This post is different from our others. Since we’ve received so much value from others who have shared the nitty gritty details about their travel expenses, we thought we would return the favor to the travel universe. So, if you’re just following us to keep tabs on where we are and what we’re up to, you can probably skip this one. If you’re travelling, or planning to be, and looking for another perspective on the cost of travelling in Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama, then read on.
Atacames is a local-tourist beach town among several beach towns on the northern coast of Ecuador. Thanks to a tidal river, the main parts of town are divided with the beach and town sides of the river joined by bridges. We stayed on the beach (or playa) side at the Casa Chill Inn (aka Hostel Chill Inn, and our first hostel … ever).
We spent 2 1/2 weeks in San Alejo, a small fishing village between San Clemente and San Jacinto. Here are a few final notes about this area.
Today we travelled up the coast of Ecuador approximately 293km on a trip that Google Maps says should take just under 5 hours. Here’s how we did it (all prices are for two people):
- Taxi from San Alejo to San Vicente–30 minutes/35km, $20
- Bus from San Vicente to Pedernales–2 hours/110km, $8
- Moto taxi from where we arrived in Pedernales to where the next bus was parked (surprise to us that they weren’t in the same terminal)–5 minutes, $1
- Bus from Pedernales to Chamanga–1 hour/55km, $4
- Bus from Chamanga to Atacames–2 hours/99km, $8
- Moto taxi from Atacames to our hostel–5 minutes, $1
At first, finding food can seem a bit challenging in San Alejo. The nearest SuperMaxi (large grocery chain) is a 45-minute bus ride away, there are no mercados in town, and the small tiendas that are here are often not open. Despite the challenges, we have managed quite nicely here–mostly cooking for ourselves, eating out here and there, and taking advantage of the treasures in our midst.
We arrived in San Alejo, late last Sunday afternoon, by bus from Guayaquil with a ticket to San Clemente ($8.50), as we were advised by our host. The San Clemente stop was an almost-deserted intersection. From there we had no instructions for getting to our accommodation for the next two weeks, The Cottages by the Sea. I talked to a couple of people (everyone who was on the street at the moment) and learned that the address I had in San Alejo was back a ways, not far, but too far to walk with our suitcases. We pondered our predicament, having no way to contact a cab, when miraculously one appeared and we flagged it down. $2 to San Alejo, which turns out to be a tiny fishing village between two other small fishing villages: San Clemente and San Jacinto.
Getting around Ecuador is quite affordable with several options available. Flights between major cities are short and ticket prices reflect that. Buses are cheap, can be very comfortable. you don’t have to endure airport security or arrive two hours ahead, and you get to see a lot more of the countryside. From Cuenca to Guayaquil, and as we explore the Ecuadorian coast before heading to Quito on November 28 for our flight to Colombia, we will be moving around this country mostly by bus.
Today was our last day in Cuenca. We said goodbye to a very comfortable AirBnB suite, grabbed a cab (caught one of the taxi drivers as he finished eating breakfast from the red pick-up truck that parks across the street every day and serves up breakfast), and headed for the Terminal Terrestre (bus terminal). Cab ride: $2. Before we leave Cuenca, though, our last thoughts on this city.
We walked a couple of blocks to the bus stop to catch either the #12 or #100 for the roughly 9km, 30-minute ride to Baños, a village southwest of Cuenca known for its hot springs. We caught the #12 (25 cents each), which we knew followed a much less direct route, but it was fun to poke in and out of new areas of Cuenca. [We caught the 100 back, which was about 10-15 minutes quicker.] Cuenca’s interactive bus map is a great way to figure out which buses go where. Buses will only stop at the blue Parada de Bus signs and the interactive map shows where all of these stops are.
We walked the 3km to Museo Pumapungo today. A fixture on top-things-to-see-in-Cuenca lists, Pumapungo comprises a modern museum, Incan archeological ruins, and a botanical garden/aviary. Entry is free and they are open Tuesday to Sunday, but check hours before you go.