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Many people prefer flying into Guayaquil. A 3-hour van ride or a 3.5-hour bus ride from Guayaquil to Cuenca is better for the passenger's health than the Quito to Cuenca bus ride of 8 1/2 to 10 long hours!

Busing it is not recommended for everyone, especially older folks and those who cannot or should not sit for long periods of time.

There are advantages and disadvantages for taking a bus from Quito to Cuenca.

The advantages are:

  • There is some beautiful scenery
  • It is cheap running from $8 to $20, depending on the time of day, the day of the week, etc.
  • Just like any other mode of transportation, it depends on popularity with passengers and what the market will bear.

The disadvantages are:

  • The bus ride can take from 8.5 hours to 10 hours.
  • Not only is this an extraordinary time to be sitting, it is not doing your circulatory system any good. This is a cause for deep vein thrombosis."As Katy Bowman, a scientist Organ Damage and author of the book: Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement, told Reuters: 'Actively sedentary is a new category of people who are fit for one hour but sitting around the rest of the day… You can't offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise."'
  • Some of the buses have been upgraded, with additional leg room between seats, but it is a gamble whether you will get one of the new or older buses.
  • It is rare for the buses to stop on the Quito and Cuenca route for a bathroom break.
  • Though some buses may be equipped with a toilet, they keep it locked for whatever reason. Sometimes pleading will get you in, but for urination.
  • If they are convinced to stop a bathroom break, do not expect it to be up to Northern American standards.

Read some stories on Gringo Post to verify this information.

Though we have not done this ride, we have survived, barely, 9, 10 and 11-hour bus rides in Bolivia in buses with seats that recline into beds. Even this was torture, causing me to see a chiropractor in Cuenca for two months.

If you are heart set on taking the bus, consider Andes Transit.
Duration of the trip: 8 h 33 min
Estimated cost: $8 - $20 USD
Hourly departures 
Schedule and rates are available at: www.andestransit.com

Flights - This schedule is just a sample and is good through April 2017. When you are ready, check the current schedule, but you will have a good idea of what is available. Hint: I generally find the best deals for seniors by using www.hipmunk.com or any site that has a senior option. Those that do not, chances are you will pay more.

Airport codes:

Quito UIO

Cuenca CUE

Guayaquil GYE

Quito

See Airport or Bus for directions to the condo

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