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4 Day Northwest Culture Revival Guided Motorcycle Tour in Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Guided Ecuador Motorcycle Tour

The northwestern part of Pichincha province in Ecuador is well known by nature lovers due to its richness in terms of biodiversity. It is located within a larger area that stretches onto the eastern part of Colombia and a small corner of northern Peru and lso reaches the region of Darien in Panama. It is one of the 35 areas found worldwide that are considered to be neotropical and biogeographical. Witness this wonderful place with your own eyes and riding a machine suited for the trip!

Key information

  • Terrain: 55% asphalt and 45% gravel
  • Bike: rental bike (Suzuki DR 650, Suzuki Vstrom 650, BMW F700, or BMW F800)
  • Total mileage: 450 kilometers / 280 miles
  • Daily rides: 80 to 180 kilometers / 52 to 112 miles
  • Meals: 3 daily meals

Meet the guides

David “Gambito"
Read more

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Quito
  • GPS system and complete riding gear
  • Suzuki, Honda, Royal Enfield, or BMW motorcycle rental
  • An extraordinary ride on the Tren de la Libertad
  • Visit to the famous Otavalo market
  • Fun chocolate tour in Mindo
  • 3 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner

Styles


4 riding days in English
The organizer also speaks: Spanish
Group size: Maximum of 6 participants
Airport transfer available:
Mariscal Sucre International Airport (US$50 per person)
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Bar
  • Barbeque facilities
  • Garden
  • Lounge
  • Luggage room / storage
  • Meditation garden
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Wireless internet
  • Outdoor shower

Accommodations for this tour will be in four-star luxury hotels and eco-lodges. Rooms are single occupancy.

Program

Once you have decided to start with this adventure, Sleipnir Ecuador will give you the tools to enjoy your riding skills and satisfy your adventurous soul with the best motorcycle rental service out there and in a country that deploys all its beauty just for you. They understand that sometimes, especially traveling with your peers, starting your journey from the center of the main city can be quite challenging due to traffic and stoplights and just by being in a different country.

Hence, they offer you the chance to pick your motorcycle rentals outside of the city where highways merge for all four directions in the country (north, south, east, and west) at no cost.They will pick you up from your hotel and will take you where your gear is ready. At your hotel from the airport, drop them a line to arrange the details for the meeting the night before your tour.

In the briefing, you will review your tour package and will go through your selected gear. Upon a quick talk on safety and country laws, you will get to meet your tour guide and goodies about the tour. Your first day will start pretty early. You will be picked up from your hotel at 7:00 a.m. On the end of your tour, you will have a quick talk with Sleipnir Ecuador to know how you liked it and have a beer along.

Itinerary

Day 1: Quito to Nono to Mindo (80 kilometers / 52 miles)

Before the day starts, you will go through a final preparation stage in which the last paperwork will be filled and the gear will be given and tested. The motorcycle rental of your choice will also be delivered at this point. Then, after a quick briefing on roads and routes, safety advice, and quick guidance, you will be on your way.

The departure time will be at 9:00 a.m. after all the paperwork is settled. After a ride of about 45 minutes, you will arrive at the small town of Nono, which has quite an interesting history behind it, an agricultural land filled with crops that will offer you colorful landscapes.

After leaving Nono, you will pass through the eco-route called "Paseo del Kinde" (Path of the Hummingbird), declared as the first birdwatching site in South America. You will have the chance to find yourself riding while being surrounded by over 400 different species of birds, including 20 different species of hummingbirds. You will be able to enjoy fauna from the tropical cloud forest.

After this, you will go back to the main road that will take you to Mindo (E28 Highway). Around noon, you will be expected to check in at the hotel to later have lunch at the eco-lodge where biodiversity is combined with the tranquility and comfort and which perfectly combines traditional décor with the surroundings. Prior to departing toward your chocolate adventure, you will ride your motorcycle to a canopy that crosses the Mindo River. Its length is a bit over one kilometer long.

Ecuadorian cocoa beans are known worldwide. Many call this "the food of the gods," and Mindo is also well known for the production of fine chocolate made from prime Ecuadorian cocoa beans, which come from the surrounding area. Cocoa beans are known for having more than 300 health improving properties since they contain vitamins and minerals as well as healthy doses of potassium and copper, which are mainly useful to cardiovascular health and as an energy booster.

In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to attend what we call "The Chocolate Tour," where you will witness the different stages in the preparation of Mindo's fine chocolate, which you probably eat back in your countries, and now you get the chance to see the process firsthand from the makers themselves, a unique experience included in your guided tour. This is an experience that you will be able to share with your family and friends back home! The whole activity lasts for about two hours, filled with pure tasty fun!

