Ecuador has some of the world’s most diverse landscapes including the world's longest mountain range, the largest rainforest and one of the highest active volcanoes… this trip won’t be short of dramatic scenery and amazing wildlife.
Cycling the Andes to Amazon adventure
This incredible trip starts off high in the Andes cycling past many mountain peaks, lakes and valleys, as well as passing through remote mountain villages to experience the local culture, customs and cuisine.
The ride takes you through the breathtaking Avenue of the Volcanoes before riding beneath the smoking, snow-capped summit of Cotopaxi, one of the world’s highest active volcanoes at 5,911m (19,393ft). After enjoying the jaw-dropping mountain scenery of the Andes the adventure then descends past waterfalls into misty cloud forests before finally reaching the Amazon rainforest to see all of the amazing plant and animal life it has to offer.
Typical day-to-day itinerary
In order to maximise your enjoyment of the Andes to Amazon cycling adventure, your trip should be at least 14 days long. There are many tour guide operators or charities you could choose to travel with and each will offer a different itinerary. The itinerary below is an example only and may vary between providers.
Day 1 – Flight to Quito
Day 2 – Rest day in Quito
Spend the day relaxing in Quinto, Ecuador’s capital city before your adventure begins. There is plenty to see and do, check out the old city which has been declared a world cultural heritage site and has wonderful colonial architecture as well as a huge market. Then head north to the new center where you’ll find a host of restaurants and nightlife.
Day 3 – Quito to Quichinche
On day three your cycling adventure begins as you and your bikes are transported out of Quito. As you leave the city behind your transport will soon climb into the mountains before stopping for you to disembark. The riding starts with a climb up to the small village of Peguche before continuing on to Quichinche and your first night’s sleep.
Day 4 – Quichinche to La Esperanza
On day four you leave Quichinche to enjoy the breathtaking, lush, green scenery around San Pablo Lake before cycling past the majestic slopes of the Imbabura volcano. The ride finishes at La Esperanza where you are welcomed by the locals and enjoy some food and a good night’s sleep.
Day 5 – La Esperanza to Tumbabiro
This is a relatively easy day’s riding. After a breakfast, it’s time to set off for the picturesque village of Urcuqui where you’ll stop for lunch before continuing onto Tumbabiro and your overnight lodgings.
Day 6 – Tumbabiro to Chachimbiro
From Tumbabiro you will go on a thrilling ride around Laguna de Yaguarcocha (or Blood Lake) taking in the stunning scenery before reaching the Pan American Highway. Here transport awaits you to take you to the thermal pools at Chachimbiro where you can rest in the warm waters.
Day 7 and Day 8 – Cotopaxi National Park
This is a fun packed couple of days spent at the foot of the imposing Cotopaxi volcano (one the highest active volcanoes in the world). If you feel really energetic, you can trek up to the mountain hut at 4,800m and venture out onto the icy glacier slopes.
Day 9 – Cotopaxi National Park to Banos
After a thrilling two days in Cotopaxi National Park you will ride to the town of Banos with its revitalising hot springs (where once again you can soothe your saddle-sore behind).
Day 10 – Banos to Mishualli
After resting yourself in the hot springs at Banos it’s time to saddle up for the ride to Mera and the end of your cycling adventure. From Mera you are collected in vehicles and taken to the river where you board a boat for an amazing river trip deep into the Amazon rain forest. Your boat brings you to your night’s accommodation in a jungle lodge at Mishualli village.
Day 11 – Jungle trek to Mishualli
This really is a thrilling day as you explore the dense jungle and the amazing plant and animal life of the Amazon Rainforest. There is a chance to visit to an animal rescue center to meet some of the wildlife up close and personal. If you love wildlife then you’ll love this trip to the rainforest which is home to thousands of species of trees, flowers, monkeys, birds, spiders, frogs and snakes.
Day 12 – Mishualli to Quito
On day 12 you are collected by boat and taken back to the road for the return journey to Quito where you can relax at the end of your amazing adventure (and celebrate your achievement) with a meal and a few drinks.
Day 13 – Flight out of Quito
Day 14 – Arrive home
How to get to Quito
An adventurous and budget way to go cycle on this Andes to Amazon adventure is to simply book a flight to Quito and then find some local guides to take you. However it is recommended that you book your expedition via a reputable Mexico mountain biking tour operator.
- Using a reputable tour operator has many benefits, including:
- Well-planned itineraries with good on-route accommodation, food and sightseeing opportunities.
- Sleeping overnight in lodges with dinner and breakfast provided.
- Well-trained and knowledgeable guides.
- An with office including staff with first hand knowledge of the adventure.
When booking your ride always make sure you know what is and what is NOT included in the price for example visa fees, airport taxes and travel insurance.
The price of your trip will likely include the following:
- Return flights.
- Applicable departure taxes.
- All transport costs.
- All accommodation.
- All meals.
- Cycling tour leader and full support crew.
- Luggage transfers.
- All group basic medical kits.
Who can cycle from the Andes to Amazon?
You don’t need to be an experienced cyclist or mountain biker to do this amazing adventure trip. The bike trails are a mixture of cobbles, tarmac and dirt roads that require no off-road experience. The trip is mostly downhill with only short ascents and the pace is relaxed, leaving you with plenty of time to enjoy the stunning scenery and amazing wildlife… anyone who is reasonably fit can enjoy this adventure.
Regardless of your level of fitness, it is always good advice to have a full medical check-up before deciding whether or not to tackle the Andes to Amazon adventure. Also when you are planning your trip ensure you have had at least one rest day after flying to Quito to recover from any jet lag or travel fatigue.
Medical information regarding travel to Ecuador
Always consult your doctor for a list of all the medical requirements for a trip to Ecuador and a mountain biking ride through the Andes and Amazon rainforest.
The table below lists the vaccinations you may require as well as the time you should see your doctor before traveling in order to get your vaccinations:
|Disease||Recommendation||When to see your doctor|
|Typhoid||Vaccination recommended||10 days before travel|
|Hepatitis A||Vaccination recommended||2 weeks before travel|
|Diphtheria||Vaccination recommended||3 months before travel|
|Yellow Fever||Vaccination recommended||10 days before travel|
|Tuberculosis||Vaccination sometimes recommended||3 months before travel|
|Hepatitis B||Vaccination sometimes recommended||2 months before travel|
|Rabies||Vaccination sometimes recommended||1 month before travel|
You should also ensure that your tetanus and polio vaccinations are up to date.
Take anti-malarial tablets before traveling and once in Ecuador and where possible take measures to avoid mosquito bites by using appropriate nets and creams.
Find a charity challenge
Why not do the Andes to Amazon cycle challenge for a charity? Getting sponsored for your trip can raise a lot of money for a worthy cause. Not only will you have seen some of the world's most spectacular places and wildlife but you'll have helped other people too... the feeling of achievement will be fantastic!