Ecuador is fairly small, and renting a car can be a great way to explore the country. Rental cars give you the freedom to go where you want, and do it on your own schedule. In a rental car you can take side trips and find off-the-beaten-path destinations. That said, the roads in Ecuador are often poor and signs can be nonexistent. Renting a car can be dangerous and risky and should be given serious thought beforehand.
Rental agencies are found in major cities and at the international airports in Quito and Guayaquil. Renting a 4WD vehicle is a good idea since many of the roads in Ecuador are in poor condition. The highways are usually in good shape, but secondary roads can be bad. In rural areas, signs are usually lacking. This makes it easy to get lost.
To rent a car in Ecuador, you must be at least 25 years old and have a credit card and foreign driver's license. When you rent the car, a large deposit is placed on your credit card; when you return the car the deposit is removed. Before you leave the lot, thoroughly check the car for scratches and bumps. Also make sure that you have a spare tire and jack, which will come in handy if your vehicle breaks down.
It costs about the same to rent a car in Ecuador as it does in the U.S. Read your rental contract carefully so that you don't get hit with unexpected charges.
While driving, wear your seatbelt, be on the lookout for pedestrians, and obey the speed limit. If you do get a traffic ticket, it's usually charged to your credit card by the rental agency.