Getting Around in Ecuador (II)

Tag: Ecuador

Getting Around in Ecuador (II)

3. Getting Around in Ecuador – By Boat

Where bus routes end, you have probably come to a waterway. At this point, boat transportation begins. This is particularly true around the northern coastal tropical forest region and throughout the entire Oriente. Waterway transportation is usually in the form of motorized dugout canoes. Although more expensive than buses, boats are also fast and efficient.


4. Getting Around in Ecuador – Hitching a Ride

In the more remote areas of the highlands, you can often hop in the back of a pickup truck and ride with the locals. This is a great way to travel and enjoy the spectacular scenery, as long as you don’t mind the minor discomfort of a hard wooden seat. On the coast, trucks and open-sided bus-truck hybrids, called rancheras, sometimes substitute for a bus. Pay the driver whatever he asks, which should be only small change, usually similar to the bus fare.


5. Getting Around in Ecuador – By Rail

Once connecting the coast with the Andes, Ecuador’s rail system was largely damaged by the 1997 El Nino and is often in disrepair, as the more efficient roadways have largely replaced its value. Now, it is more suitable for sightseeing than transportation. The Riobamba / Alausi line through the Devil’s

Nose runs several times per week and is a spectacular journey.


6. Getting Around in Ecuador – Rending a Car

Renting an automobile is an option that offers the flexibility of seeing the country at your own pace. Prices are the same as in the US or Canada. Be sure to check the condition of the car and insurance terms thoroughly. Keep in mind that driving in Ecuador can be crazy. And road conditions, especially in more remote areas, but also on the major thoroughfares, are poor and flat tires are a dime a dozen. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for many areas.

Many roadways in Ecuador are not only unmarked, but they may have no names other than “via a…,” meaning “the way to….” Road conditions can be hazardous. Be cautious of other drivers, especially bus and truck drivers, and always expect that they will try to pass, even on blind turns. Still, driving in the Andean countryside is easy compared to the major cities.


Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose (II)

"Yes!" It's such a powerful word that it can bring men to their knees. A word that they hope to hear when that big moment arrives. To set the stage to pop the "M" question, here are some of the most romantic places in the world to propose, which help you both relax. These destinations will get her in the mood for romance and create memories that will last forever—till death do you part…


3. Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose: Bartolome Island — Ecuador

Bartolome Island in the Galapagos archipelago is a young formation — the top of a collapsed volcano rising from the sea. The beautiful golden beach is bordered with thorn shrub and saltbush, while the hills are red and barren, with gray mat plant and a few lava cacti growing from the rock. Towering above the golden beach is Pinnacle Rock. Surrounded by the cold, aqua sea, this "rock" has become an icon of the Galapagos. Blue-footed Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds and elegant Brown Noddies encircle the island as they fish. Galapagos Penguins, the northernmost of their family, preen on the rocks along the water's edge. The romance begins upon landing and traversing the boardwalk trail, which leads to a climb of over 350 steps. The climb takes you to the highest point on the island, the overlook to view Pinnacle Rock. This vantage point is where the rush of being in the Galapagos surfaces for many. (In fact, the tour owner proposed here — and she said YES!)


4. Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose: Hacienda San Angel — Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Combine a romantic destination, a luxurious suite, sultry topical nights and the object of one's delight. Hacienda San Angel, one of Puerto Vallarta's most intimate and luxurious boutique hotels, nestled high above cobblestone streets and blessed with majestic views of the Sierra Madre Mountains and azure Banderas Bay, offers a divine setting for sweethearts in search of romance, luxury, pampering and the picture-perfect proposal. Proposal arrangements can be made ahead time—from securing the suite of choice to a private balcony dinner with a Mariachi serenade to an artesian tequila tasting. There are plenty of options for wooing one's true love. Romantic doesn't begin to portray the ambiance of tenderness and exclusiveness that fills the courtyards and areas of this amazing boutique resort. Sparkling cascades, perfumed frangipani, fine linens and vintage fixtures are barely a few of the stylish touches that help blend peaceful sophistication with rustic simplicity. Three ponds, a fine dining roof top restaurant, an open-air wedding chapel and in-room spa services are all part of the attraction.

Getting Around in Ecuador (I)

1. Getting Around in Ecuador – By Air

Many internal flights are with TAME, including those to the Galapagos, as well as major towns throughout the Andes, Oriente and along the coast. Other local airlines include SAN, the internal flight subsidiary of SAETA. Domestic flights are worthwhile, especially if you are heading deep into the Oriente and they are less expensive than flying direct to the Galapagos. Prices generally range from $40 to $120, depending on your destination. Flights to the Galapagos, on the other hand, cost $390 from Quito during high season, as the islands are 600 miles from the mainland. Ecuador’s international airline, SAETA, and its domestic sister company, SAN, also offer flights between major cities and San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. You can make arrangements with other Ecuadorian carriers through travel agents in Quito.

Quito’s domestic terminal is adjacent to the international terminal.


2. Getting Around in Ecuador – Public Transportation

Ecuador’s public transportation and travel infrastructure is fairly well developed. Public buses are frequent, inexpensive, and increasingly located around central terminals in each town. In fact, they are the easiest and most efficient way to travel around Ecuador. Buses are the main form of transportation for many Ecuadorians and, therefore, they travel to virtually every corner of the country. Each village, town and city will have easy access to bus transportation, whether it’s in the form of a major bus terminal or by a dusty street-side general store. And, believe it or not, some buses are almost comfortable and clean. Roads are decent in most regions and long-distance travel is straightforward (sometimes made a bit too thrilling by “enthusiastic” bus drivers). Just make sure you know where to get off the bus so you can tell the driver where to stop.


Camionetas are trucks, mostly privately owned, that generally wait at local plazas or in the busy areas of smaller towns. Fares are in the same range as taxis, but camionetas are more durable in the backcountry. In addition, they are much more convenient than buses for taking you to remote areas and are very economical if you have a few people willing to split the cost. It is always a good idea to negotiate a price before the journey begins.


Because it's one of the smallest countries in South America, getting around in Ecuador is not too difficult. The bus routes are comprehensive. The roads, however, can be a bit rough and the busses are often hot and crowded. If you are short on time we recommend taxis.

Taxis are a good way to get around in Quito and Guayaquil. If you’re staying for an extended period, however, you may want to try and learn the bus system.