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Driving and Public Transport

Ecuador - Driving and Public Transport


For those wishing to drive in Ecuador there are certain criteria that must be met. All drivers for instance must be over the age of 18 and hold a full driving license. It is also worth noting that local drivers can be very disrespectful of other road users. Often crossing lanes without signalling and other poor driving habits can mean that even the most experienced driver may find that travelling this way in Ecuador will be stressful. Even pedestrians have a habit of just stepping out in the road with no regard for the motor vehicles that may be travelling along it. For these reasons it is highly recommended not to travel at night when visibility is very poor.

Speed limits in Ecuador are similar to the UK. The highways have a maximum speed of 100kmh which is the equivalent of 63mph, and in the urban areas, 50kmh (30mph). The roads are of a poor condition and so a 4x4 type vehicle is recommended. For the driver expecting clear road markings and signposts then Ecuador is not the place to be. Signs are often nonexistent and so the risk of getting lost is high. If using a map to navigate after a storm it is worth knowing at dirt roads can get completely washed away, but for the more adventurous type, this won’t be a problem.

Taking a bus is an excellent way to see the country and is also an experience in itself. Although less stressful than trying to drive on the roads they are very slow, so be prepared for longer than expected journeys although they are usually air conditioned which helps on longer journeys. Buses are the cheapest way to get around, but some might find using them only for short journeys is preferable.

All of the roads in Ecuador lead to the capital of Quito. Once in Quito links to everywhere else in the country is possible as all routes are serviced there.

Taxis are often available and it is advisable to negotiate the fare beforehand with the driver as not all journeys are metered. If the taxi has a meter then ensure it is turned on at the start of the journey. It is advisable to also NOT tip the drivers, and ensure all belongings are collected before leaving the cab. Taxis are the ideal way to travel on short distances but are much more expensive than buses.


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