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Some Ecuador car prices are high… but Ecuador car prices are very misunderstood.

Non Ecuadorians cannot import cars into Ecuador duty free. Returning Ecuadorians can.  Previously expats coming to Ecuador were allowed one duty free car but only under the condition that they could not sell it for several years. This condition was violated so many times that this benefit was stopped.

So anyone other than returning Ecuadorians… if they want a car must pay tax.

First let’s look at car rentals.

Ecuador car rentals are not in our opinion the best way to travel in Ecuador. See why we do not recommend renting a car Ecuador car below.

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One reason why we do not recommend driving is we often see three drivers passing like this… all at once… round bends on the mountain roads.

Having written this warning let’s look at rental rates.

When you rent you may be asked to sign two blank credit card vouchers, one for the rental fee and the other as a security deposit, and authorization for a charge of as much as US$5,000.   The unused vouchers will be returned to you when you return the car.

Also be careful when dealing with some smaller agencies and always check the amount of the deductible on the insurance which may be up to US$4,000.

See more warnings about Ecuador car rentals below.

Last year, at about this time, Avis Ecuador car rental rates were:

Mazda sedan   $86.40 a day including tax and insurance with no mileage charge.

Yaris sedan     $122.90 a day including tax and insurance with no mileage charge.

4 x 4  Vitara 3 doors  $ 98.40 a day including  tax and insurance with no mileage charge.

4X4 Grand Vitara  5 door $132.90 a day including  tax and insurance with no mileage charge.

I used the Avis reservations service and applied for a week.

Here are the Avis car rental rates for July 2010.

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Hertz last year had the 4 x 4 Suzuki Terios Mini SUV  at  $117.20 plus 12% tax plus basic insurance of $7 a day or upgraded insurance at $15.  Hertz also charged for mileage over  appx. 100 miles (150 km) a day.

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I used the Hertz reservations system and booked the same week… leaving from and returning to Quito Airport.

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Here are Hertz Ecuador weekly rates for July 2010.

Budget Rent A Car last year offered the compact Nissan Almera  at $ 80.42 including tax and insurance. and free mileage with a minimum three day rental. A 4 x 4  Grand Vitara  is $106.42 including tax and insurance. and free mileage with a minimum three day rental.

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We also checked out Simon Rent a  Car.

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Last year Simon offered a compact Chevrolet Aveo  for $56.20 a day including tax and unlimited mileage plus 6.00 + 12% tax  a day for basic and medical insurance.

They had a 4 x 4 Rodeo $75.72 at a day including tax and unlimited mileage plus 6.00 + 12% tax  a day for basic and medical insurance.

Here is Simon’s quote for July 2010 for a compact… $265 for a week.

Be sure to note the deductibles on insurance.

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Here is their Class D (They offer A ro E) car quote.

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Note these important facts for all Ecuador car rentals.

You must:

Have a credit card.
Have a driver’s license that is valid for two years
Be 21 years or older
Have a passport or resident card (cédula).

You may be asked to sign two blank credit card vouchers, one for the rental fee and the other as a security deposit, and authorization for a charge of as much as US$5,000 may be requested against your credit card account. The unused vouchers will be returned to you when you return the car.

Be careful when dealing with some smaller agencies and always check the amount of the deductible on the insurance which may be up to US$4,000.

We hope to help you when you visit Ecuador… from buying a home to renting a car… and we recommend do not rent a car,  get one with a driver.  Drivers are delightful, knowledgable and often cheaper than renting a car.

Low local labor costs in Ecuador mean DYI does not make sense here. Get a driver… help create employment…. enjoy your trip more… be safer and perhaps save money.

Here are comments from readers about Ecuador car rentals.

Dear Gary:  I have rented a car from Budget in Guayaquil for 10 days with most insurance and even a little of mileage excess charge for $480.00. The key to savings is a reservation ahead of time. I enjoy your insight.  Thanks  Bob

Another wrote:

Hi Gary,  that was excellent advice on car rentals, just the fact that you would miss out on the beauty and the landscape while you drive is sufficient reason not to drive.  Maria

Merri and I have found some of our greatest experiences and places in Ecuador through our car drivers. A good driver knows the good and safe and the obscure.  Good drivers have a degree in tourism and know the areas where they drive… can provide social and educational background.  Good drivers can help if you have any problems.

