When I visited Quito in 2012 I noticed a new feature that hadn’t been there when I visited in 2011. It was red double-decker tourist buses. I never took a ride with those tourist buses as I had already seen much of Quito, and I prefer to walk, or take public transport.
The Quito Tour Bus started to run in November 2011. It is a hop on – hop off bus which included 12 stops around the city. The buses are running once an hour between 9 – 16. A day ticket cost $12 (May 2013). If you decide to sit on the bus the whole time, without making stops, a tour takes about 2.5 – 3 hours.
When I returned to Quito in August 2012 they had just started with a new public bicycle system. There are 425 bicycles at 25 stations around the city, between LaY in the north and Plaza Santo Domingo in Centro Historico. The stations are open between 7 – 19 and you can use a bike for 45 minutes before you need to put it back at a station.
Registration and annual subscription cost $25.
I had a broken wrist and could unfortunately not try the bicycle system.
I live in Quito and have been following developments in the newspapers and online regarding the new Quito airport in Tababela. According to the newspaper, and coinciding with the opening of the new airport, new and/or increased airline departure taxes have gone into effect - about $16 for international departures and about $8 for domestic flights. Taxi fares, which ranged from $6 to $8 to most business/tourist destinations from the old airport, now are estimated to cost between $24 and $33 from the new airport to destinations in Quito proper. Travel times have likewise increased significantly. Because of its central location, travel times by taxi, to most tourist/business destinations from the old airport, were in the 15 - 30 minute range. However, unless traveling in the middle of the night or other off peak hours, travel times, by taxi, from the new airport, to similar destinations in Quito, will likely take from 1 - 2 hours. Public bus transportation, while much cheaper, will likely take much longer because of multiple stops and traffic. A third option, vans, while less expensive than taxis, simply transport you from the new airport to the old airport where you will need to switch to another form of transport to get to your ultimate destination. For me, these increased costs and travel times will likely influence my decision to use the Quito airport, particularly for domestic flights. For example, I paid $89 for a round trip flight to Cuenca from Quito in December, 2012 and twenty-five cents for the 30 minute ride to the old airport on public transportation. However, with the opening of the new airport, unless I am willing to travel at least two hours by public bus (with no baggage compartment), I will need to pay the increased taxi fares each way to the airport (for the 40 minute flight), plus pay the new or increased airport tax for domestic flights. In other words, it now seems as if I will have to pay almost as much for the increased taxi fares and the new airport tax as for the airline ticket itself! Thanks but no thanks.
We had originally booked our flights to Quito through Opodo, flying out via Miami with Delta and returning via the same hub with American. Miami isn’t exactly my favourite airport, and I’m no fan of American Airlines either, but this was the best value I could get on the dates we wanted to travel. But about six weeks before the trip Opodo contacted me to say that both airlines had changed their schedules and the connections in Miami would no longer work. They proposed instead that we flew both ways with Delta, and via Atlanta. The outward option looked good to us, with a reasonable connection time and arriving in Quito only five minutes later than we had planned. But the return flight looked tough – a late night departure, overnight to Atlanta, the best part of the day there and another overnight flight to Heathrow. Luckily the person I spoke to at Opodo was very helpful and offered to look for alternatives. And she came up with a great one, proposing to book us on a flight with KLM (one of my favourite airlines) to Amsterdam and a short hop to Heathrow from there. What is more, they didn’t charge us any extra for what I am sure would have been a dearer flight had we booked it from the start!
In the end we had a mixed outward journey and a very smooth return. Going out, we left Heathrow on time and arrived in Atlanta 30 minutes ahead of schedule after a reasonable flight – OK food, good in-flight entertainment, nothing to complain about! Atlanta Airport impressed us – clean, bright, not too busy, and possibly our fastest ever experience at US immigration!
We got a coffee and settled down to wait through the three hour lay-over. But three hours became four, and eventually five, as our flight to Quito was delayed by the late arrival in Atlanta of 50 connecting passengers coming from Tokyo. We therefore arrived in Quito almost two hours late, around midnight local time (5.00 AM London time!), and it took a further 1.5 hours to get through immigration and customs there (mostly spent queuing for the former – we had thought that arriving so late would mean shorter queues but another flight had got in just before ours and staff seemed unable to cope with two late flights).
Eventually we were through and out into the Quito night where Jose Luiz, who was to be our guide on our trips to Otovalo and Cotopaxi later in the week, was there to meet us, and to whisk us to our hotel through the mercifully deserted street. We finally arrived there just after 2.00 AM local time, 7.00 AM London time – 24 hours after we had got up that morning!
