Getting there & away
Quito’s main bus terminal is the Cumandá Bus Terminal (Maldonado at Javier Piedra), located just south of Plaza Santo Domingo, in the old town. It can be reached by walking down the steps from Maldonado, or by taking the Trole to the nearby Cumandá stop. After around 6pm you should take a taxi, as this is an unsafe area at night. Don’t take the Trole if you’re loaded with luggage; it’s notorious for pickpockets.
Several dozen bus companies serve the terminal with connections to just about everywhere in the country. On weekends and vacations, purchase your ticket a day or so in advance. The terminal has a post office, an Andinatel office, ATMs, restaurants and small stores.There are numerous buses per hour to popular places such as Ambato or Otavalo. There is a $0.20 departure tax from the bus terminal.
For comfortable buses to Guayaquil from the new town, travel with Panamericana (255 3690, 255 1839; Av Cristóbal Colón & Reina Victoria), or Transportes Ecuador (222 5315; JL Mera N21-44 near Jorge Washington). Panamericana also has long-distance buses to other towns, including Machala, Loja, Cuenca, Manta and Esmeraldas.
A few buses leave from other places for some destinations in the Pichincha province. Cooperativa Flor de Valle (252 7495; Larrea near Ascunción) goes daily to Mindo.
Car rental in Quito, as with elsewhere in Ecuador, is expensive – taxis and buses are much cheaper and more convenient than renting a car. Rental vehicles are useful for visiting some out-of-the-way areas that don’t have frequent bus connections (in which case, a more expensive 4WD vehicle is a good idea).
Avis (244 0270) At the airport.
Budget (www.budget-ec.com in Spanish) Amazonas (223 7026; cnr Av Amazonas & Av Cristobal Colón); airport (224 0763, 245 9052; Av Amazonas at Av de la Prensa)
Ecuacar Av Cristóbal Colón (252 9781, 254 0000; Av Cristóbal Colón 1280 near Av Amazonas); airport (224 7298; Av Amazonas at Av de la Prensa)
Hertz Swissôtel (256 9130; Av 12 de Octubre 1820); airport (225 4257; Av Amazonas at Av de la Prensa)
Localiza (250 5974, 250 5986; Av 6 de Diciembre 1570 near Wilson)
Contact Ivan Segovia at Edivanet (264 6460, 09-379 1889, 09-824 5152) who will drive you anywhere in the country (provided there are roads) in a van for up to 10 people. The cost is about $60 per day, plus the price of his hotel room. Split with a group, it’s quite affordable.
Although most of Ecuador’s train system is in shambles, you can still ride the rails if you’re determined. A weekend tourist train leaves Quito and heads south for about 3½ hours to the Area Nacional de Recreación El Boliche, adjoining Parque Nacional Cotopaxi.
The Quitotrain station (265 6142; Sincholagua & Vicente Maldonado) is about 2km south of the old town. Purchase tickets in advance at the train ticket office (258 2927; Bolívar 443 at García Moreno; round-trip per person $4.60; 8am-4:30pm Mon-Fri). The trains are old-fashioned with primitive bathroom facilities (all part of the fun), and many passengers ride on the roof.
Quito’s newly remodeled airport, Aeropuerto Mariscal Sucre (294 4900; www.quitoairport.com in Spanish; Av Amazonas at Av de la Prensa) serves all international and domestic flights in and out of the capital. It’s located about 10km north of downtown. The following are Ecuador’s principal domestic airlines, with the widest choice provided by TAME:
AeroGal (225 7301, 225 8086/7; Av Amazonas 7797) Near the airport.
Icaro (245 0928, 245 1499; www.icaro.com.ec in Spanish; Palora 124 at Av Amazonas) Across from the airport runway.
TAME (250 9375/6/7/8, 290 9900; Av Amazonas 1354 at Av Cristobal Colón)