Quito airport lies within the city, in the Northern area, at 2,800 asl; that means air is thin and take-off is somewhat ...... lazy, but the surrounding mountains reaches up to 6,000 metres: you may imagine what I mean! Last time I was there a new airposrt was planned to be built in Tumbaco, well lower than the capital, but then the problem would be for
the airplane to climb amid the vallys and reach the open skies.
Bus terminal is called "Terminal de Cumanda": all kind of buses leave from there to all over the country. No need to know the timetables, short and medium distance routes are served continuosly, as soon as the number of passengers is large enough to make the trip worth.
Trolley bises operate in Quito. Go the picture from the taxi on the way to my hostel from the airport. I did use public transport in Quito which happens to be very cheap. To get to old town which is set on the hills, bus is a a good way. Though walking is great to see around but high altitude makes you tired soon.
QuiMetro is the local system of public transit in Quito, which is marginally better than the systems of transit in other Latin American capitals. There are three lines (green, blue and red) that have dedicated lanes for their buses or trolleys. These trolleys are quite cheap (25 cents a ride), but they are not the best maintained, and nor are they the cleanest or most comfortable form of transit. During rush hour, they can become so full that the doors have trouble closing and people topple over on one another. Nevertheless, without a car, they are undoubtedly the cheapest and easiest means of getting from the financial district to the centre of the city, and as long as you take precautions to protect your wallet, they should just be a fun ride.
There are plenty of taxis; a ride from the airport is about $5, tips are not expected.
There are basically two avenues with a trolleybus and an electric bus running along each from the outer suburbs to the center. Ride is 25c. They are fast, efficient, new and come very frequently.
There is a vast number of private buses that cruise around, ride is about 35c.
When not on an arranged tour, walking and taxi rides are the way to go. A new trolley system and a 'Eco-via' also provide safe and reliable service though sometimes they may be a bit crowded.
The Trolley and Bus Ecológico run north-south and serve the west and east sides of Quito respectively. The Trolley begins at the juncture of 10 de Agosto, Avenida America, and Avenida de la Prensa and follows 10 de Agosto to the mall El Recreo located on Avenida Maldonado in the Old City.
The Bus Ecológico stretches north-south on Avenida 6 de Diciembre.
Two classes of color-coded buses run in Quito: popular and selectivo (sometimes called ejecutivo). Popular buses (blue) are the less expensive and correspondingly, are considerably less comfortable. They are always jammed packed and commonly spew black diesel smoke that leaks into the cabin. Furthermore, watch your stuff when riding popular buses, wandering hands frequently probe your belongings.
Selectivos (red) cost about twice as much as populares but they are well worth it. For about 10 cents more you will have your own seat (no standing is permitted) and run much less of a risk of being robbed.
Motorcycle and motorscooter rentals (and mountain bikes, too) are available for rent from Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental located on Juan León Mera N22-37 (between Carrión and Veintimilla).
This is absolutely the best way to get around Quito - especially with its steep hills and traffic! Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental offers easy-to-drive 100cc Yamaha Scooters that are fitted with GPS units and are programmed to give you a tour of Quito at your own pace. This is the best way to see the city, stay outside and be free to do what you want. www.FreedomBikeRental.com
Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre is the main entrypoint for international flights (along with Guayaquil in the south) and the fairly modern terminal is located about 6 km from La Mariscal ($4 by cab) and 8 or 9 km from the Old Town ($6 by cab). There is a small information desk here along with ATMs if you need to get some cash.
On the way back to the States, we were able to use the very nice VIP lounge (because of a flight problem with American Airlines), which was very nice with free food, comfortable chairs and internet access.
The approach into Quito is somewhat harrowing as you must fly between jagged mountain peaks in often unpredictable weather. My trip was delayed because of a plane that skidded out at the end of the runway shutting down the airport for a couple days and diverting me to Bogota, Colombia. My second attempt at Quito from Bogota was also delayed due to weather and we were forced to turn around after circling for an hour or so and head all the way back to Colombia. Apparently, this is not uncommon here, so be prepared for possible flight delays when coming to Quito.
The airport code is UIO.
Around Quito, one can take the trolley's back and forth between Old Town and New Quito. However, to get out of Quito, or even just side excursions I would recommend bus travel...which can get a little crazy at times.
Taxi drivers in Quito don't know much English. Make sure you have some idea of where you are going or a good address that the taxi driver understands before you take off. We spent about an hour in a taxi with a driver who didn't know where the area that we were trying to get to (it was residential.) He kept getting out of the taxi asking directions of locals and he never did figure out where to go, even though we realized later he came within sight of the address!
to get there, the best for me in Europe is to fly through SPain. For America, there are many direct AA flights.
The best way to get around is either taking a cab, which is cheap. Or the bus. You have three kinds of buses. I forgot their names. One is the cheapest, about 10cents and it is pretty bad quility. The other, is about 15 cents, and you get nicer seats and the other is 20 cents and you get a TV. They will not stop for men, but slow down. you just have to learn to jump. Which is a lot of fun!
I think the best way to travel around in Quito is the trole. It is fast and cheap ($0.25) although it can be crowded during rush hours. It runs every few minutes.