Traveling in a foreign country is not always simple. Options that you are familiar with may not exist there, and common methods of transportation there may not be ones that you know how to use. This is especially true in countries like Ecuador, where language barriers, strange roads, and a completely different culture can keep you stranded or make you late for your destination.
Before you head off to explore the world, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the language, culture, and transportation methods of the country you are visiting. Ecuador has many ways to get you from one place to another easily as long as you are prepared to use them.
Here are 7 of the most common ways of getting around in Ecuador so you can plan your trip ahead or get to your destination quickly.
7 Forms of Transportation on Demand in Ecuador
To make your trip less stressful, we have compiled a guide to tell you what you need to know to travel through Ecuador. You may not use all of these forms of transportation, but they each can be helpful in their own ways.
Safety is critical in foreign countries. Always plan ahead for your safety and securely store your valuables. Never use an unlicensed or registered form of transportation, and let someone else know where you are going and in what when you get in a car or bus.
1. You can always use the airports
When you need to travel long distances across Ecuador or get from your current location to a city in this interesting country, flying is an inexpensive choice. The most commonly used airport is in the capital of Ecuador, Quito, or in the largest city, Guayaquil.
Because traffic in this country is known to be difficult to traverse, many travelers choose to fly instead. Although delays are common, flying to your destination may still be the faster, less stressful option if you are going a long distance.
2. Follow the train tracks to your stopping place
Although the train network does not go everywhere in Ecuador, it does stretch a good 282 miles throughout the major cities.
The entire trip takes about four days from beginning to end and is operated by Tren Crucero. It takes passengers through the beautiful Andrean Mountains, into the cities of Quito, Guayaquil, and other major points, and has overnight stops in shopping districts, near hotels, and close to tourist attractions.
But if you are simply looking for the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B, and one of the stops is close to your destination, you can take the train and get off at that part of the route.
3. The bus gives you more control over your destination
You can find a bus depot in almost every city, but the quality of the bus that gets you there is not always your choice. Buses are cheap ways to travel, but buyers beware – you may get what you pay for.
Since the bus is such a popular alternative for those who don’t want to drive, you may find yourself without a seat if you are traveling during busy times. Air conditioning is at a premium, as are toilets, so if you are taking a bus for a longer trip, prepare ahead of time.
For the most part, your bus choice is set up by the time you want to travel, not the carrier that provides the service there. The bus you travel on may not have its own terminal, a specific route to get to the destinations on its list, or an exact schedule. If you’re late, or the bus fills up before you get there, it will leave without you.
4. Renting a car is an option
For travelers who like to be in control of their transportation, renting a car is an available option. It is recommended that you speak Spanish when you do go to rent one, though.
Locals in Ecuador know the roads to avoid since many are still unpaved. Major cities have been renovated to improve travel but depending on your destination, you’ll likely end up having a bumpy ride. Pay attention to your route before you rent a car – you may need to get one with four-wheel drive.
Drivers renting a car need to be at least 21, have a credit card, and provide their driver’s license. However, an international driving permit is recommended in case you end up stopped at a police checkpoint.
Renters should know ahead of time that driving in Ecuador can be dangerous. Always lock your car in a safe place, secure your valuables, and don’t drive at night. Have a GPS and a map in case cell service is limited, and watch out for the aggressive drivers that are everywhere.
5. Hire a taxi
With the warnings about renting a car and driving yourself, you may be thinking that you would be better off letting someone else handle the stress. You’d be joining countless other travelers who think the same way and hire taxis instead of renting cars.
If you are in a city, you will probably find lots of taxis that are cheap. Be sure that the one you use has a registered identification number. Find out how they charge before you get in. Some are metered, while others quote set prices upon hearing your destination.
6. Pickup trucks serve in a pinch
In some remote areas of Ecuador, you’ll find that people use trucks as taxis. This works well to get travelers through the dirt roads that are common in rural towns.
7. Take a boat to your island destination
Ecuador is home to the beautiful Galapagos Islands, reachable only by boat or air. You can take a boat from Guayaquil’s port, but it’s a rough trip. Instead, many travelers choose to fly into the island’s airport and then cruise through the islands through prearranged travel itineraries.
Travel Smart: Plan Ahead
Some destinations are great for spur-of-the-moment adventures, while others, like Ecuador, require some planning ahead to be safe. Understanding the 7 main ways to get around the country will ensure that you have an enjoyable trip while you are there!