Bus in Quito
Buses in Quito are cheap and easy to take. You can go around the city very easily without spending too much money.
The only thing is the polution and the horrible sound they produce (like a monster's breathing).
From Cascada San Rafael to Quito
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.
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Bus in Quito
A typical street view in Quito with old buses. There were a lot of shabby, old buses in the city.
Take a look at the photo and notice the monument on the top of the hill. It gives you an idea of where you are in Quito.
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From Quito to Baeza
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.
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Bus to and from the new airport in Quito
Update August 2014:
I had checkout time at the hotel at 11 and my plane (KLM) was not leaving until later in the afternoon so I had plenty of time and there was no need to take a taxi directly from the hotel to the airport. Instead I took a taxi from old town to the old airport, from where the airport buses leave. The taxi took around half an hour and was $3. The bus ticket was still $8 (as in 2013). I took the 11.30 bus and as it was Saturday and not so much traffic, and because the new northern route had just opened it just took 50 minutes to the airport. The Wi-Fi on board worked well.
Aero Servicios run buses between the new airport and the old airport in Quito. The buses run every half an hour (except for a few hours around midnight when they run every hour) and the journey is non-stop and takes around 90 minutes. There is free Wi-Fi on board the bus.
When I arrived in Quito in June 2013 it was afternoon so I decided to take the bus rather than a taxi. The ticket counter was just outside the arrival hall and I bought a ticket for $8. I was told the next bus left in two minutes so I hurried outside and was in time. There were only 6-7 passengers on the bus so I brought both my backpacks inside the bus. The bus journey took 70 minutes.
Outside the old airport there was a long line with taxis. They didn’t use taximeter but said there was a tariff and it was $10 to Centro Histórico. It was a lot of traffic and the taxi ride to Centro Historico took 45 minutes.
When it was time to leave Ecuador my flight left in the afternoon so this time I used the airport bus again. I took a taxi from the road outside the hotel (in Centro Histórico) and with taximeter it was $3.37 and it took about half an hour. At the old airport I bought a ticket for the bus and again I didn’t have to wait many minutes before the next bus left. And again it took 70 minutes between the old and new airport.
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Quito airport lies within the...
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-bus inside city
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.
Taxis and public transport
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.
Taxi to and from the new airport in Quito
The price for a taxi from the airport to Centro Histórico was still $26 if you pay in cash to the driver on arrival. I had problems with my bank card and could not withdraw money with it. Luckily I could use it at the airport to pay for the taxi. When paying with the bank card (master card) I paid $27.15. The taxi to Centro Histórico took 50 minutes one time, and 60 minutes another time.
When I went to Galapagos Islands in 2013 I had an early flight and thought it was better to take a taxi from the hotel all the way to the airport, rather than to go to the old airport first and take a bus from there. I arranged for the taxi at the hotel (Hotel Viena Internacional in Centro Histórico). The price for the taxi was $30 (June 2013) and the drive to the airport took only 50 minutes. We left the hotel already at 5am so there was not much traffic.
Coming back from Galapagos Islands I decided to take a taxi too. Just outside the arrival hall there is a counter where you order taxis. The official price to Centro Histórico was $26 (July 2013), you get a receipt but pay directly to the taxi driver when you arrive at your destination.
The taxi left the airport at 17.15. There was a lot of traffic and the driver decided to take the small road past Guápulo. There was not less traffic there and after a while the driver started to use his GPS (he was from El Quinche, closer to the airport). It got dark and the driver took the wrong road and had to stop and ask for the way. I was worried that I would arrive to the hotel too late to make a phone call from one of the shops near the hotel, so the driver let me use his phone. Not until 19.15 did we arrive at the hotel so the journey had taken two hours. The taxi driver wanted more money than $26 and because he had let me use his phone did give him some more.
When not on an arranged tour,...
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.
From Quito to Riobamba
From the hotel in Quito I walked down to La Marin to take a taxi from there to Terminal Quitumbe. The first taxi driver I asked wanted to have $6 (July 2013) and I accepted that as I had paid $5.55 last time I went to Quitumbe with taximeter.
