You can see car rental companies and Ecuador car rental rates below.
There are however numerous concerns about car rentals in Ecuador.
Car rentals in Ecuador create safety concerns. Ecuador drivers do not have the same lane discipline on mountainous that North Americans are accustomed to and you’ll not always find well maintained roads.
Road conditions, especially off the main highways are unpredictable especially after heavy rains. Mudslides CAN close and/or wash away roads.
This increases the odds of an accident. Heaven forbid that someone is hurt in a crash. Even if not… a fender bender in Ecuador can create inconvenience and delay.
The second concern about car rentals in Ecuador is that a driver and a car is more better transportation and is fun.
On our first trip to Ecuador about 15 years ago, our driver introduced us to La Mirage Garden Hotel and Spa.
What a find!
I have to give credit for this discovery to our driver Milton from the Hotel Quito. We had been given the name of another hacienda to check out for lunch. Milton ignored our instructions and took us directly to La Mirage instead. Perhaps this was because he knew that La Mirage was better. Perhaps he knew that the owner of La Mirage gives drivers an excellent lunch.
In those days (15 years ago) La Mirage was hidden behind a trash dump. We would never ever have ventured there without our driver.
Whatever the case, we are eternally grateful. We loved this 22 room hotel which sits on ten lush gardened acres surrounded by breathtaking Andean views.
The hacienda restaurant is not expensive, yet absolutely first class. Just stepping onto the property, we felt wonderful. La Mirage is a truly magical place and we take many of our delegates there. We have made life long friends with the owners and count La Mirage as our most precious find.
The third reason to avoid car rentals is convenience.
Ecuador scenery is spectacular. How can you enjoy it and drive without creating a risk?
Imagine trying to drive when views like this compete.
The views can be distracting!
Even some of the roads in (center of Cotacachi) have views that distract!
Such beautiful scenery and so many interesting sites create part of the challenge of driving on these roads.
Ecuador’s taxis are inexpensive and quite good.
Here is a Cotacachi Ecuador taxi.
When we send drivers to meet guests arriving at the airport, we send trusted taxi drivers whom we’ve come to know very well. They have driven from Quito to Cotacachi dozens and dozens of times without incident and brought hundreds of guests just like you to Meson de Las Flores.
Drivers will know if roads are blocked, the prettiest or fastest way to get places and they’ll know if there are any other surprises to see or avoid.
One reader who ignored our suggestion not to use an Ecuador car rental wanted to visit a city in the Amazon. He and his wife drove the lonely road there and spent the night. He had an important meeting in the US so planned to head back next day. On their way out, they came to a line of cars waiting. After sitting for over an hour, he asked what about the delay and was informed that the road was open only to traffic one way each day. “Tomorrow the road will be open to outbound cars,” he was told.
Not only did the reader miss his important meeting in the US, he and his wife had to spend the night in his car as the hotels in the town (not surprising since no one could leave) were full.
A driver would have known!
A consideration for car rentals in Ecuador is cost. The typical price for a car and English speaking driver who will guide you during the trip is $130 a day… plus providing the driver with a meal (a couple of dollars). Our drivers who are wonderful but not totally excellent in English charge $55-70. If you keep the driver overnight you’ll also be expected to pay for a room ($15 to $20). ( A lot of hotels though will willingly give your driver a room.)
As you’ll see below, renting a mini SUV in Ecuador can cost $132 day so a car with an Ecuador driver doesn’t cost much and may actually save money!
One Ecuador Living subscriber sent this note when they received a full report on car rentals:
Gary – I second, third and fourth your advice on hiring cars and drivers. Here are a couple of other reasons not to rent a car, except through an Ecuadorian driver and preferably in cash. (All examples taken from a personal friend who drives for us when we are Ecuador):
If you have an accident, you will be lucky if all that happens is a huge fine. Other outcomes may include cooling your heels in jail until you can come up with a “bond” or a lawsuit for real or spurious injuries or property damage from parties involved in the accident. Not to mention time lost while the matter is sorted out, in a language you don’t understand, by people you have to find and pay to help you.
Re that credit card charge, it may not be processed until you’re back in the States – you may be in for a big surprise when the bill comes.
In our experience, it’s worth spending whatever it takes to rent a bigger, more comfortable car with a more powerful engine. Because Ecuador is so mountainous, distances on the map are deceptive: You will be spending a lot more time on the road than you think if you planned your itinerary from the map. In our experience of a compact vs. an SUV, the compact left us crippled at the end of each day and the SUV was a LOT better on mountain roads.
Having offered this advice, here are details about Ecuador car rental rates.
AVIS has three rental rates.
2009 Yaris sedan.
Avis has the Mazda sedan for $86.40 a day including tax and insurance with no mileage charge.
They also have a Yaris sedan for $122.90 a day including including tax and insurance with no mileage charge.
You can see from the size of the Yaris sedan that a long journey may not be to comfortable and it costs almost as much as a car with an English speaking driver.
The 4 x 4 Vitara three door hatchback is $98.40 a day including including tax and insurance with no mileage charge.
The full size 4X4 Grand Vitara 5 door $132.90 a day including including tax and insurance but no mileage charge.
Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of JGAM and me in North Carolina this October.
Learn more about Ecuador.
Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina
Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.
Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition