If you are traveling to Peru or Colombia your best bet is to buy a ticket to the border and then buy an onward ticket there. You can take an international bus, but these are significantly more expensive and you still have to switch buses once you arrive at the border, and you will still have to go through Immigration and customs. Beware of scammers and thieves at both Peruvian and Colombia borders.
The preferred way of getting around Ecuador is by bus. The cost of a bus ride is minimal and because the country is so small you can get almost anywhere in under a day.
In most cases, especially for longer trips and on busier weekends, it's a good idea to buy a ticket at least a few hours in advance so as to be assured a seat. It is best to buy your ticket the day before traveling so that you can choose your seat; seats in the last row are the most cramped and offer a bumpy ride, so if you have motion sickness, you'll want to sit as close to the front as possible. Also, make sure to arrive a little while before your bus is due to leave; full buses will leave early. Empty buses, on the other hand will wait around until the bus fills up. For this reason and because schedules change so frequently, departures listed in any timetable should be considered more of an approximation than an exact time.
You should know that a "full" bus in Ecuador includes the aisles. Many buses will pick passengers up along the way and stop to drop them off as well. Also, know that it is better to save that big bottle of water for after you arrive at your destination; on-board bathrooms are a rarity and you never know when or where your next stop is going to be.
In the Countryside
You can arrive to most any small town in Ecuador by bus. In smaller towns there is often no central terminal, and in the most remote areas, there may not be buses every day. Ask around town for where and when to take buses.
You may get anywhere in a big city by just taking a bus. It's a really cheap service [USD 0.25*
] and there are a lot of "only seated" units. Buses begin to circulate early in the morning [06 a.m.
] but they do not stay in the streets too late [9 p.m.
]. Even though it's a popular way of moving around, it has some negative aspects. Bus drivers, not always respect the bus stops and sometimes they stop anywhere, which means you will be late. But some other times they are in a big rush so you should request them to make a full stop. There are many new buses, and there are another many that arenít so new which means comfort is not always guaranteed.
The Trolley and the Ecoway
Itís the most modern and efficient urban transport in the country. Big articulate buses run through exclusive ways and still bus stops. The service is cheap [USD 0.25*
] and it runs along the city from one side to the other. You can use also the integrated bus service [units that work exclusively for the trolley and the ecoway
]. Buses are new and the bus stops are well distributed in the city. You may be a little bit tight in the rush hours. This service exists only in Quito from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For more about urban transport see under cities' transport pages.
*The prices are approximately