Ecuador-How to drive and where to stay

This article has basic information about Ecuador, including details about roads and driving, gas prices, hotels with parking and camping. 

Basic Facts

  • Population: 13,922,000
  • Capital: Quito
  • Fun Fact: Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 965 kilometers (600 miles) west of the mainland.

Roads and Driving

Quito Driving Restriction

 

Be aware that Quito has a driving restriction based on the last number on your licence plate. Cars ending in 1 or 2 are not allowed to drive on Monday, 2 or 3 on Tuesday and so on.
The permit lasts for 90 but this can be extended by a further 90 days by applying in writing to the District Manager of the nearest customs office, 'only for properly justified reasons'. Over staying the permit results in a fine of 10% of the 'CIF Value' of the vehicle. Full details on the back of the permit, in Spanish and English.

 

Gas Prices

Prices are in US Dollars Per Gallon
Sept, 2012: $1.48 gallon of regular, $1.00 per gallon of diesel, $2.00 per gallon of premium gasolin
Conversion: 1L=0.26 gallons

For information on border crossings with a vehicle, see the Ecuador Border Crossing page. 

Camping and Hotels

Highlands

Otavalo
Rose Cottage - Beautiful place on the hill behind Otavalo, great veiws. Cost $4.50 per person. Has hot showers, bathrooms, warm common areas, and wifi. No kitchen for guest use, but a great little covered outside area to have a fire or cook. Particularly nice for tent campers. http://www.rosecottageecuador.com/
GPS: 0°12'26.01"N 78°17'7.92"W (Estimate) See photos and more details on our site.

Rincon del Viajero - camping is located 1km from the Panamericana on the road to Lakes of Mojanda. $5 per person per night. Hot showers, wifi, kicthen area. Also has hostel in town with same name.

Quito
Hostal Jhomana, Gil Ramirez Davalos 151 (near Amazonas, in Mariscal Sucre, Quito. www.jhomana.com, 252-2566. Hot water, wireless internet, breakfast included, around $35/night. Has room for 3 cars in gated lot out front.
Casa Helbling is a great place to stay with the best mattresses ever. $2-3 breakfasts, laundry facilities, wifi, hot showers, well-equipped kitchen, fireplaces and parking for a smaller car or motorbikes. A double room was about $22USD/ night.

Cotapaxi National Park
Tampoaxi Lodge-
There is a campground inside the park, but at this altitude us tent campers need a warm place to hang out during the day. Camping here is $6.50 per person, includes a nice rock wall to put your tent behind because the wind never stops, also totally epic views of the mountain. Incredibly hot showers, bathrooms and a restaurant with (very slow) wifi. There is no park entrance fee. http://www.tambopaxi.com/
More details and photos on our site.

Banos
Hostal El Eden, 12 de Noviembre and Montalvo (about 2 blocks away from the main church, next door to Hostal Plantas y Blancas). El Eden has parking for about 4 cars, hot water, TV, and is $7/person/night. Nice clean rooms, a good deal.

Pequeño Paraiso (Banos)
Highly recommened for overlanders! This place is outside Banos about 20 minutes. GPS: 1°24'7.78"S 78°17'16.58"W. Cost: $6 per person for tent camping, $10 per vehicle if you sleep inside it.  Hot showers, bathrooms, awesome kitchen and grill area, common area and wifi. Beautiful views of the river. And friendly staff. See details and photos on our website

Chugchilan
On the Quilotoa loop, Hostal Cloud Forest has parking. It's simple - no heat, small rooms, but breakfast and dinner are included for $15/person. They can help organize tours of the local area as well. There's only one road in town, so it's hard to miss. 593-032-814-808 info@chugchilan.com

Beaches

Montanita
Hotel Maeo, Via Olon, 225-6153. Limited TV, electric shower, and maybe a little too close to downtown Montanita since the saturday night raves in nearby bars kept us up much of the night. One of the few places downtown that has parking.

Salinas
Hotel Amira, Ave Eloy Alfaro between calle 4ta and 5ta. 04-277-0701. AC, cable TV, hot water, parking, one block off the Chipipi malecon (nice section of Salinas). $35/night.

