The Andes of Ecuador

Mountain biking in Ecuador: deserts, forests and volcanoes

Ecuador is a mountain biker’s paradise and you’ll find a feast for the senses at every turn of the pedal: from the immense grandeur of the Andes, to the depths of a tropical cloud forest, and the slopes of one of the world’s highest active volcanoes.

  • £1,790 / $2,864
  • 9 nights / 10 days
  • Skill level: Advanced

On this mountain biking adventure in Ecuador you’ll ride on natural trails in the highlands that pre-date the Incas; swoop down the slopes of Cotopaxi; and enjoy flowing singletrack across Andean deserts on this South American mountain bike tour of a lifetime.

This 10-day guided mountain biking tour in Ecuador offers you some of the most exhilarating mountain biking in South America. You’ll stay in family-run hotels, and in a traditional working hacienda looking out onto Cotopaxi.

With 46 different eco-systems, 14 active volcanoes, four world heritage sites, and one of the world’s richest bio-diversities, you can be sure of a totally unforgettable mountain biking adventure in Ecuador.

Tour dates 2016

  • 18 – 27 Jun (ONLY 2 PLACES!)
  • 5 – 14 Nov

Contact us if you would like to create your own private group tour.

Trip highlights

As well as mountain biking in a huge range of different landscapes and eco-systems, here are some other special moments you can look forward to in Ecuador:

  • Exploring Quito, the world’s first UNESCO Heritage Site
  • Meeting local artisans at Otavolo market
  • Swapping bikes for horses + being a chagra for the day
  • Visiting a local re-forestation project
  • Staying in a working hacienda in the shadow of Cotopaxi
  • Trying local delicacies, like guinea pig!

Mountain Biking in Ecuador Itinerary

The itinerary for our 10-day mountain biking adventure in Ecuador has been designed so that we gain altitude very gradually, allowing your body to acclimatise before gaining further height, thus minimising the potential for altitude sickness.

+Arrival in Quito - refresh + prepare for your adventure

If you’re travelling a long way or across several time zones to Ecuador then we would recommend arriving a day or two early to allow your body to adjust and to make sure any flight or luggage delays don’t spoil your trip. With the high altitude of Quito any additional time to acclimatise will be helpful.

+Day 1 - Group meet-up in Quito + welcome briefing

On the first day of your mountain biking vacation in Ecuador your H+I Adventures guide will meet you, either at Quito airport on your arrival and transfer you to our recommended overnight hotel, or meet you at the hotel if you have arrived early.

Depending on time of arrival, your guide will help you to assemble your own bike, or furnish you with your rental bike, before taking you into the Old Town to explore the sights, sounds and smells of this historic city high up in the Andes.

+Day 2 - Parque Metropolitano Quito

You will start your adventure in Ecuador with some great morning riding around Quito. It will see you weaving through winding and narrow singletrack that will give you a taste of what has to come, warm you up nicely and continue your acclimatisation in preparation for riding high in the Andes.

In the afternoon we’ll explore the old colonial part of Quito, the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site and you’ll feel like you have landed straight into a National Geographic magazine shoot. We will also endeavour to visit a selection of local craft markets and artisans to help you get more deeply embedded into this amazing culture.

Dinner tonight will be in a guides favourite near your hotel in Quito where you will spend your second night.

Distance cycled: 15km (app. 3 hours)

+Day 3 - Infernillo

Today you will leave central Quito behind and head North to Infernillo, or “Little Hell”. Luckily its not as bad as it sounds and once there we will prepare our bikes and set off starting starts with a fantastic singletrack descent into the large, dominating mouth of the Pululahua volcano. After an hour or so of descending we traverse singletrack until Puluahua spits us out on to el Pondoña trail, then on to the moon trail. These ancient, deep, rutted trails, have been hewn into the earth’s surface after thousands of years worth of footsteps, and now they are a delight for us lucky mountain bikers.

