Travel to Quito

Flying to Quito

Flight times

From London -17 hours; New York - 9 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by road

Summary:

Quito is well connected to the rest of the country by a network of roads of varying quality. They are usually in good condition but some may have many cracks and potholes. Traffic drives on the right and can often be very chaotic. Driving at night can be dangerous due to frequent robberies. Speed limits are usually 60-90kph (37-56mph). To hire a car in Quito, you must be over 21 (a surcharge may apply to drivers under 25) and hold a valid British or international driving licence. Insurance is required.

Emergency breakdown service:

Aneta (tel: 1800 556 677); Police (tel: 101); Tourist Police (tel: (02) 254 3943).

Routes:

The main one is Panamericana (Pan-American Highway) that crosses the country north to south. Many of its sections are toll roads run by private companies.

Driving times:

From Guayaquil is 7 hours, Cuenca is 9 hours 30 minutes, and Esmeraldas is 7 hours.

Coaches:

The Cumandá Bus Terminal (tel: (02) 257 0529) is at Javier Piedra, Maldonado, immediately south of the historical centre. It has services to all of the country. Some bus companies operate private terminals around the city. Check which terminal you need when buying tickets from a travel agency.

Travel by rail

Services:

Although Ecuador’s railway system is currently in shambles (mainly because of lack of funding and frequent landslides), the Ecuadorian Railways (EFE) recently launched a restoration project to rehabilitate the “most difficult railway in the world”. In May 2009, the restored 100km (63-mile) stretch from Quito to the provincial capital of Latacunga re-opened to the public.

The Quito train station, located at Sincholagua and Vicente Maldonado (tel: (02) 265 6142) is about 2km south of the Old Town. Purchase tickets in advance at the train ticket office, Bolívar 443 y García Moreno (tel: (02) 295 1400). Trains are old-fashioned and many passengers ride on the roof.

Operators:

EFE (tel: (02) 258 5710; www.efe.gov.ec) runs services to Latacunga, 100km (63 miles) south of the capital. Journey time is 4 hours.

Edited by Tina Banerjee
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