Andes, Amazon and Pacific Coast Tour
A 9-Day/8 night Adventure Through the Three Distinct "Worlds" of Ecuador
Distance: 1,332 kilometers / 828 miles 95% paved road / 5% unpaved road
Time Needed: 9 days / 8 nights
Climatic Zones: Cloudforest, Tropical Rainforest, Tropical Grasslands, Desert, Highlands Pampa, Dry Forest
Riding experience needed: Intermediate
Recommended Gear: Raingear, camera, waterproof saddlebags, suntan lotion, insect repellent, sunglasses, summer and winter weight gloves.
All-inclusive pricing: includes meals, gas, tolls, entrance fees, excursions and motorcycle use on rest days (if desired)
Minimum participants: one. (guaranteed departures)
Maximum participants: 8 (keeps things fun and easy!)
This tour traverses three distinctive regions in Ecuador: the Pacific Coast, Andes Mountains, and Amazon jungle basin while passing through several climatic zones, including cloudforests, coastal savannah, beach, desert, rainforests on both the eastern and western slopes of the Andes, and the unique Amazon jungle. This is an opportunity to experience several different cultures and varied ways of life from traditional coastal villages to those of indigenous people in the highlands and Amazon basin. The tour goes through some of the most bio-diverse regions in the world and parts of rural Ecuador that few visitors get to see. Activities include a special coffee and chocolate tour, the Inti-ñan Solar Museum, and an Amazon jungle hike. The tour packs a lot into a very exciting nine days to create memories that will last for a lifetime.
Distance Covered: 62 miles (10 miles unpaved road) / 100 km (15 km unpaved road)
We begin this 9-day / 8 night “Andes, Amazon and Pacific Coast” tour from our shop in Quito, Ecuador. 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. Located high on the Antiplano Plateau (the second highest 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.
During the first morning of the tour you’ll be outfitted with the motorcycle of your choice and given a thorough orientation answering all questions concerning local customs, rules of the road, riding signals, Ecuadorian driver courtesies, and more. The first day’s ride purposefully includes a sampling of the different types of roads that will be ridden. We will have the opportunity to safely become accustom to asphalt, dry gravel, cobblestone, and dirt farm roads.
Our first stop is in the middle of the world. Inti-ñan means “path of the Sun” in the Quechua language and the Inti-ñan Museum is situated directly on the Equator. The indigenous peoples have revered this site for thousands of years and our group will learn how ancient people came to understand that this was the center of the world centuries before the advent of modern geography or GPS devices. During our first stop directly on the “red line” we will experiment with gravity, including
witnessing how water drains either clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on which side of the Equator we are standing. We also have the opportunity to see how the indigenous populations of Ecuador live when visiting their homes. This will enable us to better understand the cultures seen as we pass through various regions.
Departing the Inti-ñan Museum we officially leave the Quito metropolitan region and begin riding in the Northern Hemisphere. Our second stop is to view the beautiful Pululahua Crater Geo-Botanical Reserve, a crater formed by a volcanic eruption 2,500 years ago. From there we head onto the western slopes of the Andes that are full of dense, green forests and steep mountains. The roads have been recently paved and riding these sharp curves is certain to be exhilarating fun. Changing the pace a little bit, we make a left turn off the main highway and venture onto an unpaved, unmarked road that leads deep into the cloudforest. Here, at the world-famous Bellavista Cloudforest Bird Lodge we take a break on their amazing patio and watch hundreds of hummingbirds flitting around us. There is no other place on earth where so many species of birds can be viewed.
Back on the bikes we continue through the lush cloudforest along clear streams with cascading waterfalls to the funky, eclectic town of Mindo. Mindo is situated in a warm microclimate cloudforest that’s known for its natural beauty and great restaurants. We’ll visit the El Quetzal chocolate factory for a tour that entertains while educating us about the farming and processing of organic cocoa and how it is turned into chocolate and formed into bars. Naturally we must sample some of the product before leaving!
After our visit to the The Quetzal we will check into our carefully selected accomodations for the night at the Hotel Caskafessu. We will enjoy a fantastic gourmet dinner before settling in for the night.
Day 2: Mindo - La Concordia - Pedernales - Jama - Canoa
293 km / 182 miles on 100% asphalt road
After a hearty breakfast we head out of Mindo. First we climb in elevation to reach Route 25 and then begin to descend along the western slope of the Andes. Expect fog as we pass through the cloudforest and down into tropical rainforest. From San Miguel de Los Bancos we continue a long, gradual descent towards the Pacific coast. The temperature begins to rise as we decrease in altitude, rolling through sweeping corners, crossing roaring rivers, and experiencing breathtaking views along the way.
Palm trees appear and the leaves of “junglesque growth” along the road grow in size the farther west we travel. Crossing the coastal savannah of Manabi Province we notice that horses are a more common mode of transportation than cars or buses.
