Hi everyone. Looks like a good group here. One of my main concerns is the long flights, and several connections required in finally getting to Cuenca. Has there ever been any talk of direct flights from Miami?
There's no direct flights from the US to Cuenca because Cuenca airport is a national, not international airport but I heard they're thinking in upgrade it.
So most of the flights goes from the US: Miami, New York, Houston to Guayaquil and then to Quito with stops in Panama or Bogota. If you're planning to visit Cuenca is better is you get to Guayaquil and from there to Cuenca.
Bob: With due respect to Vinny, I sincerely doubt there will be non-stop flights from the USA to Cuenca in our lifetime, if ever. The market is not that big and connections out of Cuenca are limited. Compounding the need to change planes in Quito is all four flights from the USA into Quito arrive too late to connect to Cuenca the same day. I agree with Vinny that Guayaquil has better options connecting to Cuenca.
Just hold your horses. When I looked up flights from Houston to Cuenca the flight through Guayaquil was quite a bit higher priced and it still didnt connect the same day to Cuenca. I opted to fly to Quito, stay the night in Quito and the short flight the next day to Cuenca. Wasnt bad at all. The flight was 40 minutes and I was very happy with TAME airline. They were the cheapest and had a noon flight which gave me time to rest up and not get up before the chickens. I stayed at Hotel Bonanza and met up with lots of other expats and made quite a few contacts and friends. I am doing the same Dec 31 when we make our move to Cuenca on American Airlines from Houston to Miami to Quito. We are taking a van from Quito as we have pets.
This whole discussion ignores where your flight originates. We normally fly from Guayaquil into New York and back, and our flights often return to Ecuador in time for us to catch a late van into Cuenca. No flight options exist for us to get to Cuenca from Quito the same day. But we have west coast friends who get to Quito in time to make a connecting flight to Cuenca the same day.
I originate at PDX (Portlandia). R/T to Miami is less than $400. I' guess I will figure it out when the time is right. My wife is having a hard time adjusting to the idea of being an expat, though. But that's a topic for another day.
I was curious if any airlines are changing their flight schedules into Quito from NYC, Houston or Miami when the new airport opens in February. At this time there do not appear to be any changes. TX, I do not know if there are any reasonable hotel accommodations by the new airport so you might need to take a van into Quito for the evening. This makes point that to live in Ecuador you have to be flexible and accept some inconveniences.
You are right about hotels close to the new airport. From what I was told by the people in the area is that there are none. Also the roads are inadequate and they were possibly bringing people in buses to the new airport from the old one. This will cause a major cluster.... The place I have stayed at is about the same distance from both airports. And they arrange transport. So I hope to keep doing business with them. But in the future if we can find a good flight to Guayaquil for a decent price we may opt for that if the new airport at Quito is too big of a hassle.
Tex, I am flying American this June. Round trip is under a grand from Mpls. to Miami, to Guayaquil. I'll stay over night at Murali. They pick you up for 10 bucks, but, you could actually walk, as it's like 4 blocks from the airport. I'm just not gonna hassle with my bags, in the dark, for 10 dollars. Vans leave every hour for Cuenca. Going to have breakfast, re activate my Claro cell phone with the aid of the manager from Murali, and jump in a van. No hassle in the morning, which is a good thing. I have flown into Quito in the past, just thought the van ride would be nice through the mountains, and the proximity of the Hotel in Guayaquil and the flexibility the van service offers were a plus. Now my only worry is that American goes T's Up in bankruptsy and I'm left with out a ride! ( flight ) There is more and more talk daily of a merger, and I fear that route might be adjusted. As much as I'm not a big fan of American, they offer the only connecting flight out of MSP to Miami, then onto Ecuador. ( either Quito or Guayaquil ) I don't plan on using the return portion of my round trip, but found it was actually the cheapest way to ticket. I'd have loved to fly LAN out of Miami, and they have a pretty good price point, but... to get to Miami one way was prohibitive. Guess you have to play the game, and where you are flying out of is the biggest factor. Good Luck Neil
fdmcg, Thanks for the reply. I have to agree with your thinking as to the value to the airlines for that route. There certainly is no redundancy, and the demand seems to be going up every day. When I have flown into/out of Ecuador via AA, there is not an empty seat. Can't imagine anyone would want to abandon that gold mine. Stay Well, Neil
To all Americans. It's good to see posts from all over the States, as I am Canadian. I can fly 1 person, 1 way from Timmins, Ontario to Miami for about $200 BUT from Miami to Guayaquill costs over $500. Are there cheaper flights from anywhere else? Thanks Bryan
I don't collect miles because in Canada, it is faster and easier to drive than it is to book a flight using air miles. Just wondering if I can get Guayaquill cheaper from anywhere other than Miami. Would have to be an American International airport as I would be flying from Toronto.
