MOUNTAIN BIKING TOUR, ECUADOR – 14/D

Parque Nacional Cotopaxi, Ecuador (0)
  • Biking Expeditions
  • Audio guide
  • Groups allowed
  • Pet allowed
  • Tour guides
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour
Ciclista y Cotopaxi Ecuador 14 day mountain biking tour

Description

» Ecuador 14 days Mountain Biking tour, Bellaviata, Tabacundo, Otavalo, Papallacta, Cotopaxi National Park, Baños city, Chimborazo and Quito.

Transfers in our support vehicle enable us to see so much of the country and ensure a fair share of our biking is downhill. After relaxation and acclimatization in the capital, Quito, with its mix of Spanish colonial architecture and Inca culture, we cycle to Tandayapa, famous for its 330 species of birds. Then we go on to explore the colorful market in Otavalo. We stop at Papallacta for a dip in the toasty hot springs before heading further into Ecuador’s wild country. Further amazing rides follow: from Cotopaxi National Park we embark on a wild ride to the silvery lake of Limpiopungo and from the rim of the volcano Quilotoa down to Zumbahua along the Grand Canyon of Ecuador.

Our journey over the coming two weeks takes us through a wide variety of landscapes and climates from the barren moonscapes of the high Andes with the famous striking volcanoes, through pine forests, cloud forests and down into jungle. Quaint villages and colorful vibrant local markets give us a taste of the local culture and relaxing thermal baths help sooth muscles after a day in the saddle.

A superb mountain biking journey to the smallest country in the Andean highlands; with its array of vibrant indigenous cultures, well preserved colonial architecture, dramatic volcanic landscapes and dense rainforest, it’s not just about great biking!

A rest day in Baños is followed by a ride deep into the rainforest, with a wonderful view of the Pastaza River canyon. Our final ride take us from Chimborazo, the highest mountain of Ecuador, on an amazing ride through the wild Andean landscape before transferring back to Quito.

Itinerary! 14 days


iconoDay 1 – Departure

Fly from your country to Quito, Ecuador, arriving the following day.


iconoDay 2 – Arrival – Transfer IN.

Upon arrival in Quito you will be met by your Ecuadorian Alpine Institute representative and transferred the short distance to your hotel situated in the Mariscal region of Quito’s new city. It’s a pleasant area lined with small hotels, bars and cafés, known locally as Gringolandia. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time for a little exploration of the city or perhaps, if you’ve brought your own bike, you can get it ready for the action tomorrow. It’s a good time to relax after your journey and to acclimatize to the altitude. Quito is approximately 2,800 meters above sea level and we will spend the first day allowing our bodies to adjust to the time difference and the thin air associated with the increased altitude. Hotel Embassy


iconoDay 3 – Quito to Cloud forest – Bellaviata.

In the morning, we load the bikes onto the vehicle and transfer out of the busy city center. When only a few kilometers out of the city and a few hundred meters gained in altitude, the vast size of Quito can be appreciated as it spreads in a half moon shape around the mountains. Approximately 45 minutes out of town we leave the tarmac and start ascending steeply up a stony unpaved eco road into the luscious green landscape on the northern flank of the Pichincha volcano.

Reaching 3,200 meters in altitude, we offload the bikes and prepare ourselves for our first ride. This morning’s route is predominantly downhill through an incredibly fertile landscape which is surprisingly reminiscent of the alps of France and Switzerland. Resting a while for refreshments and a snack in the pretty town of Nono, we prepare ourselves for the first serious ascent of our tour. Topping out at 3,300 meters, we reach the high point of our day, of course we stop a while to admire the magnificent view and catch our breath. We’re further rewarded for our efforts by another long beautiful descent following the course of the Alambi river upon the banks of which we will have lunch and relax for a while. Alter lunch the descent continues into a transforming landscape and before long we’re deep in the cloud forest amongst unusual and wonderful vegetation.

Eventually we reach the small mountain village of Tandayapa, where most of us will be ready to finish our ride and load the bikes back onto the vehicle. Those feeling in need of a challenge however are welcome to attempt the lung-busting 5 km climb to the aptly-named Hotel Bellavista. This is a very special place nestled high in the canopy where we can unwind with a cold beer, admire the amazing views and watch the nectar-sipping hummingbirds and butterflies. (B,L,D) Hotel Bellavista


iconoDay 4 – Cloud forest, Tabacundo to Otavalo – Hostal Cabañas el Rocio.

