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Travel to Ecuador

Flying to Ecuador

Ecuador has two main international airports: Quito International Airport and Aeropuerto Simon Bolivar in Guayaquil. International airlines with flights to Ecuador include American Airlines (www.aa.com), Iberia (www.iberia.com), KLM (www.klm.com), LAN Airlines (www.lan.com) and United (www.united.com). Baltra Airport serves the Galapagos islands.

The country’s main airline, TAME (www.tame.com.ec), flies frequently between Guayaquil, Quito and other destinations throughout the country, as well as to a handful of international destinations. A number of small airlines serve the coast and eastern part of the country. Flying is the usual mode of transport for intercity travel.

The major airport is: Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport.

Notes

International airfares vary according to season; high season is generally July to September and December.

Airport Guides

Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport

Code

UIO

Location

Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located around 18km (12 miles) northeast of central Quito (36km/24 miles by road).

Telephone

+593 2 294 4200

AddressTababela s/n
Parroqui
Quito

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Guayaquil José Joaquín de Olmedo Airport

Code

GYE

Location

The airport is 5km (3 miles) from the city.

TelephoneAddress

Flight times

From London - 15 hours (including stopover); New York - 6 hours.

Air passes

The oneworld Visit South America Pass (www.oneworld.com) is valid within Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile (except Easter Island), Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Participating airlines are American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA), LAN (LA), Qatar Airways (QR), TAM (KK) and their affiliates. The pass must be bought outside South America in the country of residence. It allows unlimited travel to over 60 destinations. You can take as many flights as you like, but a you must book a minimum of three flights.

Departure tax

Included in the air fare.

Travelling to Ecuador by Rail

Driving to Ecuador

There are roads and international crossing points from neighbouring Colombia and Peru. Border formalities are fairly straightforward as long as your documents are in order. There are no taxes on tourists when travelling this way.

The main crossing point to Colombia is Tulcan in the northern highlands. There is a second border point in the Oriente but the area is dangerous to travel in. The vast majority of traffic to Peru crosses the border at Machala. Less popular but interesting alternative crossing points are available at Macara and La Balsa.

Some long-distance bus companies offer services from major cities such as Lima and Bogota all the way to Ecuador.

Driving note

There is no road access from North or central America; the Pan-American Highway stops in Panama and restarts in Colombia. In between lies 200km (124 miles) section of road-less jungle known as the Darien Gap. Lawless and wild, it is difficult to travel through and most people fly over it.

Getting to Ecuador by boat

Guayaquil is the main port in Ecuador for both passengers and freight. However, very few cruise ships use Guayaquil as a port of call when sailing down South America. Some cargo lines that stop in the city also carry passengers, but this can be prohibitively expensive. If you are on your own boat or crewing a sailing vessel, it's possible to arrive in Ecuador, with Salinas the most popular port for international yachts.

Manta is the second major port in Ecuador behind Guayaquil. A new cruise terminal at the port is currently under construction and is set to expand capacity on completion in the first half of 2018. The port typical sees just shy of 20 cruise calls in a calendar year.

Water note

Sailings from Europe take approximately three weeks to arrive in Ecuador.

River Routes

As long as peace prevails with Peru, it's possible to sail down the Rio Napa from one country to the other, joining the Amazon near Iquitos in Peru. The last town in Ecuador is Rocafuerte and the first in Peru is Pantoja, some 30km (19 miles) downstream. Border facilities in either town are minimal. Boats sailing this stretch are fairly infrequent and there is no public transport across the border, but it makes an exciting way to access the rainforest.

It's also theoretically possible to cross into Colombia on the Rio Putumayo, but the region is unstable and dangerous, and it's not recommended.