Ecuador’s capital is a fantastic city to explore by day or by night, with plenty of attractions and activities to keep you busy for days, but you may wonder how to get around Quito. Here, we share our top tips to help you get around Quito by bus and taxi, getting the most out of your visit.
Yet, we regularly meet travelers who are surprised at how quickly they can get lost while visiting this beautiful, high-altitude capital. In the following guide, we’ll give you a few practical tips on how to explore Quito using the public transportation or ride sharing apps like Uber or Cabify.
How to get Around Quito
If you`re going to use any online directory to find more information, use TripAdvisor or Facebook.
Most of what you can find on the internet about Quito isn’t considered budget-friendly; most companies or restaurants that have their own website or appear in Google Maps will be in the mid-high range in terms of cost.
Gasoline is subsidized in Ecuador
In Ecuador, gasoline is subsidized by the government and is cheap, making transportation really cheap too!
The cheapest way to get around, by far, is on either the blue public buses that rage through the city, the Ecovia, Trole or Metrobus. The latter three are electric, wheelchair accessible and run from the north to south of the city. One way in any direction on any of these costs only $0.25.
Avoid using buses during rush hour
Avoid using buses during rush hour traffic as they get extremely crowded.
At rush hour, the Ecovia is literally packed with people and pickpocketing runs rampant. While it is wise to take advantage of cheap transport, it isn’t worth losing your phone or camera!
Google Maps has improved significantly when it comes to navigating Quito, but don’t trust all the bus numbers and routes provided. Always double check with another person at the bus stop or with the bus drivers.
Taxis are also relatively cheap, but rides will quickly add up if you’re in traffic or heading to one of the south/north bus terminals.
We strongly suggest you don’t just grab any taxi off the street. Ideally, ask your hostel to call a taxi company and whatever taxi you take should have two stickers: a green one on the side of the taxi with the taxi cooperative name and number and an official orange sticker provided by the city on the windshield. The taxi should also have a license plate.
When you get into the taxi, ask the taxi driver to turn on the “Taxímetro”, which clocks the price for the duration of the ride. If he/she refuses, simply get out and call another taxi. Without the taxímetro, and if you don’t know your way around, you’ll probably get ripped off.
Uber and Cabify are two applications that work in and around Quito. Not only are they safer tan taking a cab off the street, they’re also much cheaper! Their rates are higher during rush hours, so plan accordingly.
Public transportation arriving to Quito
If you’re arriving at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Airport, located about 45 minutes from the city, the cheapest way to get into the city is by bus. There are two options: the (bright green) public buses and Aeroservicios.
The public buses charge $2.00 to take you either to the Rio Coca bus terminal in the north of the city or to the Quitumbe bus terminal in the south. Unless you want to leave Quito to destinations south immediately, we suggest you take the bus to Rio Coca since it’s much easier to access the center and north of the city from this terminal.
From Rio Coca, you can either take the Ecovía ($0.25) south to the Mariscal or Old Town (where most hotels are located), or a taxi/Uber.
From the airport, the Rico Coca buses operate from 5:30am – 10:00pm, whereas the Quitumbe buses stop at 7:00pm.
The red Aeroservicios buses are slitghtly more expensive at $8.00, however they offer transfers to Quito from Monday to Friday 3:30am to 11:30pm, as well as Saturdays and Sundays from 4:00am to 10:30pm, giving you more options out of the airport, depending on your arrival time.
A bus swings by every 30 minutes, or every hour on weekends, and tickets can be booked online here. Autoservicios buses take you to Quito’s old airport, now called Parque Bicentenario, in the north of the city. You can catch buses or the Trole towards La Mariscal and the Old Town nearby – ask staff for details – or hop in a taxi. Aeroservicios buses have WIFI.
If you are arriving at an ungodly time and just can’t be bothered to wait for one of these buses, you can jump in a yellow taxi located outside the departure gate. These will charge you $25 to take you into the city, and sometimes more, depending on where your hotel is located.
You can also try ordering by Uber or Cabify, but internet may be spotty when you first arrive.
Transportation service from Hotel Antinea
When you book a room in Hotel Antinea, you can enjoy a cab that will drive you to the Hotel straight from the airport at the regular taxis fee, with a trusty driver. You can request this service at the moment you book with us.