Busing around Ecuador

The ad bar atop my Gmail account this morning had a link to an article about the busses in Ecuador.  It got me thinking about our trip there two years ago and just how interesting the bus ride we took was, so I thought I’d share both that story and ours.

Bus stop in Ecuador
Bus stop in Ecuador

We took a bus from Otavalo to Quito.  It was about a 2.5 hour ride and I believe it cost us $4 for both of us.  There is a bus station – really just a parking lot, but what else is a bus station – in Otavalo, and there might actually be a schedule in operation but we never saw it.  On arrival at the bus station we started wandering around until we heard someone yelling “Quito! Quito! Quito!” over and over again.  We waved at him and he came running towards us to grab our bags and toss them on the bus.  Lacking the language skills to effectively communicate we just went along with the situation and climbed on board.  The bus was surprisingly comfortable and reasonably clean, pretty similar to a charter tour bus that you’d find in the USA, though it seemed older and just well kept, not new.  We settled in for the ride and the bus pulled out of town and headed towards Quito.  We stopped a few times on the roadside leading out of town to pick up more passengers, with the same “Quito! Quito! Quito!” shout repeated over and over.  There were also stops at various places along the highway where passengers got on and off, and merchants plied their wares.  Most were selling food of one sort or another.  In retrospect, I should’ve had some of the food, even though I don’t remember any of it looking particularly great.  Still, street food is fun and often delicious, and I missed that on this trip.

Self-portrait on the bus ride

The bus ride also included a movie shown on screens mounted to the ceilings.  I can’t remember if there was audio or not, but I absolutely remember the movie.  It was Jeepers Creepers II, and it was horrible.  But there was free entertainment.  And, much like every other form of travel, there was always the option of looking out the window, which I did.  A lot.  The views were pretty amazing, and I even managed to grab a self-portrait shot.

For the price, convenience and entertainment the busses in Ecuador present a great option and are certainly not to be missed.  Just make sure you find a seat near someone you know or who looks reasonable to sit next to.  Otherwise you might end up in a slightly strange situation.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.