Get ready for an exciting adventure, in a country of many natural wonders and countless treasures. Ecuador is a country with impressive contrasts where high summits merge towards the deep blue Pacific Ocean.
Ecuador has many climate zones, from tropical along coast to cooler and dryer inland at higher elevations and tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands. Ecuador is unusual in that one can choose any climate one wishes by where in the country one travels to. Adding up the thrill of riding a motorcycle makes it even more fun. Lying on the equator means there is no summer or winter; however, there are typically wetter and drier seasons. The 'wetter' season is usually between December - June, while the drier season runs from July - November.
On this tour, you will be part of this merging. Following the water routes, you will transfer from the highlands from the Andes to the whole Coastline, baptized as Spondylus due to a colorful shell that leaves all along the Pacific Ecuadorean Coast. Enjoy this tour, fully thanks to our motorcycles and your riding experience using the best hotels and eco-lodges to make this one wonderful experience.
We strongly recommend you to arrive at least 2 days earlier so you have some spare time to get used to the altitude if need be and also to visit around the capital, San Francisco de Quito. It has won 4 tourism prizes so far and is a city filled with history. From way back when the colonials arrived and founded the city. Bringing their European culture and mixing it with the local natives. The first settlers were the Quitu people: they were eventually subjugated by the Caras culture. Sometime in the fifteenth century, the city and region were conquered by the mighty Inca Empire, based out of Cuzco to the south. Quito prospered under the Inca and soon became the second most important city in the Empire.
Quito has continued to slowly grow and has evolved from a tranquil provincial capital to a modern metropolis.
Perhaps because it spent so many centuries as a quiet provincial town, Quito's old colonial center is particularly well-preserved. It was one of UNESCO'S first World Heritage sites in 1978. Colonial churches stand side-by-side with elegant Republican homes on airy squares. Quito has invested a great deal recently in restoring what locals call "el centro historico”, Spanish for Historical Center and the results are impressive. Elegant theaters such as the Teatro Sucre and Teatro México are open and show concerts, plays and even the occasional opera. A special squad of tourism police is detailed to the old town and tours of old Quito are becoming very popular. Restaurants and hotels are flourishing in the historic city center. Much worth to be visited.
We’ll have a briefing in Ecuador Bike Rental’s headquarters in Quito, located in the heart of the capital. Here’s where the last paperwork will be filled, gear will be given and tested for your better comfort and protection, and the bike of your choice will be delivered. We'll have a quick brief on the roads, traffic signs, police guidelines, safety and quick guide to your motorcycle.
The departure will be at 9 am sharp after all the formalities and checks on the route. After a ride of approximately one hour, you’ll be getting to know the roads better and be familiar with the traffic. We’ll stop for refueling just outside of Quito and have a small chat of what will be coming next.
We’ll take a detour from the Pan-American highway towards a countryside road to show you the marvelous landscapes drawn as we get closer to Cotopaxi volcano, which with its 5897 meters (19347 ft) summit height, is the second highest volcano in Ecuador. Its surrounds are populated with haciendas that end close to the Cotopaxi national park. Its flora and fauna include most of the species from the highlands in Ecuador, such as deers, foxes, highland rabbits, wild horses, and a huge variety of birds.
As we refreshed our sight with all this green and away from traffic, we’ll merge towards Pan-American highway again to retake our route towards the highest point on the tour, the idea is to do it slowly to acclimatize ourselves and make sure we enjoy the motorcycle ride.
About 45 minutes later, we’ll take another detour to Quilotoa lake. An iconic formation seating inside of the Quilotoa volcano crater. The road towards Quilotoa is one of the best asphalted twisty roads in Ecuador, where besides the change in landscapes, it represents quite a fun ride towards today’s destination. Our hotel has a front view of the emerald toned water of the lake, our lodge will be ready for us. Worth to mention that we’ve selected the best community lodge in the area to complement your motorcycle tour. Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner tries to support as much as possible community programs in the country as part of their sustainable tourism initiative.
Rise and shine deep in your warm blankets for another exciting day. A filling breakfast is waiting for us just in front of Quilotoa, and from there to get ready on our motorcycle rentals to go back to that exciting road from yesterday. This time to lower lands towards the coast.
The change in bioclimates is easy to spot in every kilometer. The twisties will take us towards Velasco Ibarra, a small town on the way to the coast where we’ll make a stop for lunch. And where food variety is amazing, as is the transition from the Andes to the Coast. From here, the ride to the Coast has the colors from the trees embracing the road in the form of a tunnel.
Needless to say, the change in temperature as we approach the Pacific Coast to start our Spondylus route. Manta, our today’s destination is one of the three main ports in Ecuador. The 4-star hotel of selection is right behind Playa Murcielago (Bat’s beach), where single room accommodation will be waiting for you. After our check-in, we can rest nearby the swimming pool before we walk to the main street in the city for dinner.
Going down south on the Spondylus route, we’ll hit several villages and towns, most of them with their own history, gastronomic variety, and stunning beaches. The ride goes a few meters away from the coast, so there will be plenty of opportunities to delight our sight. Did you know that the route is called Spondylus due to a shell?. The Spondylus shell can be found primarily in Ecuadorian coasts and its pink color was pretty valued by the tribes living here hundreds of years ago as they used it as their own currency method.
