Ecuador car rentals are something we avoid so before we look at the rentals let me try to talk you out of using an Ecuador car rental.
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.
There are three reasons not to use Ecuador car rentals.
The first reason not to rent an Ecuador car rental is safety. Ecuador drivers are lane discipline challenged. Drivers from North America are in an unfamiliar atmosphere, distracted and do not know where they are going on mostly curvy, mountainous and not always 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 reason to avoid Ecuador car rentals is that a car with a driver works better.
On our first trip to Ecuador about 15 years ago, it was due to our driver that we discovered Cotacachi and 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!
Another reason to avoid Ecuador car rentals 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.
Finally Ecuador traffic laws are getting tighter as well and could also lead to jail.
Traffic cameras are now being used in Ecuador and are moved around the country. A photo of the speeding car can lead to up to three days in jail.
New traffic regulations create a fine of appx. $15 for jaywalking and if a pedestrian is accused of causing a traffic accident the pedestrian can be held in jail during investigations.
How harshly these regulations will be enforced is unknown.
Speed limits are: Urban areas – appx. 30 mph. At appx 10 miles over the limit can cause three days in jail.
Perimeter roads – appx. 55 mph. Above 75 mph can cause three days in jail.
Straight highways – appx. 60 mph. Above 84 mph can cause three days in jail.
Curvy roads – appx. 37 mph. Above 45 mph can cause three days in jail.
I asked our attorney, Dr. Andres Cordova, to clarify. He replied: Dear Gary: Due to a high rate of traffic accidents in Ecuador authorities have decided on a crackdown on speeding, drunk and reckless driving. As is sometimes the case here, I believe the authorities have gone beyond the limit. While this should certainly put some drivers in line, jail time for speeding seems too harsh. It’s one thing to go 10 over the limit and another to do 100mph in the middle of the city. I am not sure if the measure will stand but many people have actually slowed down because of it.
There is a 10kph (6 mph) tolerance and above such you risk being ticketed and eventually, taken to jail for 3 days. Radar detectors are illegal in Ecuador.
There are limits for urban areas and limits for highways. The limits change depending on the vehicle driven. Public transportation and trucks need to go slower.
Having offered this advice, here are details about Ecuador car rental rates at the time this article was posted. Be sure to check for current rates.
AVIS has three rental rates.
2009 Yaris sedan.
Avis at the time of this article had 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.
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.
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 when you rent a car, it is with a driver. 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. Drivers add a wonderful dimension of knowledge, safety and fun to a lovely trip in Ecuador.
Learn Spanish in Three Days ONLINE
Instant $110 discount on the course!
The “Learn Spanish in Three Day Course” is now available online.
Read below to see why we are offering our Super Spanish course online for the first time.
Speaking Spanish is a huge benefit on its own. You can become one of the rare North Americans who can get along in Spanish speaking countries. You can be one of the special people who can communicate with 10 million non-English speakers in the USA. Spanish is the second most used language in the USA. There are more Spanish speakers than speakers of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and the Native American languages combined. According to the Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language of nearly 50 million people in the US. This is the largest Spanish-speaking community outside of Mexico. Only half of these speakers also speak English “very well,” and 19% do not speak Spanish at all.
You can tap into all this potential when you speak Spanish. Yet there are more benefits.
An article in England’s leading newspaper, the Telegraph, entitled “Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism” (1) sum up the biggest benefit of learning a second language and increased intelligence. The article says: “Learning a foreign language is more than just a boost to your CV or handy for traveling. It will make you smarter, more decisive and even better at English. Physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process. The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits.”
The article then explains studies that show seven cognitive advantages gained from learning a foreign language.
#1: You become smarter
#2: You build multitasking skills
#3: You stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia
#4: Your memory improves
#5: You become more perceptive
#6: Your decision-making skills improve
#7: You improve your English
Does it sound impossible to learn Spanish in three days? Yes, it is impossible when you try to learn Spanish in the old, traditional way.
