How to travel from Guayaquil to Cuenca

Johan Klok | Last update:

There are several ways to get from Guayaquil to Cuenca: by car, bus, minibus, van, taxi, and airplane.

By car

There are two routes to travel from Guayaquil to Cuenca.

Guayaquil - Durán - Puerto Inca - Molleturo - Cuenca

To use the road between Durán and Puerto Inca, you need to pay twice $ 1.00 at a toll station. Near Molleturo, various restaurants are open until late and offer beautiful views over the coastal region. During the second part of the trip, you will elevate to over 4,000 meters in El Cajas National Park, which you will pass between Molleturo and Cuenca. The length of this route is 175 km and the total duration of your trip will be about 3.5 hours.

Warning: because the possiblity of landslides (especially when there is a lot of rainfall), it’s not recommended to drive at night between Puerto Inca and Cuenca.

road through El Cajas National Park
The road through El Cajas National Park.

Guayaquil - Durán - El Triunfo - Zhud - Cañar - Cuenca

This is an alternative route to travel from Guayaquil to Cuenca. This route has much more freight traffic because not all trucks are allowed to ride through the El Cajas National Park. The length of this route is 247 km and the duration of your trip will be about 5 hours.

By bus

Buses from Guayaquil to Cuenca depart from the Guayaquil Bus Terminal, Guayaquil’s largest and modern bus terminal that includes a shopping center and a food court.

You’ll find this bus terminal next to Guayaquil Airport. If you need to go from the airport to the bus terminal, it's recommended to take a taxi and no to walk because of security reasons. Unfortunately, taxi drivers usually ask too much for this short trip of fewer than five minutes. Take into account about $4.

Buses operate 24 hours per day and depart about every 20 minutes during the day and every hour during the night. The price is about $9, including luggage. Because the road through El Cajas National Park is currently closed, all buses have to take the longer route via Cañar. The travel time is about 5.5 hours. When the route through El Cajas National Park is available again, the travel time will be about 4 hours.

The buses are operated by seperate bus companies but the bus services are jointly provided under the name Atrain Alianza.

You can buy your ticket at ticket booth 51 in the bus terminal. You’ll usually receive a ticket for the next bus. Because the buses for Cuenca depart from level 2 (which means that you have to take an escalator twice), you may have to hurry once you have received your ticket. If you want to spend more time in the bus terminal, you should ask for a ticket for a later bus.

Cuenca Bus Terminal is the destination of the buses in Cuenca. From here you can take another bus, a tram or a taxi to your final destination. If you take a taxi in Cuenca, then take note that taxi drivers always have to use their taxi meters in Cuenca.

By van


Several companies operate vans between Guayaquil and Cuenca. The price is usually around $ 12 per person, including luggage.

The van operators are all located near the airport. To get from the airport to your van operator of choice, you should take a taxi.

Companies that operate vans between Guayaquil and Cuenca include:

  • OperazuayTur
  • PazhucaTours

It's always possible to ask the van driver to make a sanitary stop. The travel time with a van is about 5 hours, but some vans stop at a restaurant, which will increase the travel time.

By taxi

A taxi from Guayaquil to Cuenca costs about $120. The travel time is about 5 hours. Not all taxi drivers will offer this trip.

By minibus

Alianza Microbuses & Courier offers scheduled services with minibuses between Guayaquil and Cuenca. The price for a ticket is $12 for a single trip.

By airplane

LATAM offers daily flights between Guayaquil and Cuenca from June 2022. It’s also possible to first fly to Quito Airport and then from Quito Airport to Cuenca. LATAM and Avianca fly on both routes.