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Getting There

By Plane -- Tame (tel. 02/3977-100 central reservation number in Quito, or 06/2830-113 in Lago Agrio; www.tame.com.ec) has two daily flights from Quito to the small Lago Agrio Airport (tel. 06/2830-442; airport code: LGQ). VIP (tel. 1800/2376-425 toll free nationwide, or 06/2830-333 in Lago Agrio; www.vipec.com) has two flights daily Monday to Friday, and one flight on Sunday. The flight takes 30 minutes one-way from Quito, and the fare is $64 (£43) one-way, or $122 (£81) round-trip, on either airline.

The airport is located about 3.2km (2 miles) southeast of town. Taxis are always waiting to meet incoming flights, and a cab ride between the airport and downtown should cost around $2 (£1.35).

By Bus -- Buses leave from Quito's Terminal Terrestre for Lago Agrio roughly every half-hour between 6am and 11:30pm. Two main bus lines, Transportes Baños (tel. 02/2570-884) and Putumayo (tel. 02/2583-316 in Quito, or 06/2833-819 in Lago Agrio), make the run. The ride takes about 8 to 9 hours, and the fare is around $9 (£6). In Lago Agrio, the Putamayo station is located on the south end of town, on Avenida Río Amazonas and Avenida 12 de Febrero, while the Transportes Baños terminal is north of downtown on Avenida Progreso. 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. It's 88km (55 miles) from Quito to Baeza, and another 170km (106 miles) from Baeza to Lago Agrio. To get to the highway toward Baeza from downtown Quito, head north on Avenida Eloy Alfaro to Avenida de los Granados and then turn right. This road becomes Hwy. E20. Follow any signs to Papallacta, Tumbaco Baeza, or El Oriente. The ride should take about 7 hours.

En Route: A Stop at Papallacta Hot Springs -- If you're traveling to Lago Agrio or Coca by land, consider coordinating your trip so that you stop here for the night, or at least to take a soak in the Papallacta Hot Springs. These soothing sulfur springs ★★ are perhaps the best hot springs in Ecuador.

Getting Around

Taxis are readily available all around town. If you can't flag one down on the street, call Taxis Río Napo (tel. 06/2830-169), or have your hotel call for you. Fares should be just $1 to $2 (65p-£1.35) anywhere in town.

Orientation

Lago Agrio is a compact little city. There is a small park or plaza at the corners of avenidas 12 de Febrero and 18 de Noviembre, which more or less defines the center of the city. However, most of the hotels, restaurants, and tour agencies are located a few blocks south of here, along avenidas Quito and Colombia.

Fast Facts -- To contact the local police, dial tel. 06/2830-101, or 911 in an emergency. There are branch outlets of Banco de Guayaquil (tel. 06/2832-314; Av. Quito and 12 de Febrero) and Banco Pichincha (tel. 06/2831-602; Av. Quito and 12 de Febrero). Both have 24-hour cash machines. If you need any medical care, head to Clínica González (tel. 06/2830-728; Av. Quito and 12 de Febrero).

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.