We begin the morning with an optional pre-breakfast guided hike in the forest around Bellavista. The enthusiastic and knowledgeable local guides offer a fascinating insight into the flora and fauna. The hotel is situated in a protected area which is home to more than 330 species of birds. A hearty breakfast awaits our return to the hotel. Riding out from the hotel we begin with a leg-warming climb, taking us even higher into the cloud forest. Have no fear though, what goes up, must come down and what follows is an eye-watering descent from the top of the Tandayapa Pass. After about an hour of riding we reach a tarmac road where we’ll load up the bikes and transfer to Tabacundo. It’s a long day today, so to save a little time we’ll eat a typical Ecuadorian lunch in a small local restaurant. From Tabacundo we will begin riding again, climbing among the lakes and craters of the beautiful Fuya Fuya region. We end the day with a long descent to the Indian market town of Otavalo, which will be our home for the next couple of nights. (B,L) Hostal ACOMA.


iconoDay 5 – Cuicocha Lake & Otavalo Market – Hostal Cabañas el Rocio.

Otavalo is home to Ecuador’s most successful and prosperous indigenous group and every Saturday the Otovalan Indians descend from the small villages in the surrounding mountains to trade their goods and produce. The huge market, the biggest in the whole of South America, is a fine testament to their industriousness and acumen and is fascinating to wander around. To allow sufficient time to enjoy the market properly we’ll spend just half a day on the bikes today. After an early start we’ll transfer out of town in the direction of Cuicocha Lake, a stunning flooded volcano crater with two lush green islands emerging from the surface of its’ waters. The ride then leads us back to Otavalo via numerous quaint villages and striking views of the surrounding volcanoes. The afternoon is then spent enjoying the market, sampling the produce, shopping for souvenirs and soaking up the vibrant and colorful atmosphere. (B,L) Hostal ACOMA


iconoDay 6 – Otavalo to Papallacta resort.

Heading into the paramo (the 1 meter high shrubby grass vegetation found at altitudes of around 3000 meters) we climb for about an hour and a half (by minibus) into Ecuador’s East Andes. Reaching the highest point we saddle up for one of the longest and perhaps one of the most challenging rides of our tour. The route undulates through a beautiful and unique terrain. The landscape is far more open today than any other in our journey and the views are simply breathtaking. The Ecuadorian authorities have restricted access to this area for conservation reasons and we’ll have gained special permission to enter the reserve. Consequently we may well have the entire trail to ourselves, except for the wildlife that lives in the area. It’s impossible not to feel privileged to be here!

Although a long and quite tiring day, we’ll be rewarded for our efforts upon arrival at our destination. Papallacta exists because of its natural hot springs and we’ll have plenty of time this evening to relax in the soothing thermal pools and to take advantage of the other facilities in our luxurious hotel. (B,L) Papallacta resort.


iconoDay 7 – Papallacta to Cotopaxi National Park.

After one last relaxing soak in the thermal waters (assuming we get out of bed early enough!) we’ll transfer out of Papallacta to avoid another massive climb. Reaching the eco-road at the top of the Guamani Pass (4,200 meters) we begin a 45 km, hugely enjoyable and picturesque descent towards Peñas Blancas. As we reach the suburbs of Quito we will come to a disused railway, now a designated cycle route – it’s a really pleasant experience to join the local people as they enjoy an afternoon out on their bikes. This is a lovely and mainly gentle end to the day as we head through a number of old tunnels, the longest of which is well over half a kilometer in length, to the town of Tumbaco, where our ride ends for today. We load up once more and head for the Cotopaxi National Park where we spend our evening in the delightful Cotopaxi Base Camp hostal (shared bunk-house facilities) at the foot of the famous mountain. (B,L) Hotel Tambopaxi


iconoDay 8 – Cotopaxi to Lasso – Ciénega Hosteria.

Again our day begins with a short transfer from the hostal, although anyone itching to get on the bikes can opt to ride. It’s a tough ride at this altitude but a rewarding one nevertheless. Reaching 4,550 meters we leave the minibus and the bikes in the parking lot at the entry point to the ascent of the volcano. We can take a quick hike to the edge of one of the mountain´s glaciers and pay a visit to the first of the mountain refuges situated at 4,800 meters.
Returning to the parking lot, our bikes will be waiting for us. As we begin our way down the side of the volcano and through gray/brown barren pumice, it´s possible to take the descent at either a gentle speed or, since it’s possible to see many switchbacks ahead, at blistering speed. Either way it won’t be too long until we’re all regrouping by the silvery shores of Lake Limpiopungo. Leaving the barren altiplano we’ll continue our descent into the Paramo where it’s often possible to see wild horses roaming in their natural habitat. We progress, generally downwards but with the occasional climb thrown in for the sake of variety. As we reach the lower levels the vegetation very noticeably changes and pine tress, pampas grasses and the occasional herd of llama become the order of the day.

