The new airport in Quito that opened in early 2013 has made the trip to Cotacachi a bit easier. Upon arrival, usually late at night, it is no longer necessary to pass through the streets of Quito to make your way north. With a good driver and light traffic, it is possible to get to Cotacachi within 1 hour and 45 minutes. Of course, that depends greatly upon how many slow moving trucks you encounter along the way on the mostly two lane mountain highway.
Our impressions of the Quito airport itself were very positive. Entering the country and passing through immigration and customs seemed more efficient. When departing from the airport at the end of their stay, hungry passengers will find a pizza place, TGI Fridays, and even a Johnny Rockets restaurant. Having passed through Miami earlier that day, an airport where things often seem very inefficient, the smooth passage through the Quito airport made us feel that we had just left the Third World and entered the First, rather than the other way around. All in all, the new airport is another reason to consider Cotacachi as a retirement destination.