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 "10 Best Days in 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. We suggest you arrive a day or two early to experience this amazing town and get used to the altitude before your ride.
On the morning of the tour departure, you’ll be outfitted with themotorcycle 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, a 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 dirt
road 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: 151 miles (~130 miles offroad) / 244 km (~210 km offroad)
After a full American buffet breakfast on the shore of Lake San Pablo we will first stop to visit the animal market in Otavalo. Here, local farmers bring livestock into an open marekt every Saturday morning. They offer baby ducklings, geese, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses, oxen, sheep and just about any other farm animal you can dream of. After the market, we will get back 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 fresh, locally-grown Rio Intag coffee and brew a cup and enjoy the freshest coffee of your life 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 - La Concordia - Pedernales - Jama - Canoa
293 km / 182 miles on 80% asphalt road 20% unimproved dirt road
We will head out of Mindo, climbing first in elevation and then once back on route 25, you will start your descent along Ecuador's western slope. It may be a bit foggy as we pass through the cloudforest and descend into the tropical rainforests. From San Miguel de Los Bancos we will continue the long, gradual descent towards the coast. You will feel the temperature of the air around you begin to rise as you roll down the curves, crossing some roaring rivers and all the way, breathtaking views to the left and right all the way.
Watch, and you will begin to see palm trees and more "junglesque" growth along the road. The leaves of the plants will grow in size. When you enter Manabi Province, you will begin to see that horses are a more common mode of transport than cars and buses as you head into the tropical grasslands.
La Concordia is a commercial city, a trading center for the area's biggest crop - palm oil. The palm groves that surround this city are almost magical.
We will arrive at the coast in the city of Pedernales, sometimes referred to as the "Wild Wild West" because of its chaotic markets, plentiful restaurants, nightclubs, and fun-loving residents. This is the closest beach to Quito and has a festive atmosphere. This is also Ecuador's shrimp farming capital and we we be sure to have a shrimp lunch here at one of the oceanside restaurants. It will be probably the freshest and most delicious shrimp you will ever have in your life. There are also other great Ecuadorian seafood specialties such as Ceviche and fish chowders that you can try that will knock your socks off.
Once you leave Pedernales, you will be riding along the coastal road, passing by several natural, wild and undeveloped beaches and shrimp farms. You will pass through the quiet town of Jama - a throwback to a simpler time, where the tides and fishermen set the pace.
In Jama, we will head inland to experience the calm beauty of Manabi Province. We will ride on some unimproved dirt farming roads and we will cross the deep Jama river without a bridge.
You will finish today's ride in the town of Canoa. Canoa is home to a mixed population of native fishemen, transient surfers and expatriate retirees who are seeking sun and relaxation. We strongly recommend taking an extra rest day here in Canoa. Our carefully selected accomodations are at the Coco Loco Hostel, 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.
Canoa - Bahia de Caraquez - Manta - Santa Marianita - Puerto Lopez
Please - See our Tour Calendar
*GUARANTEED DEPARTURES* - will depart even if you are the only one signed up!
(if you do not see a convenient date for you, please contact us to see if we can arrange a new tour date!)
- On a Suzuki DR650: $3,900
- On a Kawasaki KLR650: $4,135
- On a BMW R1150GS: $4,990
- On a BMW R1200GS: $5,125
- Passenger Pillion Charge: $1050 (double occupancy)
- Unlimited Mileage Motorcyle Rental
- Saddlebags or hard luggage system
- Experienced, multilingual tour guide
- Single occupancy in luxury hacienda, boutique hotel,3-5 star hotel accomodations
- Entry Fees
Prices do not include:
- Meals on rest days
- Ecuador IVA tax
- Hotel accomodations before and after the tour