“But I was told if I bought a first-class bus ticket i could take as many bags as I wanted under the bus free.” A friend of mine recently implored at the Quito bus station on his way to Loja.
“Nope, sorry, thats not correct.” The bus attendent flatly stated.
He and his wife had about 20 bags. And they had been given bad information, but it was too late.
Like many these days, they were moving to Ecuador.
Final destination: Vilcabamba.
Touch-down point: Quito International Airport.
You see, Ecuador only has two international airports… Quito and Guayaquil.
Once you get your things from your home country to Quito or Guayaquil, what are your options?
How can you move your things both cheaply and securely once in Ecuador?
Here’s the best 6 options I know about:
1. Airline checked bags. When connecting domestically, the local airlines only allow one checked bag of 20 kilos (44 pounds) and one carry-on of 8 kilos (17.5 pounds).
After that, you have to pay $1.50 extra per kilo and maximum you are allowed only a second checked bag with TAME. With Aerogal, you can have more checked bags but there is still the $1.50 per kilo excess fee.
So with the airlines, for an extra 20 kilo bag you are looking at $33 to move it to your final destination in Ecuador.
2. Airline Cargo. Or just outside the airport in Quito or Guayaquil you can mail the bags through TAMEs Cargo department paying $.70 per kilo. No limit to how many bags you can send. They arrive the same day if sent in the morning. So that same 20 kilo bag would cost $14.
LAN, another domestic Ecuador airline provider, does not provide cargo services except from Quito to Guayaquil or to the Galapagos.
3. SERVIENTREGA. You could also mail that same 20 kilo bag via a nationwide service called SERVIENTREGA for $15 for the same 20 kilo bag or $17.50 for a 50 pound bag. The difference is Servientrega delivers your goods to a specific address anywhere in Ecuador door-to-door. And if they cant find the address you can still track the bag with a tracking number and go to the nearest office for you and pick your bag up. The nearest SERVIENTREGA office to the Quito airport is in the next small town over about 15 minutes from the airport called PIFO. In Guayaquil, Servientrega has offices right next to the airport heading towards the bus station. Usually the package arrives the next day after mailing.
4. The Ecuador Post Office. Ecuador does have a postal service that is getting more reliable called CORREOS ECUADOR. But you can only send packages or bags within Ecuador with a max limit of 30 pounds. Not doable for this situation.
5. The Local Bus Lines. Another option would be to do like most the locals do and send your bags as cargo with the bus lines in Ecuador. Pick a bus line with your desired destination and send it with them under the bus. They give you a receipt and then the person you name as the recipient will need to go and pick the bags up upon arrival. For instance, if arriving to Quito, the bus line LA LOJA with offices diagonal to the Hotel Marriot offer cargo service from Quito to Loja for $10 per bag up to 80 pounds. The bus line Reina de Camino was the cheapest I found to ship bags from Quito to Manta for just $6 per bag up to 60 pounds. They have their cargo offices on 18 de septiembre and Manuel Larrea near the Parque Ejido.
The PANAMERICANA bus line with offices near COLON y AMAZONAS in Quito ship cargo to Cuenca for $8 per bag. For many other destinations in Ecuador Id go straight to the cargo docks at the enormous Quitumbe Bus Station in South Quito.
6. The Freight Companies. Another interesting option would be to send your bags with the freight trucks in Quito although it is not necessarily cheaper than shipping with the bus lines. There is CITAL on Eloy Alfaro at the ENTRADA AL COMITE DEL PUEBLO in North Quito which goes to Loja, Zamora and other destinations in the far south of Ecuador daily from Quito… the cost is $10 per 50-60 pound bag to ship with them. And there is ORTIZ, currently the cheapest option I know of to get numerous bags from Quito to Cuenca, at just $4 per 50-60 pound bag.
So what did my friends do?
They paid the $10 per bag to ship their excess bags under the bus.
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