Direct flights to Ecuador’s international airports in Quito and Guayaquil depart from a relatively small number of places outside of Latin America. In the United States, regular services leave from Miami, Houston and Atlanta; in Europe, they go from Madrid and Amsterdam. Higher prices are likely in the July to September high season and during December.
If you’re planning to include Ecuador as part of a South American tour, consider an “open-jaw” ticket, which lets you make your own way overland between your arrival and departure points. Popular combinations are Quito and Lima, or Quito and La Paz, and tickets cost about the same as a normal return.
Ecuador is too small to warrant its own airpass, but is included in larger networks, such as the LAN airlines Airpass (wwww.lan.com), which links LAN destinations and offers further discounts if you have a transatlantic ticket with them.
Flights from the US and Canada
While there are few direct routes to Ecuador, it’s easy to pick up connecting flights to the main hubs.
From the US, direct routes to Quito and Guayaquil are operated by American Airlines, LanEcuador and Aerogal from Miami; Continental from Houston; and Delta Air Lines from Atlanta. Avianca Airlines, Copa Airlines and Taca operate routes from other cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami, with changes in their respective hub airports at Bogotá, Panama City and San José.
Approximate flying times from the US to Quito without stops are four hours from Miami, and around five hours from Houston and Atlanta. Quito is about seven and a half hours from Toronto and Montreal, or about ten hours from Calgary and Vancouver. Prices range from around US$450 return from Miami, US$700–900 from Houston and CAN$900 from Toronto, but shop around, as prices can vary greatly.
Flights from the UK and Ireland
There are no direct flights to Ecuador from Britain and Ireland, but there are plenty of indirect flights to both Quito and Guayaquil involving a change of plane in either a European or American city. The US airlines fly via their respective hubs as discussed, while Iberia and Air Comet offer services via Madrid, and KLM via Amsterdam (stopping at Bonaire, in the Dutch Antilles). Other possibilities include taking a flight to South American hubs, such as Bogotá or Caracas, from where connections to Ecuador can be made.
Typical journey times are between fifteen and seventeen hours, with Iberia and American Airlines offering marginally faster services. You can expect to pay around £550–800 return including tax in the low season and £650–900 in the high.
Flights from Australia and New Zealand
There are no direct flights to Ecuador from Australia or New Zealand, though there are two main indirect routings, one via Santiago in Chile, the other via the US. The most straightforward is the Qantas/LanChile route from Sydney to Quito and Guayaquil, stopping in Auckland and changing in Santiago. Travelling to Ecuador by way of the US means changing in Los Angeles and then Miami or Houston. Another option is to fly from Sydney or Auckland to Buenos Aires with Aerolineas Argentinas and to pick up a connection from there. There are no real bargains on either routing, and connections can be complicated. Typical travel times are around 25 to 40 hours. Expect to pay at least A$1700 from Australia, and NZ$1800 from New Zealand.
Flights from South Africa
To get to Ecuador from South Africa, you’re best off flying to a South American hub, such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago or Lima, from where there are ongoing services to Quito. Johannesburg to São Paulo with Varig is a ten-hour flight costing upwards of around ZAR5000. From São Paulo there are direct flights daily to Quito with Taca, which take another eight to nine hours.