Getting there & away
The new bus terminal is 2km north of the airport. It has a shopping center attached and is big and clean. There are scores of bus company offices with their destinations clearly marked and you can get just about anywhere. Keep some loose change handy since it’s $0.10 to pass through the turnstiles to get to the buses.
For the Santa Elena Peninsula, you can take Transportes Villamil or Transportes Posorja, which have buses every 10 minutes to Playas ($2.50, 1¾ hours) and Posorja ($2.10, 2¼ hours). Costa Azul, Co-op Libertad Peninsular (which have air-conditioned buses) and CICA have buses to Salinas ($3, 2½ hours) every 15 minutes. To get to Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco, you can take a bus marked ‘Chongón’ from the stop at Moncayo and Sucre. All the drivers know where to stop for the entrance to the reserve.
The best services to Quito are with the companies Transportes Ecuador (214 0592), Flota Imbabura (214 0649) and Panamericana (214 0638). They all cost around $9 and do the trip in eight hours.
Several companies run buses to Cuenca, but if you want to get there fast, try the vans run by Supertaxis Cuenca (229 7026); they charge $7. The fastest route (3½ hours) is via Parque Nacional Cajas. Coturcip (251 8895; Sucre 202 & Pichincha) has comfortable air-conditioned vans to Machala ($8).
Most bus companies sell tickets in advance, which will guarantee you a seat. Otherwise, just show up at the terminal and you’ll often find a bus to your destination leaving soon. Friday nights and holidays can get booked up.
Ecuadorian bus companies such as CIFA, Transportes Rutas Orenses and Ecuatoriana Pullman go to Machala and Huaquillas on the Peruvian border. Transportes Loja has one bus in the evening to the border at Macará.
The easiest way to Peru, however, is with one of the international lines. Rutas de America (229 7383; www.rutasdeamerica.com ; Los Rios 3012 at Letamendi), whose office and terminal is south of downtown, has direct buses to Lima ($50, 24 hours) every day at 6am. Expresso Internacional Ormeno (229 7362; Centro de Negocios El Terminal, Bahia Norte, Office 34, Bloque C) goes daily to Lima ($55) at 2pm, stopping in Tumbes ($20, five hours). Their office and terminal is on Americas, just north of the main bus terminal. These services are very convenient because you do not have to get off the bus to take care of border formalities.
Guayaquil’s Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport is one of Ecuador’s two major international airports and is about as busy as Quito’s. It’s currently located on the east side of Avenida de las Américas, about 5km north of downtown; the international and national terminals are side by side. Anyone flying to the Galápagos Islands either leaves from here or stops here on their way from Quito; those flying from Quito rarely have to change planes.
There is a casa de cambio (currency- exchange bureau) at the airport, which pays about as much as the downtown rate and is open for most incoming international flights. There are also the usual cafeterias, car-rental agencies, gift shops, ATMs and international telephone facilities.
About 1km south of the main airport is the Terminal de Avionetas (small-aircraft terminal).
There are many internal flights to all parts of the country, but times, days and fares change constantly, so check the following information. The most frequent flights are to Quito with TAME, which charges about $58 one way, though a new carrier LAN ECUADOR is reportedly offering flights to much of the country on a similar schedule. For the best views, sit on the right side when flying to Quito.
TAME and AeroGal fly to Baltra and San Cristóbal in the Galápagos. There are two morning flights every day, costing $344 per round-trip ($300 in the low season – mid-January to mid-June and September to November). Ecuadorian residents pay $80 all year.
Icaro flies to Quito ($57) four times a day Monday to Friday and twice daily on weekends. It flies twice daily (except weekends) to Cuenca ($45) and Monday, Wednesday and Friday to San Cristóbal in the Galápagos.
Austro Aéreo, at the airport, has two flights Monday to Friday to Cuenca ($50).
All the aforementioned flights leave from the main national terminal. Several small airlines have flights leaving from the Terminal de Avionetas. These airlines use small aircraft to service various coastal towns, such as Portoviejo and Esmeraldas. Flights are subject to demand. Baggage is limited to a 10kg bag and passenger weight is limited to 100kg.
The following is a list of domestic airline offices in Guayaquil.
AECA (228 8110; Terminal de Avionetas)
AeroGal (228 4218; www.aerogal.com.ec ; main airport)
Aerolitoral (228 0864; Terminal de Avionetas)
Austro Aéreo (229 6685/87, 228 4084; main airport)
Icaro (229 4265; www.icaro.com.ec ; main airport)
TAME Gran Pasaje (256 0778, 256 0920; www.tame.com.ec ; Paula de Icaza 424, Gran Pasaje); main airport (228 2062, 228 7155; main airport) Enter the Gran Pasaje office from 9 de Octubre.