Quilotoa Loop Panorama

Taking the Bus from Latacunga to Baños

When we wanted to take the bus from Latacunga to Banos after doing the Quilotoa Loop, there was little to no information available on the internet (especially for a direct bus). And whilst these two places are only 3 hours apart, we were annoyed that you could not just look up how to get between them easily, either through second-hand information or directly through a bus company’s website.

So to try and help those in the future who want to get from Latacunga to Baños, here is a little guide on the two methods we worked out (including the one that we actually took) to get between these two towns in Ecuador.

Bellevista Viewpoint Banos

Banos is beautiful once you arrive!

1. Bus Latacunga -> Ambato -> Taxi to Alternative Bus Station in Ambato -> Bus to Baños

When asking around our hostel in Latacunga, and then looking throughout the internet for an answer, this is generally the one that we were hit with. We would have to take a bus from Latacunga to Ambato (about two-thirds of the way to Baños), get a taxi to a different bus station, and then get another bus to Baños itself.

Seems convoluted and confusing right? We thought the same thing, though if you feel like giving it a go here are the directions for you:

1. In Latacunga, head towards the bus station which is situated back over the bridge as if you are going out of town and then to the left. In-between the bus station and the Santa Maria supermarket are many buses that all go to Ambato (they will yell it out don’t worry about that). Cost: $2.50

2. Once you reach Ambato, get into a taxi and ask to be taken to the “Bus to Baños”, or to the Mercado Mayorista (all of the bus companies have bus stations right next to this market). Cost: approximately $2

Amazonas Bus

Amazonas in Ambato can get you to Banos easy

3. You can now take a bus from here in Ambato directly to Baños, with many leaving throughout the day. We recommend using Amazonas. Cost: $1.50

With two different changes and two methods of transport throughout your day, this will get you to Baños, however we decided to try another option, which included…

2. Taxi Latacunga to “La Lateral” -> Bus to Baños

The second method and the one we ended up taking was a lot simpler than the ‘frequent’ method we heard about whilst in Latacunga. It involved getting from Latacunga to a spot on the Pan American highway called “La Lateral”, a roundabout around 10-15 minutes drive away from the centre of Latacunga. Directions include:

1. Take a taxi from anywhere in Latacunga and ask to be taken to “La Lateral”, which the drivers usually know as a roundabout just out of town on the Pan American highway. This is where all buses pass by going both south and north, so it can also be used to go to Quito, or further south than Baños for example. Cost: $3-$4

Latacunga Bus

“La Lateral” is the roundabout circled in red

2. From here, wait for a bus that has “Banos” plastered on the front of the bus, indicating that it is going directly there and will not require a change. Again, we recommend Amazonas who provide a great service with many buses throughout the day. Cost: $2.50

Waterfalls Banos

You will pass many waterfalls on your way to Banos from Ambato, like this one.

And that is it, the bus will drop you directly at the bus terminal in Baños which is right near the centre of town and easily walk-able to hostels in town. This method ends up being easier, and cheaper if like us you are a couple. It would be even cheaper if you had 3 or 4 people in your group!

Casa de Arbol Swing Banos

Once you reach Banos you can enjoy things like “Casa de Arbol” or the swing at the end of the world!

However you get to Baños, just make sure you head there – it is known as the adventure capital of Ecuador and makes for a great stop after having visited Latacunga to do the Quilotoa Loop hike.

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  1. Samuel

    Thanks so much guys! You saved us a lot of hassle! Came directly from Zumbahua/Quilotea and jumped off early at “la Lateral”. A bus to banos was already standing there. Cheers!

  2. Markus


    thanks for this info, maybe it could be necessary for me.

    As I read you stayed in Latacunga as well as Banos. Maybe you can give me a recommondation. My plan is to book a 2 day tour from Quito to Cotopaxi, hike to the Refugee Cottage, next day I want to hike to Quilotoa Loop.

    Do you think it makes sense to spend one day afterwards (maybe a second) in Banos? Are there spots they are absolute Must-See Places (excluding the activity programm) or do you think it’s better to spend a further day in Quilotoa for a walk?

    Best greetings from Austria

    • Tim

      Hi Markus, I’m sorry for the late reply! I wonder if you’ve already been through the area now… in any case my advice would be to do an extra day in Banos – there’s some really cool hikes around there as well (amongst other things) and it’s a nice change after the loop!

  3. cindy

    This is so fantastic. I have been planning my Loop trek all day and was wondering if there is an easy way to get to Banos…YAY! Thanks!

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