Working with tourists and new arrival expats in Ecuador on a daily basis at my hotel near the airport in Quito, It never ceases to amaze me how everyone comes to Ecuador for an adventure, thinks they are adventurous yet are quick to follow the same beaten path of everyone else.
Same goes for when they rent cars and drive in Ecuador.
-From Quito to the coast, most go through Alaog-Santo Domingo- Chone. Lame and dangerous (lots of trucks, traffic and landslides.) And for anyone who has passed through Santo Domingo, you know it’s a sh#t hole.
1. Instead, go from Quito through Mindo, Los Bancos, and on to Pedernales (or cut down to Chone/Bahia). Much more scenic, less traveled, no trucks, with nice pit-stops along the way like the middle of the world monument and Mindo. (Almost takes the same amount of time, maybe one hour longer than S. Domingo route).
-From Quito to Guayaquil, most go once again through Santo Domingo and on down through Quevedo and Babahoyo.
2. Instead, go from Quito through Latacunga on down through La Mana-Quevedo-Babahoyo. The descent is breathtaking, be sure to do it in the daytime, and the road is good and there are almost no trucks or traffic.
-From Quito to Cuenca most go straight down the pipe through Ambato, Riobamba then Alousi. HORRIBLE way to go. No places to eat. Always foggy, very curvy and dangerous, lots of trucks.
3. Instead, go the way NOBODY goes, but I just did, and it was great. Go from Quito to Ambato, then on to Banos then on to Puyo in the Amazon region and on down to Macas and then over to Cuenca. Took about the same amount of time as the normal route mentioned above (7-8 hrs), yet NO traffic, NO trucks and NO fog. Plus, much better scenery and more good food options along the way. The road is new, great and straight for most of the way! For a long time the road was bad so I think that is why most Ecuadorians don’t use it. You can even see orchids along the sides of the roads as you go.
Now you too can go the road less traveled by in Ecuador.
Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,
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