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.
After a few days of resting in Bahía it was time for me to travel on. I was a bit worried how it was going to go as I had to change buses and I had recently had an operation and could not use my left arm and hand.
Louise from Hostal Coco Bongo helped me with the luggage to a taxi which was standing a block away. The taxi ride to the bus terminal was $1.50 (July 2012). A bus from the company Reina del Camino with destination Guayaquil was just going to leave the terminal when I arrived. It stopped and the bus attendant took my big backpack and put it in the compartment below the bus, as no big bags were allowed inside the bus. To Jipijapa, where I was going to change buses, it took 3 hours and the ticket was $4.
With the big backpack over my right shoulder and the small backpack in my hand I went to the ticket booth to buy a ticket for Puerto Lopez. While taking up money and paying I had to put the bag on the floor, something I don’t like when there are many people around at a bus station. The ticket to Puerto Lopez was $1.50 and the bus ride took almost $1.50. In the bus I had the big backpack between my legs and the small backpack on my lap, trying not to touch my left hand with it as that hurt too much.
In Puerto Lopez I decided to take a moto for $0.50 to Hostal Maxima, even if it was not far to walk. I didn’t have a reservation and they only had rooms with shared bathrooms left, so I had to take a walk with the luggage anyway and went to Hotel Pacifico.
- Budget Travel
To Los Frailes:
The turnoff for Los Frailes is situated about 10 km north of Puerto Lopez. To go there I took a bus from the market in Puerto Lopez. It only took 10 minutes and it was $0.40 (July 2012). I registered at the park entrance and the park ranger told me it was safe to walk the road to Los Frailes and that it was about 2 km. After walking for a while I came to the beginning of a path leading to Los Frailes. The path was 3 km long and I took that instead of following the dirt road. Taking the path took an hour as there were nice places to stop at along the way. When I went back I took the road and it took half an hour to walk to the main road, where I waited a while for a passing bus to take me back to Puerto Lopez.
To Agua Blanca:
The turnoff to Agua Blanca is situated 5.5 km north of Puerto Lopez, and to go there I once again took a northbound bus from Puerto Lopez. It was also $0.40. At the turnoff I registered and paid the admission for the national park, which was $5 (July 2012). From the main road there is another 5 km to walk until you come to Agua Blanca. When I had walked about halfway a minibus stopped and I got a lift the rest of the way. The same happened on the way back, about halfway back to the main road a car stopped and gave me a lift. It turned out they were going to Puerto Lopez so I could go with them all way back.
- National/State Park
- Budget Travel
Many bus companies stop at the corner of General Cordoba and Machachilla at least every hour during daylight hours. These buses wil drop you wherever you want along the coast.
Transportes Carlos A Aray has direct buses to Quito.