Ecuador car rental is available and becoming more and more popular. Major cities like Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca have several options.
Driving in Ecuador can be an experience in itself. My parents both drove while they lived in Ecuador. No accidents! Alert driving is a must at all times. Inexperienced drivers are everywhere!
Ecuador has been working hard to fix the inexperienced driver problem. They have set up a national driving school and made it a mandatory part of getting a driver's license. A big step up from what it had been...
When my dad got his Ecuadorian driver's license back in 1998, he walked into the transportation office and asked what he needed to do. They gave him a test that included crazy questions about Ecuador. Stuff like what's the national bird... I don't know if that exact question was on there, but you get the point. The test had nothing to do with driving. Since he was a Gringo without a clue as to these things, they handed him a test that was already filled out. They gave him his license and that was that.
It's not that way anymore. You actually have to learn how to drive before you get on the road. They even give psychiatric evaluations before they will give you a license. So hopefully with time the driving situation will improve.
I recently read a post on a forum about driving in Ecuador. The man was saying how calm and patient the people of Ecuador are.....until they get behind the wheel of a car. It is so true! Think you get cut off a lot now? Well you're in for an experience.
But you can drive safely in Ecuador. It all depends on you. Keep alert, be overly cautious and you'll be alright.
Ecuador car rental may be a good option if you plan to visit lots of out of the way places. Or if you plan quite a few long haul road trips. The bus system is great, but you can get to where you're going faster in a car.
We recently drove from Ambato to Tena. My husband took the bus with some cargo that wouldn't fit in the car. He left two hours before we did. We got to Tena within a few minutes of each other. A four hour car drive versus six hours on the bus can make having a car worth your time.
There are at least five major car rental companies functioning in Ecuador. They offer airport pickup in most cases. Of the five that I know of, only three have decent websites, which show vehicle options and allow you to reserve your car before heading to Ecuador.
Simon Car Rental has some great reviews from customers, including us. My dad has rented from several different agencies, but Simon Car Rental was by far the cheapest. Their website is easy to use and gives some good information.
If you're looking for a well known company try Avis, Hertz or Budget.
You must be 25 to rent a car in Ecuador and have a credit card and valid drivers license. Rates range from $15 (US) dollars a day to over $100 a day, depending on the vehicle you choose. Ask about insurance and unlimited kilometers. Check for any damage before leaving with the car and make sure the car comes with an aired up spare tire and jack.
In most cases you are not permitted to drive a rental car outside of Ecuador.
Avoid parking your car with any baggage in sight. If at all possible park in guarded lots.
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