We get to enjoy Los Frailes beach, a beach not known by tourists that conserves its charm along the years due to its access. We’ll ride an easy off road for about 2 km to enter into the beach.
We’ll make a stop in the beautiful beach of Puerto Lopez for lunch, its calm will be refreshing after the ride we had. Then, off to Montañita, the party town. We’ve selected a comfy lodge there near town but away enough from it so you can sleep at ease. As soon as we’re done with the check-in and taking advantage of the afternoon waves, we’ll have our surfing class waiting for us. Local surfer instructors will teach us how to ride waves this time.
At night, after dinner, Montañita party town will be waiting for us to have a good time.
A resting day is just ahead of us. After a late breakfast, we’ll have the whole day to stay at the beach, rent surfboards to practice what we learned the day before and if you’re keen, ride light to nearby beaches to see more.
An interesting fact about Montañita, its origins go way back to the 1960s when the beach was “founded” under a hippie culture and surfing hotspot. Filled with colors all around the center of the village, this place will keep you awake and alive at all times. Montañita, meaning “Little Hill” is an outgrowing town on the coast and over the past decade has become the top destination for locals and tourists. As an international convention center to all tourists and sports, It is a village on the peninsula of Santa Elena province. It is commonly known for its strong surf beaches and bohemian lifestyle. Its top attractions are nightclubs and night life. This will be our little escape to have fun and disconnect from the world.
We will carefully ride on sandy roads until we get to our hotel. Surrounded by colors, nature. Your lunch will be ready at the hotel, following a surfing lesson which allows you to blend with the locals in their venue. Surfing will test you completely, it is a difficult sport to master, but once you get it down, you won’t be wanting to get out of the water any time soon.
In every kilometer of the way, your eyes will be satisfied with beauty and joy. After a filling breakfast in the "city of sin”, we’ll take our ride to the further out point in South America in the Pacific Ocean, Salinas.
La Chocolatera in Salinas is a point where converging currents, lifts the sandy bottom and give the chocolate brown of the sea, hence arises the name. It offers a unique, colorful, and here combine two ocean currents that cause a crash of waves against the rocks and waters are passed by the intense sunlight, creating multiple rainbows.
From there, to Guayaquil. El Astillero is the main port in Ecuador and hence, due to the economic movement the city has, is one of the prettiest cities in Ecuador. As we enter into the continent again, the shrimp farms and other plantations give us the chance to see and interact with the locals and their ways of living. Ecuadorians are known for being pretty friendly with their visitors and won’t hesitate to go the extra mile to make sure you will have a good time. Our 4-star hotel is in the middle of the metropolitan area in Guayaquil and has all the commodities to keep you satisfied and rested. Nearby, there is a shopping mall, where we can purchase any other thing we might need during the rest of the trip.
Good morning from Guayaquil, the city of the Astillero. The first thing you notice when you wake up is the warmth of the Ecuadorian coast. We will have breakfast at the hotel, enjoying once again the great seafood Ecuador has to offer. After filling our tanks with this great local gastronomy, we will take a direction towards the south of the country. A town was well known by the beautiful women and hard-working farmers. This is Machala.
Still, on the Spondylus route, we pay a visit to the banana capital of the world. There is a high probability that those delicious fruits you get back home come from here. Another good attraction of the place is the petrified forest of Puyango in the border between Machala and Loja. The route is as colorful as it gets, changes thanks to the influence of several valleys we have to get to the capital of the province. When we approach the province, you’ll notice endless banana plantations and as we enter the city, the sight of several churches all around to welcome us.
Meals will be served as we finish our check-in, and have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy a city tour.1
After our breakfast in this lovely city, we’ll pack our bags and set our steel horses to continue with the tour on our motorcycle rentals. At the same time as we farewell the banana capital, we are also saying bye to the coast. Don’t you worry though as the Andean region will be waiting for us with its wonderful people and cuisine. We’ll ride it from south to north, starting with the closest city to the Peruvian border: Loja.
The music capital of Ecuador is so rich in culture because of its architecture, its art contribution to the world and for being the crib of many illustrious people. The nearby towns to Loja are also known for being selected by retired foreigners to be their place to live.
Loja is also known as one of the cleanest cities in Ecuador. Many traditional parades take place here, the most remarkable is La Virgen del Cisne parade (the Cisne Virgin’s Parade). The whole city dresses to party and everyone is out in the streets requesting its blessing and protection. Prior to arriving at our hotel, we’ll ride around the city being part of its history.
Today’s ride will start early with our motorcycles ready. Cuenca, the city filled with more history than any other in Ecuador is waiting for us. As we head north, the route of the Guayacan will be a constant for the next kilometers, and we hope you notice the difference in accent proper of this city. Their Spanish is colored by a sweet singing, however, free of slangs and short words, like the rest of the country. Hence is well known that Ecuador is one of the best countries to learn Spanish due to its neutrality.
