By Bus -- Buses leave Quito for Santo Domingo roughly every 15 minutes between 4:30am and 10pm, and somewhat less frequently during the remaining hours. Several bus lines work this route: Transportes Esmeraldas (tel. 02/2505-099 in Quito; or 02/2750-355 in Santo Domingo) and Cooperativa Zaracay (tel. 02/2750-244 in Quito, or 02/2763-716 in Santo Domingo) are the main providers. All buses leave from the main terminal (Terminal Terrestre). The 3-hour ride costs $3 (£2).
Santo Domingo is also connected by frequent bus service to cities such as Guayaquil, Ambato, Ibarra, Esmeraldas, Manta, Pedernales, and Portoviejo. Less frequent direct service runs between Santo Domingo and Bahía de Caráquez, Cuenca, Lago Agrio, Coca, Mindo, and Riobamba.
Santo Domingo's main bus terminal is located about 3.2km (2 miles) north of the center of town, just off Avenida Abraham Calazacón, near this avenue's intersection with Avenida Esmeraldas and Avenida de las Tsachilas. Taxis are always available at the bus station. A ride to downtown will cost $1 (65p).
By Car -- If you're driving from Quito, start off heading south on the Pan-American Highway (E35), until the intersection at Aloag. From here, head west on E30 straight to Santo Domingo de los Colorados. The road from Aloag descends precipitously and provides a mix of hair-raising white-knuckle switchbacks and spectacular views. On a clear day, you can even see the Pacific Ocean in places. The ride should take about 2 1/2 hours.
From Guayaquil, you can head to Quevedo on either Hwy. E23 or E25. From Quevedo, E25 continues on direct to Santo Domingo. From Guayaquil, the trip takes around 3 1/2 hours.
Taxis are plentiful in and around Santo Domingo. A ride to or from the bus station, or anywhere around downtown, should cost $1 to $2 (65p-£1.35). Flag one down on the street, have your hotel call one for you, or try Taxis Progreso (tel. 02/2750-531).
For a cheap city tour, you can hop on any bus marked CENTRO or TERMINAL, which will run a short circuit around town, and between the central plaza and the main bus terminal. The fare is 20¢ (15p).
The main road from Quito enters Santo Domingo and becomes Avenida Quito, which passes through the heart of the downtown area. The central plaza is bordered by Avenida Quito on the south, and has the city's Catholic church on its north side. The park here is large, with paths and benches set amid gardens and grass lawns. There's a large market area several blocks west of the main plaza.
Fast Facts -- The post office is on Avenida de los Tsachilas, near Calle Río Baba. There's a branch of Banco de Guayaquil (tel. 02/2761-212) at the corner of avenidas Quito and Abraham Calazacón, and a branch of Banco Pichincha (tel. 06/2751-277) at Avenida La Paz and Calle Santa Rosa. Both have 24-hour ATMs.
To contact the police, dial tel. 02/2750-225. The regional hospital (tel. 02/2750-336) is located at Km 1 on the road to Quito. Several Internet cafes are located around the downtown area, as well as near the bus station, and most hotels in town also offer access.