International Driving Permit Ecuador

International Driving Permit Ecuador

Ecuador is paradise around every corner, making it the perfect holiday destination. Inheriting its name from the fact that it lies within the Equator, its capital is the only city divided precisely between the northern and southern hemispheres. This geographic location is the cause of Ecuador’s tropical and humid climate that brings about captivating wildlife like the Galapagos iguanas and penguins.

Ecuador’s culture is manifested wonderfully within its buildings, churches, and heritage cities. Ecuador is also known to be one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world due to its broad contribution to the environmental sciences.

If you plan on witnessing the true beauty of this country, driving is the best way to do so. Therefore, ensure your driving license is ready and fulfills the specific requirements before driving in Ecuador. Each place has its rules, and below is everything you need to know regarding an International Driving Permit in Ecuador.

What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?

An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.

In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.

How does an IDP work in Ecuador?

An IDP is not a requirement in Ecuador; however, it is highly recommendable that foreigners have an International Driving Permit. If you ever get stopped by an Ecuadorian authority that does not understand your local language, your Spanish IDP will come to your aid. Foreigners are allowed to drive using a valid foreign driver’s license that belongs to their home country. You can use your IDP as an identification document, an official license translation, and even a supporting document for renting a car.

How do you apply for an IDP?

The process of applying for an International Driving Permit is relatively simple. All you need to do is apply through our website by providing your driver’s license details and a photo of yourself.

Ho long does it take to get an IDP in Ecuador?

The issuing of an International Driving Permit is a speedy process. A digital IDP will take approximately 2 hours to reach your email, while an Express Order is processed within just 20 minutes. After that, a printed IDP is sent to your postal address, with delivery varying according to the chosen delivery methods.

United Nations Agreement on Road Traffic

Two international conventions conduct the International Driving permit in Ecuador: the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic and the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Due to this, an International Driving Permit is valid for one year in Ecuador.

On the other hand, an IDP is valid for one year for those countries that only took part in the 1949 convention and not the 1968 convention.

International Driving Permits work by United Nations Road Traffic regulations and therefore are only issued through specific organizations which the United Nations approved. These are designed with the sole purpose of providing standard traffic rules and increasing road safety.

Benefits of carrying an IDP in Ecuador

Just like in any other country, there are several good reasons you should carry an IDP in Ecuador:

Reduces Language barriers and Proves Identification

The official language spoken in Ecuador is Spanish. Hence, if you want to save time from interpreting and translating everything that you want to say to the local officials, do yourself a favor and get an IDP. Furthermore, another bonus point of having an IDP is that it can do the translation of your driver’s license for you. Since it is also written in the language of your chosen country, it can make identification of the foreigner a much easier task by any local law enforcement who cannot speak the same language as you.

Car rentals requirements

Depending on local requirements, primary rental companies may demand an IDP for you to rent a car. You might even find these car agency requirements in countries that do not require drivers to have an IDP document to drive legally.

Peace of Mind

Carrying an IDP can give you the peace of mind of being on the right side of the Law. In the case of a traffic violation or a car accident, an IDP can be beneficial, and it can assure you that you have everything in order in the case of any mishap.

Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Ecuador

How long can you drive with a foreign license?

Ecuador does not officially require tourists and temporary visitors to have a visitor’s driving license-Ecuador, nor an International Driver’s Permit. You can drive in the country for 30 days without an IDP and an Ecuadorian driver’s license. However, you should always keep your U.S driver’s license and passport showing your entry stamp on hand as proof of being a visitor.

If you enter the country on a visitor visa, you can use your existing driver’s license to drive and rent cars. On the other hand, if you enter on an Ecuadorian temporary or permanent residency visa, you can legally drive in Ecuador for six months.

Legal requirements for driving

For driving in Ecuador, you must be at least 18 years old and carry a valid driver’s license belonging to your country of residence.

On the other hand, you need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Ecuador.

When should you get an Ecuadorian Driver’s license?

Suppose you are planning a long-term visit to Ecuador. In that case, you should consider getting an Ecuadorian Driver’s license since you are only permitted to drive using your original license for 30 days.

Famous for being an exceptionally warm and friendly place towards foreigners, Ecuador is ranked very well among expats. Hence, if you are an expat living in Ecuador, you must get a local driver’s license to drive legally.

The national vehicular authority in Ecuador, known commonly as The Agencia Nacional de Tránsito (ANT), provides a program for expats that makes it possible for them to use their current valid license from another country as the basis for which to easily obtain an equivalent Ecuadorian driver’s license.

Renewing Your IDP While in Ecuador

You can renew your IDP through our online service. A Digital IDP takes 2 hours to land in your mail, while an Express Order Application is processed within 20 minutes. After that, a printed IDP is sent to your postal address. The delivery time depends on your chosen delivery method and takes between 2-30 working days.

Car Rental in Ecuador

If you are more adventurous and want to see the country from the privacy of your car, you should consider renting a car. Below is all the information you might need regarding car rentals in Ecuador.

Age Requirements

The age at which you are allowed to rent a car in Ecuador is 21 years old. Moreover, similar to other countries, these companies charge extra fees for individuals between the ages of 21 and 24. This is because individuals under 25 are thought to have less driving experience, even though the case may be otherwise.