La Concordia is a commercial city and trading center for the area’s biggest crop: palm oil. The palm groves that surround this city appear almost magical.
On the Pacific coast the city of Pedernales—sometimes referred to as the Wild Wild West-- is known for it’s chaotic markets, plentiful restaurants, nightclubs, and fun-loving residents. The closest beach to Quito, this resort town is Ecuador’s shrimp capital and naturally we stop at one of the ocean-side restaurants for lunch. Expect to enjoy the freshest and most delicious shrimp you’ve eaten in your life.
From Pedernales we ride south along the coastal road, passing wild and undeveloped beaches and shrimp farms. We pass through the quiet town of Jama, a throwback to a simpler time where the tides and fishermen set the pace.
Our day ends in the town of Canoa. This is home to a mixed population of native fishermen, transient surfers, and expatriate retirees who are seeking sun and relaxation. Our carefully selected accomodations are at the Baloo Cabins, right on the beach and with a great atmosphere thanks to its friendly helpful and fun staff.
"Rest Day" in Canoa
Break Day! Relaxation and sunshine! Canoa has one of the best beaches on the Ecuadorian coast and is a very popular place for surfing (boards and lessons available from Canoa Thrills). You can rent a sea-kayak and explore the coastal caves. Other available activities include paragliding, whale watching, horseback riding or fishing.
Or, you can just pull up a chair at some of the great hang-outs, beachside bars and restaurants and enjoy a restful day away from the bike.
Day 4: Canoa - Bahia de Caraquez - Quevedo
229 kilometers / 142 miles on 100% asphalt road
Enjoy a last swim on the beautiful beach in Canoa and a filling breakfast. Our morning ride will continue down the coastal road also known as "Jellyfish Drive." After crossing the Bahia de Caraquez on Ecuador's newest bridge and through the city of the same name, you’ll begin to head away from the coast, passing through many cacao, rice and cattle farms and through the town of Portoviejo. This part of the country is full of fishing birds of all types and a natural forest kept intact by the locals, where hundreds of South American squirrels live in the wild. You will definitely hear and may be lucky to glimpse the famous howling monkey. The population in this area of Ecuador make their living from agriculture, mostly rice, cacao plantations, and cattle. We will spend the night at the Olimpico Hotel 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. We will have a Chinese feast at the Jade Restaurant, the best Ecuadorian-Chinese cuisine in Quevedo (and probably in all of Ecuador).
Day 5: Quevedo - Quilotoa Crater Lake - Sigchos
166 kilometers / 103 miles on 85% asphalt / 15% unimproved dirt roads
After a breakfast of fresh juices, fruits and eggs by the pool, we will head out of Quevedo, crossing expansive chocolate plantations and palm tree groves. We will see the tremendous Andes mountains begin to tower above us as we enter the foothills and the road will become increasingly curvy.
The air will begin to cool as we start of series of downshifts and hairpin turns to climb from an altitude of near sea level to over 13,200 feet. The views are stunning along this climb and we will stop on a few occasions to marvel at the scenery below and to add additional layers of clothing. After crossing the scenic high altitude village of Pilalo, we will descend into the town of Zumbahua, known for its Indian market in the center of town.
From Zumbahua, we are now on the famous "Quilotoa Loop" - famous for its incredible scenery and for the astonishing Quilotoa Crater Lake. We will stop at the lake to admire its odd blue-green color from the minerals left after a meteoriccollision created it several thousand years ago. Once past the lake, we will be riding on unpaved country roads that wind through several indigenous villages and past peaceful family farms.
We will end the day's ride relaxing in the saunas, jacuzzis and swimming pools of the Hosteria San José de Sigchos. This family farm-turned luxury bed and breakfast will offers us a comfortable room and delicious gourmet Ecuadorian dinner.
Day 6: Sigchos - Latacunga - Patate - Banos
162 kilometers / 100 miles on 80% paved roads / 20% cobblestone roads
You will wake up in the renovated farmhouse of the Hosteria San Jose de Sigchos and have a good Ecuadorian country breakfast. We will first ride into the town of Sigchos. Sigchos was an indigenous settlement long before the arrival of the Spanish who settled it in the early 1500's. It has a beautiful church and well-maintained town center. Once through Sigchos the road will become a beautiful cobblestone road that is several centuries old. There are a few of these ancient roads in Ecuador and they are maintained the old fashioned way - by replacing the stones by hand. The work is really impressive. This road is one of the most beautiful in Ecuador, with incredible views and fun tight switchbacks with very little traffic.
With fantastic scenery at all times we turn onto the Avenue of Volcanoes to ride briefly down the Panamerican Highway passing through the colonial city of Latacunga. Then we will head off onto some curvy country roads that will take us above the city of Ambato and through picturesque countryside in the surrounding hills.