Though you may choose to take more time using this course to learn Spanish, thousands of our readers have learned at our Spanish courses.
There is a scientific method of learning… proven and described in numerous best selling books that create educational jumps by making education natural, easy and fun. This course works because it is education without stress!
This method was created and refined by the Bulgarian educational master, Georgi Lozanov, who transformed the entire Soviet educational system to such a degree that this third world country beat the USA into space.
Merri was lucky to be one of a handful of students outside of Bulgaria who were allowed to be taught this system in the early 70s. She practiced this unique and remarkable form of education for four decades. It was a delight!
Merri and I began integrating these techniques with other shamanic and educational tactics we had gained in our global travels and then applied them to teach Spanish in three days.
The course has been proven again and again by the thousands who have used this system. You can read a few of the many raves we have received from delegates who have learned from the Super Thinking Spanish course we created.
Here are a few quotes from delegates of the course.
One delegate from St. Louis wrote: Hi Gary, Just ended forty-five years in dentistry last week, and I’m on to a new career. What is my new career? Still formulating, but the eye -opening,mind expanding Super-Spanish course last weekend in St. Louis surely shows me the opportunity exists to expand my horizons.
Besides having a lot of nice people to learn our new language; the methods Merri and you developed proved to be just what you said they would be. We all and I in particular relaxed our way to new learning. I feel so very comfortable with the basis of my new language skills that I know I will be spitting out great Spanish sentences by the time I reach Ecuador in October. Last year I spent six weeks in Ecuador and now I plan on conversing with the people.
Today’s excerpt of your newsletter really hit home. You do what you say you will. There are no surprises or hidden sales tricks. The only tricks are beneficial to our learning. Thank you for a wonderful experience that I was quite unable to grasp how you would pull it off. You did, however, and I look forward to other courses that you offer, and I have absolutely no doubt they also will work beneficially. Best regards, Denis Molloy.
Another wrote about the Super Spanish course: Buenos Dias, here is a testimonial for Super Thinking-Super Spanish. Please feel free to use all or part in promotions for the course. In addition, you may give my email address to any prospect “on the fence” about enrolling. Yesterday, in Cotacachi, Ecuador, I finished Super Spanish. I had high expectations for the course and they were exceeded.
After three days, I can speak Spanish in complete sentences. In simple conversations, such as buying groceries or ordering a meal, I can make myself understood. I think that’s incredible!
Although I am far from the competence level of a native speaker, I feel I’ve taken a giant step forward in learning Spanish so that I can experience the people and culture of Ecuador. The foregoing benefits would have more than justified the time and money I invested in Super Spanish. And learning some Spanish was not the most important benefit I got from the course.
Prior to leaving the USA, I had felt for some time that the pace of life there was unhealthy for me (and for most people) and I did nothing about it.
I’ve thought about the pace issue during the course. One of the key elements Merri Scott designed into Super Spanish is placing the student in the optimal state for learning. In class, the past three days, I’ve been re-introduced to guided journeys and introduced to the calming effects of Baroque music (www.sundaybaroque.org). What a blessing! I’m inclined to make one or both a daily part of my life. Rob Christi. Cotacachi, Ecuador
Another attendee from a course wrote: “I took this incredible class a few weeks ago, and I would like to tell anyone that is interested, that it is an amazing three days of learning with lots of laughs included. You leave everyday wanting to learn more and are so excited to do so.
“Other Spanish classes and tutoring made us feel like it would take forever to get to the point where we could put it into practice, but this method gave us a more fluent use for everyday life almost immediately AND the confidence to use it. It is a fantastic way to show people how much they know and give confidence to learn and use Spanish creating a momentum.
“They made learning Spanish easy and fun in a very relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. I would definitely recommend this course. Even if you know some Spanish, this helps make it easier because of the less stress that no verb conjugations gives you. This gives you more confidence in yourself to try and speak it more.