Leaving the National Park we make our way through the Avenue of Volcanoes, crossing a fertile valley famous for its flower plantations and worldwide exportation of roses. Eventually we reach and cross (very carefully!!) the Pan-American Highway, cycling the last few kms to our accommodation in a grand 470 year old hacienda complete with eucalyptus-lined driveway and it’s own private chapel, for those in need of a little spiritual guidance. (B,L) Hosteria Hacienda la Ciénega.


iconoDay 9 – Lasso to Chugchilan Mama Hilda.

Making an early start we transfer once more to avoid beginning the day with another leg-burning climb. Heading west we drive through the everyday, no frills, Andean town of Toacaso. Beyond here and a few more village settlements, we reach the top of the pass where today’s ride begins. The land is lush and green and a dramatic contrast to yesterday’s stark descent of Cotopaxi. Riding the eastern rim of the Toachi Canyon you’ll be amazed by the way the Indian farm workers have etched out terraces of potatoes, beans, onions and corn into fertile but improbably steep valley walls. We’ll break for lunch in the bottom of the canyon and a Skedaddle Challenge awaits the super fit immediately afterwards. The rest of us however will take a transfer up the other side of the canyon and conserve ourselves for the rest of the day.

A few kms beyond the town of Sigchos we can get back on the bikes and continue along an undulating and stunningly beautiful dirt road which leads us through more green valleys and mountain villages. A warm welcome and a hearty meals await, courtesy of our hostess Mama Hilda, who provides a wonderful end to a blissful day. (B,L,D) Hostal Mama Hilda


iconoDay 10 – Chugchilan to Baños.

Rising early again, we may have to be forcibly pulled away from Mama Hilda’s hospitality and the tranquility of her mountain hostal. Assuming we don’t decide to make the place our home, we’ll ride out of the village, heading south. For the first hour or so the road undulates, every now and then offering a very satisfying work out, just enough to work off our breakfast. The going gets a little tougher as we proceed and depending on our progress, we may load the vehicle and transfer to Quilotoa village. From here the views into the Quilotoa crater are magnificent, but we’ll be getting a closer look as we leave the bikes with the vehicle and hike down to the emerald green lake in the bottom of the crater. Hiking back to the rim or taking advantage of a local donkey taxi, we’ll have lunch in the village, prepared for us by friendly local Indian Jorge Latacunga, who may, if we’re lucky, strum us a couple of tunes on his guitar.

Back on the bikes after lunch, we descend on tarmac to Zumbahua where the road once again rises steeply. Back in the vehicle we’ll climb to 4,300 meters and then it’s back on the bikes for an exhilarating and long descent on a dirt road to Pujilí where we end the riding for today.

Returning to the van for the last time today we make our final transfer to Baños, Ecuador’s rainforest gateway city at the foot of the active Tungurahua volcano. On a clear evening in Baños it is sometimes possible to see glowing red rocks rolling down the mountainside. It’s also THE place to try guinea pig! (optional!!). (B,L) La petit Auberge.


iconoDay 11 – Rest Day – Baños.

Baños is Ecuador’s adventure playground and the town offers numerous pastimes, some relaxing, some not so relaxing. The day is yours to do as you please; choose from, amongst other things, relaxing in thermal pools, strolling through the vibrant town, white water rafting, hiking or more biking! (B) HOTEL SANGAY


iconoDay 12 – Baños, Patate & Chimborazo Mountain Lodge.

Riding out from our hotel, we take the main road out of town. It’s not long before we arrive at the bridge over the Pataza river. The dirt road over the river begins to rise immediately, in places the road is steep but it’s amazing how much easier it feels ascending at “normal” altitudes. These days in Baños are the lowest altitude that we will be at during our tour and the benefits of our high altitude “training” are very evident. It’s still quite a strenuous start to the day however, so the support vehicle will remain close by, offering a lift up and over the toughest sections for anyone preferring to start the day a little more gently.