I believe that Guayaquil has direct flights from Miami, New York, and Houston. There are also one stop flights from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago via Panama or El Salvador on Copa or Taca airlines.
This all has been quite helpful. One thing I'm realizing is that sites like Travelocity are apparently not programmed to find the best connections or prices to Cuenca. That kind of surprises me. I will check out KAYAK, though.
The only airline which will book you through to Cuenca is LAN, and you will still have an overnight in Quito of Guayaquil. National flights between Quito or Guayaquil and Cuenca are best booked directly at the LAN, AeroGal, or Tame web sites.
You people are terrific. All the info is helping us. We have decided on Miami to Guayaqull. My next need is a decent overnite hotel in Guayaquill, how, where and when to catch a ride to Cuenca so that we do the trip in daylight, as we want to see some country. Bryan
Bryan, I am staying at The Hostel Murali this coming June. They are 4 blocks from the airport. You could actually walk, but seeing as my flight lands after dark, and I'll have an extra bag, I scheduled to have them pick me up. It's 10 bucks, not a bad price,as they might have to wait some time for me to clear customs. They are very accomadating. The following morning after breakfast, the manager is taking me to get my Ecuadorian cell phone ( Claro ) re activated. Then, they will schedule the van service to Cuenca for me. ( $14.00 for the trip ) Vans leave every hour. It's nice because I will do everything at one place. You can check out the facilities on line. Again, I've had a number of email contacts with them, and they seem very accomadating. Check it out. Neil
We took a van from Guayaquil to Cuenca earlier this week with no problem. Issues between the van services and the police surface periodically. I'm not sure if the current problem has been fully resolved, but we encountered no complications.
I took a van from Quito to Cuenca as we had pets and had no luck getting any information using the local airlines for them. I do not recommend driving at night. It was the worst trip of my life. Rain, fog, going too fast, hairpin curves, nothing open for bathrooms, etc... So if you decide to do the trip by van, do it during daylight. It takes longer, but you get to see some sights and is much less dangerous. Just suck it up and realize the day will be all travel and dont get in a hurry. Looking at the Ecuador map it looks like a fairly straight road over the mountains. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is very little straight flat road the whole trip. It will take you 10 hours if you take your necessary stops, and traffic is always bad getting out of Quito. It is a very big city. If at all possible, fly. I took TAME a couple of months ago and was very pleased. You can book TAME, Aerogal, or LAN through Onetravel.com using a credit card. I couldn't use a credit card for TAME from out of the country. They do not have a very good website.
TX, I had to laugh reading about your Quito to Cuenca bus trip. Welcome to the third world where even the simplist task can be an adventure. Good tip to plan travel by day. Glad you (and hopefully pets) arrived safely.
We did arrive safely. My eardrums will never be the same from the blaring Ecuadorian music for 8 hrs. My buttcheeks are still sore from gripping the van seat for 8 hrs. Between the sliding van on wet hairpin curves, the driver taking a cat nap, the constant passing on blind pea soup fog curves was an ordeal. I heard my wife praying constantly when not moaning about being carsick. And the poor dogs were getting thrown around constantly from going too fast on curves. So if any of you are thinking of doing this trip at night to save time, DONT. I have posted my adventure/ordeal on another forum and facebook. I want everyone to know what they are getting use to. And if any women are thinking of doing this, the only bathroom open at 1-5 AM is the side of the road, if you can find a spot to pull over without getting killed.
The bottom line is that you did arrive safely. Think of the story you will have to tell your friends and family. Use it as a great life experience. Hope your Cuenca visit goes a little smoother but expect little snags along the way.
These van trips depend so much on the driver. They all drive aggressively, but we've had journeys like the one you described and others on the same highway that were totally fine. The young drivers seem to be the biggest knuckleheads when it comes to recklessness.