The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Ecuador

Ecuador is home to many interesting places to visit, including an array of museums. The National Museum of Ecuador, located at the Casa de la Cultura, has a variety of archeological treasures. The National Cathedral Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Maria Agusta Urritia House Museum are all good choices as well. You could spend the time at Galapagos Beach in Tortuga Bay, at the Basilica in Quito, the Devil’s Cauldron in Banos, and more.

Of course, getting to all of those locations can be tricky if you are relying solely on public transportation and buses. Many visitors choose to rent vehicles when they arrive in Ecuador, as it provides them with a much easier and more convenient mode of transportation.

The road conditions and safety

Many of the roads around the larger cities and towns are in good condition. They are paved and are easy to travel. However, the country also has a large number of gravel and dirt roads, particularly once you get away from the urban areas. For this reason, if you are going to be traveling through the countryside of Ecuador, you will want to consider getting a 4WD vehicle to make travel easier. This is especially true during the rainy season, which runs from January to May on the coast and the western part of the Andes, and from November to May in the Sierra and the main portion of the Andes.

Many of the drivers in Ecuador do not pay attention to the road signs or the traffic signals. It is common to have several drivers not even slow down at a red light. Many do not use their turn signals either. Therefore, you need to be very careful and wary of what other drivers are doing around you. In the city, the laws are obeyed more frequently, but the driving can get hairy once you get out into the rural areas and on the highways.

If you are going to be renting a vehicle in Ecuador, keep in mind that you need to have an international driver’s license. You can then contact one of the many car rental agencies in the country. They can provide you with the vehicle and insurance coverage you need. Be sure to keep their phone number and emergency contact number handy just in case you need to get a hold of them once you have rented the vehicle.


The traffic can be thick during certain times of the day. The list below shows the busiest times.

  • 8 AM to 9:30 AM
  • 12 PM to 1 PM
  • 5 PM to 7 PM

Speed limit and rules of the road

The speed limits are as follows.

  • Urban Areas – 50 km/h
  • Perimeter Roads – 90 km/h
  • Straight Roads – 100 km/h
  • Curvy Roads – 60 km/h

Drivers who are caught exceeding the limit may face a fine, or if they are going well over the limit, they could be taken to jail.

All occupants of the vehicle are required to wear seatbelts, and in order to drive the vehicle, you need to be at least 18 years old with a valid license. To rent a car, you need to be at least 25 years old.

When you head to Ecuador for your next vacation, be sure to check out the car rentals. They will make getting around the city and out into the country much easier and more enjoyable.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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