High Andes Deep Amazon Tour Print

High-Andes-Deep-Amazon-Tour-Route-650W

 

High Andes, Deep Amazon 

A 10-day Guided Dual-Sport Adventure and Amazon Jungle River Expedition

 

 

The High Andes, Deep Amazon Tour from Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental on Vimeo.


motorcycles-in-amazon-canoe


Overview:

The goal of this tour is to bring you to places that are far-far off the beaten path. We'll be riding a combination of dirt and paved roads, but a majority of the tour is far away from paved roads.  The goal is not to challenge you with highly technical offroading skills, but rather to take you to places that few people ever see and experience. You can only get to these places by leaving the pavement and, sometimes, the roads altogether.  During this unforgettable tour we will leave the road completely behind when we load the motorcycles into a motorized canoe and float down the Napo River, deep in the Amazon River basin, through communities that are only accessible by this type of river canoe.  This is also a ride high into the Andes; into small, isolated villages that time has forgotten, where farming is still done with the help of animals and the pace of life is to a very different rhythm from the rest of the world.  We will not lack for comfort, however, staying in top-notch hotels, haciendas and lodges along the way with amazing meals, hot water and comfortable beds.  This tour is for intermediate to advanced level riders.  Endurance and stamina are required for portions of this trip particularly when we travel through the very remotest areas of 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)

 

Chimborazo_National_Wildlife_Refuge_Husqvarna_Terra

Features:

  • 10 Days / 9 nights (with one rest day in Banos and one day excursion in a motorized canoe)
  • 1 day, 100 mile transportation of riders and bikes in a motorized canoe in the Amazon River basin
  • Total Distance Covered: approximately 1000 miles / 1613 km (900 riding miles) 
  • Average  riding distance per day: 112.5 miles /181 km
  • 45% asphalt road / 55% dirt, gravel or cobblestone roads in miles / 85% dirt road in terms of time.
  • 3-5 star hotel accomodations including unique luxury hacienda and boutique hotel accomodations in single occupancy (your own room) except for Cotococha Lodge - double occupancy required.
  • Experienced, LOCAL RESIDENT multilingual tour guide (you will be shown an insider's view of the country).
  • All 100% inclusive price including all meals, gasoline,  excursions, jungle guide, motorized canoe expedition and entrance fees to parks and attractions.
  • minimum particpants: 2 
  • maximum participants: 9 (keeps things fun and easy)

Photos from our scouting expedition with Ultimate Motorcycling  of the High Andes, Deep Amazon Tour route:

 

 

 

day-1-riding-near-isilivi

Day 1

Quito - Avenue of the Volcanoes - Isinlivi - Chugchilan

(98 miles - 40% offroad)

As with all of our dual-sport motorcycle tours, we will start riding the first day on a variety of different roads and conditions to make sure we understand where everyone's abilities are.  We'll head out of Quito, heading south on the famous "Avenue of Volcanoes", where the two mountain chains that run through Ecuador from North to South reach their most dramatic peaks while running side by side along this gorgeous stretch of highway.  Riding this beautiful road, we'll feel small as we move along at the feet of the snow-capped Cotopaxi and the Illiniza volcanoes.  

From here, we'll turn onto what is known as one of Ecuador's most scenic routes - the "Quilotoa Loop."  We'll climb in elevation as we pass by farmlands and small farming communites.  The pine and eucalyptus trees that line this road will bring great scents through our helmets.  We'll turn off a paved road, onto an ancient handmade cobblestone road that will bring us to an unpaved road that will climb to an unpaved mountain pass.  Reaching 13,500 feet, we'll get breathtaking views of the farmlands below and the volcanoes far off in the distance.   Here we will stop to add a layer of clothes and grab some dramatic photos.

