Quito has a nice, new airport, but the flight schedules are such that it is common to have a long layover between connections. For example, we recently arrived on a flight from Bogota at about 1:30 in the morning and had to wait until about 6:30 AM for our connection to Cuenca. It didn’t seem long enough to justify a hotel room (we were not willing to wait for an evening flight) so we decided to tough it out and simply wait in the airport.
Both of us stayed awake during the wait as we were concerned about sleeping through our connecting flight if we allowed ourselves to nod off. In retrospect, it might have been just as efficient to find a room and get some sleep since we were exhausted and worthless the entire rest of the day. But it does raise the question of how best to spend the time between flights if you find yourself waiting in Quito. Below are some options we have tried on several trips.
Wait in the Airport
Just waiting in the airport is, of course, one option. We didn’t feel comfortable allowing ourselves to sleep during our wait, but there were others who were completely racked out on the benches sound asleep. There appeared to be no objection by the airport staff to this. The benches were hard and did not seem very comfortable, but there were some benches that lacked arm rests, which allowed people to stretch out full length.
Evidently, there are also lounges where it is possible to rest a little more comfortably or even shower. As far as sleeping in the main terminal, however, the benches seemed hard and the floor is not carpeted and so just as hard. The airport is also rather bright, but as I mentioned, people were sleeping under these conditions and no one seemed to bother them and they seemed to suffer no adverse consequences except for possibly a stiff neck. Click here to see a review of sleeping in Quito between flights. The Quito airport website may be found by clicking here. More information about the airport may be found by clicking here.
Near by Hotel
There is a Wyndham hotel about a five minute shuttle ride away if sleeping in the airport is not your style. See below for a short review of our recent stay there.
Low Cost Hotel Option
If you are on a budget, but sleeping in the airport does not appeal to you, there is a low cost hotel near by. The Quito Airport Suites can be reached in about ten minutes from the airport by taxi. Transportation cost is currently $8 each way and can be arranged by contacting the hotel.
Our room had a TV with a number of English language channels. Oddly, the English language channels all seemed to have shows about zombies the night we stayed there.
The hotel also serves meals, but we arrived late and had an early departure the next morning so did not get a chance to try the food.
I was a little concerned the taxi would be there at our 6:00 AM departure time as we had arranged, but the car was there already when I brought our bags down.
The night we stayed there we found the room to be clean and comfortable, although far from luxurious. It was adequate for a night’s stay and certainly beats sleeping in the airport, in my opinion.
Downtown Quito offers the widest range of hotel options. A taxi ride downtown takes about 45 minutes on the recently completed airport-city highway link and costs about $30. Clearly, staying in Quito is easier if your flight out is not too early the next morning.
If you have several free hours and just want to explore Quito a little without staying overnight, the airport conveniently offers a luggage storage facility. This lets you take off for lunch or possibly the city without having to lug around your suitcase or back pack.
Among the numerous hotels downtown, we recently stayed at the Hotel Sebastian, a comfortable, relatively low cost option. A recent blog post describes this in more detail.
We have also stayed a couple of times, several years ago, at the J.W. Marriott. This is the most expensive of the options listed, but offers everything you could want for convenience and comfort, including several in-house restaurants to choose from and a swimming pool as well as several small, boutique stores in the event you want to shop for souvenirs.
Staying downtown also opens up many possibilities for trying Quito restaurants or visiting one of the museums.
Review of the Wyndham Hotel
Our introduction to the Wyndham occurred in the airport arrival area where the hotel has a desk. This makes check in very easy and fast and avoids the potential aggravation of taking the five minute shuttle to the hotel and then finding it completely booked.
We were able to go directly to our room on the fourth floor, or club level, when we arrived at the hotel.
The hotel lobby was clean and modern as befitted a relatively new hotel. The cafeteria and the lounge area on the fourth floor offered impressive views of the Andes.
There were highways on both sides of the hotel. I was concerned there might be noise, but did not hear any traffic noises during our one night stay. The hotel either had good soundproofing or, perhaps more likely, there was not much traffic.
We had a free afternoon so hired a car and went into Quito for brunch at hotel Casa Gangotena, which was excellent (see the previous blog post). The car was $30 to Quito and the same to return as well as $10/hour for waiting and miscellaneous sight seeing.
Our room was not luxurious, but seemed perfectly adequate, especially considering our short stay. It was a step up from the Quito Airport Suites, although at a higher cost.
The breakfast buffet, included in the price, was not huge, but was, again, perfectly adequate. It had the requisite scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt, cereal and a good selection of fresh fruit.
Summary of our stay at the Wyndham Hotel
If I have another overnight stay in Quito while waiting for a flight connection, I will probably stay at the Wyndham again. For me, it offers the best balance of cost, convenience and comfort of the various available options.
It is more expensive than the Quito Airport Suites, currently the other low cost, nearby option, but offers more comfort and is closer to what most North American travelers are likely to expect from a hotel. It’s much more expensive than staying in the airport all night, but doing that once is enough for me.
There are a couple of other hotels currently under construction near the Quito airport. They will add greatly to travelers’ options when finished, but for the next year or two, the Wyndham is, for me at least, the best option for overnighters waiting for a connection out of Quito.