What if you are told that you could be in complete different worlds in a matter of hours?, In sceneries that could take you from a lake inside of the crater of a Volcano, to be quite deep in the Amazon basin, to explore the country’s most beautiful waterfalls and be able to interact with all nature around you. Pretty astonishing right? Be prepared for this 5 day tour that will take you through different landscapes and keep your adrenaline at an all time high. Making you experience all the diversity and beauty that Ecuador has to offer.
This route will start at the capital at 2500 m.a.m.s.l. (8300 f.a.s.l.) to 3914 m.a.m.s.l. (12800 f.a.s.l.) at the top of the Quilotoa crater, and then descending to 450 m.a.m.s.l. (1470 f.a.s.l.) in the amazon basin. Hence the name for this motorcycle adventure.
In the morning you will be in a temperate climate, being able to smell the scent of eucalyptus, and in a matter of minutes you will be in the alpine tundra, home of by the iconic wild bird of our country, the condor. Later in the afternoon you will feel the warmth and the humidity of the coast-side of Ecuador. Given the change in climates, the biodiversity observed on this tour can’t be found anywhere else. Its fauna and flora changes are an unforgettable experience. There is no better way to do this than in a reliable motorcycle. Activities are scheduled in every stop for you to take pictures, try different types of food in each environment, see the life of residents and be involved as much as possible with the country.
On this day, we’ll start with a briefing in our offices in Quito, located in the heart of the capital. You will fill the last paperwork needed to be filled, then you will be able to try on your gear, test it, and finally we'll go to your motorcycle rental. After a quick guide, briefing on roads and safety you’ll begin your tour.
The departure will be at 09:00 sharp after all the formalities are completed. It will take you approximately one hour of riding to get to know the roads better and be familiar with the traffic. We’ll stop for refueling and have a small chat of the upcoming schedule. We’ll ride towards the highest point on the tour, Lake Quilotoa first. The idea is to slowly acclimatize ourselves and make sure we enjoy the motorcycle ride.
The route passes through different communities like Sigchos, Chucchilan and Quilotoa, with outstanding sights of the Andes valleys, passing by really close to the Illinizas sisters, one of the oldest mountains in the Andes chain. Reaching the top of the crater of Quilotoa, we'll make a stop to have lunch in the restaurants of the crater. Here you will be able to try on our best typical food from the Andes side of the country. We will take photos and a local guide will explain the story of the formation of this majestic beauty.
Once our “tanks” are filled with local gastronomy, we’ll ride down to the Amazon basin’s gateway, Baños de Agua Santa. This place is one of the top destinations for tourists around the world. The magical city located next to the active volcano, Tungurahua offers wonderful attractions during the day from canopy, trekking, the great waterfall ‘El manto de la novia’ meaning ‘The brides mantle”, and our favorite, ‘El Pailón del diablo’. Be ready to sumerge yourself into deep adventure, feel the experience of being next to an active volcano, and even watch it spit out lava at night.
Once we get there, we’ll check in at our hotel and we’ll have proper rest based on single occupancy. Then dinner will be served in one of the best restaurants in town.
If you are still with energy, a complementary drink will be served to turn on the party mode. Another main reason why Baños is such a touristy place, is the night life. Bars and clubs open at 08:00PM and close at 03:00AM. You will feel the latin presence in any club of your choosing, Baños offers all styles for partying at very low prices. Native drinks are offered complementary once you enter de club.
We start the day with a pretty complete breakfast at a nearby restaurant, then off to our activity of the day. Ecuadorean rivers are proud to be presented as the best venue for river rafting and kayaks world wide, as they cover almost the whole skill spectrum there is. We will do this activity under professional supervision of certified locals. They will take us down to the river and give us all the information we need to perform the activity as safe as possible.
From that point, we’ll take us around two hours down in a class 3 river enjoying one of the Amazonian prides. A different set of abilities will be tested here, a different world from bike riding that you most definitely will enjoy.
If water sports is not your thing, we can arrange a different activity for you upon request.
On our return, lunch will be served based on local cuisine, followed by a waterfall tour just outside of the city where we’ll visit el Pailon del Diablo. This is a magnificent 90 meter high waterfall about half an hour away from Baños.
t’s a natural beauty that shows us the extreme power of nature. We will ride our bikes to the waterfall where we can enter through two different paths, each offering a different view of the cauldron. Both paths to the attraction are similar to a jungle; where you’ll see all types of birds and plants that will catch your attention. It is fairly easy hike that will last 10 minutes on the way down, and about 15 minutes on the way up. We recommend hiking shoes and waterproof gear for your electronics, we will provide you with the waterproof equipment for your cover.
Following the Pailón, we will visit “El manto de la novia” the “Brides mantle”. It’s name comes from the long and white trail the water forms as it is in the air waiting to strike the water down below. The waterfall is located in the National Park Llaganates and is fairly close to the previous attraction, which will allow us to not waste time moving from place to place. The flora found around the mantle is incredible, from 20 ft palm trees to exotic and colorful flowers, to the fauna surrounding it like humming birds, turkeys and andean gull. We will get on a cable car that will take us 500 meters across the river, where we’ll be on top of the cascade, the perfect opportunity to take pictures and keep your favorite momentos.
