Destination Ecuador: Transportation Tips for Travelers
Ecuador is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in South America, and that is no surprise. With beautiful beaches, snow-capped mountains, lush rainforests, and historic cities, it is the destination that has it all.
But how should you get around when you arrive in the country? Here are some of the main options to consider when you head to Ecuador on your vacation.
Getting to the Country
Getting to Ecuador is relatively easy from the United States. You may have to make a transfer on the way, but there are many flights heading to the country.
You will probably land in one of two cities: the capital, Quito, or the largest city, Guayaquil. From either of these two destinations, you can then arrange your travel throughout the country depending on your itinerary.
Traveling By Plane
Flying is one of the best ways to get around Ecuador, especially if you are short on time and you want to see as much as possible during a week or two in the country. Internal flights are relatively inexpensive, and you can book them online before you arrive to reduce time planning your transport when you arrive. TAME is the main airline for internal flights, but LAN and Avianca also operate in the country.
You will want to arrange a flight if you decide to head to the Galapagos Islands. Flights operate regularly from Guayaquil, and the time to the islands is just 1.5 hours.
The time savings are significant when you fly. For example, if you arrive in Quito and you want to travel to Loja, the journey is 400 miles—this takes about 15 hours by bus, while a flight will take you about an hour.
Traveling By Bus
Ecuador has a large bus network, and buses are one of the cheapest ways to get around. They are a good option for those on small budgets and people who are looking for an adventure, but they are not the most convenient way to travel.
Long-distance buses can be excellent. They are usually comfortable and come with air conditioning, but shorter bus journeys are often not as comfortable. You also have ‘autobuses de lujo,’ which are luxury buses that travel longer distances.
The bus system links all the major towns, and traveling from place to place can be an ideal way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the country. It is also one of the cheapest ways to get around, making it suitable for budget travelers. Just be prepared for delays—things can and do go wrong, with road works, mudslides, and floods regularly causing problems.
Traveling By Train
The train system is now much better than it used to be, but it is still quite limited. However, traveling by train can be an adventure, and it is a good option if you have more time in the country.
One of the best trips is the one from Quito to Guayaquil, which goes through the Andes on a nearly 300-mile journey that takes four days. You could also go on the Tren de la Libertad trip from Ibarra to Salinas, which passes through some spectacular scenery.
Rent a Car
For shorter journeys, you can hire a taxi or a driver, and this makes things simple. However, if you want to travel around further and head to more remote areas, your own transport gives you the freedom to do so. You could hire a Chevrolet van or another type of vehicle to get around, but remember that the road quality is not always ideal, and unpaved roads are common, making a 4×4 is a good idea.
Get yourself an international driving permit, and be prepared to show your documents at the various police checks along the roads. If you are driving in the cities, it can be quite intimidating and it is likely to be very different from what you experience back home. Drivers may be more aggressive than you are used to, so be prepared for this.
Enjoy an Adventure in Ecuador
Ecuador is a fantastic place to go on an adventure. There are many incredible sights to see, and the scenery is spectacular, making it the perfect option for a vacation. Try to plan your journey as much as possible in advance so that you don’t have to think too much about how to get around when you arrive.
The above options are all possible, so get out your map, decide where you want to go, and then work out how best to get there by the various means of transport.
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Erik Hervas is a Marketing expert at Seminuevos.com, a company that publishes car listings in Mexico. We provide a friendly platform to help users sell their cars. And we bring buyers by promoting the listings through many channels. Erik has worked for many companies in marketing and he is currently seeking to succeed with Seminuevos.com. He graduated as Food Engineer in 2004 but after owning his business he decided to pursue a career in the Marketing field. He currently reside in Ecuador with his wife and two children.