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Rent a car or car with driver

Grande Prairie...
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Rent a car or car with driver

Land in Quito, want to travel to Mindo, shop Coatachi, visit Banos, Cuenca, Salinas to Manta, fly back to Quito. Looking for advice. We are an active adventurous couple mid 40s. Scuba divers - Puerto Lopes is that our only option? We have about 12 days.

Tucson, Arizona
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for Quito, Ecuador
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1. Re: Rent a car or car with driver

All your destinations are quite doable by bus (Mindo, Cotocachi, Baños, Salinas) or plane (Cuenca, Manta). With your limited time flying to Cuenca and Manta are a must. Before you think about driving, please read the Top Question on the right "Should I rent a car for my trip?"

The advantage of a driver is getting to your destination more quickly, and he can stop wherever you please. Of course, you do pay quite a bit more for this service, as well as the driver's meals.

I've only dived off Puerto López at Isla de la Plata (well, Galápagos, too, but that's not on your list). I understand that diving at Solango is really good as well. Exploramar is the shop to go with; they have offices in Quito and PL.

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2. Re: Rent a car or car with driver

I basically agree that all of the advice on this site is useful re driving. While travelling by bus is doable and sometimes more relaxing, a vehicle will give you more flexibility eg. you could go to Cotacachi, stop at Lago San Pablo for lunch and pop up to Laguna Cuicocha for a boat trip across the lake (an conceivably still get back to Quito in one day !)

You don´t want to be driving in Quito or Guayaquil - when you pick up a car you should get out of the city immediately.

To explore the beaches and enjoy the sea views between Salinas and Manta, a car is a good option. You could fly to Guayaquil, pick up a car at the airport , drive to Salinas and up to Manta and drop the car off there. Budget offer this option.

The roads in Ecuador are almost all in pretty good shape now - and definitely the road between Salinas and Manta - but you do need to look out for people on the road and community speed bumps (SUV preferable) so don´t spend too much time looking out the window!

Good luck Graham

3. Re: Rent a car or car with driver

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