In total today, you will descend from 2,800m, high in the Andes, through spectacular cloud forest down to around 1,500m at the foot of the trail. Once we bottom out we have a bit of climbing to do to reach our support crew, its not a long climb, but you do will feel the effects of riding at altitude today!

On the way back to your accommodation we will visit the ‘Middle of the World’ monument, where we can put one foot in each hemisphere, a must-have picture from Ecuador.

Once you’ve finished playing around the Equator we will transfer (app. two hours) to the Ibarra region, where you will rest your head in an old working hacienda for the next two nights.

Distance cycled: 26km (app. 4 hours)

+Day 4 - Chota 2500

We will spend the next two days riding in the valley of the Chota River in the Imbabura region of northern Ecuador.  The native people of the Chota valley are of African descent, having been brought to Ecuador as slaves for the sugar plantations during the Colonial period.

This region is dry, dusty and known for its thermal pools, this makes for some great riding conditions and a post-ride treat. We’ll start off by riding the Chota 2500 from Ibarra to el Chota. We’ll descend from 2,600m to 1,600m, through incredible Andean desert ecosystems filled with cacti (don’t forget spare tubes!).

As we arrive at the bottom of this, mostly downhill 4 to 5 hours ride, smiling from ear-to-ear and covered in dust, we will venture across the road to our awaiting hot pool and a chance to soak away the day’s dirt.

Distance cycled: 19km (app. 5 hours)

+Day 5 - Chota 5000

Our second ride in the El Chota region starts with a one and a half hour climb, for which you’ll be rewarded with a three-hour descent; something characteristic of our mountain biking tour in Ecuador!

As you reach the top of the main climb you will pass through a small Andean farming village and from there it’s downhill and big smiles all the way.
After a delicious Ecuadorian lunch we’ll drive to our accommodation for the next two nights at Hacienda El Porvenir, in the shadow of one of the world’s largest active volcanoes, Cotopaxi.

On the way to our hacienda we’ll stop at the world-famous Otavolo market, one of the most important indigenous markets in the Andes selling some of the most sought-after Ecuadorian artisan crafts.

Upon arrival at El Porvenir we will be warmly greeted by the staff, who will look after you for the following two nights, and in no time you’ll be settled in front of the log fire with a warm canelazo.

Distance cycled: 14km (app. 4 hours)

+Day 6 - Day of the chagras

Today is our day off the bikes, an opportunity to rest the legs and our chance to experience the life of the Chagras, Andean cowboys, with a ride on horseback to the slopes of Ruminahui. You’ll also have time to read, take stock and enjoy the tranquility of your mountain retreat.

After lunch and some time to sooth your aching muscles we’ll get to plant some native trees and give back to Pachamama for everything she’s given us on this amazing adventure so far!

We will once again meet up in the dinning room to sample further home cooked cuisine and enjoy another glass of wine.

+Day 7 - El Tambo Trail

Today we will leave El Porvenir behind, but don’t despair, we will be back in 36 hours after our ride to El Tambo Hacienda; for now we are going off grid… Today’s ride will cover 40km with an average altitude of 3800m, but it’s definitely worth the effort!

We’ll bike along the eastern side of Cotopaxi National Park, taking in Inca ruins, fresh water springs and Andean lakes along the way, until we reach El Tambo trail. This is an 18km trail exclusively for mountain bikers and boasting some of the best views in the area.

We’ll take a break at a particularly panoramic spot and enjoy our packed lunch. Our destination for today is our next fabulous accommodation, El Tambo Hacienda, where we will be welcomed with a hot shower and drink next to a crackling fire place, followed by a delicious dinner or BBQ under the stars.
Distance cycled: 40km (app 5 – 6 hours)

+Day 8 - Road of the Lahars

We’ll rise early and enjoy another delicious hacienda breakfast before starting on our route back to civilisation. The first 20km tends towards the uphill and you’ll dig in for some short climbing sections.

Once we reach El Encañonado, the trail flows downhill and you can roll your bike easily without too much physical effort! At the end of this descent we’ll take a break for lunch, then start with another climb to El Canal trail, which is a flat route following irrigation channels. The views up here are superb, and as we pedal back to Hacienda El Porvenir we’ll pass by the beautiful Limpiopungo Lake.