Reaching the top of Loma Grande, we stop to admire the stunning views of the town, Tungurahua volcano and the lush green surrounding mountains before we descend to the town of Patate. Depending our arrival time in Patate we may continue on the bikes to Ambato. Eventually however we must board the minibus and transfer to what will ultimately be the highest point of tour. Our hotel this evening, and our last night in the wilderness, is 4,200 meters above sea level at the base camp of Ecuador’s biggest volcano, the mighty Chimborazo. (B,L) Mountain Lodge Estrella del Chimbrazo


iconoDay 13 – Chimborazo to Quito.

Alas the end of our adventure is drawing near. To ease the pain a little we have a real treat in store. It’s highly likely you’ll agree that we’ve saved the best until last! A short transfer this morning takes us to 4,800 meters. While your guides prepare your bikes for your final ride you can hike a little further up Chimborazo to the Whimper Refuge Hut, at 5,000 meters. From here, on a clear day, the views across the Andes cannot be beaten!

Our ride today begins with two options, some will choose to take the mountain road, others will pick their way slowly through the altiplano, the sole inhabitants of which are vicuñas, the most timid, most endangered and most beautiful of the four cameloid species to be found in the Andes. Both routes converge just as the land starts to run green again at the edge of the paramo where we will regroup and ride as one party again along 45 km of the Ambato river valley, an area of extreme natural beauty. It’s downhill all the way and you’ll hardly have to turn a pedal if you choose not to. More than anywhere on our tour so far we can witness traditional Andean life, which doesn’t seem to have changed much in hundreds of years.

All good things however must come to an end though and eventually the dirt road gives way to asphalt, ponchos give way to jeans and T-shirts and peace and tranquility unfortunately give way to motor cars and other city noises. A little closer to civilization or a little further away? Something to think about during the transfer back to Quito.

We’ll be back in Quito in time to scrub up, pack our gear and have one final celebratory night out on the town, after what will have been a truly memorable trip!! (B,L) Hotel Embassy.


iconoDay 14 – Quito to Home, Transfer out.

Check out of the hotel after breakfast for the international flights home (arrival next day). (B)



Schedule

Price:

  • 8 - 10 People: $1749
  • 11 or more people: $1520

The price includes:

  • Airport transfers in & out.
  • Hotels (12 nights Standard *** & Comfort Class ****) like at the itinerary depending upon availability
  • Bilingual certified guide.
  • Private transportation - 4x4 WD vehicle or a single track¨
  • Meals, look on the itinerary. (If you have a special diet, no problem.)
  • Entrance fee for the National Parks.

Not included:

  • Food and Beverages at the hotels.
  • Any type of Insurance.
  • Supplement single room US $155
  • International flight
  • Bank transfer fee
  • Personal bike gear.
  • Tips.
  • Bike rentals.

IMPORTANT:

The client is responsible for additional expenses incurred due to changes/variations in the above itinerary (food, gas, hotels, guide, etc...) If do you decide to go to a destination EAI don’t cover (as described on the regular itinerary) the last night, you lose the hotel night and the transfer out also. EAI covers the last night of your program.

Calendar of next year departures

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • November
  • December

Why Do Biking in Ecuador?

Quickly learn about the history of this beautiful, small country where you can rest and shed the stress of your work. Live your bike trip dream with Ecuadorian Alpine Institute

Transfers in our support vehicle enable us to see so much of the country and ensure a fair share of our biking is downhill. After relaxation and acclimatization in the capital Quito, with its' mix of Spanish colonial architecture and Inca culture, we cycle to Tandayapa, famous for its 330 species of birds. Then we go on to explore the colorful market in Otavalo. We stop at Papallacta for a dip in the toasty hot springs before heading further into Ecuador’s wild country. Further amazing rides follow: from Cotopaxi National Park we embark on a wild ride to the silvery lake of Limpiopungo and from the rim of the volcano Quilotoa down to Zumbahua along the Grand Canyon of Ecuador.

Our journey over the coming two weeks takes us through a wide variety of landscapes and climates from the barren moonscapes of the high Andes with the famous striking volcanoes, through pine forests, cloud forests and down into jungle. Quaint villages and colorful vibrant local markets give us a taste of the local culture and relaxing thermal baths help sooth muscles after a day in the saddle.

A superb mountain biking journey to the smallest country in the Andean highlands; with its array of vibrant indigenous cultures, well preserved colonial architecture, dramatic volcanic landscapes and dense rainforest, it’s not just about great biking!

A rest day in Baños is followed by a ride deep into the rainforest, with a wonderful view of the Pastaza River canyon. Our final ride take us from Chimborazo, the highest mountain of Ecuador, on an amazing ride through the wild Andean landscape before transferring back to Quito.


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