The advantages of taking a bus on your trip can be many. To begin with, you have the chance to see more of the country from the ground level. A bus will take you winding through splendid landscapes; perfect for those photos you've been dreaming about putting in your scrapbook.
More importantly, you'll have the chance to talk with Ecuadorians and return home with colorful stories of the sights, sounds and surprises you encountered. Finally, travelling on a bus will save you money.
There are many bus cooperatives in the country. The following are some of the most reputable and popular, listed with location and popular destinations:
Parcayacu, Tarapoa, Puerto El Carmen, Shushufindi, Sacha, Pompeya, Coca, Aloag, Nanegalito, Los Bancos, Pedro Vicente Maldonado Puerto Quito, La Abundancia, La Concordia, La Unión, Quinindé.
Reina del Camino
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá, office # 111
Portoviejo, Manta, Bahía de Caráquez, San Vicente.
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá, office # 13-14
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá office # 78-79
Guaranda, San Miguel, Los Bancos,
Pedro Vicente Maldonado, Chillanes.
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá office # 66
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá office # 116.
Cuenca, Oña, Saraguro, Loja
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá office # 82-83-84
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá office # 53-54.
Esmeraldas, Atacames, Muisne, Lago Agrio,Coca, Borbón, San Lorenzo, Salinas.
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá office #117
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá, office # 14
Terminal Terrestre Cumandá
Pedernales, Riobamba, Tulcán
To improve the quality of your trip, we recommend the following:
Before your trip, it's a good idea to buy phone cards for pay phones. All pay phones are operated with prepaid cards, and you might need them. Buy a card from Movistar and from Porta, as those are the two main companies.
Don't carry your money in sight. Keep it in a hidden leg pouch, hidden in your sock, or around your waist. Keep a small amount in your pocket so you don't have to reveal your hidden stash of cash.
Always bring a map with you of the area you will visit. If you will be arriving after dark, plan in advance which hotel you want to stay at and try to take a taxi there. Bus terminals are often located in an unsavory part of town. One good way to avoid getting off at the bus terminal is to ask the driver if the bus passes through town before heading to the terminal. You can request to get off anywhere along the route on most busses.
Latin American Bus Etiquette
Bus travel in Latin America is a colorful and exciting experience. You may find yourself with a basket of chickens or guinea pigs for a seatmate, and will doubtless make many new acquaintances if you are receptive to conversation. Most busses are delightfully decrepit, with lots of personality, and breakdowns are a regular occurrence.
If you're travelling light, keep your bag inside the bus with you, stowed on your lap or under your seat. Even a pretty large bag can travel with you under your seat. A larger bag can be stowed on top of the bus or in storage compartments. Make sure it will be covered with a waterproof blanket if riding on top, and be warned that storage compartments can be dirty or greasy. It can be a good idea to place your bag in a garbage bag or protective cover if you are fussy about it getting dirty.
Seat numbers are somewhat flexible. If you already have a ticket and someone is in your assigned seat, you can find another seat or insist politely that you get your designated seat. You can also board the bus without a ticket and claim a seat - the assistant will collect your money and give you your ticket once the bus gets going. However, you will have to give up your seat and stand if someone happens to have the ticket for that seat.
At every stop a bus makes, walking vendors will probably enter the bus selling ice cream, drinks, and other snacks, which are often irresistible, but may upset traveller's stomachs, so use your best judgment.
Only the really luxurious busses to major cities will have bathrooms. On longer trips, busses without bathrooms will make one or two stops near a restroom. Carry toilet paper and hand sanitizer!