On arriving back at El Porvenir we will enjoy a refreshing hot shower at our home-from-home. We’ll have a few drinks and another fabulous dinner, before hitting the hay feeling thoroughly satisfied.

Distance cycled: 45km (app. 7 hours)

+Day 9 - Taming the Dragon: Cotopaxi Downhill Day

This is our last riding day in Ecuador, so we intend to make the most of it with as little climbing as possible! We’ll ride three awesome downhill trails today on the slopes of Cotopaxi. The terrain is very steep and consists of volcanic ash, petrified lava, big boulders and sand. The trails descend from 4,600m to 3,900m and you’ll feel the benefit of the previous days’ acclimatisation mountain biking to make the most of this truly unique trail in Ecuador.
As this is our last night together we’ll have a celebratory dinner in front of the fire in El Porvenir.

+Day 10 - Departure

Sadly this is our last morning together but we’ll transfer you back to Quito airport, where we will say farewell to new friends and to Ecuador.

Please note: a mountain biking adventure is a living thing, being influenced by multiple factors such as changing weather conditions, group riding abilities, trail damage, to name a few. Your local guides are experts in guiding mountain bikers in the Andes of Ecuador and will be continually assessing these factors and making tweaks to the itinerary where necessary to ensure that every member of the group has the best possible experience.

+Tour Price

Mountain Biking in Ecuador Tour Price

£1,790 / 2,864 USD per person (ex. flights, based on two sharing a room)

We welcome solo travellers on our adventures and if you are happy to share a room with another solo rider of the same sex you do not need to add the single supplement. If, however, you wish to have a room by yourself, a single supplement of £450 / $720 USD will be payable.

H+I Adventures is bonded by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), so you can be sure that when you book with us your money will be safe. Price includes:

  • Services of fully-qualified, English speaking expert mountain bike guide(s) for the duration of the trip
  • All breakfasts and lunches and dinner on the final night
  • 9 nights’ accommodation
  • Entrance fees to historical/cultural sites and national parks
  • Back-up vehicles for the duration of the trip
  • All group safety equipment
  • Airport/ H+I recommended hotel pick-up on day 1 and drop-off on day 10 of tour (specified times apply)
  • Global Rescue emergency evacuation services

Price excludes

  • International/ domestic flights
  • All dinners except final night
  • Travel and activity insurance
  • Personal safety and cycling equipment
  • Bike hire – bike rental costs are: £500/$800 for an Ibis Mojo Carbon full suspension bike for the duration of the trip
  • Tips in restaurants and hotels
  • Alcoholic/ non-alcoholic beverages
  • Any other items not listed as included

+Skill + fitness levels required

Does this sound like you? Your vacation time is precious and we want to be absolutely sure that you’re making the most of it, by finding the perfect adventure for you. Be honest with yourself, if this adventure isn’t right for you, we have other tours that may well be a better fit for your mountain biking experience and ability.

Skill level: Advanced

  • You are very confident handling most types of riding and obstacles, including drops (up to 1 foot), rocks, logs, switchbacks, larger rock gardens and sustained technical singletrack
  • You can brake, use gears and corner instinctively
  • You have excellent bike handling skills and can lift front and rear wheels, do small jumps, corner, climb and descend steep trails
  • You have considerable experience of riding on a wide variety of technical terrains including: rocky, rooty, muddy, loose, fast singletrack, exposed trails, bedrock for extended periods
  • You ride at least twice a week and rarely get off and walk sections
  • You can climb and descend comfortably on technical singletrack for as long as required

Fitness level: 4

  • You have a good level of bike fitness, exercising three or four times every week throughout the year, for an hour at a time
  • You are comfortable mountain biking up to six hours a day at a moderate pace, with snack and photo stops, for three or more consecutive days
  • You can tackle two or three fairly serious climbs a day, up to 600 metres each