We'll pass through the small village of Isinlivi and then ride a combination of cobblestone and dirt roads, taking switchbacks to descend into a lush valley before we climb back into the town of Sigchos.  Sigchos was an indigenous trading post long before it was officially settled by the Spanish in the 1500's.  It has a rich history and very friendly and welcoming inhabitants.  The town is often bustling with a local farmers' market or other activities.  We'll continue to ride on this scenic road taking us along scenic cliffs.  We'll spend the night in the small village of Chugchilan at the internationally acclaimed ecolodge, Black Sheep Inn.

quilotoa-crater-lake

Day 2
 Chugchilan - Angamarca - El Corazon - Salinas de Guaranda

(135 miles - 90% offroad)

We have a long ride ahead of us today; one that will test our stamina and endurance.  Therefore, it will be first an early morning breakfast of eggs, fresh fruit, pure juice, granola and freshly baked breads to fill us up and prepare us for the long ride ahead.  In the crisp, bright, chilly, high altitude morning air, we'll get the bikes rolling again on the curvy dirt road that follows at the edge of a deep canyon.  We'll pass through small  indigenous villages, contend with the local dogs who love to "herd" motorcycles that pass through their territories, and we'll stop to meet and visit with some of our friends along this road, such as the wooden furniture makers near the village of Chugchilan.  Chugchilan is also known for the Andean cheeses they make here from the happy cows that live in this beautiful region.

offroading_to_quilotoa_crater_lakeThe next stop will be at the Quilotoa Crater Lake at an elevation of 11,500 feet.  This volcanic caldera was formed by a volcanic eruption about 800 years ago.  It's eruption has left a crater which has become a a very deep lake (about 800 feet deep) that is about 2 miles wide.  The remaining minerals from the volcano have given the water a unique greenish-blue color.  It is an amazing view.

We'll then ride into the town of Zumbahua.  Zumbahua is an indigenous town that has a big market square and the people here dress in the brightly colored traditional dress.  The market square is a good place to grab a warm snack, as we'll be heading into the cooler higher elevations from here and we'll want to be full of energy.

From Zumbahua, we'll climb to about 13,500 feet into the completely different landscape and climate of the highlands pampa.  We'll have big sky and vast views around us. We may come across wild llamas in this region, so we will proceed carefully.  This area is known as well for its condor population.  We'll want to be ready with warm gloves and an extra layer of clothes as the weather here can change quickly.  People in this region are subsistence farmers and many live in traditional mud huts.  We may stop to visit some of our friends here to show1-IMG_1621 you how they live in this very challenging environment. 

We'll continue along this unimproved dirt road, downshifting into a series of tight switchbacks and arrive in the town of Angamarca.  This is a very isolated town, where the horse and llama are still the favored form of transportation.  It is a town comprised of very friendly and welcoming indigenous people. Many local farmers bring their freshly harvested goods here for sale in the local market.  We'll have lunch at one of the small restaurants in the center of town that feature the healthy cuisine typical of the Andean highlands.

We'll continue along unpaved roads along the edge of a steep cliff that will give us stupendous views of the valley, hundreds of feet below.  There is very little traffic here but we may pass another vehicle or two along this hour-long stretch of road. 

Angamarca_CotopaxiThere will have been dramatic changes in temperature and vegetation by the time we arrive in the town of El Corazon.  We'll understand why there are so many sugar cane plantations surrounding this town once we visit the moonshine distillery that pumps out powerful "aquadiente" liquor here.  We'll pick up a bottle of this throat cleanser, available in several flavors such as cocoloco, chocolate and bubblegum in order to later reward ourselves at the end of today's ride.

