Dates 30 Aug '12 to 2 Sep '12
Flexible? No, not really
Est. Cost 1,995 - 2,410 USD (USD United States Dollars)
Type Tour Participants Wanted
Name Ecuador Offroad Motorcycle Tour
Time Needed: 6 days / 5 nights
Total Distance: 770 miles / 1,239 kilometers
Accomodations: 3-5 star hotel and high quality hostel accomodations (single occupancy)
Climactic Zones: Tropical Rainforest / Tropical Grasslands / Highlands Pampa / Cloudforest
Provinces: Pichincha, Imbabura, Santo Domingo de los Tschallas, Cotopaxi, Bolivar, Los Rios
This tour is reserved for the truly adventurous -those who love to ride off-road - way, way off the beaten track. The tour aims to avoid pavement as much as possible and will take the rider immediately out of Quito and onto some spectacular off-road riding and to parts of Ecuador that most people don't ever get the opportunity to see.
You will visit the colonial cities of Otavalo, Cotacachi, Sigchos and other less-known and much more remote villages and towns.
The route passes through a part of this world that time has forgotten, where farming is still done with ancient techniques and where people are surprised to see strangers come through their village. It is a ride through incredible terrain, mountain passes and around crater lakes.
The Offroad Ecuador ADVenture Tour passes through several climactic zones and thus offers a chance to view native wildlife while gaining an intimate understanding of the incredible biodiversity found in Ecuador.
Quito-Inti'ñan-San José de Minas-Laguna de Mojanda-Peguche-Otavalo
Distance Covered: 94 miles (60 miles offroad) / 151 km (96 km offroad)
You’ll begin your four day “Offroad Ecuador Tour" from our shop located in Quito, Ecuador - 2850 meters (almost 2 miles above sea level) in the Andes Mountains, on the Equator, in South America. Quito was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970's for having the best preserved and least altered historic centre in all of Latin America.
On the morning of the tour departure, you’ll be outfitted with the offroad motorcycle of your choice and given a thoughtful presentation that will answer all your questions concerning local customs, rules of the road, riding signals, etc.
The first day's ride is intended to give you a sampling of the different types of roads we will be riding. We will have a chance to ride on asphalt, dry gravel, cobblestone and dirt farm roads.
Our first stop will be in the middle of the world The Inti-ñan museum is situated right on the Equator. Inti-ñan means "center of the world" in Quechua, the native language of Ecuador. We will take a tour of this magical site, a place that the indigenous peoples have revered for thousands of years. We will learn how the ancient people came to understand that this was the center of the world, centuries before "modern" geography or GPS devices. We will play with gravity here and perform some experiments to learn about the Coriolis effect caused by the Earth's rotation. We will also get to know how the indigenous populations of Ecuador live and visit some typical homes. This tour will give you some excellent background information on Ecuador so that you will better understand the cultures as we pass through various regions of Ecuador.
After the visit at the Inti-ñan museum, we will be riding in the Northern Hemisphere. We will first pass through a dry desert canyon on a dusty dirtroad that will bring us into a deep canyon. We will then ride out of the canyon into lush green patchwork of fields of vegetables, roses and dairy cattle. We'll stop in the charming little town of San José de Minas with its beautiful stone church and well-manicured central park.
From San José de Minas we will climb in altitude on spectacular dirt back roads giving us grand vistas of the serene farmlands and forests below. We will experience a great aromoas as we pass through eucalyptus and pine forests.
We will stop to add a layer of clothing as we ride up to a height of over 12,000 feet (3714 meters) to view the majestic Mojanda Lake surrounded by the Fuya-Fuya mountain which guards the lake. This will be the first time we will be in the high-altitude paramo climate.
From there, we will ride down, through the colonial city of Otavalo, famous for its expansive indigenous market. We can stop here to view the various crafts, textiles and other unique colorful items for sale here.
We will finish today's ride along the calming shores of Lake San Pablo and settle in for the night in a private lakeside cabin at the Hosteria Cabanas del Lago.