Typical trails you’ll be riding

  • The trails in Ecuador are natural ‘rustic’ ancient walking paths of varying trail surface, that will require you to choose your own riding line and decide if it is suitable to ride
  • Double track: undulating and sometimes steep jeep tracks made up of a hard-packed and loose dirt surface
  • Singletrack: you will encounter up to head-sized, fixed and loose rocks, as well as fixed bedrock style trails, deep channels, channels and volcanic ash sections
  • The surface may be dry and loose, or wet and muddy depending on weather conditions
  • Trails in the forest will have roots crossing them and may be narrow through the trees
  • You will be riding at some very high altitudes – it is the Andes! – but the itinerary has been designed to allow you to acclimatise. We also have some handy tips for riding at high altitudes

+Arrival + departure details

Your mountain biking vacation in Ecuador will start and end in Quito. If you are arriving on day 1 of your adventure your guide and/or driver will meet you in the arrivals area of Quito airport and he/she will be holding an H+I Adventures sign.

If you are arriving prior to the tour start date, your guide will meet you at your H+I recommended hotel in Quito Old Town on day 1 of your adventure.

+Travelling to Ecuador

Quito airport is well-served by major airlines from all over the world. If you’re flying from the UK or Europe KLM have a direct flight from Amsterdam to Quito, which is very handy! For up-to-date timetables and booking visit:;;;

You must book your bike on to your flight in advance, otherwise you could face a heavy charge at the airport. Here are some handy hints and tips on travelling by air with your bike.


You do not need a visa to visit Ecuador for up to 90 days, you just need a passport that is valid for at least six months after your return from Ecuador.

+Preparing yourself + your bike for the trip

Please read the full kit list before you start packing for your mountain bike tour in Ecuador, so that you have everything you need! Our mountain biking holiday in Ecuador is for advanced mountain bikers with level 4 fitness.

The ideal bike for your Ecuador mountain bike adventure is a good quality full-suspension mountain bike with around 150mm of travel.

To get the most out of your mountain bike vacation in Ecuador you should do plenty of training in advance of your tour, and we have put together this great training plan to help you on your way.

It is essential that, if you’re bringing your own bike, you ensure that it has been professionally serviced, including all suspension, before the trip.

If you would prefer we can arrange rental of a good quality full suspension mountain bike (Ibis Mojo carbon or similar, depending on size required and availability) for you, and have the bike ready for your arrival.

We will be riding at high altitudes on our mountain bike tour in Ecuador, and if you have never experienced mountain biking at altitude before you may be interested in some useful advice on how to cope with the effects of altitude.

+Your mountain bike guides in Ecuador

Our local mountain bike guides in Ecuador are professional and experts at guiding bikers on their local trails. They are qualified in first-aid, and have the knowledge and experience to lead a group safely in these remote, wild parts of Ecuador.

Our mountain bike guides have years of experience in the saddle on the Ecuadorian trails and will enhance your holiday with facts and fables on local history, flora and fauna. They’re also genuinely nice people and will go the extra mile to make sure that everyone has an unforgettable experience of mountain biking in Ecuador.

+Accommodation + Food

One of the things that set our holidays apart from other mountain biking holidays in Ecuador is the quality of the accommodation we use. We understand that when you’ve had a big day in
 the saddle, you want a warm welcome, wash and a comfortable place to relax and unwind – because that’s exactly what we’re looking for too. This is why we only work with accommodation providers across Ecuador whose standards of service match our own high expectations.

During your time in Ecuador you will be staying in a wide variety of accommodation from a large hotel in Quito to traditional hill cottages (haciendas).

+Health + Safety

  • No vaccinations are required for visiting Ecuador
  • Ecuador is generally a very safe country in which 
to travel. It is, however, wise to keep an eye on 
valuables as you travel through towns and cities
  • You cannot drink water from the rivers on our tours, 
nor the tap water. Bottled water is widely available
  • Our guides are fully-trained first-aiders

You should always consult your own doctor or physician before travelling to new countries to seek their advice on matters concerning your health abroad.

