Not everyone who moves to Ecuador needs a car. Those living in large or medium-sized cities certainly don’t, with a variety of public transportation available. Even those who live outside town can survive taking buses that regularly run along main routes, calling taxis and/or renting cars and drivers. Those forms of transportation all work pretty well but aren’t always convenient. They also only work along the “beaten path”.
Having lived in Alaska for some 20 years, and flying my own airplanes across vast wilderness and exploring remote locations with floats and skis, the beaten path frequently loses its appeal to me. After a few months, we decided to buy a used….VERY used 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Rocky is a 1982 Daihatsu Rocky Wrangler. Made by parent company Toyota, Rocky is a durable, rough-riding and quite capable rig that hauls us up and down the main roads as well as crawling across swollen rivers, climbing steep, muddy hills and allowing us to explore a bit more of Ecuador than can be done from a bus or taxi.
Rockey has had maintenance issues and will continue to have maintenance issues. But for a car who has reached his 31st birthday, that is to be expected. The trick is to ignore nothing. Pay attention to every noise, odor, vibration, burp, churgle, puff of smoke, or rattle that may indicate an oncoming problem. Then, track it down and fix it immediately so you won’t be stranded. I learned that lesson while flying small planes in remote regions of Alaska and it has served me well.
Rocky has never stranded us!