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Ecuador is a small but stunning corner of the world with a magnetic variety of wildlife, challenging Andean volcanos and majestic swathes of Amazon rainforest. Its dazzling biodiversity, impressive historical legacy, incredible colonial architecture and diverse peoples make it easy to see why visitors are drawn to this microcosm of South America. HAPPYCAR is here to help you find the best car hire Ecuador has to offer so you can take full advantage of this startlingly beautiful country. We check the prices of international and local providers so that you don’t have to check each website, and provide you with the best deals for your specific vacation rental car needs, to make your money go further.
Over twelve thousand years ago, indigenous groups inhabited this tropical country and have since been mixed with all manner of other cultures. Ecuador offers an amazing array of colonial architecture and pre-Columbian artwork with a strong indigenous vein, alongside a friendly and proud people with long traditions. Outside of their UNESCO World Heritage cities, Ecuador’s unique geography makes it possible for this compact nation to house over 25,000 plant species, ten percent of the world’s total, 1,600 types of birds, half the total of South America, and more species of mammals and amphibians per square meter than any other country on Earth.
All of Ecuador’s wonders, both natural and cultural, lie within easy reach from Quito, Ecuador’s capital and the highest capital in the world. Featuring pretty plazas, colonial churches and restored mansions, Quito is an excellent place in which to delve into Ecuador’s past. Once you’ve exhausted all of Quito’s delights, there are many options to choose from to get into the surroundings. Highways are extremely well developed and maintained, and if you choose to drive north with a car hire in Ecuador you can find vast swathes of volcanic peaks and artisan crafts. Horse riding and trekking is a popular activity around Quito.
Competing fiercely with the capital for colonial beauty – and winning – this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a classic example of a planned renaissance town and has often been compared to Peru’s Cusco with its splendor. In contrast to Quito, Cuenca lies in a deep valley and gives even more charm to its narrow cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings under the grassy banks of the Río Tombebamba. Despite its obvious historical and natural beauty, Cuenco also features a modern edge, with art galleries and cool cafés aplenty to entice every kind of visitor.
The amount of things to get out and see in Ecuador is dizzying, and the experiences utterly unforgettable. The area bordering the Andes and the Amazon embodies one of Ecuador’s greatest wildernesses, a thick carpet of tropical rainforest unfurling for almost 300 kilometers. Two of the country’s largest wild areas – the Reserva Faunística Cuyabeno and the Parque Nacional Yasuní – and a number of private reserves protect substantial forest tracts that can be explored.
A few hours’ drive northwest from Quito with an Ecuador car hire, has a number of private reserves showcase the country’s beautiful cloudforests – otherworldly gardens of gnarled and tangled vegetation, wrapped in mosses and vines, and drenched daily in mist. Continuing westwards, Ecuador’s varied coastline begins at the Colombian border in a profusion of mangrove swamps, protected by the Reserva Ecológica Manglares Cayapas-Mataje.
Ecuador is one of the most volcanically active areas on the South American continent, and its volcanos – which include the furthest point from the centre of the Earth (Chimborazo), the highest point on the equator (Cayambe), and one of the highest active peaks in the world (Cotopaxi) – are spectacular fixtures, attracting mountaineers from across the globe and awe in all who see them.
Finally, the Galápagos Islands are for many visitors the initial lure to the country, and arguably the most compelling nature spot in the world. Ever since Darwin dropped anchor at these forbidding volcanic islands and unlocked the enigma of their motley creatures, they have enchanted all who come.