Thursday, January 27, 2011

Buses and Propane – the gaseous vapors of Cuenca

The blue buses—at 25 cents a ride (exact change, por favor) --  deliver people all over the city and are a dominant part of Cuenca.  In the morning, it’s not unusual to see an indigenous woman sitting with her basket full of fruits/veggies ready for the market.  You also see many “estudiantes” on the bus, and every time they click through the bus entrance with their card, a recorded female voice says “estudiante.”  Then there are the gringos (no names mentioned), trying to figure out if they are on the right bus line, and there are a multitude of others who know what they are doing.  

There are 28 bus lines at the moment, and there are probably three to four buses per line, so one does not have to wait longer than ten minutes for a ride.  However, you have to know the bus routes so you can choose your entry and exit points.   As good as they are, there is a downside.   .  Look out for the buses!  They dominate the street traffic, and the drivers are aggressive.  They also provide a layer of diesel fuel soot that seems to permeate everywhere.  See pics.
Blue buses dominate the traffic along with yellow taxis.
Buses serve passengers along Pres. Cordova St.

Note the diesel exhaust

Propane is the fuel in the homes and businesses.  See the pic in our house – one container to run the propane stove and  clothes dryer and the other to provide heated water.  It’s hot water on demand – turn the faucet on and the propane heater kicks in.  The propane providers drive their vehicles slowly down the streets – honking their horns.  People come out with the empty containers, and the exchange is made. Filled containers are inexpensive (from our viewpoint) – two dollars.

One tank for the hot water and the other for the stove and clothes dryer. 
Honk! Honk! Need Propane?

This propane tank deliverer can access the tight places.


  1. Thanks Julie, you got pictures that I need to send to my friends. I am going to link it to FB.
    Have fun in Cuenca!

  2. The bike looks cool, but the seat looks less than ideal.

  3. Are you in/on the Galapagos?! Juleen and I have been impatiently awaiting word. Look forward to las historias.


  4. So much the same and yet, so much has changed!

    With the construction of the TranVia, many of the buslines have changed or consolidated and the city hasn't issued new maps in over three years!

    I took it upon myself to create an entire atlas of 28 different bus routes to help tourists and newcomers out.

    Check us out at