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 04:23

Ibarra

There is another spot to ‘hang’ in Ibarra. Graham Kerslake is an Aussi fella who hosts overlanders. Graham is happy to ‘let people know my place is a free stay place...so they can have a real break out of travelling!’ In fact he has expressly told us that he does not want any tip or sort of payment at all.

It might be good to ring (ph. 09-449 4883) or email (gkersy [at] hotmail.com) Graham in advance to arrange your stay and ask for directions as the ‘direct route’ by GPS leads you straight up the mountain on some rougher ‘tracks’ rather than the city bus route.

The place is a large vivero (nursery) on the hill side overlooking the town and surrounding country side. camping on almost level concrete in front of the house, no shade (but at 2,400m no problem w. heat), power (110 + 240 Volt!), water, use of bathroom w. electric hot shower, washing machine (bring your own detergent), clothes lines. There is a kitchen available and a room as well should you wish to spread out. Later you can go fishing in the stocked ponds too….N 00°18.416' W078°07.918'
 

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 04:28

Speeding

New government rules have violators exceeding 15kph incaracerated 3 days plus car impounded 3 days plus fine.

While in jail you will need someone to come with money and food on a daily basis...

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 15:10 (Reply to #2)

correction ... I hear now

correction ... I hear now that 1kph over the limit and you go to jail.  \

This is intended to reduce traffic accidents and while most people have 'calmmed' there is still an overwhelming 'Colombia' style of driving!

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 16:47

Reserva Ecologico El Angel

Just inside Equador at the Colombia/Equador border.  It is one of the most spectacular sites yet for us - a complete landscape of polylepis and freilejones trees.  And the hike to the high altitude lagos is nice too.

Turn northwards for Mira on the PanAm highway and follow the road to El Angel then track the signs for the reserve.  Follow a rough cobblestone road for 15kms to the ranger station.  Camping is free in the parking lot, bathrooms available and so is the kitchen.  The TV is solar powered and there is a cosy swiss style fireplace.  There are also dorm rooms if the 3800m elevation temperatures are too cold for camping.

If you continue past the ranger station, the track deteriorates but is a great 4x4 trip for 35kms to Tulcan.  It takes a long time.

N  0* 40.654' / W77* 52.601 track the GPS for Freilejones (OSM maps know it!???)

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 15:07

National Park entry fees

... since some time in early October 2012 have been suspended  and thus are free (except for the Galapagos) through a presidential decree.

 

There is no date of expiration of this decree yet.

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 08:58

BEACHES

We would like to give a nod to a few more beach sites:

 

Cojimies

A beach resort for locals that is very quiet...they stay in the cabanas and we went off camping under the palm forest fronting the beach.  One of the best beaches we have stayed so far on this trip - wide, long and empty.  The resort has toilets, showers (cold) and a restaurant with cheap beer.  $3pp to camp.  'La Mapara' at N0*20,607/W80*02,114

The road is nicely paved right to the front door despite what GPS and the maps say.  You DO NOT have to run the beach to arrive (though you can if you like)

 

ESMERALDAS

Actually closer to Galera (all paved road) on the point, the resort is located inside the Nature Reserve on the reef.  Resort Camping Escondida is run by a Canadian woman named Judith who has sublet the restaurant to Pierre and the hostel to Kevin. This is an 'eco'camping where toilets are pit toilets and showers come from rainwater.  The restaurant is nice and the camping is cosy under the trees where the tide comes right up to the resto and camping and firepits.  $5pp.  N0*48,928/W80*00,316

Canoa and Puerto Lopez we free camped on the beach.  No problems.

Tue, 11/06/2012 - 12:40

Cuenca camping

Downtown Cuenca, just outside of town center and within walking distance is a parking lot.  Cost is $4 per nite for the car (irrespective of number of people) camping and $2 for the day if you leave the car.

Parking is a bit rustic - read sketchy, but the family running the place is nice.  There are toilets (sketchy) and a HOT  HOT shower (sketchy)  which are the family's servicios and the chickens are a bit noisy.  Cheap, safe and close to town center.

S02*53,560/ W79*00,770

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 17:31

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