El Corazon is on the western slopes of the Andes and we will descend to about 3,000 feet in altitude. We'll feel the tropical warmth for sure and we'll remove some layers of clothes as we descend further into the rainforest.  Soon, however, we'll be on a somewhat challenging, steep climb back into the Andes.  And, we'll continue to climb for a while, witnessing several changes in vegetation and ways of life.  Once over a mountain pass at 13,500 feet, we'll glide into the scenic town of Salinas de Guaranda and check into our rooms at the comfortable El Refugio Hotel.  We'll have a hearty dinner here including famous local cheeses and sausages that are made in the Swiss tradition.

chimborazon-national-wildlife-refuge

Day 3
Salinas de Guaranda - Chimborazo National Wildlife Reserve - Baños de Agua Santa

(93 miles / 150 km  - 10% offroad)

We'll sleep in a little longer this morning.  Chances are that you are a bit tired after yesterday's incredible ride. Once we're up, we'll have a full breakfast in the restaurant overlooking the town of Salinas.   Salinas is a very special town - with a very impressive recent rags-to-riches past.  Up until the early 1970's the townspeople were subject to feudal law and they worked long hours in the fields and salt mines of the local landowners for little or no pay. 

Salinas_Guaranda_CheeseSince the reforms put into place by President Cordova in the early 1970's, the townspeople have taken ownership of their lands and have created a local economic partnership with the goal of full employment and improvement of the quality of life for its people.   With the help of Swiss philanthropists, they established cheese making facilities that produce very high quality cheeses such as Andean Gruyère, Parmesan and Tilsit.   The cheeses they make are of exceptional quality and with the success of their cheeses, the townspeople have launched other profitable enterprises such as the manufacture of soccer balls, gourmet chocolates, teas, marmelades and herbal remedies.  It is improving the lives of everyone in town.

We'll learn more about this town and its unique economy as we take a short walking tour with one of the townspeople to visit and taste the various chocolates and cheeses. 

Then as we ride out of Salinas, the road will astound you - it is full of great twisties through lush, green farmlands.  The road brings us from these dairy lands back to the southern stretch of the Avenue of Volcanoes, where we will now climb to over 14,500 feet into the Chimborazo National Wildlife Refuge.

At this altitude, you'll feel like you are on a completely different planet.  There is little vegetation growing in the volcanic ash that surrounds the Cihimborazo Volcano.  At over 21,000 feet the snow capped volcano is said to be the highest point on Earth, when you take into account the fact that our planet is not exactly round.  Because of the spin, Earth bulges slightly at the Equator and thus makes Chimborazo the furthest piece of land from the center of the world.  16-day-tour-near-Chimborazo

It is very cold here - usually just above the freezing point - snow and hail are common occurences here so be ready with an extra layer of clothes and warm gloves.  This protected wildlife refuge is one of the few places left in the world where you can still see wild vicuña - the faster, lighter cousin of the llama.  We will be sure to see them and we'll grab some photos of these graceful creatures.

The air will begin to warm again as we descend into the city of Riobamba with its colonial architecture and great restaurants.  From here, we'll continue our descent along the Guamote river.  

As we approach Baños, the road can no longer be paved as it runs through an area subject to frequent geological shifting at the base of the very active Tungurahau volcano.  There is a good chance we'll witness an eruption of this volcano.  Eruptions have been occurring several times a year recently.

We will check into the comfortable and friendly Posada del Arte Bed & Breakfast, located in the heart of Baños.  Banos is a well-known destination for those seeking adventure.  We'll go for  walk through town and soak in the hot, natural spring baths that have made this city famous.   We'll enjoy a great dinner at one of the town's many superb restaurants.

canyoning-in-Banos

Day 4
Rest Day in Baños

Today is another chance for some additional, unexpected 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 an exciting nightlife, too. This is the perfect spot for a rewarding rest day no matter what you choose to do.

road-from-Banos-to-Puyo

Day 5
Baños - Paillon del Diablo - Cotococha Amazon Lodge

(88 miles 141 km  - 100% paved / cobblestone roads)

With a day of rest and/or adventure behind us, we'll pack up and head east down the eastern slopes of the Andes.  This stretch of curvy paved road goes along several cliffs and passes by stunning waterfalls.  We'll stop to visit one of Ecuador's most breathtaking falls - the Paillon del Diablo as well as other falls while making our way into the Amazon basin.

