Getting Around Ecuador

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Getting Around Ecuador

The best way to discover the wonders of the four regions of Ecuador is through a Tour Operator.

By Bus

Intercity buses travel to almost everywhere in Ecuador. All the intercity bus routes and schedules are available online at LatinBus.com. Many cities have a central bus terminal, known as the terminal terrestre, where it is possible to buy tickets from the various bus lines that serve the city. Long-distance buses typically cost from $1 to $2 per hour, depending on the distance and the type of service; groups may be able to negotiate discounts. Buses are frequent along major routes.

Reservations or advance purchases usually aren't needed except during peak periods such as holidays. The bathroom on the bus, if any, is usually reserved for women. However, it is permissible for men to request that the bus make a stop so that they might relieve themselves. The bus rides themselves are often quite beautiful, through mountain views in the clouds. These altitude changes cause many of the same ear pressure problems which are associated with an airplane ride.

The bus driver will stop along the way to board additional passengers. Many buses arrive at their destination with passengers standing in the aisle. There are a few first class buses, called "Ejecutivo", which cost a little more than the regular busses. They are generally more comfortable and safer.

By Car

Although there is a possibility to rent a car and drive around Ecuador DON'T. Like many countries around the world, Ecuador’s driving laws are few and rarely (if ever) enforced. Deciding to drive will be taking your life into your own hands. Perhaps if you will just be driving around cities like Guayaquil or Quito it is slightly safer but to drive around the countryside would be insanity.

On top of the poor driving skills, Ecuadorian roads are rarely maintained (especially along the coast). Potholes are numerous and it is highly likely it will take out a tire or two if you do end up hitting one.

However, over the last 5 years a massive investment has been put forth to re-build the road network (USD 4600 millions, according to the Ministry of public works and transport). There is still a huge network of secondary roads, which suffer from the problems stated above, but the main roads leading to major tourist destinations have good infrastructure and are generally thoroughly signalled.

By Taxi

Taxis are widely available. Taxis are generally yellow and have the taxi license number prominently displayed. Taxis in Quito have meters (fares under $1 are rounded up to the minimum fare of $1). Agree upon a price before getting in or ask the driver to use the meter (often cheaper than a negotiated rate); short trips generally don't cost more than $1 or $2, and you generally shouldn't end up paying more than $10 per hour, if that, for longer trips. Evening rates are often double. As with any country in Latin America, (or the world for that matter), don't ride an unlicensed taxi. It's a great way to get kidnapped.

By Plane

Domestic flights to major cities on the mainland costs from $50-$100 one-way, and there are sometimes roundtrip promotions for about the same price. You can find domestic flight schedules online at ecuadorschedules.com and individual airlines' schedules on their sites. Flights between the biggest cities are in jets, and some of the smaller cities are served by prop aircraft. The domestic airlines in Ecuador are LanEcuador, Tame, Aerogal and Saereo. Most of the airlines in Ecuador offer excellent service and relatively new planes. You can buy domestic air tickets from agents or directly from the airlines - some sell tickets online and you can buy them at the airport or ticket offices for those who don't.

By Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is possible in Ecuador. A lot of people drive pick-ups which you can easily throw your backpack into if they give you a lift.

On roads not frequently serviced by buses, cargo trucks may take on riders or hitchhikers, either to ride in back or in the cabin. In some cases the driver charges the going bus fare, in others he may simply be taking on a rider for the company and refuse a fare.

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