My husband and I will be in Ecuador in February. We are not familiar with the road conditions or traffic. We don't have the time to take busses so we either need to drive or hire a driver (very expensive). We will be traveling from Quito to Otavalo, (flying from Quito to Cuenca), Cuenca to Canoa and then back to Quito. We have driven in many countries, but wanted your thoughts regarding driving in Ecuador.
We have the same plan. We have our trip to Ecuador in May, and searching for rental car is so expensive. Going from one place to another buses are our only option
Check one of VT member, she has a good info about Ecuador [original VT link]
I have travelled in Ecuador five times, but I always use public transportation, so I can't give any personal good advise on driving in Ecuador.
However, Panamericana (running from the north to the south of Ecuador) is in many places a multilane road and seems easy to drive. On smaller roads surrounded by mountains it occurs landslides, but last time I was in Ecuador I remember they were working hard to reinforce the road sides.
Driving from Cuenca to Canoa is a very long drive, but if you take the road from Cuenca to Guayaquil over Cajas National Park you will see some stunning views.
Great information.....thank you!
I don't have a lot of road pictures, but here are some, and maybe they can help you to get an indication of the road conditions.
1. Along the way from Bahia de Caraquez to Quito
3. Salango (a village on the coast)
5. Petrol station near Machachi
6. Near the village Chontal
7. The road past Laguna Quicocha
8. Near Ibarra
Do you by any chance know if we need an international drivers license?
If the rental car company is following the law, yes, you need an International Diver's Permit for Ecuador. But just like many countries, some agencies are more strict than others. And even if the agency lets you rent without, by law you need one if police stop you. Since your American, it will take you 15 minutes at AAA office for $15 if you're a non-member or $10 if you're a member (cheaper to bring your own passport photos since that's an extra ~$8)