Cuenca is a city with its historical contrast. Just a bit lower in altitude than Quito, the temperature oscillates from 14 to 18 deg. Celsius all year long. This is because of the valley where it seats. Its mountain walls around allow the entry of four main rivers: Tomebamba, Yanuncay, Machangara y Tarqui that crosses from west to east.
Its architecture gave Cuenca the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1999. Its 200 hectares in the historical center present the visitors the richest density in churches than anywhere else in Ecuador. Besides the religious buildings, the edification of colonial and republican houses presents the contrast that appears on photos in every international magazine.1
Well, enjoy one full day in Cuenca to get to know this city a bit more. If you like, we can get to see the town of Chordeleg in our motorcycles, its known as the "golden stream” thanks to the number of gold workshops and other precious metals in the rivers around the area.
Besides their handcraft, their ceramic shops go all the way to Ingapirca. The most famous ruins in Ecuador and land of the Cañari. Now the area is one of the most visited.
Riding the Andes has been a bucket list for many. And this part of the road will take you through the Ecuadorian Andes highlights. As we leave Cuenca, there will be many small villages on the way. One, in particular, is famous for its train stations. This is Alausi, a picturesque village from where the train to Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s nose) departs. The curious thing about the path this train takes is that to reach its destiny, it needs to go downhill in a back and forth motion.
This is going to be the longest day of riding in our tour, as we keep going north, we’ll encounter the colossal Chimborazo. An inactive volcano known to be the closest point to the sun if measured from the center of the earth, and besides it, Carihuairazo. As the Quichua myth tells, this last was beheaded by Chimborazo in war to conquer the love of mama Tungurahua, and that’s why it doesn’t have any cone at the top.
Tungurahua volcano’s base is the seating of Baños. A town known by its thermal waters, hundreds of impressive waterfalls and by being crossed by far too many water streams, all merging towards the main rivers: Napo and Pastaza towards the Amazon river. This geography makes it excellent for any extreme sports: rock climbing and mountaineering, and water sports like river rafting, kayaking and canyoning. Hence, we’ve selected this town as one of the venues for our motorcycle ride.
At night, after dinner, we’ll have the chance to go partying if you wish as tomorrow will be a rest day. Our 4-star hotel will be waiting for us in the middle of town. Close enough to everything and far enough to get some good rest.
As mentioned before, the day will start with an amazing buffet breakfast and telling the stories from last night and from there, there is a diversity of things we can do. Depending on your preferences, we can go extreme and go for river rafting, canyoning or rock climbing; or we can take it a bit chill and do the waterfall routes, sightseeing of Tungurahua and its constant eruptions and visit the historical part of town. What you would like to do to enjoy yourself.
Baños is an inexpensive town and all these activities are led by local experienced guides. Another touristic spot is Pailon del Diablo. A nice hike towards one of the highest waterfalls in Ecuador. On the way, you’ll appreciate the number of orchids and flora. By being the gateway from the Andes to the Amazon basin, the biodiversity in Baños has it for all likes.
On our second last day, after filling our souls with a well-deserved breakfast and feeling rested, we can prepare our motorcycle rentals towards the North. Passing beside Ambato, the fourth largest city in Ecuador, we can continue learning from different indigenous cultures along the way. We find Salasacas, then later on Salcedo, each town and village with their own way of life, however, unified by Quichua, their common language.
As we arrive at the North, Cotopaxi, and Illinizas (north and south) will be there to greet us. Otavalo has the concentration of the major lakes in Ecuador, and our hotel is just in front of Lago San Pablo. Otavalo market is the favorite spot for everyone to buy a souvenir. The whole center of Otavalo has been taken by its indigenous descendants and provides color to the end of today’s adventure.
The hotel with a fireplace in every room has the habit of insert warm waterbags in your bed while we are having dinner in order to have that comfy feeling that our grandparents enjoyed long ago.
Once we’re done with a succulent breakfast, we’ll visit Peguche waterfall. a mystic place venerated and used as a healing sanctuary by the shamans in the north of the country due to its energetic properties.
Looking forward to an adrenaline rush? There is no better place in the world for motorcycling than Ecuador. We will have lots of adrenaline flowing when will make our way to the “Yahuarcocha endurance track”.
It was first built as a tourist road but with the long-term idea for it to become a racing circuit (you might think of Mount Panorama). It was built around a volcanic lake, around the 1960s; the name of the track comes from a local indigenous language called Kichwa, spoken by the largest indigenous nationality of Ecuador, and it means “blood lake”. According to our indigenous ancestry, this place existed back in the days when the Incas, the largest South American civilization around the 15th century, and local indigenous resistance, fought each other for the right to these lands. Legend says the bodies of the ones dying were thrown into the lake, turning the water red lake for a while, thus it was named Yahuarcocha has given after this famous battle.
Lunch will be served and it will be based on local cuisine, a unique experience different from anything you could try elsewhere in Ecuador. After you had enjoyed the beauties of the Northern part of Ecuador, its culture and food, we’ll head back to Quito’s headquarters to finalize our tour. This doesn’t mean the end of the fun, as we will have 120 km of pure twisties to ride with good asphalt.