It took about half an hour to go to Quitumbe. When I arrived at the bus terminal I first went to the food court to eat lunch (Seco de pollo for $2.50) and then went to buy a ticket for the bus to Riobamba. I got a ticket by a window at one of the front seats and there it was good room for my luggage. The ticket was $4 and the journey took almost 4 hours.
In Riobamba I took a taxi to Hotel Montecarlo and as all taxis within the city it was $1.
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Local buses in Quito are blue, and you see them everywhere. They don’t have a bus number, but their destination is written on a placard displayed in the front window. To know which bus to take and from where, you can always ask at the tourist office or somewhere else. The bus ride is cheap $0.25 (July 2013). Keep in mind that there can be pickpockets on the buses.
I have often travelled with the Metrobus, Ecovía and Trole in Quito, but only twice with one of the blue buses. The first time was when I came back from Cascada San Rafael and the bus I travelled with got a flat tire. Some people took a taxi and I got a ride to a place where I could get a blue bus to La Marin.
The second time I traveled with a blue bus was when I had visited La Cima de La Libertad. I had taken a taxi to go there, but took the bus back to Centro Histórico. A woman at the museum at La Cima de La Libertad had told me to take the bus down to Av Mariscal Sucre and from there another bus or a taxi, as the bus was going uphill into the neighborhood again. The bus driver told me there was no need to change as the bus was going to pass Plaza Grande (where I was going). So, I stayed on the bus while it drove through the neighborhood, the same neighborhood the taxi had passed on the way up to La Cima de La Libertad, and where the taxi driver had told me to lock the doors.
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To Quito from Papallacta
I left Hostería Pampallacta Termales at 8:40 and walked down to the main road. Luckily there were not a lot of barking dogs along the way, as it had been the evening before. It took 20 minutes to walk to the main road and I had thought that I probably had to wait quite long for a passing bus, but luckily a bus was standing at the bus stop when I arrived, and there were also available seats in the bus.
To Quito I paid $2 and it took 2 hours to Terminal Quitumbe.
At Terminal Quitumbe I looked at the signs with taxi charges for different places and saw that it was $5 to Centro Historico (last time I was here I had not found Centro Historico on the sign and thus paid $6). So now I paid $5 for the taxi to Centro Historico. It took more than half an hour.
From Quito To Baños and back
When leaving the hotel in Centro Historico in Quito I stopped a taxi on the street. The taxi driver said that he wanted to have $10 for going to Terminal Quitumbe, but I said I wanted to go with taxi-meter and he accepted that. It took just over half an hour to go from Centro Historico to Terminal Quitiumbe and it was $5.55 (July 2013).
At Terminal Quitumbe three companies sold tickets to Baños leaving quite soon after my arrival. They all said that it takes 3 hours to Baños. At Expreso Baños the woman said that the others took longer as they were not direct buses, she also said their bus was leaving at 14:30. I bought the ticket for $3.50 and on my way to the bus I saw that the departure time was actually 14:45. The other two buses departed earlier and someone told me they all take the same time to Baños. Anyway, I got seat number one, which is in the front by a window and where there was good room for my big backpack. When I went aboard the bus the man working on the bus told me to be careful with the luggage (and I always am as I have read about thefts on Ecuadorian buses, and also met tourist having things stolen from their luggage on the bus from Baños). It didn’t take 3 hours to Baños, but 3h and 40min.
When it was time to go back to Quito I took a taxi to the terminal in Baños, even though it is centrally located, but the rain really poured down. It was $1. I arrived at the terminal at 11:30 and the first bus was going to leave at 12. I bought a ticket and got seat 4, which is also one of the front seats by a window, and as usual I had my big backpack in front of me by the window and the small daypack in my lap. The journey to Quito took around 3h 30min and it was $3.50.
Update July 2014: The ticket from Baños to Quito was still $ 3.50 and the journey took 3 hours and 20 minutes.
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