More on Ecuador Buses

by | Feb 19, 2011 | Archives

Here is an update about our warning on Ecuador.

Merri and I are in Quito speaking to…


the 400 plus delegates at International Living’s Ultimate Event plus…


as we do everywhere we go… always looking at real estate. This is a beautiful area we were inspecting in a cloud forest.

See details about the additional Cuenca real estate tour February 21-22-23 right after the International Living event.

We are always also checking out where it’s safe to be and not in Ecuador… hence our recent Three Ecuador Warnings article.

There was some great feed back about Ecuador buses and that recent message warning to be careful of Ecuador buses.

One reader wrote:

Hi Gary,  About the Executive service bus to Bahia and other places. I asked my Mom, who lives near Bahia, about the executive bus situation as well.  She (an American living in Ecuador) travel all the time by Reina del Camino Executive bus. Anyway, here’s her reply:

“Yes,  you are right.   There was a big accident involving a Reina bus but it was one of the other types (not ejecutivo).   They left Quito late one night after New Year’s.   They were way overloaded with passengers,  the road was slippery because it had been raining, and the bus went down a cliff coming down from that big windy mountain called La Crespa.   39 passengers died in the crash and many more were injured.   The bus driver also died.   It turns out that he was not the regular bus driver and, in fact, didn’t have a professional license.   Anyway,  the govt closed down Reina for a few months.

At first, it was supposed to be permanent.   However, the drivers and the passengers of the Ejecutivos were complaining because ones needed work and the others were finding it very hard to take the bus.   Reina has a huge participation in the bus routes of Ecuador, especially in Manabi. Finally,  the courts decided to get all the Reina buses checked,  the drivers had to take some special tests and their licenses checked and rechecked.   Then the company got permission to start up again.   So there is the story.   The buses are running better than ever.   I think it’s a steal to get a ride on the good bus like that for only 7 dollars although your Papa and me only pay 3.50 for tercera edad.  :) “

I do agree to stay away from public buses for the most part.  But the Reina del Camino Executive service, has established a great service for many years to long distance travelers.  We’ve taken the Reina Ejecutivo buses for years and avoid the other buses, even from Reina del Camino because the others are not very comfortable, nor do they have the same safeguards.  We do this because the service really is treated differently, and even at the terminals all is treated with security.  No one, other than passengers, is allowed to even get near the buses.  All luggage is ticketed, so it is very difficult for someone to take your luggage.  There is no stop for any passengers on the way, other than designated secure terminals.  The interior of the buses are Air Conditioned, darkened with thick curtains which you can freely open to view the scenery (which we usually do with our small kids), and usually play a movie, which the driver’s assistant has always been glad to play videos that we bring for the kids enjoyment.

Hiring a private driver is definitely more convenient, most of the time.  But for those looking at frequent trips, a $7 a ride beats $140 or more any day. Just this past November, my 85 Year old Grandma preferred to travel with me on the route mentioned, a five hour drive to Guayaquil (instead of driving our own vehicle).  This line does take the stress of long distance driving; and the comfort and security are unmatched in Ecuador.

As you point out, we always need to be careful.  As my bus traveling Grandma can testify, the key is to use street smarts.  Anywhere in the world.  I’ve been all over the world and I’ve been robbed in the U.S. (when I was young and naive), but not in Ecuador or any other developed country after I learned my lesson well.

Another reader stated:

We wanted to keep you updated on the the bus situation.  We have noticed that bus safety appears to be improving.  The short haul buses are still overcrowded but the long distance ones appear to have improved substantially. We travel by bus from Quito to Atacames and Tonsupa and back on a regular basis and have noticed that the bus drivers have not been picking up additional passengers. On 2 occasions the buses sold all their seats and they would not sell us a ticket for the bus so we had to wait for the next scheduled ones  So we are seeing an improvement.

We think it is important for your readers, especially the budget travelers, to be aware of this change because of the cost of transportation.  It is far cheaper to travel by bus to Atacames and Tonsupa from Quito ($8.00 per person) than by flying ($65.00 per person) and by taxi ($50.00 per person).  We do not necessarily feel safer with a taxi transporting us for the 5 hour trip as they have a tendency to pass other vehicles dangerously and generally drive unsafely because time is money for them.  The buses seem to take more care in that aspect.

Now that we have learned that the bus with the accident was overcrowded, had too much freight and that the weather conditions were rainy we have been selecting safer bus lines; the ones that are not picking up passengers after they leave the terminal.  We also have a look at the luggage area to see how much freight is being carried.   We learned that the extra weight contributed to the accident because the driver was trying to gear down to slow down and he couldn’t get it into the lower gear.

On our last trip the bus was delayed because the mechanic wheeled himself under the bus to inspect the brakes.  That,indicated to us that there is an improvement in mechanical safety on the buses.

If there was a plane crash recently would we tell travelers not to travel by plane. There are plane crashes, bus accidents, taxi accidents and vehicle accidents all over the world due to various inefficiencies. For every accident that occurs there is usually some sort of safely measure that increases.  Therefore we think it is premature to discount public bus travel out totally.  We don’t want visitors to assume that only people with a large traveling budgets are safe in this country. So let’s not make it difficult for the budget travelers to get from one side of the country to another by advising them to find other modes of transportation other than buses.

We think it is only fair to mention that some of the taxi drivers can be hazardous especially when they are weaving in and out of lanes.  By no means do we feel safer in taxis than buses…in fact some of the taxi rides we have had made the hair on the back of our necks stand up and our knuckles white especially since very few are equipped with safety belts.