We'll follow the Pastazo river (a tributary of the Amazon) and, as the air gets warmer, thicker, more humid and full of the scent of wild orchids, we'll know we are in the Amazon basin.  We'll stop for lunch to try the local dishes here which are prepared in the local style, a bit different from the highlands cuisine. 

Then, we'll continue to the town of Puerto Misahualli.  This is the western-most navigable port in the Amazonian network of rivers.  From here, you could travel by boat to the Atlantic Ocean via Peru and Brazil  This is where the culture and way of life becomes centered on the river, on canoes, and on life in the Amazon jungle.   

We will load the bikes one-by-one into the long motorized canoe and set out for a journey deep into the Amazon Jungle, where no roads go.  We'll travel about 60 miles by canoe into the jungle.   We'll end the day at the beautiful Yachana Ecolodge, deep in the heart of the jungle.

 Once we have settled into our riverside cabins, we'll meet up with a local, native guide who will take us for a hike into the Amazon jungle.  Our guide will share his knowlege of the many species of plants and animals and explain their traditional uses.  It will give us a good understanding and appreciation for this very special part of the world.

After a good gourmet dinner, we'll settle into our cabins which are lit only by oil lamps and enjoy a good nights sleep listening to the roar of the Napo river in the background.

loading-the-motorcycles-into-the-Canoe-in-Misahualli

Day 6
Puerto Misahualli - Rio Coca

 ~100 miles via Motorized Canoe

After a great Amazonian breakfast with plenty of fresh fruits and hearty cereals, we will ride into the town of Puerto Misahualli.  This is the western-most navigable port in the Amazonian network of rivers.  From here, you could travel by boat to the Atlantic Ocean via Peru and Brazil  This is where the culture and way of life becomes centered on the river, on canoes, and on life in the Amazon jungle.

With a our trusted boat "captain" (we have done this a couple of times before with him) we will carefully load the motorcycles one-by-one into the canoe.  We will be carrying a picnic lunch and drinks to enjoy along our day's ride deep into the Amazon jungle.  We are going where there are no roads -  and where the river is the only connection to the outside world.  We will stop to visit one of the small communities in this part of the world to learn about their culture and their way of life.

The motorized canoe ride will travel for about 100 miles and we will have descended from 1,500 feet in altitude to only 500 feet above sea level.  We'll end our boat excursion in the bustling town of Rio Coca, which is Ecuador's fastest growing city, thanks to the abundant oil reserves in this area. 

We'll enjoy a walk along the river on Rio Coca's "malecon" and have dinner in one of the wonderful outdoor restaurants.  We'll have a comfortable nights sleep in the Hotel El Auca.

waterfall-on-colombian-border-with-ecuador

Day 7
Rio Coca - La Bonita - Tulcan - Ipiales Colombia

206 miles / 331 km (40% unpaved)

We have a lot of ground to cover today with some drastic changes in altitude, climate, vegetation and culture ahead of us.  The day will begin with another early breakfast and we'll be on the road in the early morning sun.

We'll cross through the flat plains of the Amazon basin and  as we head west, the road will become more curvy and rolling as we begin to climb into the foothills of the Andes. 

The pavement will end as we begin our steep climbs along the Colombian border.  This is one of the remotest areas of Ecuador and there is very little traffic on this road.  The security is excellent, however, as Ecuador has several military posts along this road.  We must be ready to show identification at certain military checkpoints.  Water gushes from all sides of the mountains here and we will be able to enjoy the views of many spectacular waterfalls.  Everything is pure and untouched here.  It is rare to have such untouched natural areas remaining in the world.

We will enter the province of Carchi taking a combination of unpaved dirt roads and paved farm roads surrounded by enchanting forests, delightful farms and picturesque villages. We'll end the day's ride by checking into the recently constructed luxurious Grand Hotel Confort, in the center of the border town, Tulcan.

