Ecuador/busticket Loja - Piura
My husband and I are travelling to Ecuador this summer and we plan to travel South-America by bus, boat and train in the next couple of months. For that reason we've booked a one-way-ticket to Ecuador, but we need a proof of onward travel. As we are travelling without a fixed plan, we are looking for a cheap busticket that will prove we leave the country but what wouldn't do much harm if we decided to travel another route or date.
Can you inform us how we can purchase a busticket from Loja to Piura online or do you know a travel agency which can sell us bustickets?
Your advice is much appreciated,
In Ecuador one buys a bus ticket in person at the Terminal Terreste (local bus terminal). To my knowledge it is impossible to buy a bus ticket online. The national airline Tame flies from either Quito or Guayaquil (the 2 major cities) to Lima, Peru; Bogota, Colombia & Panama City, Panama but will only accept online payment from an Ecuador issued credit card. You MIGHT be able to do it through a travel agent but either of those 3 flights would be costly especially for 2 people if you are ONLY doing it so you can buy a one way flight to Ecuador & aren't even sure if you're going to use them. The other airline that flies out of Ecuador within S. America is LAN Airlines. I just did a quick check & LAN does fly to Piura BUT you have to start off in Quito, Ecuador & then fly to Lima, Peru & then from Lima to Piura so again it would be expensive especially for 2 people even 1 way & even more so if you're not even 100% sure you're using them.
Honestly, in the long run I truly believe the cheapest way that you are going to be able to do it is to buy round trip tickets from the Netherlands to Ecuador for either a little more or a little less time than you think you will be staying. Say 2 or 3 months then IF you want to leave sooner or stay longer then pay the airline what they charge for changing the ticket which IS on the expensive side. I believe American Airlines who I usually fly charged $250 per person. Of course there are open ended tickets when you can choose your return date later on but, as I am sure you've seen or heard they are about double the price of a regular round trip ticket.
Or, try to firm up your plans more for going to Peru or Colombia or Panama (wherever else you had in mind). That way you could book a flight either online with a credit card (perhaps through LAN Airlines) or maybe it might be possible through a travel agent on Tame. The only thing is, it LOOKS LIKE the majority of the flights going out of the country seem to originate from Quito which is in the north of the country whereas Loja is in the south & much closer to Peru. Perhaps if you were planning on visiting either Colombia or Panama you might want to book THAT flight instead from Quito. I am not sure where you are flying into. You didn't say whether you were coming in to Quito or Guayaquil. If you were heading straight south (to Loja, etc.) Guayaquil is closer especially if you were hiring a van & driver or taxi or traveling by bus. By Tame (the national airline) it's only a difference of about 15 mins. (flying to Loja) but, of course the price of the ticket is something like $20-$30 more from Quito than Guayaquil (going to Loja).
Another thing you will want to consider if you're planning on traveling around S. America is there are buses that will take you from Ecuador to Peru (for example) & they are cheap but the rides are VERY long & VERY arduous. If you are looking on a map & seeing the distance in miles or kilometers you might be thinking in terms of travel times (the same distance) on a good flat highway in the Netherlands. In S. America it is very mountainous. Some parts of the road are great, other stretches are bad. Sometimes if there is a lot of rain the good road is blocked by mud & the bus must take a bad road around. For many, many reasons such as the bus stopping & starting to let people on & off, flat tires, break downs bus trips such as Loja to Peru are probably a lot more than you have bargained for. You might want to visit less places but fly via Tame or LAN.
I have personally traveled as much as 27 straight hours on a bus in Ecuador back in 1997 & I am here to tell you it is not a pleasant trip. It's really tiring. A friend of mine traveled last summer from Loja to Macchu Picchu & they are young people & they said "Never, ever again!" It was just too long & tiring.
Since I know Ecuador pretty well & approximate distances, road conditions etc. maybe if you could give me a little bit better of an idea where specifically you & your husband want to visit in Ecuador & S. America I could help you a little as far as suggestions - when to use a bus & save money, etc. etc. Perhaps give you a few suggestions & so forth.
Hope I have been of some help. Please feel free to contact me again w/ more information & questions. I'd be glad to try to make your trip easier & more enjoyable & hopefully as inexpensive as possible.
Look forward to talking to you again soon Patty