Some of the best motorcycling roads in South America are found in Ecuador. A dual-sport motorcycle for both paved and unpaved roads is a great way to get places that you wouldn't want to take a car especially a rental. A ride through Ecuador will bring constantly changing temperatures and riding conditions. You should be ready for hot sun, heavy rain, hail and even snow! You'll want a riding jacket with a removable liner and be sure to dress in layers. Add and remove the layers as you move up and down in altitude. Be prepared with two pairs of gloves, one for hot weather and one for cold. A riding day can vary in temperature from 90 degrees to the low 30's as you cross the country and change altitude.
Taxis are widely available. Taxis are generally yellow and have the taxi license number prominently displayed. Taxis in Quito have meters fares under $1 are rounded up to the minimum fare of $1. Agree upon a price before getting in or ask the driver to use the meter often cheaper than a negotiated rate; short trips generally don't cost more than $1 or $2, and you generally shouldn't end up paying more than $10 per hour, if that, for longer trips. Evening rates are often double. As with any country in Latin America, or the world for that matter, don't ride an unlicensed taxi.
Domestic flights to major cities on the mainland costs from $50-100 one-way, and there are often round trip promotions for about the same price. You can find domestic flight schedules online at individual airlines' schedules on their sites. Flights between the biggest cities are in jets, and some of the smaller cities are served by prop aircraft. The domestic airlines in Ecuador are LanEcuador, Tame, Aerogal and Saereo. Most of the airlines in Ecuador offer excellent service and relatively new planes. You can buy domestic air tickets from agents or directly from the airlines - some sell tickets online and you can buy them at the airport or ticket offices for those who don't.
Hitchhiking is possible in Ecuador. A lot of people drive pick-ups which you can easily throw your backpack into if they give you a lift.
On roads not frequently serviced by buses, cargo trucks may take on riders or hitchhikers, either to ride in back or in the cabin. In some cases the driver charges the going bus fare, in others he may simply be taking on a rider for the company and refuse a fare.
Over the last 5 years a massive investment has been made to re-build the road network. It has had amazing results. From some of the worst roads in the world, Ecuador's highways now rank with the best and their beauty is unsurpassed. Most international car rental agencies have a presence in all Ecuadorian cities and both international and national local airports. Driving though Ecuador is the only way to truly see it.
However, Ecuadorians use a cavalier fashion of driving one finds in European countries. Buses and trucks frequently slow down highway traffic. For those who would like to avoid this, it is a simple matter to hire cars with drivers for reasonable prices everywhere, whether through your hotel or a tourist office. In cites, taxis are always plentiful and very cheap.
Beware, people who have travelled to Ecuador prior to 2010 will not know any of these changes and will try to dissuade you.
Intercity buses travel to almost everywhere in Ecuador. All the intercity bus routes and schedules are available online at LatinBus.com or andestransit.com. Many cities have a central bus terminal, known as the terminal terrestre, where it is possible to buy tickets from the various bus lines that serve the city. Long-distance buses typically cost from $1 to $2 per hour, depending on the distance and the type of service; groups may be able to negotiate discounts. Buses are frequent along major routes.
Reservations or advance purchases usually aren't needed except during peak periods such as holidays. The bathroom on the bus, if any, is usually reserved for women. However, it is permissible for men to request that the bus make a stop so that they might relieve themselves. The bus rides themselves are often quite beautiful, through mountain views in the clouds. These altitude changes cause many of the same ear pressure problems which are associated with an airplane ride.
The bus driver will stop along the way to board additional passengers. Many buses arrive at their destination with passengers standing in the aisle. There are a few first class buses, called "Ejecutivo", which cost a little more than the regular buses. They are generally more comfortable and safer.