“The stress free atmosphere and tons of interaction and participation were very conducive to learning. The relaxation techniques alone are worth the price. The fact that I can now feel more comfortable conversing in Spanish with my new friends and neighbors is priceless. Muchas, muchas gracias.”
“I loved the relaxed environment. I picked up quite a lot of new vocabulary. I found this course very informative about how the language works, how I can make sentences and understand others better! Muchas Gracias! I had a call from Telcel (the local phone company) after our second class and I was able to speak and understand them for the first time. Despacio (meaning slowly) … a great word! Everyone should take this course before they pick up bad habits.”
“I liked how simply the course was organized and the positive attitude about learning. Thank you so much for helping me to learn Spanish!”
“I liked the laid back yet professional approach. I highly recommend this new, relaxing method of learning Spanish, I feel a lot more confident in the delivery of my words and sentences. It was taught in an excellent and very professional way.
“It was a very enjoyable class.”
How The Course Works
The first tactic is to use Baroque music in the learning process. At least three best selling books, “Superlearning”, the “Mozart Effect” and “Superlearning 2000” have revealed insights about how to learn and think more powerfully based on systems drawn from the Bulgarian educational master, Dr. Georgi Lozanov. Merri Scott was among just a few who learned directly from Lozanov.
The second tactic uses 17 unique lessons to provide Spanish fluency in a short time. Let me prove to you how this tactic works by teaching you hundreds of Spanish words in less than 30 seconds.
Here is the proof.
“Most words in English that end in ION are almost identical, just pronounced differently. For example action is accion, education-educacion, manipulation- manipulacion, etc.”
There you have it. How long did it take you to read the sentence? You now know hundreds of Spanish words that you will never forget.
See examples of the words you already know below.
How long would have taken you to memorize all those words? How soon would you have forgotten them?
This is just one of seventeen Spanish lessons in the course.
The next lesson teaches how to pronounce each of the nouns.
Then, the third lesson teaches almost as many verbs, almost as quickly.
The fourth lesson shows how to avoid conjugating verbs by sticking with the infinitive (far easier than it sounds). This simple lesson leaves a person sounding like a Spanish professor without ever conjugating a verb.
Lesson five shows how to sound infinitely polite and yet get almost anything desired in Spanish.
Lesson six gives valuable connectors and the seventh lesson triples the Spanish capacity with three words for “yesterday,” “now” and “tomorrow”.
By the end of three days you feel comfortable speaking Spanish.
Plus the system is Impro-Dynamic. This means your Spanish keeps getting better even though you do not seem to be studying… practicing… or speaking Spanish.
I was amazed by this as I traveled back and forth from the USA to Ecuador. The longer I was away from Ecuador… the better my Spanish became. My second language was automatically improving. The self improving feature comes because you learn to create Spanish sentences rather than remember them. The portion of the brain that creates is more powerful than the portion that recalls. When your mind creates something… it owns it! You do not have to remember .
During the course you learn 4005 Spanish words that you already know .
You then learn how to create Spanish sentences from these words.
Throughout the course you learn how to pronounce the sentences you create.
When the course ends… the mind keeps working… and creating… so next time you begin to speak Spanish you’ll be surprised . You improve even though you have not actively worked on your lingual skill.
Due to the difficulty of getting groups together to learn this valuable technique, we created an online program for subscribers to use the Super Spanish course at home. Normally $149, this is available at the highly reduced price of $79. Simply use coupon code SPANISH110 at checkout.
I’ll be in touch personally via email with each person who signs up for this course to see how it works or what is required to make it better. Once this test is complete, we plan to offer the program on a larger scale and at a much higher price.
The ONLINE course has our, full satisfaction or money back, guarantee. Try Super Spanish for 60 days. If not fully satisfied, simply let us know for a full refund.
Learn Spanish online $79 – using coupon code SPANISH110 at checkout to immediately save $110 off the regular price of $149
Here are more testimonials from previous Super Spanish Courses.