Our return flight with KLM went much more smoothly, and the standard of service on board was as good as I’d remembered from a previous long-haul flight with them some years ago. Travelling directly from Quito to Europe was great, as it meant a long overnight leg with a chance to catch some sleep, and a short hop back to Heathrow on a plane so small that baggage reclaim was mercifully quick, and we were home from the airport in record time!
Next tip: our hotel in Quito, theSan Francisco de Quito
While there is certainly public transport available in Quito, in the shape of the three north-south bus routes operated by Metrobus, Ecovía and Trole, you may prefer as we did (on the one occasion that walking was not an option) to take a taxi, as these are very reasonably priced by Western European and US standards., and of course will take you “door to door”.
We were advised by one of the Surtrek drivers that if hailing a taxi in the street we should look out for one that had an orange number plate, as these are licensed by the city government. We followed this advice and certainly had no problems. We hailed a taxi on Venezuela, one block from our hotel, to take us to the station for the teleférico that ascends Volcan Pichincha (experience in London has taught me that taxi drivers are always happier and more obliging when you hail them while pointing in the direction in which you want to go!) The meter was clearly working so we relied on that and ended up paying $4.80 – a fair price for the journey. On our return we hailed a taxi at the foot of the road leading up to the cable car station, having caught the free shuttle bus down the hill. This one looked older and I wasn’t sure about the meter so I negotiated a price in advance. The driver proposed $4 which we were happy with to take us to the Plaza Santo Domingo, just round the corner from the hotel. The traffic was very heavy in the old town by this time (late afternoon and raining a little) so I was happy we’d pre-agreed the price.
Next tip: El Panecillo , from where the Virgin of Quito watches over the old city.
Because I was travelling with a small and a big backpack, and had a broken wrist, I didn’t want to take the metrobus to Ofelia (the terminal from where the buses to Mindo are departing), but took a taxi. The taxi from Centro Histórico to Ofelia was $6.30 (July 2012).
I arrived at Ofelia at 11.30 and went over to the counter to buy a ticket for the next bus to Mindo. There was no bus until 16.00. I should have had a look in the guidebook because there it says there are morning buses and then one later in the afternoon. Somehow I had thought there was going to be buses throughout the day. At the ticket counter I met five people from Quito who had thought the same as me. So, instead we shared a taxi to a place where we waited for a bus coming from Terminal Carcelen. This bus didn’t go to Mindo, but passed LaY on the main road above Mindo. For the bus to La Y I paid $2.50.
The bus attendant told us that it wasn’t far to Mindo from La Y, but someone else told us it takes around 1.5h to walk there. Well, we started to walk but very soon a taxi stopped and we could all go with it. For the taxi we paid $3. I arrived at the hotel in Mindo at 14.00, so taking the bus to LaY had been a better option than to wait for the afternoon bus.
To keep costs down I was first thinking of taking the bus between Quito and Coca. The bus ticket was $10 (2012) one way, but the bus journey takes around 9 hours, and as I don’t like travelling at night it would be two very long days on a bus. Instead I decided to take the plane and booked the plane ticket with Sani Lodge at the same time I booked the stay at their lodge. A return ticket Quito – Coca – Quito was $170. When it was time for the tour I was very happy that I had booked a plane ticket as I had broken my wrist and travelling by bus would have been more complicated.
I flew from Quito on a Monday and the plane with Aerogal didn’t leave until 10am, so I walked down to La Marin and took a taxi from there to the airport. With taximeter I paid $3.20 for the taxi. Before checking in my luggage I had breakfast at Le P’tit Café just outside the departure hall. The breakfast; toast, juice and coffee was around $5. The plane to Coca left on time and after 35 minutes we landed in Coca, 10:35. Some other people who were also going to Sani Lodge travelled with the same plane and after collecting our luggage we were met by one of the guides from Sani Lodge. In two taxis we then travelled to the dock where we were going to continue our journey by boat.
I left Sani Lodge on a Saturday (the others had left the day before). My return ticket to Quito was with TAME and the plane left at 12:20. The boat from Sani Lodge arrived to Coca in good time. It didn’t dock at the same place as we had left from but below some stairs. Before the taxi for the airport left I went to a bathroom which can be found around 100m away on the malecón. The waiting time at the airport was not long until it was time to go through security, and once again the plane left in time and it took 35 minutes to Quito. At the airport I agreed to pay $8 for a taxi to La Marin. Later the taxi driver wanted to drop me at Parque Alameda (he said it was close to where I was going) or he wanted to have $2 more. I told him that was not what we had agreed on and it was still too far for me to walk to my hotel with two bags and a broken wrist. I wrote down his taxi number and he continued.