Your health and safety is on tour our top priority so when you travel with us you also have the peace of mind knowing that you will be covered by Global Rescue emergency medical and evacuation services.

+Currency + Foreign Exchange

The official currency of Ecuador is US Dollars. Money can be exchanged at any of the banks and money exchange kiosks in major cities or tourist areas.

ATMs are accessible in the larger cities in Ecuador. Major credit cards such as Mastercard and Visa are accepted at large hotels, shops, and restaurants in larger cities and in some rural hotels. Keep in mind that the further from civilisation you go, the less likely you’ll be able to exchange or withdraw money from an ATM, so carry cash when you go into the wilderness.

American Express Travellers Cheques are widely accepted at most major banks and money kiosks.


It is not compulsory to tip your waiting staff or guides in Ecuador, however if you feel you have received good service and have enjoyed your trip you can tip at your discretion: 10% – 15% of the cost of your meal, or your holiday price (for one person), as appropriate.

+Holiday Insurance

You are required as a condition of booking to be insured against medical and personal accident risks. In this policy you must include cover for mountain biking and we recommend that you take out a policy which covers cancellation and baggage.

We work closely with WorldNomads whose policies are specially designed for mountain bike holidays. You can arrange your insurance cover directly with them and we ask that you send us your policy details.

Please note: if you have arranged your own holiday insurance, you must bring a copy of your policy with you on your mountain bike holiday with us.

Please note: a mountain biking adventure is a living thing, being influenced by multiple factors such as changing weather conditions, group riding abilities, trail damage, to name a few. Your local guides are experts in guiding mountain bikers in the Andes of Ecuador and will be continually assessing these factors and making tweaks to the itinerary where necessary to ensure that every member of the group has the best possible experience.

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Average rating:  
 5 reviews
by Andreas on The Andes of Ecuador

An awesome trip in a country of various very beautiful landscapes, great rides - several times very technical :-) -, amazing people to meet, good food, full of so many different impressions ... Sooner or later I have to return to that place!

by Simon Kellam on The Andes of Ecuador

I can only reiterate what the previous comments have said about this trip. It's a must do trip for any budding mountain biker who's looking for adventure and challenging trails in an amazing country. It will be an experience you will not forget !


Amazing trip and perfect trails at the very beautifull country Ecuador. Unbelivable how different the trails are: form jungle trails to sandy trails at desert area, up to Highlands and downhills at the slope of Cotopaxi. Perfect bike trip with lots of culture and gorgeous landscape!!!!

by stefan neuhauser on The Andes of Ecuador

megarides...without too long uphills. you will be happy to ride volcanoes and in the jungle.

by Max Schumann on The Andes of Ecuador

The Ecuador Trip was just brilliant. One of the best things a mountain biker can do, especially in November.
Trails as diverse as the landscape. And simply just perfect fun. Breathtaking, not only because of the height, but as well because of the amazing sceneries. I absolutely enjoyed every day out there.
The overnights in pretty, traditional Haciendas and good local food complete an excellent trip in the Andes.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for mountain biking in Ecuador

  • Q. How many people will be in the group?

We only run small group adventures to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible, and there will generally be between six and ten people in each group. The minimum number of people we require to run a trip is four.

  • What’s the age range of people who come on this holiday?

Our mountain biking holiday in Ecuador caters for a wide age range; typically between 30- and 55-years-old, but age is simply a state of mind, as they say, and we welcome anyone over the age of 18! As long as you have a good level of physical fitness and good bike handling skills you will enjoy this mountain bike tour no matter what your age.

  • Q. What style of mountain biking vacation is it?

This mountain biking vacation in Ecuador is a guided mountain bike tour, ideal for advanced mountain bikers. Riding here, amongst the world’s highest active volcanoes, you’ll experience a few tough climbs (largely because of the altitude) and steep, fast descents, as well as some lovely flowing singletrack through a huge diversity of landscapes and eco-systems. Altitude is a factor in this trip and we have some tips for riding at high altitudes and managing the effects of altitude.