You will be back at the hotel by 7:00 p.m., just in time to take a nice relaxing shower in the absolute comfort of top accommodations, and then directed to the beautiful restaurant for the last meal of the day.

Day 2: Mindo to Nanegalito to Cuicocha to Lago San Pablo (180 kilometers / 112 miles)

After breakfast and making sure your batteries are fully charged, you will get on your way to the town of Nanegalito, riding on curvy asphalt mainly. The ride lasts for about 45 minutes. There you will start your biggest adventure of the day in terms of the riding difficulty, four hours of cross-country. Motorcycle rentals and motorcycle adventure tours in Ecuador are the best way to see all the unbelievably beautiful landscapes of the Andean region.

You will then cross the province line into Imbabura, well known internationally for its lakes and the textile and handcrafts indigenous market located in this area. Imbabura also possesses beautiful lakes of volcanic origin. The Cuicocha Lake is one of the most beautiful geological formations of the region. There you will have the chance of eating lunch inside the national park while enjoying the magnificent views of this natural landscape.

After lunch, you will take a boat ride in the lake that is at the center of this active volcano. You will get to learn about local traditions and the story behind the origin of this crater-lake. Finally, before leaving the area of the park, you will go through the interpretation center, where you will get to learn more interesting details about this wonderful ecological reserve.

After a short ride, you will arrive to Cotacachi, a city known nationwide for its music, the most important in the northern region. This city is also famous for its leather commodities, where the ones interested could go shopping for the finest leather products such as shoes, hats, jackets, trousers, and belts, and to complete this cultural shopping experience, you will make a longer stop in the most famous artisan textile market of Ecuador, the Otavalo market.

In this colorful and lively market, you will be able to find hundreds of locals from the indigenous communities, selling their handcrafted products. This is just the place to buy souvenirs to take back home as well as memorable tokens to remind you of this trip.

This experience will get you in touch with the locals and understand how this particular indigenous group, the Otavalos, have become so successful in terms of economic development, being the most prosper indigenous group in Ecuador. Their products are exported all around the world because of their high quality and their cultural value.

By sunset, you will be riding toward the nicest hotel in the area with one of the best views of San Pablo’s Lake, the largest lake in the province, which is guarded by the magnificent Imbabura volcano. This lake has great cultural significance for the indigenous people of the area. For them, it means "purified water generator of life." All the wonders of nature are close to the comfort of excellent accommodations.

Day 3: Lago San Pablo to Tren de la Libertad

A pretty early breakfast will be served so you can have the chance to ride the "Train of Liberty" in an unbelievable trip that crosses the most breathtaking landscapes of the Imbabura province, as part of your motorcycle guided tour. Your guide will tell you all about the 85 years of history of Ecuador's railroad.

You will have the chance to experience and travel through one the most famous and historical paths built in the north of the country: the Route of Liberty. The reason for the name is that this region of the country was one of the areas where slaves who were brought from Africa were found. They came to Ecuador back in the 17th century and were brought by the Jesuits. The Ecuadorian government named it thus to honor all of them.

During this journey, make sure you take pictures of every single frame. In the path of the train, there are tunnels as well as bridges that seem to be suspended in the air, one of which is 80 meters long and crosses the Ambi River. The Train of Liberty offers its visitors a different way of visiting wonders of this spectacular touristic site, immersing its passengers both in a part of the country’s history and in the culture of indigenous and African descendant groups that made of Ecuador their homeland.

During the trip on the train, a local guide will take you through the history, the music, the crafts, and the culture hidden behind all the incredible and mysterious landscapes of the Andes. Afterward, you will have lunch in a restaurant that serves variety of excellent traditional food of the region.

Among the options, you will find the most famous, namely, chicha, which is a beverage made from maize; hornado and fritada, which are both typical dishes with pork meat; and cuy or roasted guinea pig, which is one the country's delicacies. This is one of the ways in which tourists support local groups who make a living from tourism. This day's journey ends with the train taking you back to the main station. Dinner will be served at the hotel while enjoying the fantastic view of the San Pablo Lake.

Day 4: Lago San Pablo to Peguche to Otavalo to Quito (160 kilometers / 100 miles)

After breakfast on the last day, you will ride out on your steel horses and take back the road that will take you to Peguche, a region with a very important percentage of indigenous people, traditional to its core, with rich cultural rituals. The people and their magnificent culture are the highlights of the region.

