The best driving routes, and driving times in Ecuador

This week I had the pleasure to interview someone that knows the roads of Ecuador better than ANYONE I know.

Jack Abercrombie, an American expat from Atlanta who has lived in Ecuador for over 7 years now and has a heavy-duty truck he uses to help expats move heavy loads of belongings within Ecuador.

With all the new roads in Ecuador, his tips are far better than any GPS I’ve seen.
Enter Jack.
Hey Jack, help us out, what’s the best way to get from the Quito Airport or better yet, my place, Quito Airport Suites which is just a few minutes from the UIO Quito airport, to Otavalo?
OTAVALO & COTACACHI

Sure Dom, Exit Tababela onto the roundabout and head towards the airport on the new airport road called the ‘Conector Alpachaca’ until just before the airport and take a left at the mini-roundabout there onto the other new road ‘ruta colloa’ , then watch for the signs to Otavalo after a few kilometers and veer right and up the panamerican highway all the way up.  Don’t go the way through Quinche, lots of traffic, dangerous curves!  AVG DRIVING TIME 2 HRS.

To get to Cotacachi just pass Otavalo and continue up the Panamerican a few more minutes until you see a sign COTACACHI and a turn off to the right which will veer left and go over an overpass.  Continue 10 more minutes, ABOUT 15 minutes from Otavalo.

MINDO

Whats the best way to get to Mindo from the Quito Airport Suites?


Take the new airport road called the ‘Conector Alpachaca’ until just before the airport and take a left at the mini-roundabout there onto the other new road ‘ruta colloa’ until CARCELEN in North Quito and continue you see an overpass and veer right (dont go under it) until the Condado SHopping Mall roundabout, make a right go north on Manuel Cordoba Galarza past Mitad del Mundo the road changes to E28 and hangs left and you ll be in Mindo in 1.5 hrs.  TOTAL DRIVING TIME 2 HRS.

THE NORTH COAST: PEDERNALES, BAHIA, ESMERALDAS

So do you recommend this route to get to the coast?  Pedernames and Esmeraldas?

Yes!  Beats the Santo Domingo route as that road has frequent wash outs and land slides and closures.  Plus they just completed the new road to Pedernales.

Get to Mindo.  Then pass it and continue westbound on E28… past Los Bancos veer left at gas station , stay on E28 to La Concordia, follow signs to La Independencia RUTA LAS VILLEGAS, get to 382 turn right, go north on 15 for Esmeraldas or south to catch the road to Pedernales, look for the roundabout and signs for PEDERNALES.

Once you hit Pedernales head south along the coastal road to get to Canoa or Bahia de Caraquez.  DRIVINGTIME 8-9 HRS FOR EITHER PEDERNALES OR ESMERALDAS.

THE CENTRAL COAST: MANTA, CRUCITA, SAN CLEMENTE

To get from the Quito Airport Suites to Manta and Manta area (Crucita, San Clemente)?

Exit Tababela on to main highway to the right towards Quito, (take E35 south) until PIFO roundabout. Go on  top of offramp to Baeza (or left on 28C), then after a few short kilometers take a right on E35 to SANGOLQUI until big hummingbird roundabout Tambillo E35 bypass Quito and go to E20 Aloag, follow the Santo Domingo signs South E25 bypass around Santo Domingo, tie back to 382 west , eat in Nuevo Israel, then continue until El Carmen bare left on E38 Chone follow signs to Tosagua 383 to Rocafuerte, road turns into E15 hang right follow signs to Manta.  Thats it, easy!  DRIVING TIME 9 – 9.5 hrs.

THE AMAZON: TENA

The Quito Airport Suites to Tena?  

Exit Tababela on to main highway to the right towards Quito, (take E35 south) until PIFO roundabout. Go on  top of offramp to Baeza (or left on 28C), pass Papallacta, Baeza then road forks E45 troncal amazonica take right going south, pass Archidona and hit Tena.  DRIVING TIME 2 HRS 45 MIN.

The mid-Sierras: BANOS and AMBATO


The Quito Airport Suites  to Banos/Ambato?


Whatever you do, SKIP GOING THROUGH INNER-CITY QUITO!  
Exit Tababela on to main highway to the right towards Quito, (take E35 south) until PIFO roundabout. Go on  top of offramp to Baeza (or left on 28C), then after a few short kilometers take a right on E35 to SANGOLQUI until big hummingbird roundabout Tambillo E35 bypass Quito and go to towards E20 Aloag on  AUTOPISTA GRAL RUMINAHUI back to E35 troncal de la sierra… (take the new bypass around Latacunga)… then follow route 493 which enters Ambato… for Banos take the  2 paso lateral to the left until E30 pass Pelileo.  Follow the signs.  TRAVEL TIME 3 HRS 30 mINS.

QUITO AIRPORT TO CUENCA

From the QUito Airport Suites to Cuenca?  


Follow the same route to Ambato as stated above and just continue south on the E35.  That’s the best route.  DRIVING TIME 10 HRS.

QUITO AIRPORT TO GUAYAQUIL

From the Quito Airport Suites to Guayaquil?

Follow the same route as to Manta UNTIL Santo Domingo, then make a left and go south on E25 to Quevedo … AVOID THE RIOBAMBA ROUTE AND THE LATACUNGA TO COAST ROAD lots of fog and rain.  continue to Babahoyo and then Duran then you’ll pop out at Guayaquil after 9-10 HOURS.


GUAYAQUIL to CUENCA

How about getting from Guayaquil to Cuenca?   Take the highway across the Samborondon bridge through Duran to 40A to route 25 to 582 through the Cajas national park, there are other ways to get there but they are not reliable.  DRIVING TIME 4hrs.

From Cuenca to Loja?

Take the one and only highway that connects the two, DRIVING TIME 4-5 HRS.

From Loja to Guayaquil?  

SKIP going through Machala as there is a reason to avoid the roads in this area if possible (security concerns).  Go back through Cuenca and down to Guayaquil.  DRIVING TIME 9-10 HRS.

From Guayaquil to the coast(Salinas, Montanita)?  

Its actually easier to navigate Guayaquil than most gringos make it out to be. Just get to the Mall del Sol in the Garzota part of town.  Then follow the AV. Juan Tanca Morenga north on out of town and follow the signs to LA COSTA.  Once on the coastal highway its a straight shot to Santa Elena, where you’d turn right to go up the coast to Montanita or head straight and veer left to go to Salinas.  DRIVING TIME 2 HRS to Salinas, 3 HRS to Montanita.

Hey Jack, tell us more about yourself and the services you provide?
Sure, as Dom said before, I help expats with heavy loads get from point A to point B in Ecuador.  My truck is designed for heavy loads while most Ecuadorians cars are NOT making them unsafe on with the loads on the slick Ecuadorian highways. In Atlanta I was a Union sheet metal worker and heavy equipment sales, contact me at Journeymanjack.com@gmail.com or call my local phone at 0988066508 (593988066508 from USA) … USA phone 7708287913…

 

 

 

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