We will then arrive in the town of Banos - one of the best adventure capitals of the world. We will be sure to soak away the day's ride in the volcanic baths that are kept at varying temperatures before we head to one of the town's excellent restaurants with an outdoor garden. Our carefully selected accomodations for tonight are at the friendly and comfortable La Floresta Hotel.
"Rest" Day in Banos
Today is another chance for some additional great adventures! Baños is one of the world's best centers for adventure and extreme sports. With so many inexpensive, experienced guides and tours available, we strongly encourage you to take full advantage of them in order to experience the incredible natural beauty that surrounds this town. You can go for a day of rafting or kayaking on some world-class rapids, do some bungee jumps, go canyoning (rapelling down waterfalls), take a jungle tour, hike some magnificent trails, rent an ATV, ride down a volcano on a mountain bike or improve your rock-climbing skills. If none of those activities appeal to you, Baños has some great hangouts, restaurants and bars and and an exciting nightlife, too. This is the perfect spot for a rewarding rest day no matter what you choose to do.
Day 8: Banos - Puyo - Cotococha Amazon Lodge
150 kilometers / 93 miles on paved roads
We will linger a little longer than normal this morning, taking another volcanic bath and enjoying a full breakfast at the La Floresta hotel before we head back on the road. We will leave Banos and head eastward - riding down what is known as the "Route of the Waterfalls" through the eastern slopes which will eventually descend into the Amazon River Basin.
Again, we will see the vegetation change dramatically. The air will become warm as we arrive in Puyo - we are now officially in Amazona. We will take highway 45 north, and with a great view of the Sierra to our left, we will ride on a comfortable road with rolling hills and enough curves to keep it fun.
We will take a right, turning onto a road that follows the Napo River, and go deeper into the Amazon jungle. We will pull into the Cotococha Amazon Lodge and check into our riverside bungalows for the night. Each bungalow is built according to traditional architecture in harmony with the surrounding rainforest. All bungalows are equipped with a private bathroom, a private veranda with reclining chairs or hammocks in which to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of Ecuador's Amazon.
We will hop in a motorized canoe for a trip un the Napo River to hike with a native guide that will show us natural plants, their traditional and medicinal uses as well as swim in a beautiful waterfall.
This is a very special place set in a peaceful setting filled with the sounds of the Amazon jungle. You'll sleep well tonight as the Napo River surges in the background.
Day 9: Cotococha - Misahualli - Papallacta -Quito
222 kilometers / 138 miles on 98% paved roads 2% unimproved dirt road
After another healthy breakfast at Cotococha, we will pack up the bikes and continue our ride along the Napo River, and cross a narrow bridge into the town of Misahualli. This is a port city - the beginning of the navigable parts of the Amazon basin. From here you could take a boat to the Atlantic. The town is a lot of fun because of their mischievous monkey population which loves the attention of visitors and teasing the local dogs. Bring your camera.
We will head back westward on the other side of the Napo river, and through the kayaking capital of the Americas, Tena. From Tena, we will continue our ride along the edge of the Amazon jungle with dense vegetation all around us.
We will begin our ascent into the eastern slopes once again as we pass through the rainforest town of Baeza. Here we will add some additional layers of clothing for the chilly air that we will face as we will be climbing to the end of our day's ride.
We will continue to climb, reaching the Hot Springs of Papallacta where we can stop for a relaxing swim. We will cross a mountain pass at 14,000 feet before descending back into Quito.
We will end the day's ride and the "Jungles Mountains and Coast" Tour where you began - at our offices in the Mariscal Section of Quito. Now that you have finished your tour we hope you have some memories to last a lifetime...
Please see our tour calendar or please contact us for specific dates that you require!
- On a Honda XL200: $3350
- On a Suzuki DR200: $3350
- On a Suzuki DR650: $3610
- On a Kawasaki KLR650: $3820
- On a Husqvarna TE630: $3820
- On a Suzuki V-Strom DL650: $3910
- On a Triumph Tiger 800XC: $4355
- On a BMW R1150GS: $4445
- Passenger / Pillion Charge (double occupancy): $1900
- Unlimited Mileage Motorcyle Rental
- Saddlebags or hard luggage system
- ALL Meals and drinks on riding days
- Breakfast every day
- Single occupancy in 3-4 star hotels and hostels
- SOAT emergency medical and third party liability insurance
- Helmets and gloves
- Experienced, multi-lingual, fulltime local resident, "insider" guide
- Entry fees to offibike activities mentioned in the description (volcanic baths, chocolate tour, etc)
- Support vehicle for groups of 4+ riders
Prices do not include:
- Hotel accomodations before and after the tour
- Alcholic beverages
- Lunch & dinner on rest days
- Optional activities on rest days
- Tips and gratuities
- Ecuador IVA tax (12%)
- Sign up an additional rider - get $150 off your price!
- Sign up two+ additional riders get $200 for each off your tour price!