In order to learn better about all these aspects, you will be taken to the famous Peguche waterfall, a ceremonial waterfall where shamans practice cleansing rituals. If you do not know what a shaman is, do not worry, come and learn all about it! The great advantage of a country like Ecuador and its location right on the equatorial line is that you can start our activities early in the morning, with the sun already shining bright and warm.

Looking forward to an adrenaline rush? There is no better place in the world for motorcycling than Ecuador.  You will have lots of adrenaline flowing when you will make your 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 during 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 their indigenous ancestry, this place existed back in the days when the Incas, the largest South American civilization around the 15th century, and a 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 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 its food, you will head back to Quito's headquarters to finalize your tour. This does not mean the end of the fun, as you will have 120 kilometers of pure twisties to ride with good asphalt.

Skill level

Beginner

  • can ride for two to three hours
  • minimal riding experience
  • assistance required
  • comfortable with curves and leans
  • basic experience with unsurfaced roads
  • short distance ascents and descents

Included excursions

  • Tour an artisanal chocolate factory in Mindo and taste some of the best chocolate in Ecuador
  • Go and shop at the Otavalo Market
  • Take the Tren de la Libertad and journey through the landscape of Ecuador
  • Visit the beautiful Peguche waterfall

Guides

David “Gambito" Garces

Location

This tour will take place in Ecuador. You will be visiting Nono, Mindo, Nambillo waterfall, Nanegal, Apuela, Cuicocha lake, Peguche waterfall, Otavalo marketplace, and Yahuarcocha lake.

Mindo

One of your destinations will be a small town called Mindo, located 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the capital city of Quito. The estimated population of Mindo is of about 2,500 inhabitants whose main activity revolves around agriculture. The temperature of this area stands between 15 and 24 degrees Celsius (59 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit).

Among the main natural attractions of Mindo which characterizes the beauty of the area is the protected forest of "Mindo Nambillo," which amounts to up to 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) of mostly primary forest. This is an ecological reserve that will allow you to observe over a 170 species of orchids, 90 species of butterflies, and over 500 species of birds, many of which are in danger of becoming extinct.

Mindo is a beautiful town considered a unique place for the birdwatching all across the guided tour. The biodiversity in this aspect is of such relevance that the area has been declared as "Important Bird and Biodiversity Area," meaning that Mindo is a distinct area around the world with international significance for the conservation of birds and biodiversity. Just imagine how incredible it would be to have the opportunity of entering this magic world while engaging in leisure and sporting activities such as canopying, tubing, and hiking.

Nambillo waterfall

Nambillo waterfall is a natural spot that is reached within an hour and a half of moderate riding. It possesses such a wide variety of flora and fauna which makes the walk through the trail all the more pleasant. There is a natural oasis with a waterfall of about 15 meters drop (50 feet), where visitors can freshen up before the journey back or use it to engage in other activities such as rafting and canyoning.

Otavalo

On day two, the journey begins toward Otavalo, known as the "intercultural capital of Ecuador." Here it is possible to enjoy one of the most spectacular landscapes and travel off-road while admiring the countryside cruising on your motorcycle. Imbabura, the province on which Otavalo is located, possesses a huge cultural and ethnic diversity, along with handcrafts skillfully created by the locals, and a flourishing commercial sector.

There you can find the largest handicraft market in South America. The province is also the center of important local history. You can see this aspect of cultural diversity, thanks to the presence of indigenous musical influences and traditions upheld by the locals and their friendly attitude towards visitors.

Food

All meals are included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Hire of a fully fueled motorcycle with unlimited mileage
  • 2 helmets and all other necessary riding gear
  • GPS tracking system with a panic button on each bike
  • 24-hour assistance from their support center
  • Briefing before the tour starts
  • Activities specified in the tour
  • 3 nights accommodation
  • 3 daily meals
  • Bulletproof travel insurance
  • Souvenir buff or T-shirt
  • First-aid kit

What's not included

  • Voucher for security deposit (major credit card required)
  • Ecuador IVA tax (if you are Ecuadorian)
  • Hotel accommodations before and after the tour
  • Airport transfers
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips and extras

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request. If you wish to be picked up at the airport, Sleipnir Ecuador can arrange it to bring you to your hotel in Quito at a cost of 50 USD back and forth.

Airport: Mariscal Sucre International Airport Airport transfer available: Mariscal Sucre International Airport (US$50 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
4 days / 3 nights
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Pricing information

Additional packages are available:

  • 1 rider with Honda XRE 300 or Royal Enfield HIMALAYAN in a single room – 1,986 USD;
  • 1 rider with Honda AFRICAN TWIN in a single room – 2,492 USD;
  • 1 pillion – 651 USD.
Saturday October 24, 2020
(4 days / 3 nights)

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