These readers have some good points. I’ll stick with the warning to avoid buses in Ecuador. My experience over 15 years in Ecuador is that most readers who talked with me about long distance bus trips stated they wished they had not.  However… if you are a bus rider or your budget is critical or if you have been living in Ecuador for some time… you will have learned the ropes. You’ll know what’s right for you and the risks and rewards.

For most readers who are coming for the first time the three warnings are pretty important. I do not recommend coming to Ecuador on your first journey with a plan to back pack or ride around the country by bus.

Having said that I would not recommend to an Ecuadorian or any non American… or even an American to jump on a long distance public bus and travel around the USA.  Merri and I have a nephew who decided to visit us by Greyhound from New York to Florida.

Not only was the journey arduous and time consuming… but he was robbed of everything.

Regarding taxis driving too fast.  Again this is not just an Ecuadorian phenomenon. Riding with someone driving too fast anywhere can be scary!

First timers can use a hotel taxi. These may cost a bit more. Discuss with the staff before departure as you do not want the taxi driver to drive too fast… if this is a concern.

Here is one more email received about the three Ecuador warnings article from a long time reader.

Dear Gary…happy belated Valentine’s day to you and Merri. I wanted to thank you again for your newsletters, especially today’s message.  I have heard from a source that doesn’t personally know you (hear say) that you have been known to sugar coat life in Ecuador and not share negative stories.  I explained to the person who said this, that I know you personally, and enjoy your newsletters….and that perhaps (like he & I both) we have grown accustomed to life in Ecuador and share an appreciation, and tend to recognize the positive things, and perhaps overlook the negative or even forgotten about our transitional period.  He agreed that may be the case.  I couldn’t bring myself to tell you that “you were too positive about Ecuador” LOL, but this is an excellent reality check on facts and not necessarily opinions.  Thanks for sharing the naked truth, as I find it equally as important.

There you have it…  I sugar coat.  Actually I do because I have a really positive view of life.

I say some pretty nice things about the USA as well as Ecuador.

When I began building my sales team in Hong Kong in the 1960s one of my sales managers once expressed to me “If you step in a pile of manure you’ll find something good to say about it!” I have remembered that talk for over 40 years and try to continually refine the art of seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. I try to refine the art of seeing problems yes, but then seeing the opportunity the problem creates.

This effort has helped me though divorce… being broke… having my business ruined… tax audits… losing loved ones… the stress of too much work… the fear of war… lies… cheating… deceit and all the other dramas that almost of us experience and was so aptly and beautifully described by William Shakespeare.

There is robbery… fraud… accidents… deceit…lies… corruption… fires… floods…famines… violence and negativity everywhere. Yet life really is good.

Those who dine with Merri and me know that our grace always contains our thanks for all the positive energy given to us and the privilege we have in being able to share this. .

So here is the deal you can depend on.  I love the people… the beauty… the adventure and the bargains in Ecuador and in the USA (I happen to love Britain -my other home – a lot as well).  If I hear or see or read about readers doing something that I believe can bring them harm… you’ll read about it.  Otherwise mostly you’ll get good news… solutions to troubles…. opportunities from problems… positive things.  Hopefully our sites are a tiny counter balance to all the doom and gloom that get thrown at us from every angle every day.

You’ll have to look elsewhere for the bad stuff.  You probably won’t have to look too far.


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Besides having a lot of nice people to learn our new language; the methods Merri and you developed proved to be just what you said they would be.  We all and I in particular relaxed our way to new learning.  I feel so very comfortable with the basis of my new language skills that I know I will be spitting out great Spanish sentences by the time I reach Ecuador in October.  Last year I spent six weeks in Ecuador and now I plan on conversing with the people.

Today’s excerpt of your newsletter really hit home. You do what you say you will. There are no surprises or hidden sales tricks. The only tricks are beneficial to our learning.  Thank you for a wonderful experience that I was quite unable to grasp how you would pull it off.  You did, however, and I look forward to other courses that you offer, and I have absolutely no doubt they also will work beneficially.  Best regards, Denis Molloy.

Another wrote about the Super Spanish course:   Buenos Dias, here is a testimonial for Super Thinking-Super Spanish.  Please feel free to use all or part in promotions for the course.  In addition, you may give my email address to any prospect “on the fence” about enrolling.  Yesterday, in Cotacachi, Ecuador, I finished Super Spanish.  I had high expectations for the course and they were exceeded.

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Prior to leaving the USA, I had felt for some time that the pace of life there was unhealthy for me (and for most people) and I did nothing about it.

I’ve thought about the pace issue during the course.  One of the key elements Merri Scott designed into Super Spanish is placing the student in the optimal state for learning.  In class, the past three days, I’ve been re-introduced to guided journeys and introduced to the calming effects of Baroque music (  What a blessing! I’m inclined to make one or both a daily part of my life.   Rob Christi.  Cotacachi, Ecuador

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“I liked how simply the course was organized and the positive attitude about learning.  Thank you so much for helping me to learn Spanish!” Nadine Taylor

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Still not sure?

Take just ten minutes to let me prove to you that this super fast way to gain the basics can let you can communicate in Spanish in an incredibly short time.



Click here for FREE Super Spanish video.

The ONLINE Super Spanish course has our, full satisfaction or money back, guarantee. Try Super Spanish for 60 days.  If not fully satisfied, simply let us know for a full refund. 

The course is available at the highly reduced price of $149, but in this special offer we are knocking another $70 from the price so you can start now for only $79.  

Learn Spanish online $79 - using coupon code SPANISH70 at checkout to immediately save $70 off the regular price of $149.