On the other hand, the maximum rental age set by car insurance companies is 70 or 75. If you are over 70 and wish to rent a car in Ecuador, you will need to deliver an additional warranty to the rental company.

Car rental companies

Significant cities like Guayaquil Quito and Cuenca have several car rentals remaining to be explored. Amongst these companies, the most famous rentals include Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, and AutoEurope.

Most of these car rentals have a system for online booking from which you can select and pay for your desired car beforehand. In this way, you can easily compare different rates and packages. An online system will save you from form-filling hassles you might otherwise have to go through when renting a car.

Documents Required

Renting a car has its set standards. This is because cars are not cheap, and the driver needs to give assurance for the full responsibility of the vehicle. A valid driver’s license and an internationally-recognized credit card are required for renting a car.

Vehicle Types

As a result of dirt roads and high hills in Ecuador, the most type of vehicle rented is the SUV. An SUV makes it easier to pass through these types of difficult terrains without causing any damage to you or the car. The Kia Picanto, the Hyundai i10, the Chevrolet Spark, and the Ford Ranger are commonly rented vehicles.

Driving and Safety in Ecuador

Driving safe is your responsibility to ensure that you do not become a hazard to yourself and others. Below are specific driving and safety measures you should remember before driving in Ecuador.

Drinking and Driving

The maximum blood alcohol concentration allowed in Ecuador is 0.08%. Exceeding this limit can earn you a fine between $170 – $1,020 and risk imprisonment for up to 30 days. In addition, Ecuador has the power to confiscate your International driving permit, which is only returned to you when you exit the country.

Speed Limits

When driving in Ecuador, the maximum urban speed limit is 50 km/h, and within perimeter roads and highways is 90 km/hr. Failure to adhere to these speed limits can generate hefty fines and days in prison without trial. Apart from this, these violations can also cause you to lose points off your license.

Car breaking down

Ensure that you learn emergency numbers before driving on the roads. In case of emergencies, have your phones or other devices that can be used for communication close to you. If anything happens on the road, stop your car on the side when possible and contact the required emergency number. Emergency hotline numbers are as follows:

  • Emergency – 911
  • Fire Department – 102
  • Police – 101

Top 5 Places to Visit in Ecuador

Galapagos Islands

These volcanic islands are home to some of the most exotic flora and fauna. For this reason, these islands rank on the top of every tourist bucket list.

Here, you will discover species of birds never seen before. Embrace yourself for the magical sight of the flightless cormorant, the Galápagos penguin, and the 13 species of Darwin’s famous finches.

If you love being in the water, you can take full benefit of scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling activities offered at the islands.


Holding the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this capital city is a famous tourist attraction thanks to its exquisite architecture and spiritual significance. This beautiful city holds a population of 2.6 million people and boasts the best museums and churches in the world. Known as the second tallest capital in the world, Quito allows you to discover the history of Ecuador and explore its natural and cultural diversity to the fullest.

Famous attractions in Quito include the San Francisco Church, La Compania de Jesus Church, Basílica del Voto Nacional(Cathedral), and Plaza Grande. Here, you will find lines of eateries, art galleries, cafés, and all sorts of enjoyment.


Recognized as Santa Ana de Los cuatro ríos de Cuenca, this wonderful city consists of architectural treasures showcasing Spanish and Indian features. Two of the most captivating structures that you will find here are the the Old Cathedral (Iglesia de El Sagrario), and New Cathedral, (Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción).

Walk along the market lanes to shop for loved ones and try out the famously known local cuisine. While you are there, head towards Mirador Turi, a lookout point, for an exceptional view of the city.


Containing the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi is undoubtedly amongst the best places to visit in Ecuador. It stands at a massive height of 5,911 meters and is a popular place for adventure hiking, with thousands of people hiking up towards the summit each year.

Apart from the volcano, this place is famous for its Cotopaxi National Park. Its distinctive, high-altitude ecosystem makes it difficult for trees to grow and llamas and shrubs to dominate the place.


Visit the peaceful valley of Baños to experience nature at its best. Enriched by naturally heated hot springs by the Tungurahua volcanos and hundreds of waterfalls, Baños is an excellent escape from the buzzing city life.

Baños has tons of exciting activities awaiting you. You can experience the thrill of attempting bungee jumping, zip-lining, river rafting, mountain biking, and so much more. Swing at the end of the world at the Casa del Árbol and witness breathtaking views of the Tungurahua Volcano, and don’t forget to take that memory swing picture you’ve always dreamed of.


Is an IDP a requirement in Ecuador?

Yes, having an IDP is a legal requirement you must fulfill when driving to other countries.

Can you drive using your IDP in Ecuador?

You can drive for up to 30 days using your international license.

On which side of the road do you drive in Ecuador?

Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road.

How old do you need to be to rent a car in Ecuador?

To rent a car, you must be at a minimum driving age of 21.

Documents required to obtain an IDP for Ecuador?

You will need your current driver’s license details, an updated photo of yourself, a passport-sized photo, and your valid driver’s license to verify your identity.

How long is an IDP valid in Ecuador?

An IDP can be valid for one year. However, it is essential to know that IDPs cannot surpass the validity period of your national driving license validity.

Is it advisable for everyone to drive in Ecuador?

It is not easy to drive in Ecuador, especially if you have never driven in countries where people drive carelessly.


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