4 Day Self-Guided Excursion
- Time Needed: 4 days / 3 nights
- Total Distance: 575.4 miles / 926 kilometers
- Total Offroad Distance: 380 miles / 612 Kilometers
- Accomodations: 3-5 star hotel and high quality hostel accomodations (single occupancy)
- Climactic Zones: Tropical Rainforest / Tropical Grasslands / Highlands Pampa / Cloudforest
- Provinces: Pichincha, Santo Domingo de los Tschallas, Cotopaxi, Bolivar, Los Rios
- Availability: All year except 15 February - 15 May due to possible landslides and road closures.
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.
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 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.
WARNING: This is not a normal motorcycle ride. This tour requires elements of endurance and stamina. Riders must be able to ride in adverse weather conditions and adverse road conditions and for long time periods of time (up to 10 hours)Day 1
Distance Covered: 209 km / 130 miles
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. In 1978, Quito became the first place on the planet to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for having the best-preserved historic center in all of Latin America. Quito is high on the Antiplano Plateau (the highest capital city in the world) in the Andes at 9,350 feet.
We suggest that you arrive a day or two early to experience our magnificent capital city while getting acclimated to high altitude before beginning the tour. Since the first day is long, we recommend picking up your bikes the evening before the tour so that you can get an early start out of Quito on day 1.
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. We'll show you how to operate your GPS unit and provide you with detailed daily route sheets that give you genuine points of interest, elevation profiles and starting times. We'll provide you with a detailed briefing to get you acquainted with your mission.
You will ride out of Quito, avoiding any suburban sprawl and immediately begin riding on a dirt road that will take us first to a chilly highland pampa mountain pass and then through fertile farmlands, beginning our curvy descent into the lowlands of Santo Domingo Province. As you descend the western slopes, you will pass several spectacular waterfalls as we ride through small villages such as Chiriboga and other settlements in the cloudforest on the western slopes of Ecuador.
Once down to about 3,000 feet in altitude, you will be in warm, humid air - quite a change in climate from where you started just a little while ago in Quito. You'll have a chance here to stop for a swim in natural basins formed by waterfalls. Back on the bike you will feel refreshed and regenerated by the mountain waters.
You begin a climb that will last until the end of the day. You will tackle some steep switchbacks that will take you up for tremendous vistas over the valley below. Then passing through dense jungles and green pastures, arrive in the small town of San Francisco de las Pampas to have a great lunch of simple, but delicious, local cuisine and to chat with the townspeople.
Continue on (sometimes) challenging dirt roads, climbing in altitude to over 11,400 feet, passing picturesque farmlands, cloudforest, and high moorlands before arriving in the town of Sigchos, a town settled in the 1500's by the colonial Spanish.
In Sigchos you are officially be on the famous "Quilotoa Loop" and will continue past some astonishing scenery and farmlands before arriving at Mama Hilda's Hostel in Chugchilan. Here you find a private cozy room with a wood stove and a family-style dinner of pots and pots of Ecuadorian food that will replenish you after a full day of riding. You will surely fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Chugchilán-Quilotoa Crater Lake-Angamarca-El Corazon-Facundo Vela-Salinas
Distance Covered: 116 miles / 187 km
After a hearty breakfast at Mama Hilda's, head out of the charming mountain town of Chugchilan and after another blissful ride on stunning dirt roads along deep canyons, you arrive at the awe-inspiring Quilotoa Crater Lake, which was formed after a catastrophic volcanic eruption about 800 years ago. The lake has a beautiful aqua-blue color to it that is unique, due to its mineral content.
Then ride to Zumbahua on 10 miles of recently paved road that will give you great views of a fertile valley. Zumbahua is a farming town with a central market square. You can stop here for a "second breakfast" of fresh hand made empanadas and local fried pototoes. The snack will give you an energy boost that you will need as we head up and into chilly air.
After Zumbahua, you are once again be on unpaved dirt roads through some of the most picturesque regions of Ecuador. You will rise into highlands pampa, where wild alpacas and llamas roam free. You will be maintaining an altitude of about 13,400 feet for a while. The people who live at this altitude have kept their traditional ways. Many live in mud homes called "chozas" that have thatched roofs. Inside they cook in fireplaces without a chimney to seal their homes from rain. Here they herd sheep, grow potatoes and live a simple life in a spectacularly beautiful place.
You will pass through the quaint, charming little town of Angamarca. which is known for its wood carvings and visit with the local craftsmen. Then continuing along to the next hamlet of Shuyo, you can have the opportunity to stop and visit to distribute school supplies as part of our "Pack for a Purpose" program. if you want (completely voluntary).
From here, we continue to descend into the subtropical climate and into the town of El Corazon - where they brew and bottle their own unique 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. You can buy a bottle of the moonshine at the local store before leaving town.
From El Corazon, you 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. Facundo Vela is known for the marmalades the local nuns make by hand to fund their school. You can watch them stir this succulent concoction with big, wooden spoons in large hand-made copper pans. You'll want to bring a jar of this back home with you for a time when you'll enjoy breakfast thinking about this ride...
Taking the dirt road out of Facundo Vela, continue to ride and gain altitude on a series of steep switchback cobblestone trails. The air through this section of cloudforest is scented with wild orchids and tropical plants. The air turns cooler and smells of pine and eucalyptus as you climb in altitude again.
