08 hours 30 minutes
cultural site, museums, El Cajas national park
USD $ 18.49
Maximum comfort or class
6 Departures Daily
Price may fluctuate due to seasonal demand and other market-driven and regulatory events.
All you need to know about the Quito - Cuenca bus
Without a doubt, taking a bus through Ecuador is the best possible way to witness the phenomenal landscape for which it is so famous.
By traveling via bus from Quito to Cuenca, you’ll feel as though you are one with the beautiful and varied terrain of this stunning country, as you go from one location within it to the next.
True, a plane would be quicker, but it’ll also be much pricier and you won’t have made a real journey. Not like you do, when you go via the road.
That’s why at AndesTransit we truly believe that bus travel is the most authentic way to get about. It’s how locals travel and it’s how you should too!
You can use the Reserve Now button above to book your bus from Quito to Cuenca now, or maybe you would prefer to first check out our epic “Quito to Cuenca Bus Journey Guide” below!
What are the buses in Ecuador like?
It’s worth noting that the quality of buses in Ecuador varies notably. The cheapest buses are older model diesel-burning war horses and are admittedly quite uncomfortable.
Prepare yourself for exceptionally basic seating; which you may not get to use at all since passengers normally outnumber seats.
With regards to air-con, toilets or on-board entertainment facilities. Well: there won’t be any. Not to worry. The view will still be spectacular.
That said, if you’re after a more comfortable experience - one with a guaranteed seat and in a reclining chair at that, with air-con, clean windows, and functional internal lighting -- you should book yourself on the higher-priced carriers.
Fortunately, in Ecuador, the better buses are still surprisingly cheap. More on that later.
How long is the bus ride?
The ride from Quito to Cuenca is 469 km (291 miles) and should take roughly 8 hours if you take Executive Direct Shuttle (not actually a bus, but a private car service, taking up to four passengers) or 10 hours if you go with a bus carrier such as Turismo Oriental.
Of course, be willing to expect some potential variation in time, due to factors such as weather and any unforeseen incidents on the road.
We’ll assume you go with the stellar Executive Direct Shuttle (our top recommendation, more on this later!) and it takes you 8 hours.
That’s not too bad! There will still be enough of the day left to explore your destination after arriving there (or your departure destination if you prefer). Additionally, it shouldn’t eat into precious sleeping time!
The journey itself will be an incredible experience. Out your window, you’ll view blue and green hills, draped in rugged, windswept eucalyptus forests.
Pass through picturesque little villages containing houses that jostle for space amidst the ever-rising and falling terrain, their exteriors decorated in every color imaginable.
The entire time, upbeat Andean music will fill the bus, which will have made the exact same journey hundreds of times. You may even get some live musicians strumming their guitar and singing local folk songs.
In our airplane-dominated era, without a doubt, you’ll end up experiencing Ecuador in a way that fewer travelers will be able to say they have done: up close and personal.
What is the cost of traveling by bus from Quito to Cuenca?
The bus ticket from Quito to Cuenca can cost anywhere from $18 - $41.
Do take note of the fact there are several factors which affect price variation:
When you go
Most of the time with travel, weekends and holidays are a little more expensive. In the case of bus tickets between Quito and Cuenca, tickets are a better deal on Monday - Thursday & Saturday, whereas they’re slightly pricier on Friday and Sunday.
When you book
If you book these tickets way in advance, you won’t have to pay quite so much for them. Easy peasy!
Which Bus Carrier you Choose
As we said, there’s considerable variation between the quality of buses in Ecuador. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for! If you’re after a more luxurious experience - think air-con, reclining seats, toilets & more - you’ll need to pay a bit more. Considering how the largest price difference between buses is a mere $23, we think it’s pretty fair!
What are the bus schedules from Quito to Cuenca?
Latin American bus systems have improved significantly over the last ten years, but you’ll still need to bear a few things in mind.
Most importantly, try to maintain a good sense of humor as you remember that bus schedules in all of South America, not just Ecuador, are sometimes prone to change.
In addition, not every online booking system has schedules that are up to date; sometimes even the bus carriers' websites are out of date!
That said, if you use AndesTransit, you’ll never have any issues with bus schedules. This is due to the fact that we pride ourselves on a safety check system that involves personal relationships with all the carriers, so you will always get up to date bus schedules and a personal assistant checking with the bus carriers on your behalf to get the word of any rapidly changing conditions.
Where can I book bus tickets from Quito to Cuenca?
There are two options you have here:
Without any doubt, this is the fastest, cheapest and most reliable way of booking a bus ticket these days, making it a total no-brainer.
If you want to book yourself a ticket from Quito to Cuenca, just click the Reserve Now button at the top of this page to get your reservation done and out of the way in just a few clicks. Nice!
To be quite frank, we don’t really vouch for this option. Yes, it’s doable, but you could easily drag yourself down to the bus office only to find out that the bus time you wanted is no longer available. That involves you getting a taxi back and forth multiple times to get to the far end of the city when you should be spending that time enjoying the sights and your own R&R.