Distance Covered: 107 miles (90 miles offroad) / 172 km (144 km offroad)
After a full American buffet breakfast on the shore of Lake San Pablo, we will get on the bikes and head to the town of Cotacachi, just north of Otavalo. Cotacachi is known for its leather artisans. We will stop briefly at the market in the center of town - this is a great opportunity to get a new belt, wallet or even leather jacket at fantastic prices.
From Cotacachi we will ride through some picturesque small towns and stop to visit the Cuicocha Lake. This lake which is in fact a crater, lies at the foot of the extinct Cotacachi Volcano (16,300 feet or 4968 meters). The volcano's eruptions in the past created the lake and produced the minerals that make the surrounding valley one of the most productive agricultural regions in the Andes.
We'll ride through some very remote sections of Ecuador, on dirt roads with very little traffic. We will have incredible views of farmlands and natural forests. We will pass through remote villages that are rarely visited by outsiders.
We will descend into the scenic region of the Intag river. This area is becoming famous for its outstanding coffee, thanks to the organization of a local coffee growers association. The Intag farmers use the large leaves of other plants like bananas, naranjilla and guayaba to give a natural shade to the coffee bushes. These other crops also provide the farmer his own food and gives him his independence.
We will stop in the friendly town of Apuela and have a full Ecuadorian lunch. We will buy some of the local Rio Intag coffee and brew a cup before we get back on the bikes.
After lunch we will continue to descend into the Intag valley and stop for a swim in the warm thermal waters at the Nangulvi thermal baths. After a refreshing swim we will continue to ride arriving on the Western Slopes. Here we will experience the cloudforest. This area of Ecuador is known for its abundant wildlife and bird species.
We will arrive in the town of Mindo, known for its natural surroundings and fun atmosphere. We will visit the famous butterfly museum, with some of the most incredible species of butterflies on display. If you prefer chocolate to butterflies we can also visit the Quetzal to learn about organic chocolate growing and how cacoa is turned into chocolate. After this full day, we will check into the cozy Hotel Caskafessu for the night.
Mindo -Santo Domingo-Las Pampas-Sigchos
Distance Covered: 133 miles (65 miles offroad) / 214 km (105 km offroad)
Once we leave Mindo we will be riding on some of the most scenic paved roads in Ecuador. Passing through the cloudforest town of San Miguel de los Bancos, we take a newly paved road full of incredible switchnacks and hairpin turns. We will descend from about 7,000 feet in altitude to about 2,000 feet. We will see great changes in landscapes, temperature and climates as we descend, passing over some roaring rivers.
We will ride around the outskirts of Santo Domingo de los Colorados and continue for a few miles on paved highway. Then we will turn onto a dirt road with some challenging uphill rides. There are times when this road can get a bit muddy but the views and scents are out of this world. We will pass through lush jungle, rainforest and then reach the small village of San Francisco de las Pampas. This town is in a very remote and secluded area of Ecuador and we are usually warmly greeted by the friendly townsfolk. We will stop here for a lunch before continuing our climb.
From las Pampas we will continue our climb, eventually reaching an altitude of about 13,000 feet in a completely different climate than just a few hours before. Here the air is cool and wild alpaca and guinea pigs run freely. We will cross over a high altitude pass and then descend into the colonial town of Sigchos. Sigchos has been around for many centuries and was an Indigenous settlement before it became a Spanish town in the 1530's.
From Sigchos, we will continue along dirt road, along some of the most scenic roads in all of Ecuador. This stretch of road is known as the "Quilotoa Loop" and draws backpackers and adventurers from afar.
We will finish our ride at the luxurious Hosteria San José de Sigchos. This is a family run bed and breakfast hacienda will immediately make you feel as though you belong in the family. We will enjoy a gourmet Ecuadorian dinner in their Hacienda then enjoy a soak in their jacuzzi , enjoy a swim in their indoor pool and then re-warm ourselves with a warm dry and steam sauna. We will sleep well tonigtht!
Sigchos-Quilotoa Crater Lake-Zumbahua-Angamarca-Salinas
Distance Covered: 107 miles (90 miles offroad) / 172 km (144 km offroad)
After a hearty breakfast at San José de Sigchos we will head out again on the twisty roads of the Quilotoa Loop, passing through the charming mountain town of Chugchilan and, after another blissful hour's ride on stunning dirt roads, we will arrive at the awe-inspiring Quilotoa Crater Lake, which was formed after a meteorite collision long ago and still has a strange, unusual blue-green color due to the minerals left behind by the extraterrestrial rock.