After breakfast, just after 8am, I went out to the road outside Hostería El Reventador and sat down to wait for a passing bus. It is the Quito – Lago Agrio road that passes the hotel so eventually a bus from Lago Agrio to Quito would pass. I waited around 35 minutes until a bus came and luckily I got a seat. Further along the road the bus stopped for more people and the bus soon got full with standing passengers too. The bus to Quito was $5 (August 2012).
Next to me there was a family standing. The man was carrying a small child and I felt I should stand up and let my seat to them. At the same time I had taken out the pins from my broken wrist only two days before and I could still not use it to hold on to things. It was a very curvy road and I hoped someone else would stand up instead, but they didn’t. When the older child throw up and looked really pale I asked him if he wanted to sit and I stood up (someone helped me with my luggage and put it on the shelf above the seats). The mother took the small kid and sat down so the sick child had to continue to stand up. There were plenty of healthy, not very old people around, and I think someone else should have left their seat too. Well it was not very far to El Chaco where many people got off the bus and I got a seat again. I got help with my bag again so that I could have it in my knee. It is not a good idea to put your luggage on the shelves above the seats in a full bus in Ecuador (or in many other countries either of course), as there are thefts.
The rest of the journey I had a window seat with good view over the beautiful landscape. After 1.5 hours we passed Baeza. Soon after the bus stopped and everyone’s luggage was searched.
Approaching Quito I thought it would probably be much better for me to get off the bus somewhere else than the end stop Terminal Quitumbe, which is in the very south of Quito. But when the bus stopped and several passengers went off I was not quick enough to ask if this was a good place for me to get off at too. The bus continued for maybe 15 minutes and then stopped at the side of the road. It turned out it had got a flat tyre.
Many passengers went off the bus to find other ways to continue. Some people took me in a black taxi further down the road where they let me off at a bus stop. From the other side of the road I could take a blue bus to La Marin ($0.25). That bus went up the road, in the opposite direction from where I had come. Eventually it passed the stop where many people from the Lago Agrio bus had gone off (so that’s where I should have gone off in the first place). From La Marin it was not far to walk to my hotel.
It was not so easy to go from Tulipe to Quito on a Sunday. After I had visited the waterfall and petroglyphs near Pacto I went back to Tulipe to pick up my luggage. When I came back down to the main road it was around 13.00. Someone told me the next bus would not come until 15 and a taxi driver wanted to take me to La Armenia for $5. There were some other people waiting so I waited for a while to see what was going to happen. Soon a camioneta (pickup truck) was going to La Armenia and everyone could get a ride for $0.50 each (July 2012). I sat inside the camioneta between the driver and an old man. The old man had a terrible cough and he thought he had the flu. I wonder if this was the reason why I some days later got a terrible cold and cough.
In La Armenia I crossed the highway and waited for a passing bus to Quito. The first bus was full and only took standing passengers who were going to Nanegalito. The next two buses didn’t stop and the third bus was also full. I said I could stand until Nanegalito, but the bus driver said it was better to wait in La Armenia for a Quito bus. I had waited for over an hour and it had become very foggy. Finally a bus stopped. It was also full, but the bus attendant told me I could take the seat next to the driver. They understood that I had waited a very long time because buses are often full on Sundays when people are going back to Quito.
t was good to sit in the front and see how the landscape changed, from a lush, very green valley to the dry landscape near Mitad del Mundo. The bus journey to Quito was $1.50 (July 2012). In Quito the bus was going to Terminal Carcelen, but that far I didn’t want to go. I went off near a shopping centre, were many other people went off. I took a taxi to Centro Histórico, and with taximeter it was $5. The taxi took Av Occidental which I like as there are nice views from there over Quito. On clear days you can see Cotopaxi.
The same day I went to Baeza I had an appointment at Hospital Metropolitano in Quito. So in the morning I went there and had the pins taken out from my wrist. I was given local anesthesia and the doctor made two stitches. After buying medicine, iodine and bandage at the pharmacy I went out to stop a taxi in the street. The taxi driver wanted to have $10 to go to Terminal Quitumbe, but I only wanted to take a taxi with taxi-meter, so he accepted that. When we arrived at Quitumbe the taxi-meter showed just over $5 (August 2012).