You cross a high mountain pass at 13,400 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 we will enjoy a good dinner at one of the local restaurants that uses the local cheese, hams, sausages and mushrooms that are produced here. You'll enjoy a good night's sleep at La Minga.
Salinas - Arrayanes - Quinsaloma - Quevedo
Distance Covered: 131 km / 82 miles
After yesterday's long ride (you will see how long 116 miles feels!) you will have time in the morning to visit the special town of Salinas de Guaranda. Every morning, the local farmers bring their milk in on donkeys, alpaca, motorcycle and horse to the cheese factory. You'll see how this milk is transformed into the highest quality cheeses such as Gruyere, Emmental, Tilsit and Gouda.
Then you can visit the chocolate factory which uses only the highest quality locally grown cacao to make truffles and chocolate bars that rival anything that Godiva can make. The chocolates are gaining popularity around the world. You can also visit the local craftsmen that make soccer balls by hand. And you can witness how sheep and alpaca are sheered and their wool transformed into yarn using 100 year-old machinery brought in from the former mills of Massachusetts in the USA.
Get back on your bike and take the dirt road that will bring you through breathtaking high altitude paramo - with crystal waterfalls. You'll ride along a high ravine overlooking the western slopes with expansive views over the coastal plains. You should stop in the hamlet of Arrayanes, population 87. The townspeople here work together to make a cheese called "Andino" which is savory, buttery and slightly sharp. You will want to get one of the rounds of cheese and carry it for a snack in the saddlebags.
Continue down through several sets of switchbacks, with each turn giving us tremendous vistas. Ride past towering 300 feet waterfalls and through other friendly villages. You'll begin to see mandarin orange trees, sugar cane, and exotic fruits growing along roaring whitewater rivers.
Ride through the towns of San Luis and continue our descent to sea level. Here you will be treated to long, rolling hills that make it seem we are on an extended motocross track through a garden. We will smell the aroma of cacao drying in the sun, and see the beautiful palm groves that are magical.
You 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." You can enjoy a bountiful Chinese dinner before settling into the luxurious Hotel Olimpico for the night.
Distance Covered: 155 miles / 250 Km
From Quevedo you will climb back into the tropical rainforest region; first passing grand palm, banana and cacao plantations and then into coffee country.
In Pucuyacu - which has a local animal and farmer's market - you will stop to get refreshments and an update on the road conditions ahead. From Pucuyacu, you do a river crossing and then begin the steepest climbs you will have ever seen. You climb over 6,000 feet in just 4 miles. Again, you will be blown away by the views we get along this road.
You will cross back into the town of Sigchos, which you passed on "Day 1" and finish riding the scenic "Quilotoa Loop" riding amazing roads of cobblestone with tremendous vistas in all directions. You'll go through the village of Isinlivi, which has an ancient indigenous pucará - a mound and fortress built in a strategic place. Isilivi is known for its carpenters and wood, woodworkers and they make exquisite wood carved doors and statues.
From here, youlimb again to go over the Guingopana Pass and get a view of snow capped volcanoes before heading down a twisty cobbled road and through the farming town of Toacaso. Then you pass several farms that produce roses and other cut flowers -one of Ecuador's major exports.
You 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". You can stop for a legendary Ecuadorian chocolate milkshake at Cafe de la Vaca before heading into Quito with a great adventure to tell your friends about...
Any departure date during the year - advanced reservations required - go alone or with a group of friends!
- On a Yamaha XT250: $1175
- On a Suzuki DR650: $1295
- On a Kawasaki KLR650: $1295
- On a Husqvarna Terra TR650: $1335
- On a BMW G 650 GS: $1455
- On a Yamaha Ténéré XT660: $1535
- On a KTM 690 Enduro R: $1575
- On a Husqvarna 701 Enduro: $1575
- On a BMW F700GS: $1535
- On a BMW F800GS: $1615
- On a Triumph Tiger 800XC: $1615
- On a Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L: $1655
- As a passenger / pillion / shared room $175
- In a Volkswagen Amarok TDi400 4X4 Pickup Truck (fully loaded): $1575 | each additional truck passenger $150
- 4- day Unlimited Mileage Motorcycle Rental (as described on our Rentals page)
- Garmin GPS with pre-programmed daily routes. Our Garmin ZUMO units feature CityNavigator Maps provided by our partner, Garmin Ecuador
- Road Book with daily map and points of interest and departure times plus information on gas stations and timing.
- Single occupancy accomodations listed above (best hotel in town)
- Waterproof Saddlebags
- Tank bag
- Meals: 3 breakfasts, 1 dinner
- Emergency kit including pre-paid cell phone, first aid kit, tire repair kits, inner tubes, spare parts and tools.
- 24 hour support via pre-paid cell phone (call us with any questions or for help along the way)
- Store your baggage while you ride (bring your own padlock)
- 25% discount on riding gear from KLIM
Prices do not include
- Ecuador IVA tax (14%) for Ecuadorian Residents ONLY
- TOURISTS TO ECUADOR DO NOT PAY TAX ON OUR TOURS!
- Refundable damage deposit for motorcycle rental (see Rentals page for details)
- Hotel accomodations in Quito before and after the tour
- Meals not listed above
$50 each additional rider in group