Then we will ride to Zumbahua on a recently paved road that will give us great views of a fertile valley. Zumbahua is a farming town and on Saturdays has a farmers' market in the mornings so this would be a great place to stop and get some fresh fruits to snack on as we head towards the more remote regions of Ecuador.
After Zumbahua, we will once again be on unpaved dirt and gravel roads and through some of the most picturesque regions of Ecuador. We will rise through cloud forest, then into highlands pampa, where wild alpacas and llamas roam free.
We will pass through the quaint, charming little town of Angamarca and roll down into the town of El Corazon - where they brew and bottle their ownunique brand of moonshine - a flavored alcohol that is quite good yet inexpensive. El Corazon is a very friendly town and a good place to stop for lunch.
From El Corazon, we will again face some challenging dirt roads that wind through thick jungles and arrive in the colorful, isolated village of Facundo Vela, a place that seems like it hasn't changed much in the past 100 years. The town is usually full of horses with not a single car to be seen. You will feel as though you have ridden into a time warp.
Taking the dirt road out of Facundo Vela, you will continue to ride and gain altitude on a series of switchback cobblestone trails. The air through this section of cloudforest is scented with wild orchids and tropical plants and will get cooler and cooler as you continue the climb.
We will cross a high mountain pass at around 11,000 feet before arriving in the village of Salinas de Guaranda. This town is unique in Ecuador as it has a Swiss heritage. Here they make chocolate and cheese in the Swiss tradition and we will have a dinner of fondue and raclette at a local restaurant. At the Hotel El Refugio you can warm yourself at the big fireplace and get a good night sleep in a room overlooking the village.
Distance Covered: 175.5 Miles (91 offroad miles) / 282 km (148 km offroad)
We will head out of the "Swiss" village of Salinas and ride along curvy ribbons of road cutting through vibrant, green fields and into the valley city of Guaranda, also known as "Rome of the Andes." Guaranda is a market town first settled in 1571,with a friendly and welcoming Quechua population.
From there, we will follow a road lined with fabulous waterfalls and then, along groves of mandarines, oranges, cacao and other exotic crops until we reach the town of Caluma. From there, we will head through miles of lush vegetation and banana patches and cacao fields, arriving in the town of Vinces. Vinces is known as the "Little Paris" because it was inhabited by wealthy French cacao plantation owners who built great big wooden estates in the town. The grand promenades along the river are characteristic of French civic architecture.
From Vinces, we will ride north on a beautiful unpaved road through more cacao and banana plantations, along the calming shores of the Palenque River. We will see locals riding alongside in long, carved wooden boats.
We will have some fun crossing small rivers without bridges and seeing some of the beautiful water fishing birds that populate this province of Los Rios.
We will end the day in the city of Quevedo. Quevedo was the first Chinese settlement community in Ecuador and many of the Chinese restaurants date back to the 1920's and is known as Ecuador's "Chinatown." We will enjoy a bountiful Chinese dinner before settling into the luxurious Hotel Olimpico for the night.
Distance Covered: 153 miles (82 miles offroad) / 246 Km (132 km offroad)
From Quevedo we will climb back into the tropical rainforest region; first passing grand palm, banana and cacao plantations and then into coffee country. From the town of Velez, we will continue gaining in altitude and into another seldom visited part of Ecuador including the towns of Guasaganda and Pucayacu, with dairy and cattle farms. We will have incredible views all along the way of this fantastic region.
We will cross back into the town of Sigchos, which we passed on "Day 1" and finish riding the scenic "Quilotoa Loop" riding amazing roads of cobblestone with tremendous vistas in all directions.
We will pass the famous market town of Saquisili (and stop there if it is a market day) and continue onto the Panamerican Highway, also known as the "Avenue of Volcanoes". We will stop for a final meal with your riding companions at the famous Cafe de la Vaca before heading into Quito with a great adventure to tell your friends about...
Ecuador Offroad Motorcycle Tour
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