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Driving in Ecuador

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While public transport has a great reputation in Ecuador, you may still need, or simply prefer, to drive around on your own. Before you go on a road trip across the country, though, check out what you must do to keep on the right side of the law.

Non-resident drivers

In Ecuador, the law states tourists and non-residents can drive for the number of days allowed on their visa. Note that the US Embassy’s website currently states US tourists and temporary visitors are only allowed to drive for 30 days. In any event, while driving in Ecuador as a non-resident, should you be pulled over by the police, you must be able to produce the following documents:

  • the vehicle’s matrícula and proof of insurance
  • your passport, showing the entry date stamp
  • a valid Driver’s license
  • a printed copy of the law regarding your driving rights.

An international driver’s license is another option, but it’s an option that will only buy you 6 months at the most.

Resident drivers

As a resident, you will, of course, want a more permanent solution. The Agencia Nacional de Tránsito or ANT, the national transit authority in Ecuador, recently implemented a program which makes it possible for expats to use a current valid license from another country as the base to obtain an equivalent Ecuadorian driver’s license. To apply for this you will need:

  • 2 color copies of your Cédula
  • 2 color copies of your passport and its residency page
  • 2 color copies of the Blood Test Card
  • your driving history, certified by competent authorities in your country of origin.  The documents will need to be translated, notarized and apostilled.
  • 2 color copies of your original driver’s license.
  • 2 Passport photos
  • you will also need to undergo a psicosensométrica evaluation.

Submit these documents to the ANT who will review them and hopefully approve your query. If your request is approved, you will need to pass a written exam, consisting of 20 multiple choice questions in Spanish, taken from a bank of 400 questions. A minimum score of 16 over 20 is needed to pass and, voilà! You will be able to chauffeur yourself all over Ecuador. 

If you do not hold a valid driver’s license from another country to begin with… Off to school you go to obtain an Ecuadorian driver’s license. There are many driving schools throughout Ecuador to take you through the required 4-6 weeks curriculum leading up to a certificate of completion, with Aneta being the popular choice.

Either of the above options for resident would-be drivers adds up to around $200, all things considered.

  Useful links:

Agencia Nacional de Tránsito (ANT) www.ant.gob.ec
ANT program to obtain an Ecuadorian equivalent to your pre-existing foreign license www.ant.gob.ec

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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