After the mantle, we will ride our bikes for 30 minutes where we will see La Casa del Arbol, the famous “Swing at the end of the world”. This swing is without a doubt the best place to watch the mighty Tungurahua volcano. Located at 2,600m above sea level, the swing at the end of the world will keep your heart rate up, making you enjoy every single part of the view, floating on top of the Andes mountains and watching a long-time active volcano roar beneath you.
To finish off our day, we’ll go on a chiva (party bus) to take a tour of the main city, get to know the main church and travel to “The Cross” where you can enjoy a native hot cinnamon drink and try all types of typical food while you watch the city lights shine at nightfall.
We’ll get back to our hotel, dinner will be served and a very comfy bed will be waiting for you to get a good night’s rest for next day’s adventure.
Rise and shine! In the morning, breakfast will be served, and we will begin our talk about the 3 hour bike ride we’ll have following to that. You will feel a perfect road, lovely twists, and the change in humidity and climate during the trip. From Andean vegetation to amazonian jungle, you’ll see different flora and fauna and get the full experience of riding in deep vegetation. We’ll be accommodated at our hotel with single room occupancy, and get a good rest for the activities to be done in the afternoon.
After getting rested, lunch will be served with now the typical food from the amazon side of Ecuador. Following our meal, we’ll depart on our way to the Amazon basin. Passing by Puyo, Rio Verde and Rio Negro, towns that are famous by the rivers that crosses them. On our way to the Misahualli port we will cross many hanging bridges.
As soon as we approach to Tena, we’ll detour at Misahualli Port. This little town located at the end of the road and is famous for its white sands near by the river where Cappuccino monkeys commonly interact with people. They are known for taking a thing or two out of your hands, be careful with that you are holding!
A cobble stone road, river crossing and few wooden bridges will take us where our lodge is at. The cuisine served at lunch will give you a good taste of what means to live in the jungle. Here you will taste a mouthwatering dish called, Maito de pescado. This is a fish, mostly tilapia, tied with a palm tree leaf, sprinkled with all types of condiments and spices for the best taste possible. Your rooms will be based on single occupancy (unless requested differently) and will be ready to welcome you.
In the afternoon, we program different walks for both inside forest for exploration or lounging riverbanks and lakes, on longer, shorter, harder or easier trails, depending on you interest and request. We will be led and accompanied by guides that enlighten us with their knowledge on life in the forest. These guides are mostly locals that have experienced the everyday life in the jungle, and will teach us survival skills, cooking in the forest, hunting and weapon making throughout the excursion.A lot is happening on the ground in the rainforest, the easiest realm to actually explore, is so teeming in life not even the most expert scientists could identify it all. Some creatures are perfectly camouflaged, like walking sticks, sphinx moths, dried-leaf katydids, and glass frogs, others are quite the opposite, bright and perky like rainbow katydids, orchid bees, Morpho butterflies or poison-arrow frogs…antbirds closely following army ants, leafcutter ants creating enormous highways from one point of the forest to another, sculptural buttress roots towering above the tallest humans, the most unbelievable colors and shapes of fungi growing on fallen tree trunks and if we are lucky, we’ll be able to spot wild animals like snakes and luckily, jaguars.
We walk and hike the rainforests under towering trees through untouched forest kept under protection of national laws, to observe the giant kapok tree (Ceiba Pentandra) and the Strangler Fig Tree (Ficus sp), the light trickling down in layers, smelling the aromas of a million different and medicinal plants used by locals for centuries, feeling the presence of innumerable creatures filling every corner of the forest. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit and take a refreshing dip when you reach Suchipakari river Beach!
Later on, we'll have time for relax in our hammocks on the private sandy beach and return to the ecolodge floating in buoys or kayak on the pusuno river.
Once we get to our lodge, we’ll be on our way to get dinner. Find your seat and get comfortable while the waiters serve you each course. From typical soups, to the best fish caught at the very river we were riding our kayaks on, to a local delicious dessert accompanied with any beverage of your choosing. At the bar you can find snacks, tea, good coffee and order cocktails from the bartender. Or, feel free to lay on the hammocks next to the swimming pool to rest from your motorcycle riding day.
One of the Guides will give you a Welcome Jungle cocktail and a short briefing with general information about your stay at Suchipakari, how it operates, all the activities available and services. The idea is to begin your activities with background knowledge of the amazing place you have just arrived to. There are so many activities you can choose of and we only have so much time at the lodge.
You’ll awake to birds singing right next to your lodge and the soothing sound of the river joining them, the most peaceful way to begin your day. Head over to the main lodge for a hearty breakfast of homemade bread, tropical fruits, yogurt, eggs, pancakes, cheese, homemade granola, juice, coffee and tea complemented by a rainforest view. Our native naturalist guides can provide information about the plants, rivers, communities and animals that inhabit the surrounding forest. This day is open for enjoying one or more of the lodge’s optional tours Nature lovers may want to start before breakfast with a daybreak birdwatching tour.