At Terminal Quitimbe I first went to eat lunch as I was very hungry and then went to the counter to buy a ticket. Going to Baeza it is best to take the Tena-buses as they pass both Baeza Colonial and Baeza Nueva. The buses for Lago Agrio and Coca pass on the road down by the junction, two km from Baeza Nueva.
The next bus for Tena left at 13 and the ticket for Baeza was $3. At one point the bus stopped for people to have something to eat and to go to the bathroom. The landscape before and after Papallacta (which we passed) was very beautiful, and after the highest point of the road there was a great view over Volcán Antisana. The bus arrived in Baeza around 15.30 and it stopped along the main road, just outside the hotel I had planned to go to.
I had not found any information about how long it would take to go to El Quinche, but I didn’t think it was going to take more than an hour from Rio Coca in Quito. I knew I started too late, but only planned to visit the church in El Quinche. From La Marin I took the Ecovía ($0.25) to Rio Coca, the end station in the north. Only that took about half an hour, but at Rio Coca I easily found the bus to El Quinche and it soon departed. What I had not expected was that the bus stopped everywhere along the way. We passed Cumbaya, Tumbaco and Pifo, and we arrived in El Quinche 1h 40 min after leaving Rio Coca. The ticket was $0.95 (August 2012).
While in El Quinch I asked if there were any other options than the slow bus. I was told there were also buses taking another route, arriving to Ofelia in Quito, but as it was Friday evening there might be much traffic and those buses would probably not be faster. I took a bus leaving for Ofelia. It was also $0.95, it did stop quite often but not as often as the other bus. It was already dark when we approached Quito and there was lots of traffic. From El Quinche to Ofelia it took 1h 25min.
I was very tired when I arrived in Ofelia and decided not to take the metrobus to La Marin, but a taxi, even if it wouldn’t be much quicker. The only taxi I saw didn’t want to go by taximeter and wanted to have $10 for taking me to Centro Histórico. I was too tired to look for another taxi and went inside. I should have taken the metrobus, because it would have been quicker (they have their own lane most of the way through Quito). The taxi took Av Occidental, which is often quick, but now it was much traffic and I think there had been an accident, because it was almost stop in the traffic, also entering Centro Histórico there was much traffic and we drove very slow, standing still a lot. It took 1h to go from Ofelia to Plaza Grande (where I was dropped as the street outside my hotel was closed).
Before coming to the cost I had planned to take the bus from Puerto Lopez to Quito. The bus company Reina del Camino has got a morning bus which takes 10 – 11 hours and in July 2012 a ticket was $11. The bus makes a stop for half an hour near El Carmen, for people to eat and go to the restroom. In Puerto Lopez the bus leaves from the market and in Quito it arrives at Reina del Caminos terminal, which is situated near the northwestern corner of Parque El Ejido, on 18 Septiembre and Larrea. In high season it can be necessary to purchase the ticket a few days in advance.
I decided not to take the bus. I had broken my wrist and had had an operation and it was still hurting quite a lot, so I didn’t think it was a good idea to be stuck on a bus for so many hours. Instead I looked for a travel agent in Puerto Lopez where I could buy a plane ticket for the flight from Manta to Quito (it was not possible to pay for the ticket on Internet with a foreign bank card), but I was told there is no place to buy plane tickets in Puerto Lopez. So, what should I do? I told Maria at Hotel Pacifico about my problem and she told me she had a contact at Aerogal in Manta who she could email, and luckily she could make a reservation for me. I choose not to take the first or last plane, but one that arrived to Quito in the afternoon.
The day of departure I took a taxi to the airport in Manta. The fixed price for a taxi ride between Puerto Lopez and Manta was $40 (July 2012) and it took 1h 45min. I had been told to be at the airport 2 hours ahead of departure to pick up my ticket and pay for it at Aerogals counter. It was not open and I had to wait for some time. As soon as someone arrived I went over to pay for the ticket, which was $73.34, then I went to the cafeteria to eat something and have coffee, before it was time to check in the luggage (or maybe I checked in the luggage first).
The flight time between Manta and Quito was 45minutes. From the airport took a taxi to Centro Histórico. The taxi driver didn’t want to use the taximeter but said the official price from the airport to Centro Historico was $12 (later I have paid less than that, and once with taximeter $3.20 to the airport). Unfortunately he couldn’t take me all the way to my hotel as they had closed the nearest streets for reparations.