Once checked in to the hotel, we'll take a taxi to cross into Colombia (no border formalities required) and enjoy a Colombian style dinner in the city of Ipiales.  We'll visit the famous Las Lajas Sanctuary, a church built over a river gorge.  Then we'll head back easily (again no border formalities required) over the border into Ecuador for the night.

el-angel-bological-reserve

Day 8
Tulcan - Tufiño - El Angel Biological Reserve - Hacienda Primavera 

100 miles/ 161 km (90 % unpaved)

Today's ride will be another outstanding day with a variety of terrain and climates.  We'll start the ride heading out of Tulcan riding on farm roads and climbing back into the western cordillera.  We'll ride a few miles among ancient cobblestone roads that lie on the border wth Colombia and stop for a morning soak in the sulfuric hot springs in Tufiño.  These springs are well known for their ability to lower blood pressure and improve digestion.  It is a good way to start another day's great ride.

Once back on the bikes, we'll continue to climb in altitude on unpaved roads into one of the most unique places in Ecuador.   The El Angel Biological reserve is home to the very rare frailejon plant which is something you will remember long after this tour is over.  The road will take us to a height of nearly 14,000 feet in a completely different landscape and atomosphere.  Again, we'll be ready with an additional layer of clothes and warm gloves as we ride through this desolate area.

From there, we will begin our descent along the western slopes of the Andes and into the towns of Maldonado and El Chical.  This is a region that is known for its high quality coffee beans, so we will be sure to pick up a bag of freshly roasted coffee to enjoy at one of our stops along the way.

We'll be in the rainforest and jungle, then we'll climb again over a mountain pass and down into a lush, green tranquil valley.   This area is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.  We'll end the day with a swim in the pool at the very luxurious Hacienda Primavera Wilderness Lodge.  

riding-through-small-river-on-the-way-to-buenos-aires-imbabura

Day 9
Primavera - La Merced de Buenos Aires - Cotacachi - Otavalo

85 miles / 137 km - 75 % offroad

The morning's ride will be in the rainforest and along unpaved farm roads that twist along the western slopes.  We'll continue to climb on unpaved roads and enter the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, another of Ecuador's well-protected natural areas.

We'll visit the isolated village of La Merced de Buenos Aires, and have a lunch of trout freshly caught from the cold mountain water.  

We'll witness changing vegetation and cooler air as we climb on steep switchbacks above the clouds to over 13,500 feet.  We'll have fantastic views of the valley below and head down on challenging switchbacks into a deep canyon.small-pic-cotacachi-cayapas-park

Then we'll ride into the town of Urcuqui, known for its hot springs and then continue along a combination of freshly paved twisties and old cobblestone and arrive in the town of Cotacachi.  Cotacachi is known for its leather artisans, so this is a good place to get a new wallet, belt or other high quality leather goods at very low prices.

We'll stop in the center of the indigenous city of Otavalo, with one of the highest concentrations of  Native American populations in the world.  The Plaza de los Ponchos market is a very colorful and interesting place.    We'll have a walk around this bustling city.

Then, we will end the day along the calming shores of Lake San Pablo and enjoy a last night together enjoying a traditional Ecuadorian cinammon drink as we take a boat ride under the Imbabura volcano on the lake.  We'll sleep next to a roaring wood fire in a private cabin at the comfortable Cabañas del Lago Hosteria.

Guayallabamba_Canyon

Day 10
Otavalo - Lake Mojanda - San José de Minas - Intiñan Solar Temple - Quito

94 miles / 131km (50% offroad)

Our last day will not be short on drastic changes in terrain, climate and culture, just as we have seen over the previous nine days.   We'll start the morning by riding to the high altitude Mojanda Lake at the end of an ancient Incan cobblestone road at 13,500 feet.  Then, we'll cross the valley and head back into the mountains, on cobblestone and rocky dirt roads that will lead us to the picturesque colonial town of San José de Minas.  

