We advise arriving in Quito at least one day before your tour start date, to allow for any travel or luggage delays, and to give yourself time to acclimatise to the altitude.
We recommend staying at Hotel Quito since this is where you will be staying on the first night of your adventure with us, and where your guides will meet you on day 1.
On the first day of your mountain bike tour Ecuador will meet you at your hotel in Quito. They will help you to assemble bikes or fit 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.
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.
You will start your mountain bike tour Ecuador with some great morning riding around Quito. You will weave through winding and narrow singletrack that will give you a taste of what’s to come, as you prepare for riding high in the Andes.
We will then transfer across town, picking up a traditional Ecuadorian lunch on the way to Parque Metropolitano. This afternoon’s trail will raise the bar slightly from this morning, as you start to get dialled into your bike.
You will be dropped at a high point in the Lumbisi area of the city where you will embark on some secret local trails built by your guide, that will weave through villages en-route to the valley floor. Dinner tonight will be in a guide’s favourite near your hotel in Quito.
Today we will leave central Quito behind and head north to Infiernillo, or “Little Hell”. Luckily it’s not as bad as it sounds, and once there we will set off on 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 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. It’s not a long climb, but you 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.
We will spend the next two days riding in the valley of the Chota River in the Imbabura region of northern Ecuador.
This region is dry, dusty and known for its thermal pools, which makes for some great riding conditions and post-ride treat. We’ll start off by riding the Chota 2500 from Ibarra to el Chota, descending from 2,600m to 1,600m through incredible Andean desert ecosystems filled with cacti.
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.
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 a working hacienda, 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 Otovalo market, one of the most important indigenous markets in the Andes selling some of the most sought-after Ecuadorian artisan crafts.
Upon arrival at our accommodation we will be warmly greeted by the staff who will look after you for the following nights, and in no time you’ll be settled in front of the log fire with a warm canelazo.
Today you’ll ride three awesome downhill trails 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 to make the most of this truly unique trail in Ecuador.
In the afternoon you will have an opportunity to rest the legs and 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. We will once again meet up in the dining room to sample further home cooked cuisine and enjoy another glass of wine.
Today we will ride to another traditional hacienda, where we will be off grid. Our 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 boasts 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 hacienda accommodation, where we will be welcomed with a hot shower and drink next to a crackling fire place, followed by a mouth-watering dinner or BBQ under the stars.
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 have lunch, then start with another climb to El Canal trail, a flat route following irrigation channels. The views here are superb, and as we pedal back to our first hacienda we’ll pass by the beautiful Limpiopungo Lake.
This evening, we’ll have a few drinks and another fabulous dinner, before hitting the hay feeling thoroughly satisfied.
Today we depart early in the morning from your accommodation and drive towards one of the most impressive natural locations in Ecuador, Quilotoa Lagoon. When we get to the Lagoon we will start our ride on the rim of the volcanic crater, navigating our way along the steep sided ridge, before descending towards the Palo Alto community.
The riding is on beautiful singletrack, that will see you weaving around the crop fields of the local communities, trails linking villages and natural river beds.
En-route back to our accommodation we’ll stop off for a second ride, 100% descent on a flowing technical trail that will lead us to waiting beers. As this is our last night together we’ll have a celebratory dinner in front of the fire.
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.
We will arrive at Quito airport around 12 noon, so please make sure you book your returning flight no earlier than 2pm that day.
Please note: Our mountain bike tour Ecuador 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.