Overland Ecuador Travel

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[edit] Entering Ecuador with a Car or Motorbike

Correct as of: January 2013

[edit] Required Paperwork

(NOTE:You do not require a Carnet de Passage to enter Ecuador. (That is outdated information around the web)

[edit] Process at border

(For people, see Ecuador Visa and Passport requirements at the World Travel Guide)

  • The owner of the vehicle gains entry at Immigration (Migración), usually with a tourist card, including a stamp in their Passport.
  • The owner must show the new passport stamp, original vehicle registration and original Drivers license to Customs (Aduana) (plus one copy of each).
  • The owner is issued a temporary import permit for the vehicle.
  • As opposed to the sign at the aduana window - you don't need a SOAT (insurance) to get the temporary import. Just promise you will get it ASAP (in the next city).

[edit] Cost of entry


[edit] Permitted length of stay

90 days.

[edit] Extension of stay

Extensions were previously permitted, they are currently not permitted. To extend your stay, you must exit Ecuador and return. Be careful, however, Ecuador is one of the strictest countries in South America with regards to how much time foreigners are permitted to be in the country in a calendar year. Check carefully with immigration.

[edit] Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country

Out of ignorance I left my motorcycle twice,still within the 90 days. When I inquired about another mater at the consul in NYC, they were outraged that I had left the vehicle in Ecuador and demanded that I immediately return and remove it. 2 weeks later I did and had no problems at the border.

[edit] Exiting with a vehicle

  • The registered owner presents the temporary import paper to customs.
  • The registered owner is stamped out of Ecuador at immigration.

[edit] Driving in Ecuador

[edit] Insurance requirements

Insurance is mandatory in Ecaudor, and Police will ask to see it. Like many South American countries, the insurance is called SOAT (Seguro Obligatorio Automóviles Transito). It is difficult, though not impossible to purchase because the vehicle will not be in the Ecuadorian computer system. SOAT is available only for one month or one year.

[edit] Cost of insurance

Varies with the size of vehicle. Around $60.00 USD for three months for a 4x4. Third-party insurance for a camper costs $5.00 USD to $7.00 USD for one month.

[edit] Where to purchase insurance

Ask around for "SOAT". Most insurance brokers in small towns only sell one-year insurances, it is more difficult to find a one-month contract only. Entering Ecuador from the north, the first possibility is: Colonial Seguro, Ibarra, at the roundabout with the mother monument, N 00°20’47.8’’ W 78°07’53.8’’. Coming from south, Colonial Seguro in Cuenca at the stadium (estadio) sells SOAT insurances, prolongations are possible: S 02°54’23.0’’ W 79°00’23.9’’.

[edit] Driving license

Technically an International Driving Permit is required.
In reality, showing a license from anywhere in the world seems to be good enough.

In order for your foreign license to be considered valid, you have to have an entry stamp from the last three months. If you have a visa that permits you to stay longer than 90 days, or are a resident, then you need to get an Ecuadorian license.

[edit] Driving side of road

Right hand drive vehicles are permitted without problem.

[edit] Mandatory items in vehicle


[edit] Roads

[edit] General Road quality

Roads in Ecuador vary greatly. Highways are all sealed and good quality. Small roads into the central highlands are cobblestone to prevent mud in the rainy season, and as such are extremely slow going. Gravel roads can be anywhere from very good to impassable mud-pits depending on the time of year.

[edit] Road signs

Road signs are common on highways and in towns. It's usually not too difficult to find signage to get where you are going.

[edit] Toll roads

The Pan American Highway is tolled through Ecuador. Expect to pay $1.00 USD every 50km or so.

[edit] Bribery in Ecuador

Police bribery does happen in Ecuador, though it's by no means rampant, so don't assume Police are always trying to bribe you.
See the bribery tips page for advice.

[edit] Checkpoints

Police checkpoints are common in Ecuador. You will be asked to present your Passport, Vehicle registration, drivers license, the temporary import permit you were issued at the border and your SOAT insurance. Driving without the required SOAT insurance is a sure-fire way to encounter bribery.

[edit] Traveling with pets

List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.

[edit] Gas and Diesel price in Ecuador

Last updated: January 2013

Currency and unit to display:

Gasoline Grade Price
Extra $1.48 USD per Gallon (US)
Super $2.10 USD per Gallon (US)
Diesel 2 $1.03 USD per Gallon (US)
Diesel Premium $1.03 USD per Gallon (US)

[edit] Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency

Gas stations are extremely common in Ecuador, and shortages are not common. There is a law that limits the amount of gasoline you can purchase in one transaction to $10.00 USD when immediately next to the Colombian border. You can get around this by going to a couple of different gas stations.

[edit] Gas and Diesel Quality

Gasoline and Diesel are generally thought of as good quality, especially when bought from the name-brand stations. The BTU value of diesel is lower than in other countries, and the sulfur content is unknown. Diesel is suspected to sometimes be dirty or mixed with water. Make sure to purchase "diesel filtrado".

[edit] Safety and Security Considerations

[edit] Driving at night

Driving at night generally regarded as safe enough. Quito and Guayaquil have some very rough neighborhoods and should be avoided at night.

[edit] Vehicle parking

Parking vehicles on the street in smaller towns during the day is typically OK. Find a secure parking lot in big cities and at night. Cost is around $1.00 USD to $2.00 USD per night.

[edit] Special driving considerations


[edit] Security advisories and information

[edit] Camping in Ecuador

Camping is not common or popular in Ecuador, and very few hostels in touristy areas have camping to cater for backpackers. A few of the larger parks and reserves allow camping for a nominal fee. Roadside camping is generally OK away from the large cities.

[edit] Camping guide books


[edit] Drinking water

Tap water in Ecuador is generally not safe to drink. Every corner store sells 1 and 2 liter bottles, and 20 Liter bottles can be purchased for approx. $6.00 USD, though much of that money is deposit on the bottle, which they want you to return. Once you have the big bottle to return, the cost is less than $2.00 USD.

[edit] Navigation

[edit] Paper maps

The Military Geographical Institute in Quito sells a "tourist" road map with almost all roads marked for $4.00 USD. For a high quality road map, buy before you get to Ecuador.

[edit] GPS Maps of Ecuador

  • Open Street Map: Appears to have good coverage.[1]
  • Garmin: No map of Ecuador.[2]
  • TomTom: No map of Ecuador. [3]

[edit] GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Ecuador

[edit] Special Overland Travel interests


[edit] Travel Guide Books

[edit] Vehicle Maintenance

[edit] Dealers

4x4s / Trucks


[edit] Local Garages

Add known good mechanics here.

[edit] Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Ecuador

A foreigner can buy, register and leave the country with an Ecuadorian vehicle. The exact details are unknown.

Ecuador is a good place to buy a used car, because everyone has one and mechanic service is really cheap. If possible, pay an Ecuadorian to do the haggling for you, because as a foreigner you will be a target for inflated prices.

Another good tip if you are leaving your travels from Ecuador is to sell the Ecuadorian car back to someone else. It is definitely possible to sell it for almost the exact same price as you bought it for. Foreign-registered cars I have no idea.

[edit] References

  1. OpenStreetMap Ecuador
  2. Garmin coverage map
  3. TomTom Map availability

[edit] Helpful External links

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