Transport in Ecuador

Getting There
Ecuador has two main international airports, Guayaquil and Quito. The Simon Bolivar Airport in Guayaquil is located about three miles from the city centre and is served by a regular bus and taxi service and the Mariscal Sucre Airport is also about three miles from Quito city centre and is served by a bus service which leaves the terminal every twenty minutes between 11.00am and 3.00am.

The country has a number of national airlines including SAETA, SAN, TAME and Ecuatoriana- the latter connecting Ecuador with the US and the other main South American countries. As well as the national airlines, however, Ecuador is well served by a number of international services and there are now direct connections to and from all the major South American cities as well as Houston, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami and New York in the US and Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid and Paris in Europe. There are also connecting flights through Buenos Aires in Argentina or Santiago in Chile with Auckland, Johannesburg and Sydney; through Lima in Peru or Miami in the US with Tokyo and to and from Tel Aviv through Madrid.

If you are travelling to Ecuador from another South American country you can take a direct bus connection from Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. Panamericana Interncional runs direct services between Quito and Caracas in Venezuela. Rutas de America also offers direct connections to and from Venezuela as well as Colombia and Peru with onward connections to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Finally, for those of you crazy enough to attempt it, there are regular ferry services arriving in Ecuador from Europe. The main sea connections are from Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Le Havre in France but there are others to and from Antwerp, also in the Netherlands, Genoa in Italy and Liverpool in the UK.

Getting Around
While domestic air and rail services are in operation within the country, bus travel is the preferred method of getting around Ecuador. Most towns have a central bus station or a terminal terrestre with regular timetabled services. It is worth noting, however, that these timetables are quite prone to change so you should check this out in advance of making any travel plans. You will need to buy your tickets in advance from the terminal and if you are hoping to travel at the weekend or during a public holiday you may well need to book several days in advance.

If you do decide to travel by air you should note that internal flights do not have any seat reservations. As well as this flights are often delayed and cancelled so don’t rely too much on any details which you are given. On the other hand, internal flights are not extremely expensive, with the exception of those to the Galapagos, and do offer some superb views of the country’s scenery.

Like the Ecuadorian air service, the train system is also slightly unreliable because thanks to a combination of mudslides and flooding, many tracks have been severely damaged. Furthermore, a lack of government money means that most of the damaged lines have not been repaired so if you’re willing to risk it, it can be quite an adventure but don’t rely on it too much for getting from one place to another in a hurry.

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