Maggie wrote: It didn’t really seem possible that we would be speaking and understanding Spanish in only 3 days but the course made it happen in a very supportive learning environment. I would highly recommend this course for anyone wishing to learn “practical Spanish”. The teaching methods, use of relaxation, the use of native Spanish speakers for pronunciation and the teachers themselves who were approachable and helpful and always positive made this a very valuable class.
This course improved my self confidence in my ability to learn and retain a language. It was presented with genuine enthusiasm, great energy and the style of learning is very effective. Gracias! It was a great experience.
Nadine wrote: “Just spent the last 3 days in the most wonderful learning environment learning Spanish. What an amazing learning experience!! First day out of class and I could not stop thinking in Spanish WOW!! I am amazed by how much I learned, retained and how much more is showing up now that I am out of class. And the best part is THERE WAS NO STUDYING!! Indeed this is Super Thinking!!! I would highly recommend this to anyone that has ever had a desire to learn another language or learn anything in record time.
And a few days after that …. As I went through my day, just hanging out with my son, I could see myself starting to think in Spanish. At first I thought it was amusing but as it continued and increased I thought “My goodness this is really remarkable amazing” It was really an effortless unfolding. I wasn’t at any point “trying” to think in Spanish, just words I knew would fly across the screen in my mind. And then this afternoon, my son cuddled up on the couch to watch some cartoons on his ipad and was watching Peppa Pig in Spanish…hmm coincidence? I think not, I’m radiating Spanish so much that my son is being influenced! Thanks a million again. This weekend the best learning experience of my life!!
If you have ever had a desire to learn Spanish this is the way to do it! By the end of the first day I had more confidence and more practical ability than I had from any previous courses I had taken. It was fun and relaxed and full of laughter. You will leave this class excited to use what you have learned. Rather than leaving overwhelmed with how much you have yet to learn and master, you are equipped with the knowledge and know how to go out and communicate as well as the excitement to do it!”
Gary noted: “The whole approach is positive and conducive to learning at a level that benefits ALL participants. It is not intimidating and does not set up a pass/fail atmosphere. The presenters are terrific and the results unbelievable. It was relaxed, informal, friendly and effective.”
Twila said: “This class provided a very refreshing and relaxed way of learning. The atmosphere felt very safe to say the words you were practicing. I learned a lot in a way that will make it easy to apply. Starting with conversation is way more fun. How quickly you can learn! It was a great group, great instructors and great stories.
The atmosphere in the classroom was so relaxed that learning Spanish felt like a breeze and not like a painful task. The relaxation exercises are really conducive to language learning. We learned A LOT in a short time and it was fun and the environment was non-threatening.”
Brigitte sent this: “Buenos Dias, Suzanne. su clase de espanol es excelente! Muchas Gracias! I have already done what you suggested and went into the program listening to the music and going over the lessons. I know: Repetition……reinforcement…..thinking in the new language….it’s all part of it. I loved your course and will certainly recommend it to friends. Who knows….I might feel the urge and have the opportunity to repeat it at your beautiful place in Puerto Aventuras…..Quien sabe? Hasta otro dia y saludos a su familia.”
Marie wrote: “I would highly recommend this course. The amount covered in 3 days is amazing! All with no stress. The correlation lessons and pronunciation practice has greatly reduced my anxiety to go out and use my Spanish. I really enjoyed the whole process and thank you for the take away tools.”
Learn Spanish online $79 – using coupon code SPANISH110 at checkout to immediately save $110 off the regular price of $149
Here is the English translation of a few of the many Spanish words you now know and will never forget. How long would it have taken you to memorize them? How soon would you forget?
“Most words in English that end in ION are almost identical, just pronounced differently. For example, action is accion, education-educacion, manipulation- manipulacion, etc.”
Some more of these words: Combination, Attrition, Education, Vacation, Petition, Lotion, Motion, Construction, Abduction, Pronunciation, Concentration and a ton of others!
Learn Spanish online $79 – using coupon code SPANISH110 at checkout to immediately save $110 off the regular price of $149