advertisement

Getting There

By Plane -- Coca is just a 30-minute flight from Quito, and numerous flights connect the two cities. Icaro (tel. 1800/883-567 toll-free nationwide; www.icaro.aero) and Tame (tel. 02/3977-100 central reservation number, or 06/2881-078 in Coca; www.tame.com.ec) both have at least four daily flights from Quito to Coca Monday through Friday, with fewer flights on Saturday and Sunday. VIP (tel. 1800/2376-425 toll-free nationwide, or 06/2881-742 in Coca; www.vipec.com) has two daily flights from Quito to Coca Monday through Friday, and one flight on Saturday. These schedules are fluid and frequently altered according to demand. Fares run from $58 to $65 (£39-£43) each way.

The Aeropuerto Francisco de Orellana (tel. 06/2880-185; airport code: OCC) is located on the northern outskirts of town. Taxis meet all incoming planes; a ride from the airport into town should cost $2 (£1.35).

By Bus -- Various bus companies service the Coca route. The best is Transportes Baños (tel. 02/2570-884 in Quito, or 06/2880-946 in Coca), which has several daily buses from the main terminal in Quito to Coca. These buses go via Loreto, and the ride takes about 9 hours. Buses to Coca via Lago Agrio leave every half-hour between 6am and 11:30pm. Both Transportes Baños and Putamayo (tel. 02/2583-316) make this run, which is longer and takes about 11 hours. The fare via either route is around $15 (£10). Return buses follow roughly the same schedule.

By Car -- To get here by car, take the highway (E20) east out of Quito to the remote town of Baeza. Here the road forks, with the well-marked northern fork (E45) heading to Lago Agrio, the southern fork to Tena. You can get to Coca via either route, but it's faster to head south toward Tena, and then take the turnoff for Coca. To get to the highway to Baeza from downtown Quito, head north on Avenida Eloy Alfaro to Avenida de los Granados and turn right. This road becomes Hwy. E20. Follow any signs to Papallacta, Tumbaco Baeza, or El Oriente. The ride should take about 8 hours.

Getting Around

Taxis are relatively plentiful around Coca; no ride, including out to the airport, should cost more than $2 (£1.35). If you can't find a cab on the street, have your hotel call one for you, or try Taxis Amazónicos (tel. 06/2881-333) or Taxis Río Napo (tel. 06/2880-169).

Most travelers come here as part of an organized tour, or sign on for an organized tour with one of the local agencies. In this case, transportation down the Río Napo is included. However, it is possible to either jump on one of the regular water taxis that ply this river, or rent one for yourself. Motorized launches can be hired at the main dock at the end of Calle Napo. A boat holding 8 to 10 passengers should cost around $60 (£40) for a ride to most destinations along the Napo.

Orientation

Unlike Lago Agrio, Coca has a riverside promenade, or Malecón, which is quite attractive, albeit very, very short. You'll find a mix of brick and wooden walkways strewn with park benches and minor attempts at landscaping, running along the riverbank. The downtown area of Coca is about 6 square blocks, with the Río Napo defining its southern boundary, and the bus terminal defining its northern limits.

Fast Facts -- For police, dial tel. 06/2880-101, or 911 in an emergency. The hospital (tel. 06/2880-139) is on Avenida Labka about a half-mile outside of downtown. Banco Pichincha (tel. 06/2811-103), near the corner of avenidas Quito and Bolívar, has a 24-hour cash machine. There's also an ATM at the airport. The post office is on Calle Napo, near the corner of Cuenca. There are various Internet cafes in downtown Coca; I like Samy Café Net (tel. 06/2880-362), on Calle García Moreno, between Napo and Quito. You can get film developed in under an hour at Foto Coca (tel. 06/2880-179), on Avenida Amazonas and Rocafuerte.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.