Touring - Ecuador
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03-24-08, 02:49 PM
Anybody ever tour Ecuador? I'm brainstorming routes for later this summer, and I'm sort of thinking of this one. If anybody has done anything like this before I'd love some input. I want to go from the Amazon over the Andes to the coast, but I have no idea if this is practical or not.
Ecuador is a lovely place to bike tour. I spent two months Dec/Jan in the altiplano mostly off pavement and self supported with full camping equipment from Otovalo in the North to Chimborazo, Latacunga and Ambato farther South. Too long ago for any details to be relevant to your tour.
Most towns and villages had residencias with rooms for rent for a break from camping. People were quite friendly and could not understand why we could not afford the five sucre bus fare and had to ride a bicycle instead!!
Lots of climbing and descending as many roads/tracks dropped to river level to cross with stiff climbs out. While climbing out of one river bottom I heard a rattle sound approaching from behind. It was a barrel chested Ecuadoran on a ONE SPEED bike carrying twenty-five chickens in wire cages on the rear rack motoring past me and disappearing in the distance after a hearty Buenos Dias! So much for my high tech 27 gears on a light weight bike.
Yes the altitude in the altiplano does make a difference while cycling above 3000 meters/10000 feet. After more acclimatization I was able to cycle up Chimborazo to 5000 meters/16500 feet on its 20,700 foot cone.
If the Ferrocarril railroad/[Single rail car on engine chassis] is running from Quayaquil to Quito it is worth the journey although a slow one with many many stops regular and impromptu. A great introduction to the pace of life and the different climatic zones from the playa/beach to the altiplano.
Since you are going into Amazonas and the Playa do follow malaria prevention techniques.
I was touring in Ecuador 1997. I started in Quito and took the same road as in the map to Ambato. This was one of my most difficult legs ever - but nice. On this leg don't miss the Jumanji caves (don't forget your swimsuit) and hiking in the rain forest. I did only a one day trip - but I would recommend a three day canoe trip. The one day was to short.
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