Chasing Dreams Destination Ecuador ~ Ecuador loves life. Travel Rambles Travel Tips

Transiting in Guayaquil, Ecuador: My Amazing Race from Cuenca to Puerto Lopez

Some cities can be intimidating, even for someone who grew up in one of the world’s speediest cities. Often, I lack the desire to linger in big cities, where the beats of life threaten to overwhelm all my senses. While I appreciate the liveliness and vibrancy of metropolises, travel for me has evolved over the years towards a yearning for quieter moments, reflections, and a chance to redeem some form of sanity. As such, I often find myself becoming the resigned transit passenger in big cities such as Guayaquil, Ecuador … …

Transiting in Guayaquil Bus Terminal


Arrival at Guayaquil Bus Terminal
My first fleeting encounter with Guayaquil happened at the bus terminal where my travel companion and I scrambled to find the bus to bring us to our intended destination after our 3.5 hour ride from Cuenca. There was only one bus bound for Puerto Lopez in the afternoon, and we did not want to be stranded.

In less than 30 minutes, we found ourselves departing the well-contained Guayaquil Bus Terminal, with a satisfied belly and relieved bladder. I had my first McDonald meal in four months since I arrived in Latin America. It felt like we accomplished the Amazing Race.



As the bus made a turn towards the expressway, upbeat latin music buzzed through the speakers, and marked the start of yet another long bus journey. I could not help but to marvel at the infrastructure and amenities of Guayaquil city.

Low or no expectations can be a great recipe for nice surprises. Despite my short acquaintance with Guayaquil, I appreciated the efficiency and convenience of a developed city plus the ease of transit.

Here’s sharing some travel tips when transiting in Guayaquil, Ecuador:


Located along the western banks of the Guayas river, the port city of Guayaquil is the gateway to the famous Galapagos island. For those who wishes to visit the alternative Poor Man’s Galapagos (accessible from Puerto Lopez) or coastal towns along the Pacific, you will most likely need to travel through Guayaquil – the largest and most populated city in the country. This regional hub provides easy travel by air, land and water.

I was travelling from Cuenca (a well-loved historic city recognised by the UNESCO), and there’s no direct bus to Puerto Lopez, hence the need to transit in Guayaquil.

How long does it take to travel from Cuenca to Puerto Lopez by bus?

Scenic view from bus during journey from Cuenca to Guayaquil
Cuenca to Guayaquil takes ~ 3.5 hours.
Guayaquil to Puerto Lopez takes ~ 4 hours.

6 Things to know when transiting in Guayaquil Bus Terminal:

  1. Be vigilant and keep a lookout for the signages.
  2. There are various ticketing counters that display the destination names. It definitely helps if you can speak Spanish, if not having an electronic/online translator can be helpful.
  3. Payment for bus tickets is in cash (USD), credit card payment is not common in Ecuador.
  4. Making sure you have small change can reduce chances of getting counterfeit notes, it does not happen often but be aware that it can happen.
  5. The bus terminal is well-marked and has many amenities including dining/takeaway options. There are retail shops too, if you have time to spare for shopping.
  6. Toilets are clean (if I didn’t remember wrongly, it is free).
Fast food joints within Guayaquil Bus Terminal

8 Important tips for intercity bus travel in Ecuador:

  1. Always keep your valuables with you (not in a bag underneath your seat or in the overhead).
  2. Stay vigilant and try not to sleep if you are travelling alone.
  3. Taking a window seat will afford you great views (and sometimes, fresh air depending on bus model).
  4. If you are travelling along the coastal area, sit on the right side of the bus, facing forward.
  5. From time to time, street vendors will board the bus at selected stops to sell snacks – some are legit, some are dodgy. Make your own judgement, but never let your guard down.
  6. You can eat and drink onboard the bus (which surprisingly are usually quite clean), don’t forget to bring your rubbish when you leave the bus.
  7. Some buses have a TV screen at the front of the bus to show movies while others will blast loud latin music. If you are not comfortable with that, it is best to be prepared and bring along ear plugs.
  8. Do not display your gadgets such as expensive cameras, laptops or smartphones; you never know when there is a syndicate onboard impersonating as passengers. Keep a low profile.

The above information is based on the author’s own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information on the destination, do check out the following sites:  


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