Cotopaxi– Chimborazo – Baños – Puyo – Amazon Basin – Papallacta
DAY 1: Cotopaxi National Park
We leave Quito early in the morning. After a one and a half hour drive on the Pan-American Highway we reach the park entrance of Cotopaxi National Park. We drive
through pine forest and soon reach the Visitors’ center of the park. We visit the Center before continuing the ascent in our 4-wheel drive vehicle. We soon reach the highest point of the tour, 4.500 meters/15.000 feet. The view from this point is stunning as on a clear day we are able to see 8 volcanoes.
Afterwards we put on helmets, gloves and protection pads and the bike adventure on the world’s highest active volcano can begin. The first 8 kilometers will take us down 700 meters on dirt roads through volcanic ash and páramo landscape. At 3.800 meters you actually have to do some pedaling heading down another 8 kilometers between volcanic rocks and wild horses to our lunch spot by an Inca ruin at 3.700 m. With some luck we might see a condor or a caracara. We put the bikes back on the jeep and head for the lake of Limpiopungo at 3.800 meters where we start the 16 kilometers downhill through pine forest biking on dirt roads. After two extra kilometers on a beautiful single track the bike adventure is over for this time.
We trade mountain bikes for our support vehicle and travel down south along the “Avenue of the Volcanoes” to our night’s retreat. Overnight in Urbina or Riobamba. (L
Day 2: Chimborazo to Baños…
Drive for just over an hour to Mount Chimborazo (6310m), the highest and most impressive of Ecuador’s volcanoes. We park at the lower refuge (4800 m) and continue on foot to the Edgar Whymper Refuge. Located at 5000 meters this is the highest refuge in the world! From here, it’s all downhill- first on foot and then by bike we descend all the way to Ambato(2800m).
This is an amazing bike ride through the highlands, with vicuñas being the sole inhabitants of these wild stretches. On this tour, cyclists enjoy a breathtaking 70 km ride through varying landscapes in just one day. This trip is by far a favorite ride of previous customers. It is seldom for one to have the chance to ride from the snow line of a volcano, through rural Andean patchwork fields, picnic with vicuñas and at the end of the ride arrive in a modern city. In Ambato, we load up the bikes on the jeep roof and drive to Baños, a small town famous for its hot springs, and spend the night there.
Day 3: Puyo and the Avenue of the Orchids…
We take a pre-breakfast dip in the thermal baths of Baños before pedaling east toward Puyo. You’ll notice the dramatic temperature and vegetation changes as we descend into the steamy Amazon basin. Bike along the Avenue of the Orchids to the Amazonian frontier town of Puyo. Lunch. Drive through quichua villages and tropical rainforest to Tena town in the Amazon basin. Overnight in a jungle lodge at the river bank
Day 4: Amazon Basin…
Today our travel is by foot as we explore pristine Amazon rainforest. On this hike, we will see a beautiful waterfall as well as exotic flora and fauna. We stand a good chance of spotting flocks of Amazon parrots, macaws and toucans, monkeys and other jungle wildlife.
Day 5: Amazon Basin BACK TO THE ANDES PAPALLACTA
We begin by driving by jeep up into the Andes (Guaguamayos Pass). We cycle to the town of Baeza at the base of the Andes. We enjoy a picnic lunch, and then drive up to the Papallacta thermal baths for a well-earned soak in the toasty hot springs. From the Ave Maria Pass (4200m), we then bike back towards Quito along the Chiche river basin. This is one of the longest downhill rides in the world, about 45 km. The last 12 kilometers will be on the famous railroad line going through five tunnels, one of which is 322 meters long. The spectacular ride takes us speeding through wide stretches of paramo and cloud forest, with the Andean sun illuminating the way. Some days can be chilled by occasional fog, so don’t forget your mittens and fleece. In Tumbaco we pile the bikes on the jeep’s roof and head back to Quito.
INCLUDED: Meals as indicated (4 breakfast, 5 lunch) 4 nights accommodation, 21-speed mountain bikes,transportation, guide-driver, protections (helmet and gloves)
NOT INCLUDED: Jungle tour (depending on which tour you choose, can be free of charge too), Meals not mentioned above (Breakfast day 1, dinners) Entrance fees (e.g Cotopaxi and Chimborazo currently free of charge, Papallacta Thermal Springs $8.50, etc.) other drinks, tips, personal expenses.