Backpacking in Ecuador: Quitting Quito

Backpacking in Ecuador: Quitting Quito

I was on a money saver. Only the way I do. I’d gladly spend a few quid on dinner and beers yet neglect a bed for a night’s sleep. So that’s what my last night in Quito was all about.

I’d been to the New Town that day with Norbert, the German guy I met in the hostel. I’d been drinking with Blackburn Rovers fan Anthony in Finn McCools Irish Pub in the New Town.

On return to my hostel, Colonial House Hostel in the Old Town early evening I had already checked out of the room, but needed some time to sort out my bags, recharge my camera etc. So I chilled out doing that.

I was booked on a direct flight to Panama City at 6:35 am the next morning. As it was an international flight, obviously this meant getting to the airport at 4:35 am. So to save a night’s accomodation, and an early morning taxi I thought I might as well spend the night in Aeropuerto Mariscal Sucre, providing of course the fact that it would be open 24 hours (I had been unlucky in life to find a few airports, of which one was Sydney, which are not open 24 hours). To be frank, if you have forked out the money for a flight, staying in the airport should be no problem. I was even up for buying a snack, a beer and a coffee in the airport.

So I used the evening to pack, shower (thanks Ornelia and all at Colonial House Hostel), change, charge my camera and check the internet before I found out that Angela and 2 American ladies were on the last flight out of Quito that night (to Atalanta) and had booked a taxi directly to the airport. This gave me an easy and cheap route to the airport.

Less than $3 US Dollars for the taxi share and another nice experience of a traveller helping a fellow traveller – I knew there was a departure tax from Ecuador to another country (doesn’t matter which airport) and I had $40.45 US Dollars exactly on me, (having left aside a $10 note once I got through security/customs for my late night snack/beer/coffee etc.). I assumed wrongly that this would easily cover my departure tax.

But Angela alerted me at the airport that it was $40.80 and I’d have to break a tenner or get more money out (at a cost) just for the sake of 35 cents. Even better when she rocked up with 35 cents for me. “Just take it please” she said “I don’t need it, I’m heading back to the US!” and that was a nice gesture. I never got a photo of her or saw her again, but thanks, Angela.

Then came the search for somewhere at the airport to stay the night. Coming up to 11pm I wasn’t able to check in for my morning flight yet and had 2 bags on me. I was in luck!

There was a wee cafe/restaurant open 24 hours serving food and drinks with about 15 seats. As a bonus they had Premier League football on, so I watched Liverpool v. Wolves and Chelsea v. Bolton! Plus highlights of Wigan v. Arsenal. 

Apart from the staff there wasn’t many other people about so I could easily update my notes, watch football and relax!

I had a chicken burger which included a Coke and two coffees. I don’t think they did beer, but I didn’t want to fall asleep as I knew I had two flights the next day and would be reunited with my Colombian friend Felipe soon enough and catch up sleep later.

I checked in for my flight just after 4 am and daylight had hit Ecuador by 5 am. It still all felt like a dream. 

Once through security I marvelled in how quiet the airport was. I had as many seats as I wanted to myself, so in contrast to the previous paragraph I grabbed a wee bit of sleep. I also somehow got my MacBook (which was terrible at picking up wireless everywhere) to pick up the free airport wireless internet and updated status on Facebook and e-mails etc. Then a Californian lady (who had been to Belfast before) asked me to mind her bags as she went to the toilet. When she came back she jetted off to Mexico for a wedding.

My flight to Panama City left on time, before I arrived in the heat and humidity of another new country, one with a famous canal, the story of which appears here: Canal De Panama

I was treated to a free onboard breakfast before leaving behind the height and madness of Quito for the random experience ahead in Panama City…

From – Old Town, Quito, Ecuador

Via – Aeropuerto Mariscal Sucre, Quito, Ecuador

To – Panama City Tocumen International Airport

Transport Used – Taxi, Aeroplane

Strange Currencies – US Dollars (used as the main currency in both Ecuador and Panama)

Languages Used – Spanish

Nationalities Met – Ecuadorian, German, English, Swedish, US, Panamaniacs

Key Song – 

(this video by me):

(this video by someone else):

My Videos –






4 thoughts on “Backpacking in Ecuador: Quitting Quito

  • I love how you flew to Panama first before going to Colombia even though it’s located right beside Ecuador. Guessing it was much cheaper than taking a direct flight to Bogotá?

  • Hi Ray, My memory is hazy and I’d have to check my travel notes but Panama wasn’t even on my list on that trip. I seem to recall booking a flight from Quito to Bogota and every flight I checked gave me a Panama stop over, so I chose the one that gave me the longest stopover in Panama at the same price. I’ve been to Panama twice now, both times on those type of connecting flights! The crazy thing is, when Panama played Northern Ireland that was the time I should have went but didn’t. I have no real need to go back there now as I saw the old city, the new city and the canal and that hat-trick nailed it for me. I even wore a Panama hat. Stay safe. Jonny

  • Panama City seems to be popular layover route actually for South America. I had a several hour layover there and back on my trip to Peru in 2011. Didn’t realize it would be a popular layover route for anyone trying to get from Quito to Bogotá or vice versa. Glad you got to visit twice. I still have yet to visit Panama myself!

  • Hi Ray, I worked out long ago that geography and logic doesn’t always happen in travel. I will probably never get round to writing such things but my routes to some places via flights down the years just didn’t make sense. Like Poland to Greece to Morocco to Egypt or going from London to Dakar yet via Istanbul, totally the opposite direction. Panama City is a type of hub there and has a good airport. Safe travels. Jonny

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