For international travelers coming to Cuenca, you will first need to fly into either Quito or Guayaquil. Below, we explain the options for the final leg of your journey, getting from Quito or Guayaquil to Cuenca.
If you travel by air to Cuenca, you will first need to take your baggage through customs in Quito or Guayaquil, and then check in again at the counter for the domestic flight.
One thing to consider when deciding whether to travel by air, is the fact that the domestic flights are considerably late much of the time. It is wise to allow for a long connection time when returning by air from Cuenca so that you do not miss your international flight.
Important: A while back, an airplane skidded off the wet runway while landing after a rain shower. Since that time, Cuenca airport has begun a new policy of cancelling all flights when the runway is too wet. You run a high risk of having your flight cancelled if you come into Cuenca by air, especially in the rainy seasons.
The flight from Quito to Cuenca is approximately an hour. The following airlines offer flights between Quito and Cuenca:
Between the airlines, there are approximately a total of 6 flights per day. One-way airfare from Quito is approximately $65 – $140. Airfare can be considerably higher if you purchase tickets at the last minute.
If you find yourself stranded in Quito because flights into Cuenca are cancelled due to rain, you have a couple of other options:
For these reasons, we usually prefer to fly directly into Guayaquil, rather than Quito. Guayaquil is much closer to Cuenca, and Guayaquil offers easy alternatives to air travel.
The bus trip from Quito to Cuenca is 8 – 10 hours, so it is not a reasonable option for most people. There are several bus lines offering service to Cuenca, and buses leave from the main bus terminal at least once per hour. Bus fare is only $12.
The flight from Guayaquil to Cuenca is approximately 40 minutes. The following is the only airline to offer flights between Guayaquil and Cuenca:
There are flights only three days per week. On the days when they do fly, there is only one or two flights per day. The flights all seem to be at different times of the day, depending on which day of the week it is. One-way airfare from Guayaquil is approximately $40 – $60. Airfare can be considerably higher if you purchase tickets at the last minute.
It is also possible to fly indirectly, with a stop in Quito. The flying time is considerably longer depending on the connection time in Quito, and the price is quite expensive.
Since there are so few flights, and the flights are scheduled at irregular times on the days when they do fly, it may be difficult to coordinate the timing with your international flight into Guayaquil without having a long layover. It may be faster to take a bus, van, or private driver unless you are lucky with the timing.
The bus trip from Guayaquil to Cuenca is 4 hours. Be sure to ask for the Cajas route because the Cañar route takes an hour longer. The main bus terminal (Terminal Terrestre) is only about 5 minutes from the airport by taxi. A cooperative of several different bus lines that take turns departing, and buses leave approximately every 30 minutes. Buses run all night long.
The buses have reclining seats and are quite comfortable. There is a bathroom in the rear of the bus. Bus fare is only $8.
You can take either a shared van or a private van from Guayaquil to Cuenca. The trip by van takes only 3 – 3½ hours.
There are several companies offering a shared van service for $12 per person. The one we usually use is called OperAzuayTur, and they are only 2 – 3 minutes from the airport in a taxi. It would be an easy walk if it were not for the luggage. Any taxi driver will know where it is. OperAzuayTur has a van leaving every hour. OperAzuayTur vans leave from 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM weekdays, and 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM weekends.
There are other companies nearby offering shared vans, right along the same street. You may find some companies offering a lower price but beware that some companies may not be properly licensed as commercial shuttle operators. If the company is not licensed, you may waste while they take you on long detours in order to avoid police checkpoints.
Although the shared van is faster than a bus, it is not as roomy and comfortable as those buses with the reclining seats.
A private van requires an advance reservation. Most private drivers usually charge around $100 – $140. We can help you locate an English-speaking driver if you need one. OperAzuayTur, which operates a shared van service, also offers private vans for $80. However, most of the OperAzuayTur drivers do not speak English.
A private driver will take you directly to the condominium. Otherwise, you will need to get a taxi from the airport, bus terminal, or shuttle service office. This includes the shared vans, which drop you off at their office.
The address is Calle Larga 10-17 (y Padre Aguirre). Just tell the taxi driver “Calle Larga y Padre Aguirre”. It is better to have the address written on a piece of paper since most taxi drivers speak little or no English.
See the section entitled Taxis for more information on taking taxis.
When you first arrive, enter “21” on the callbox at the main entrance. This is the number for Cecilia Bogaard, our property manager.