airlines: TAME (www.tame.com.ec), LAN (www.lan.com), and Aerogal (www.aerogal.com.ec).

These national flights cost about $60 each way, except to the Galapagos where a round trip ticket will cost around $400. There are no departure taxes for flights within Ecuador except for trips into and out of the Galapagos.

By Bus

Instead of one, centrally-located bus station, Quito has two terminals located at the north and south ends of Quito. These newer stations are intended to make travel more efficient and cost-effective, as well as reduce the number of long-distance buses passing through the city.

Some bus companies have locations in the Mariscal part of town, making the purchase of tickets in advance significantly easier thanks to its proximity. In many instances it is possible to simply turn up at the appropriate bus terminal and buy a ticket to your chosen destination.

However, those wanting to travel over public holidays are best advised to book tickets in advance (up to several days in advance to secure a seat).

In the far north is Carcelén (Av. Eloy Alfaro and Av. Galo Plaza Lasso). At the southern tip is the brand new Quitumbe station (Av. Cóndor Ñan and Av. Mariscal Sucre). Below are links to some useful maps outlining the new bus terminals, as well as the various bus routes to/from them:

  • Map of the two new terminus stations and how the various buses/vehicles enter and exit the stations
  • Trole - The best way of getting to the Quitumbe station via public transit.
  • Metrobus - The best way of getting closest to the Carcelen station via public transit.
  • Ecovia - Another alternative for getting to the Quitumbe station via public transit.

The following is a list of national, long-distance bus companies along with their destinations and contact information. The price for these companies varies between $10-20, one-way.

  • Panamericana International

Buses from Quito to Guayaquil, Manta, Huaquillas, Tulcán, Machala, Cuenca, Loja, Milagro, Santa Rosa, Atacames, Esmeraldas. This company also has buses that go to Colombia and Peru.

La Mariscal Station: Av ColĂłn, E7-31, between Reina Victoria and Diego de Almagro. Tel: 02-255-7133/7134. Tickets: ext.131, Secretary: ext.132. Fax: 02-251-5414

Quitumbe Station: Av. Condor Ă‘an and Av. Guayanay. No. 45 Y 46. Tel: 02-382-4751

  • Transportes Baños

From this terminal you can get buses from Quito to: Ambato, Baños, Chillanes, Coca, Lago Agrio, Puyo, Loreto, Tarapoa, Quevedo, Guayaquil, Shushufindi, Santo Domingo, Riobamba, Pacayacu, Salcedo, Sacha, Tena, Macas, Libertad, Latacunga, Puerto El Carmen.

Quitumbe Terminal: Av. Condor Ă‘an and Av. Guayanay. Tel: 02-223-2752/09-8694-7955

  • Transportes Esmeraldas

Buses head from Quito to: Muisne, Atacames, El Coca, Machala, Esmeraldas, Lago Agrio, Huaquillas, Santo Domingo, Guayaquil, Portoviejo, Salinas.

La Mariscal Terminal: Santa MarĂ­a y 9 de octubre

Southern Quito: Carlos Freire and Marcos Escorza. Chillogallo. Tel: 02-250-5099 (Quito)/02-382-4791 (Quitumbe)

  • Transportes Occidentales

Buses from this company go from Quito to: Santo Domingo, Quininde, Esmeraldas, Tonsupa, Atacames, Sua, Muisne, San Lorenzo, Guayaquil, Salinas, Machala, Pasaje, Santa Rosa, Huaquillas, Lago Agrio, Riobamba.

18 de Septiembre and Versalles. Tel: 02-250-2735

  • Reina del Camino

This company’s buses go from Quito to: Junín, Manta, Tosagua, Pedernales, Canoa, San Vicente, Chone, Puerto Lopez, Bahía de Caraquez, Portoviejo.

18 de Septiembre and Manuel Larrea. Tel: 02-321-6633

  • Flota Imbabura

Flota Imbabura’s buses head from Quito to Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta, Ibarra and Tulcán.

Portoviejo and Manuel Larrea. Tel: 02-256-5620

  • Transportes Aray

Transportes Aray has buses that head from Quito to: Manta, Santo Domingo, Chone, Ambato, Santo Domingo, Pedernales, San Vicente, Portoviejo, BahĂ­a de Caraquez, Manta, Esmeraldas, Lago Agrio, Pichincha, Quevedo, Quininde, Jipijapa, Jama, Rocafuerte, Tosagua, Puerto Lopez.

Portoviejo and Manuel Larrea. Tel: 02-275-0424

By Train

Resurrected in late 2008, Ecuador’s railroad system is back in full force and – starting June 2013 – provides affluent travelers with trips from Quito all the way to Guayaquil over the course of four to five days. Since 1975, the railroad system in Ecuador gradually decreased in popularity due to the growth of highway transportation and dwindling interest and investment on behalf of the government, inevitably leading to its demise and neglect. Back in April of 2008 however, attention to the old railroad system grew within government as it came to be regarded as a cultural and historical hallmark of the country, and as a result, they saw it fit to rehabilitate its lanes and trains.

From Quito, it’s possible to take day trips to Machachi, Boliche & Latacunga for about $10-30, round-trip.

EstaciĂłn de Trenes Chimbacalle, Sincholagua and Maldonado. Tel: 1-800-873637. www.trenecuador.com.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Quito: Getting To and Away from Tumbaco, Getting To and Away from Cumbayá, Quito Flights and Getting To and Away from Papallacta.








By Tom Ravenscroft
Initially intending to just pass through Ecuador on his year-long sojourn across the world, Tom Raven Scroft decided to set up camp in Quito as an...
22 Nov 2013




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