Domestic Flights, Airports and Airlines in Ecuador

Domestic flights in Ecuador are reasonably priced and a fast way to get around this small Andean nation. Domestic flights, except those to the Galapagos, rarely cost more than USD $120 round trip.

Most travelers base their trips to Ecuador out of Quito. As of February 2013, Quito has a new International Airport, Mitad del Mundo Airport, which is nearly a one hour drive east of Quito near the town of Tababela.  35 buses per day will be running from Ave. Los Granados via Avenida Simón Bolívar to the Tababela terminal. The buses will leave every 20 to 30 minutes, cost $8-12 per person, and be set up to carry passenger luggage. There is a new road and bridges being built, so possibly in 2014, transportation time may shorten considerably.

Once you get to the new Quito airport, traveling from Quito to la costa (the coast) or to el oriente (Amazon), or most anywhere in Ecuador is a short 30-minute plane ride away.

Expect incredible views, particularly if you are passing over Ecuador’s breathtaking “Avenue of the Volcanoes” on the Quito-Cuenca flight.

Flight schedules change frequently, so check the websites of the domestic airlines below for the destinations and times of flights.

Flying to the Galapagos Islands

Flying within Ecuador, with the exception of the Galapagos, is quite easy and affordable. For Galapagos flights, there is a two-tiered system where foreigners can expect to pay more than double what nationals pay. As an independent traveler finding availability can be challenging as tour operators usually reserve seats months in advance, fully booking most flights. If you go on a Galapagos cruise or organize a Galapagos land based tour, your tour operator almost always reserves your flight for you.

There are two airports on the Galapagos Islands one on Baltra, which is used to access the adjacent Santa Cruz Island and its main town, Puerto Ayora. The second airport is on San Cristobal, next to the main town Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Most tours and cruises define where you fly into and out of for you.

Ecuador’s Domestic Airlines

Tame has flights to almost all destinations in the country including: Guayaquil, Quito, the Galapagos, Esmeraldas, Manta, Portoviejo, Machala, Cuenca, Loja, Tulcán, Coca, Lago Agrio, and Macas. Their website almost never works for buying flights, so try booking with a travel agency instead. Tame, pronounced tah-may, is Ecuador’s national airline, and has pilots straight out of the air force.  Their reputation for maverick maneuvers is anything but tame.

Aerogal, a local airline recently bought out by a Colombian consortium, flies to/from Quito, Guayaquil, Coca, Manta, Cuenca, Lago Agrio, and both Baltra and San Cristobal Islands in the Galapagos.  Aerogal’s  website is about as reliable as Tame’s, which means it’s best to have a local travel agency book for you, unless you happen to get lucky.

LAN Airlines is a Chilean based airline who started to offer domestic flights in Ecuador recently.  The airline is very professionally run, and their website actually works to purchase flights. Beware though, if you select your country as being outside Ecuador on the website, you may get highly inflated prices, frequently several times the price of reserving the flight while in Ecuador. Domestic flights, except those to the Galapagos, rarely cost more than USD $120 round trip, make sure you’re not getting gouged.


Updated 2 February, 2013 by Jason Halberstadt