There is a night bus from Quito to Canoa and it is said to take only 6 hours. Well, I don’t like to travel by night buses as I can’t sleep on buses and I also want to see the landscape. Reina del Camino has got a day bus to Bahía, which is close to Canoa, and there is also a night bus to Bahía. Unfortunately the day bus doesn’t leave until midday, which means it arrives in Bahía at 20.00, as the journey takes 8 hours.
I bought the ticket at Reina del Camino’s terminal in Quito the day before departure. It is situated near the northwestern corner of Parque El Ejido, on 18 Septiembre and Larrea. You will need an id when you buy the ticket and luckily the copy of my passport was enough. The bus ticket to Bahía was $10 (June 2012).
No big bags are allowed inside the bus, but must be put in the compartment below. The luggage of people going to Bahía was put in one compartment and the luggage of people going elsewhere in another compartment. You will get a tag and when you arrive at the destination it is checked to match the one on your bag before you get it. The bus doesn’t stop to pick up passengers along the road, but only makes a few stops to let people off. About halfway, just after El Carmen, the bus stopped for half an hour at a cantina. I bought fish, rice and spaghetti and the meal was $2.50. It was quite cold in the bus.
The bus arrived in time in Bahía, at 20.00. At Amalur in Canoa they had said there was no bus from Bahía to Canoa this late so I had arranged with them to pick me up in Bahía for $10. Two German guys arriving with the same bus where also going to Canoa so we shared the price of the transport to Canoa. While we were waiting for our luggage a bus was ready to leave and from it a man shouted Canoa, Canoa. Apparently there was a bus, but maybe it is not every day they leave that late, or maybe they have recently decided to wait for the bus arriving from Quito. Well, it was convenient to take the bags to a car and the drive to Canoa took another 35-45minutes.
There is now a bridge between Bahía and San Vicente, which makes the journey from Bahía to Canoa faster than it used to be.
Besides taking the taxi to and from the airport I took a taxi at a few other occasions while in Quito.
To the Teleférico:
As I had been sick the whole night I didn’t want to take buses and walk too much to get to the Teleférico, so I decided to take a taxi. It was a Sunday and it was not too much traffic on the roads. From Centro Histórico I paid $3.23 (June 2011). Going back to Centro Histórico I took a taxi to La Marín and it was $2.05. In August 2012 I paid $2.10 from Plaza Grande to El Teleferico, and $2.64 going back.
To El Panecillo:
From the end of García Moreno in Centro Histórico stairs are leading up to El Panecillo, but it is strongly advised not to climb those stairs. I have read many warnings saying that people often get mugged walking up to El Panecillo. So I decided to take a taxi, and as I didn’t know how easy it would be to get another taxi at El Panecillo I told the taxi driver to wait while I walked around for a while. I took the taxi from La Marín. From there El Panecillo looks to be quite close, but there is no strait road. On the way up we drove through a rough neighbourhood, which we didn’t drive past on the way down. When we arrived to El Panecillo the meter was on $3 and something and when I came back to the taxi it had very rapidly increased to $6 and something, even if I hadn’t been away for very long. Well, when we were back to El Marin the metre was on $8.50 (June 2011).
From Mariscal to Centro Histórico:
Once I took a taxi from Mariscal to Centro Histórico because it was dark outside. I stopped a few taxis and asked if they had a taxi-metro but they all said they charged $5 (August 2011) to Centro Histórico. It was not very late, just after 19, and remembering how much I had paid between Centro Histórico and El Teleférico I thought it was too much. The first taxi driver changed his mind to $4 when I closed the door, so I should have taken that one. After asking a few taxi drivers I decided to take the next one. He wanted to have $6, but when I didn’t want to take his taxi he said $5 and I hopped in.
Uppdate July 2012: I had bought a ticket for the Ecovía bus, but as the first three arriving buses were completely packed and it was impossible for me with a broken wrist to get into the bus I took a taxi from Mariscal to La Marin insted. It was daytime and the price was $2.
Terminal Quitumbe - Centro Histórico:
Terminal Quitumbe is situated in the far south of Quito. From Quitumbe you can take the Trole bus for $0.25, but with all my luggage I didn’t want to take it as it can be very crowded, and pick-pocketing is not uncommon. Instead I took one of the taxis waiting outside the terminal. The taxi had a taxi-metro, as it should have, and when we came to my hotel in Centro Histórico it was on $7 (August 2011).
