A Tale of Two Cities

Shall I fly through Quito or Guayaquil?

We often get this question from guests planning their international travel route to and from Ecuador.   The answer we provide is not simple – and assumes that you agree that arriving at least 2 days prior to your cruise start date is a wise move, giving you a buffer against any travel problems (missed connections, delays, lost luggage etc…).   Your ship will not wait for you, even if you’re just an hour late.  

International arrival gateway:  Quito 

If you plan on spending any time on mainland Ecuador, it is generally understood that Quito is a better place to be.   It’s a World Heritage site, considered the prettiest capital city in all South America with plenty of fascinating things to keep you engaged and active.  Beyond the multiple attractions of the city, nearby points of interest include the cloud forest, Andean hot springs, Otavalo market and more for those planning on spending more than one day there.

International departure gateway:

  1. Guayaquil: If you don’t plan on spending any extra time on the continent after you leave Galapagos, and if your airline can accommodate you, it’s easier to transit out of Ecuador via Guayaquil. Flights out of Galapagos all stop in Guayaquil before continuing to Quito.   This means that you could be in your hotel by 3:30PM in Guayaquil, instead of at 5:30PM in Quito, resulting in a more relaxed afternoon and evening.     Also, there is a good selection of hotels within a 10-minute drive from the airport.
  2. Quito: If for any reason it’s better for you to transit out of Quito, and if you need accommodation, it is better book a room in a nearby airport hotel, saving you the hour-long ride into Quito city proper. The most practical hotel is the Wyndham hotel – located just a 2-minute taxi ride from the airport.   The Wyndham is a new business style hotel with spacious rooms facing away from the airport.  It has a great breakfast buffet.   For those who prefer to book directly, click here for the website.   Another option is the Rincon de Puembo, a very charming and well managed colonial style hotel full of cachet, located 15-20 minutes away by taxi. Click here for details.  

Day rooms

International departures are often near midnight – or in the morning.  Arriving either mid or late afternoon at Guayaquil or Quito airports can leave you with many hours to while away (mostly night time hours) – and the option of a day room at a nearby comfortable hotel can be attractive.