Guided hikes will lead you across muddy swamps on log bridges, through the dense jungle of natural treefall gaps, and beneath the understory shade of pristine, primary rainforest. Along the way you will learn about medicinal plants, taste edible fruits and detect the poisonous from the harmless. Also edible insects can be on your menu so you can experience the full jungle adventure and feel like a true native of our ecosystem. You’ll discover how to weave traditional palm-fiber bags hikers have several options to choose from.
Rayucocha Waterfall: combines a demanding hike on an old and very hidden trail in the upper part of the primary forest, with a beautiful canyon, jungle and natural pools. This activity takes the greater part of the day, but it will be surely worth it. In the afternoon we will Visit a Kichwa family and practice the use of the Cerbatana or blowgun. Quichua is the mother language of our natives and is spoken to date. In this community you will see all the customs and traditions that our ecuadorean ancestors followed and lived with. You won’t get any closer to the amazon communities anywhere else in Ecuador.
Río Blanco Waterfall: the jungle is for everyone, so if you want to visit a waterfall in the middle of the jungle, but with a more quiet and interesting walk, this is the place you want to be in. During the afternoon we will visit a Kichwa family and practice the use of the Cerbatana and their traditions.
Ombuni waterfalls is the first in an attractive series of waterfalls, a magical place with a rock platform through which the water has cut a natural channel and shaped along its sides a rock formation full of crustacean fossils. Located near to Misahualli, where you can enjoy the monkeys beach, an important source of the Amazon. Finally we’ll visit the Quichua Community, producing an attractive natural and cultural landscape.
A popular tourist stop is the small town of Misahualli Ecuador. Located at the junction of the Misahuallí and Napo rivers, this sleepy, end of the road town has beautiful jungle scenery and a large sandy beach filled with entertaining monkeys and locals telling stories about their ancestors. They wander along the beach and into the park at the center of town. Be careful about the monkeys, they tend to be very mischievous and will steal anything they can get their hands on. Water bottles and food are their favorite things to snatch. Watch you cameras and sunglasses too.
Visit Indigenous Community where a group of Kichwa women that will speak of their customs, cuisine and everyday life. They have created the center in order to showcase their culture, and it is a unique opportunity to learn about Amazonian lifestyles along the Napo River. You will also have the opportunity to buy crafts, local products and souvenirs. Believe it or not you can buy the old weapons that these communities used like the blowgun and take it into your country.
In the evening we will return to the lodge. Time for relax and rest after a full day of adventures.
After our Special Dinner prepare your rain boots and flashlight for NightWalking with the help of your guides. They will take you around the lagoon looking for night time wildlife like jaguars and snakes. Be careful . This is also a great opportunity for star gazing and taking wonderful pictures of the nightlife.
After another great breakfast - you will learn how to harvest cacao and then learn how to create some of the world’s highest quality chocolate in the world of our Kichwa Kitchen. (it is just too good!). The world of chocolate, from the bean to the bar, the experience of chocolate tasting from the very beginning! Following your successful chocolate recipe, it is time to pack and check out of the Lodge.
We’ll depart towards Quito on our motorcycles taking a different route, here is when cold comes back again. We’ll go through Tena, then Baeza where we’ll see Sumaco volcano on our right hand side, and finally we’ll be on our way to Papallacta and Quito.
Tena is known as the cinnamon capital of Ecuador; this city has grown to be a very commercial place for kayaking and rafting. At the entrance of the city you will see the statue of the indigenous hero Jumandy, the leader of the uprising against the Spanish colonizers. Tena is named after a river, which carries one of the strongest currents in south america and can get as deep as 15 ft. Also known for its wide diversity of flora and fauna, this city holds an incredible view for by passers.
The communities found on tena are Kichwa, which to this day follow their traditions and customs. These communities live in hen houses structured by palm tree and it’s leafs.
Later during our ride, we’ll have Sumaco Volcano located in the heart of the Andes it rises up to 2,500 meters above sea level and allows you to watch numerous waterfalls in the area. It is one of the few privileged volcanos located in the amazonian area of Ecuador. It has limited human settlement, meaning only forrest keepers and native communities are allowed to live around it.
Now we arrive to Papallacta, a small town located at an altitude of 3,300 m.a.s.l. will be the highest point of our ride, where we will be at a tundra ecosystem and you will be able to notice the change in climates the fastest. It is a pretty famous town because of its touristy natural hot springs, a top attraction of the area, which sits at the base of the Antisana Volcano.
Here, lunch will be served and due to the climate change, we will eat accordingly to get our bodies ready and prepared for what is next. We’ll get on the last part of our tour, which includes Ecuador’s highlands getting up to 4000 m.a.s.l. With a little bit of luck, we should be able to watch spectacled bears crossing the road. This last part will be asphalt road and the perfect way to end your Ecuador motorcycle tour.
We should be back in the capital by late afternoon, where either a cold beer or a hot coffee will be the excuse to tell the stories of our trip.