3 DAY COTOPAXI-QUILOTOA-CHIMBORAZO
DAY 1: QUITO – COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK
At 07:00 AM we leave Quito and after driving south for 1,5 hours on the Pan-American highway we reach the park entrance of Cotopaxi National Park. We drive through pine forest and soon we arrive to the Visitors Center of the park. After visiting the Center, we continue the ascent in our 4-wheel drive vehicle until we reach the highest point of the tour, 4.500 meters/15.000 feet. The view from this point is stunning and on a clear day we are able to see 8 volcanoes.
We then put on helmets, gloves and protection pads and the bike adventure on the world’s highest active volcano can begin. The first 8 km will take us down 700 m. on dirt roads through volcanic ash and páramo landscape. At 3.800 m. you actually have to do some pedaling while we head down another 8 km 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 m. where we start the 16 km downhill biking on dirt roads and tthe bike adventure is over for this time.
We then ascend by jeep in a northwest direction into the western Cordillera arriving at Quilotoa to spend the night. The night’s retreat is a simple but clean inn located in Quilotoa run by an indigenous family.
DAY 2: QUILOTOA – URBINA
The next day, we start with an early hike down to the deep, jade-colored Quilotoa Crater Lake. The hike downhill to the laguna takes about 30 minutes, and about twice as long to climb back up. But, you can hire a mule or donkey for about US $8 to carry you back to the top, where breakfast will be awaiting you to charge your batteries for the day’s adventure! After breakfast we descend on mountain bikes to Zumbahua. Many years ago, an earthquake destroyed this area. The land has transformed into a rugged formation resembling the terrain from another planet. Lunch is a picnic at a location where we have the opportunity to intermingle with the Quechua Indians or test your artistic skills with the locals painting landscapes of the area.
After lunch, we enjoy a 30-minute drive until we reach 4,200 m (13.400 ft). We switch then to human power and the downhill bike ride begins down a long and winding road all the way back to Latacunga, located at 2400 m. (7,600 ft.). We then continue by jeep to URBINA.
DAY 3: URBINA CHIMBORAZO
We 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 customer favorite. Seldom does one 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 and return to Quito by jeep.
PRICE PER PERSON: $280
PRICE INCLUDES: Meals (2 breakfasts, 3 lunches), 2 nights accommodation, 21-speed mountain bikes, transportation, guide-driver, all protection (helmet and gloves).
NOT INCLUDED: Meals not mentioned above (Breakfast first day, dinners), entrance fees to National Parks Cotopaxi and Chimborazo (currently free of charge), Comunidad Quilotoa US $2, drinks, tips, personal expenses.