As some of you may know, the Pocket Babe’s sister recently came to Ecuador for a visit. Diane met her at the airport in Quito where they, and a couple of Diane’s friends, spent several days and nights in the Andes. They visited Quito, Otavalo (a city filled with the indigenous people of the Andes… direct Incan descendants) and Cotacachi. In spite of enormous self-restraint (they claim), they returned with a number of wonderful hand-crafted items from clothing and accessories to leather goods. They had a wonderful time!
I was impressed with Diane because she and her buddy elected to ride the bus from Bahia de Caraquez to Quito, a ride through the Andes of approximately 7 hours. They also took buses between cities while in the high country. Many others have done this and do it regularly but this was Diane’s first time riding a long-distance bus here in Ecuador. We typically drive, fly or hire a driver for long trips. Now, it’s my turn.
I also need to travel to Quito and have decided to do the bus thing myself. All reports are positive and I really want to experience Ecuador’s most-common mode of transportation as so many others have and do regularly. I am feeling like I’ve been missing something.
If I were to catch a jet from Manta it’s about a 35 minute fight to Quito, barely enough time to get settled and cram a tiny snack into your mouth before landing. Generally, the air tickets from Manta to Quito are between $45-$65 dollars, each way. And then there is the drive to the Manta airport from San Vicente at a bit more than an hour.
The cost of a bus ticket to Quito is only $10, twenty bucks roundtrip and the journey begins right here in San Vicente. No need to drive to the airport in Manta. The buses are huge, gorgeous, and modern and the seats, I’m told, are much roomier than airline seats. Yeah, there is the 35 minute jet ride vs. a 7 hour bus-ride thing. But hey, I’m retired and I really don’t care about the time. I also like the idea of a $20 round trip ticket on the bus vs. a $100 round trip on the jet. That’s $80 saved and that savings will first purchase an entirely new cultural experience for me. Traveling though the Andes and stopping in small towns along the way for food and to pick up passengers is definitely something I am eager to experience!
Most expats here in Ecuador do not own cars and use the bus system regularly so Diane and I are in the minority as car owners. I am looking forward to joining the majority with my first long-distance bus trip and hope to take some photos to share when I return.
The adventure continues!