Uppdate 2012: Going from La Marin to Terminal Quitumbe in July 2012 was $5. A couple of weeks later I was going from Hospital Metropolitano to Terminal Quitumbe and then the taxi driver wanted $10, but as I didn't accept that he agreed to use the taxi meter and it ended on $5.06. Coming back to Quitumbe from a trip the taxidriver outside the terminal wanted $7 to drive to Centro Histórico. As I still had pins in my wrist and also had a cold I didn't want to go out to the road (where it is probably cheaper to take a taxi).
More taxi journeys 2012
From the Mindo bus (near a shopping centre in North Quito) to Centro Histórico (Plaza Grande): $5
From Centro Histórico to the terminal of the Reina del Camino-buses: $3
Tell the taxi driver that you want to go by taximeter, it is often cheaper.
At the Tourist Office they had told me I shouldn't pay more than $1-2 for a taxi to Convento San Diego. When looking for a taxi I asked a police man too and he stopped a taxi for me and the driver said $3. I couldn't say what they had said at the tourist office and just had to accept $3. It turned out to be very close, and when I went back to Centro Historico the taximeter ended on less than $1 (but $1 is the minimum you pay for a taxi ride in Quito).
Once when I went from Centro Historico to Hospital Metropolitano the taximeter ended on $4.30. To me that sounded to be to much. Just before we arrived the taxi driver put his hand close to the taximeter and I suspect that he changed something. The next time I took a taxi the same way it was only $2.10.
I arrived to Quito in the morning and was tired after a very long journey. Luckily I got my luggage quickly and was soon through customs. To your right when you leave customs there are three taxi booths and as there were no other customers there yet, I went directly to one of them to ask for a taxi. I paid $ 12 (June 2011) for a taxi to Centro Histórico. A taxi driver came to the counter immediately and took me to the taxi, which turned out to be a big minibus. To Hotel Viena Internacional in Centro Histórico it took 45 minutes.
When I was flying to Galapagos Islands I asked for a taxi at the hotel the evening before, as I was leaving very early. When I came down the taxi was waiting for me and we went away. This time it took only 20 minutes to the airport (the domestic departure hall) and the cost for a prebooked taxi was $13.50 (June 2011).
When I was flying home I was also leaving very early in the morning and once again I booked the taxi in advance. I didn’t ask for the price this time, just thought it was the same as last time. It took about 20 minutes to the airport and when we came to the International departure hall the taxi driver told me it was $14.50 (August 2011) and showed me the taxi metre.
Both times when I went to the airport the taxi took Avenida Occidental, above the city.
Update 2012: Arriving in Quito in June 2012 the American Airlines flight was 2.5 hours late and it was 1.30am when we landed. I had booked a pickup from my hotel (and had got a confirmation), but there was no one at the airport to meet me. Finally I asked someone standing near the taxi booths (which were closed at this hour). He seemed to know several of the people with signs waiting for people they were picking up. The man said he could take me to Centro Historico. Not until we were on the way to the car did I ask for the price and he said it was $15 because he worked for some tourism transportation firm. Well, as I wanted to come to the hotel as soon as possible I accepted it. He had a large new car and drove very fast through an almost empty Quito. It didn’t take long to reach the hotel and the man waited until they had unlocked the door and let me in.
Arriving from Manta in July I took a taxi from the domestic terminal. The taxi driver didn’t want to use the taximeter but said the official price from the airport to Centro Historico was $12.
A few days later I was flying to Coca. This time I took a taxi from the corner of Montufar and Mejia (Centro Histórico) and with taximeter it was $3.20 (July 2012) to the airport. It took around half an hour.
Coming back from Coca a week later the taxi driver waiting outside the terminal wanted $8 to take me to Centro Historico (we agreed that he would take me to La Marin as Flores was closed at the moment). When we were at Parque La Alameda he wanted to drop me there as it was much traffic, or he wanted two dollars more. This was not what we had agreed on. It was still quite far to La Marin, at least when considering that I had two backpacks and a broken wrist. I wrote down his registration number and he continued to La Marin.
Leaving Quito to go home I left too early in the morning to go out and look for a taxi in the street. I was sharing taxi with another woman who had stayed at the hotel. The taxi driver said it was $12 to the airport, but when we arrived he told us the taximeter showed $14. The other woman, who was Ecuadorian, protested but I saw that she paid $7 when she left at the domestic departure hall so I did the same when I was dropped at the international flights.