From there, we roll through rose and fresh cut flower farms and down into the Guayallabamba river canyon - a dry, dusty canyon that looks a lot like Arizona or California.  We'll climb back out of the canyon and stop at the Intiñan Solar museum which is located exactly on the Equator line.

Here, at the Equator we will be able to see the strange effects of gravity and the Coriollis effect that can only be seen at this exact spot on the Earth.  We will witness water in a sink spin clockwise and then counter-clockwise as we move the drain from one side of the world to the other.  

Then, we will have an easy roll back into the city and finish up our tour where we started - in the magnificent capital city of Quito - a UNESCO world heritage city thanks to the fact that it has the best preserved historic center of all of Latin America.

We hope this proves to be as much fun for you as it is for us to create and guide this tour!

 

 

High Andes, Deep Amazon Tour with Jess McKinley - Ultimate Motorcycling Magazine from Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental on Vimeo.

 

Tour Dates:

Please see our Tour Calendar  for a complete listing of our scheduled tours.

  • 02 NOVEMBER 2017 
  • 11 JANUARY 2018  SOLD OUT
  • 22 JANUARY 2018 SOLD OUT
  • 24 MAY 2018
  • 26 JULY 2018
  • 13 SEPTEMBER 2018
  • 01 NOVEMBER 2018
  • 27 DECEMBER 2018
  • 14 FEBRUARY 2019
  • 23 MAY 2019

 

(If you do not see a convenient date,  please contact us to see if we can arrange a new tour date!)

Prices:

On a Yamaha XT250: $4,400

On a Suzuki DR650: $4,700

On a SWM RS 650R: $4,700

On a Husqvarna Terra TR650: $4,800

On a BMW G 650 GS: $5,200

On a Yamaha Ténéré XT660: $5,300

On a KTM 690 Enduro R: $5,490

On a Husqvarna 701 Enduro: $5,490

On a BMW F700 GS: $5,300

On a Triumph Tiger 800XC: $5,590

On a BMW F800GS: $5,590

On a Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L: $5,690

On a Honda Africa Twin CRF1000 with DCT: $5,890

Passenger Pillion Charge: $3,150 (double occupancy)

Prices Include:

  • Unlimited Mileage Motorcycle Rental (includes SOAT insurance, helmet, gloves)
  • Saddlebags or hard luggage system
  • Tank Bag
  • Use of UClear helmet-to-helmet communication system
  • Experienced, local Ecuadorian resident, multilingual tour guide (you won't find this anywhere else!)
  • Single occupancy in luxury hacienda, boutique hotel, 3-5 star hotel accomodations (best botel in town)
  • All Meals on riding days and during the canoe transport in the Amazon
  • Tolls
  • All Gasoline & Oil
  • All entrances to parks, museums and other attractions
  • Hike with native guide in Amazon jungle, entrance fees to Intinan Solar Museum, all entries to parks and museums listed
  • Souvenir T-Shirt
  • Souvenir decal
  • Pre-tour 25% discount on high quality riding gear from  
  • You do NOT have to pull your wallet out on any of our guided tours!

Prices do not include:

  • Alchoholic beverages
  • Refundable security deposit to cover any damage to the rental motorcycle
  • Ecuador IVA (sales) tax (12% ) for Ecuadorian Residents ONLY
  • **NO TAX FOR TOURISTS TO ECUADOR**
  • Hotel accomodations before and after the tour in Quito
  • Lunch and dinner on rest day
  • Optional activities on rest day (canyoning / ATV rental / horseback riding, etc.)
  • Tips and graruities 
  • Travel insurance or proof of medical insurance (required for entry into Ecuador)

How to Book Your Adventure:

Have a look at our tour calendar to see what dates work for you.  Then, just contact us and let us know which tour and which bike you are interested in.  Or, just click the button below and fill out the simple form.

We'll get back to you usually within a day (sometimes we are out guiding tours and may take 2 days to respond at most).  If you don't see a date that fits your schedule, just ask and we'll see what we can do.