And unless you plan on leaving it to the last minute to find out, you’ll have to go twice, once to buy your tickets and later to get the bus.
Why book with AndesTransit?
At AndesTransit we truly believe in providing great customer service. That’s why, unlike South American travel agencies, our digital platform provides the most up to date bus schedules, while offering tickets and courier services at prices that work in your favor and respect your time.
You can tell that we make customer satisfaction our number one priority because we show you all the bus carriers, not just the ones that can be booked online through us.
Because really at the end of the day, what we want more than anything is to help you have the best possible journey, so you get the most out of your travels.
Slow travel to Cuenca means better travel. Traversing the ruggedly beautiful landscape of Ecuador to a historic city that is a mixture of spanish and french colony style will astonish you.
When it comes to providing the most comprehensive bus route information and making booking as easy as pie, we’re fully committed. We’re like the Indiana Jones of the bus route world, exploring and unearthing treasure so you can more easily get there too!
What is the best bus from Quito to Cuenca?
When it comes to our all-time favorite bus carriers running the Quito to Cuenca route, we have two:
ADN Shared Shuttle. This isn’t actually a bus, but instead a shared car service, capable of taking up to seven people. Despite the car being modernized and having air-con, it’s just $36 - which is infinitely less than you would ever pay for a taxi running this service. It is able to make the route in just 7 hours, 3 less than a bus would take. You’ll have all the perks of the bus, at less than twice the price, with faster travel time and maximum privacy.
Express Sucre. Our all-time popular choice bus service between Quito and Cuenca, the buses of Express Sucre have reclining seats, AC, fun music and/or a movie! At only $20 and taking 10 hours to make this route with a tried and true winner.
Private Express Shuttle: There’s also an exclusive option that you can get only at AndesTransit. For $230 you can book a private service in a 3-passenger vehicle. The service will take you to your destination safely in a vehicle that has enough room for all your luggage. The shuttle adjusts to your desired pick-up location, departure time and you can even request stops on the road to stretch legs. If you are traveling with pets, this is your best choice. Book your shuttle today and travel hassle-free!
What to see in Cuenca
Whether you are planning to visit Ecuador or already live in the 4-worlds country, take a look of what to do in Quito, dubbed the “Florence of South America”
A smaller city set in Ecuador's southern Andes mountains, Cuenca also boasts a mighty elevation, almost as high as Quito at 8,400 ft (2,560 m) above sea level.
Amazingly, there is archaeological evidence of human habitation in Cuenca that goes all the way back to 8060 BC when nomadic hunters lived in the area living off everything that the land offered to them.
Cuenca has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its many beautiful historical buildings. But that’s not all it has to offer. Let’s take a closer look at our top three activities in Cuenca.
#1 - Explore Museo del Banco Central Pumapungo
Pumapungo houses spectacular modern art downstairs, but it’s true gems undoubtedly lie upon the second floor.
Here, you’ll begin a fascinating voyage through Ecuador’s diverse indigenous cultures with colorful animated dioramas and reconstructions of what life was once like for the Afro-Ecuadorians of Esmeraldas province, Montubios (coastal farmers) of the western lowlands, several rainforest groups and all major highland groups.
The finale features tzantas (shrunken heads) from the Shuar culture of the southern Oriente, who supposedly shrunk the heads of their slain enemies to harness their spirit for strength in future battles.
You’ll also get to visit the archaeological park out in the back, where you can walk the extensive ruins of buildings believed to originate from the old Incan city of Tomebamba. You’ll walk away knowing a great deal more about the many peoples who have called Cuenca (although not always by that name!) home, over the ages.
#2 - Visit El Sagrario
Located across the park from the "New" Cathedral (which you should also definitely check out!) is the much older, El Sagrario, known as “old cathedral”.
That’s because its construction first commenced in 1557, the same year Cuenca was founded. In the year 1739, La Condamine’s expedition actually used its towers as a triangulation point to measure the shape of the earth.
A beautifully whitewashed, colonial-era building, with two twin towers reaching towards the heavens, now it serves as a museum and recital hall. In the back of the cathedral is the courtyard, where there are some remarkable photos of colonial Cuenca life.
#3 - Hike around Las Cajas National Park
Less than an hour out of the city is Parque Nacional Las Cajas, a stunning ecological reserve of tundra vegetation on a jagged hilly landscape, spattered with valleys and over 270 lakes and lagoons, which provide 60% of the drinking water for Cuenca.
There are a variety of fascinating animal species that make their home here, including the giant hummingbird (the largest hummingbird in the world), pumas, raptors, coatis, foxes, bats, cats and amphibians.
There’s also archaeological evidence of interregional roads from the Inca period as well as from the even earlier Canari Period.
The area offers fantastic hiking with eight easily identifiable trails available, most of which take around four hours to complete. It’s easy to climb up the sloping hills for spectacular panoramic views and often you won't even encounter anyone else here.