  • Q. How far will we be mountain biking each day?

The distances we cover each day range from 15km to 50km, in accordance with the altitude and height gain/ loss on each stage. We will gain height gradually over the course of the trip to ensure that your body becomes accustomed to the increased altitude. Each evening your guides will chat with you about the following day’s mountain biking and give you an idea of the sorts of trails you can look forward to. If there’s anything you feel anxious about, your guides will be happy to discuss it with you.

  • Q. Do we have to carry all our gear with us?

No, you only need to carry a day pack with you whilst riding. We have a support vehicle and driver who will transfer your luggage to your next accommodation each day, and have it ready and waiting for your arrival.

  • Q. What if I come across a section of trail I can’t ride?

Your guide will be very happy to give you some bike skills training during your trip to help improve your confidence and your enjoyment of your mountain biking holiday in Ecuador. If there is a section that you would prefer not to ride, then you can simply hop off your bike and walk. You won’t be the only one to walk certain sections and it’s not a competition in biking ability; it’s a mountain bike holiday!

  • Q. Who will be guiding us?

Your mountain bike guides are local to this region of Ecuador and experienced professionals who have a real passion for mountain biking and for the culture and landscape of Ecuador. Your safety is their number one priority, closely followed by your enjoyment of the tour. They will always be on-hand to answer any questions or requests you may have throughout your trip.

  • Q. What sort of accommodation will we be staying in?

On this mountain bike tour in the north of Ecuador you’ll spend five nights in traditional working haciendas (ranch) and you will also stay in 3- and 4-star local hotels and guest houses. At the haciendas you’ll have the chance to learn about the reforestation project going on in the area.

  • Q. Which meals are included in the tour price?

All breakfasts and lunches, and the final night dinner are included in the tour price. Other evening meals are at your own expense.

  • Q. What type of mountain bike is best for the trip?

A good quality full suspension mountain bike with 150mm travel front and rear will be ideal for this mountain bike tour. The terrain you will be riding is rough in places and you’ll be doing lots of descending throughout the week. We can arrange hire of an Ibis Mojo Carbon bike in Ecuador for the trip. If you wish to bring your own bike (recommended) we have some handy tips on how to travel with your bike.

  • Q. What will the weather be like in Ecuador?

The weather during our mountain bike vacations in Nepal will typically be Ecuador has many different climates and micro-climates, and in the regions we’ll be visiting on our mountain bike tour temperatures can range from 6C/42F to 25C/77F. It’s likely that you’ll experience bright sunshine, as well as some rain and damp, overcast days, so you should bring plenty of layers and a waterproof jacket with you for riding.

  • Q. What clothes and kit should I bring?

You must make sure that you have plenty of layers of breathable clothing to ensure that you are always warm enough and can remove a layer if you get too hot, and you should bring a waterproof jacket. You should also bring cycling shorts/trousers, gloves, padded undershorts, specific shoes for cycling, sun cream, insect spray, and Advil or Ibuprofen. Read the full kit list to find out what you need to pack for your mountain bike tour in Ecuador.

Our Guides

Jose Jilon our mountain bike guide in Ecuador

What our riders say...

An awesome trip in a country of various very beautiful landscapes, great rides – several times very technical 🙂 -, amazing people to meet, good food, full of so many different impressions … Sooner or later I have to return to that place!

Andreas - Austria

Amazing trip and perfect trails at the very beautifull country Ecuador. Unbelivable how different the trails are: form jungle trails to sandy trails at desert area, up to Highlands and downhills at the slope of Cotopaxi. Perfect bike trip with lots of culture and gorgeous landscape!!!!

Holger - Germany

The Ecuador Trip was just brilliant. One of the best things a mountain biker can do. Trails as diverse as the landscape. And simply just perfect fun. Breathtaking, not only because of the height, but as well because of the amazing sceneries. The overnights in pretty, traditional Haciendas and good local food complete an excellent trip in the Andes.

Max - Germany

In the media


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