Luisa Cordova Pino, operation manager at Columbus Travel can help you with Ecuador car rentals.

Phone/Fax: (593-2)2233754,2235095 Direct Line: (593-2) 2226612
Mobile: (593-9) 9709356
US TOLL FREE: 18774367512
Skype: luisa.cordova.pino
Columbustravel: www.columbusecuador.com
Haugan Cruises: www.haugancruises.com

Ecuador is a land of great beauty from scenic coastal drivers to mountain majesty. Whichever way you choose to see this wonderful country we wish you “Bien Viaje!”

Now let’s look at car prices.

Some Ecuador car prices are actually lower than in the US and Europe and the cost of having a car can almost certainly be less.

Take for example a brand new Peugeot 206 that sells in Ecuador for $16,190.

I am not sure this model is still sold in Western Europe but a used 2006 model Peugeot 206  with 36,000 miles and a 1600 cc engine is advertised for sale in England at almost $17,000.

Comparing cars in different countries is difficult, but this example shows that Ecuador car prices are not anywhere as bad as some people assume.

The higher the price of a car, the greater the difference in cost.  This is in part because the percentage of Ecuador’s duty rises with price. In other words a Mercedes may have 100% duty and a subcompact almost none.

Some cars are also partially assembled in Ecuador or other countries with trade pacts and the duty on these is reduced.

A brand new Ford Explorer XLT is advertised at $39,950 in Ecuador.  A quick check in the US shows the price in the $29,000 price range.

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Yet a new Ford Fiesta is offered at $13,990 compared to the $12,000 to $16,000 price that is expected when the Fiesta arrives in the USA next year. Fiestas in the UK run over $17,000.

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Ford Fiesta

Some cars seem really expensive to me.  The price shown for a Honda Odyssey minivan like Merri and I drive in the US appears to be double what we would pay in the US.  New Volkswagon Golf (called Rabbits in the US) GTIs seem astronomical as well.

Yet the asking price for a brand new Hyundai Atos Prime is only $10,290.

So depending on what you want, the price of an Ecuador car can be higher than in the US and Europe… or less.

Ecuador used car prices are not out of line either.

Here are several used Ecuador cars offered as of yesterday, August 1, 2009.

This 2000 Chevrolet Cheyenne pickup with 78,000 miles has an asking price of $11,000.

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Here is a 2005 Chevy Jimny with 35,000 miles at $11,200 asking.

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The 2001 Chevrolet Grand Viatra, with 58,000 miles has an $11,500 asking price.

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2008 Mazda Alegr0, 18,000 miles, $14,800.

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2006, Kia Cerato, 30,000 miles, $11,600 asking.

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2005 Toyota Corolla, 54,000 miles, $14,700.

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Previous articles at our site have mentioned that Merri and I do not have a car in Ecuador nor do we drive in Ecuador.

Though we prefer to hire drivers with cars, you can see from the prices above and below that those who want an Ecuador car will find them easily affordable.

If one takes into account the much lower cost of gas, insurance, parking and maintenance, Ecuador cars probably cost less to run than in the US, Canada and certainly are lower than in Europe.

You can obtain new Ecuador car prices for 239 different models, 220 used cars and  a list of Ecuador car dealers as an Ecuador Living subscriber.

Premium Ecuador Living subdcribers can go to the password protected car price site here.

Learn how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Keep in mind that buying cars in Ecuador requires a certain amount of tire kicking and horse trading… like most places in the world.  So the Ecuador car prices shown are asking prices. You’ll do better than the prices shown if you bargain.

Getting new cars in the US is one of my least favorite activities and thus far in Ecuador this task has been avoided.  If you feel you must have an Ecuador car… I hope this helps and send you good luck in your buying.Ecuador is a land of great beauty from scenic coastal drivers to mountain majesty. Whichever way you choose to see this wonderful country we wish you “Bien Viaje!”

Gary

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