Go Bicycle Touring in Ecuador

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Ecuador is located in Northwestern South America, bordered by Columbia to the north, Peru to the East and South, and the Pacific Ocean to the West. Ecuador covers an area of 283, 560 square kilometers and is home to an estimated 15.2 million people. About 1,000 kilometers off the coast, there lies the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a biosphere reserve – Charles Darwin wrote about the islands in his book, “The Origins of Species”. In 1959, the Ecuadorian government declared 97.5% of the islands a National Park, and the species that inhabit the island have been largely protected by both national and international law ever since.

From a cycling standpoint, Ecuador is mainly mountain-bike country! Due to the rugged landscape and largely forested areas in the country, Ecuador favours those with mountain bikes, as opposed to road bikes. Touring bikes can manage the terrain fairly well, too, but having the thicker 26″ tires is recommended, as they are more rugged and easier to replace.

Popular Bike Tour Destinations In Ecuador

  • Banos is one of Ecuador’s most popular tourist towns. It’s located at the bottom of the three-mile high Tungurahua volcano, there’s no shortage of exploring to be done in the town. Not only do you get the typical tourist-town attractions, cuisine, and Ecuadorian culture – you’re also overlooked by one of Ecuador’s many active volcanoes in it’s Andes region. For those with mountain bikes, you don’t just get to admire the awesome volcano from below, you can go exploring in the upper reaches, with many trails taking you off into the wilderness.
  • Quito is the Ecuadorian capital, it is also the highest capital city in the world (La Paz, which is the de facto capital of Bolivia, is actually higher). Located at a hefty 3,500 meters above sea level, the city is home to many architectural landmarks, reminders of Ecuador’s colonial days under Spanish rule. Quito was one of the world’s first World Cultural Heritage Sites – along with Krakow, in Poland. These were declared so in 1978. It also lies in the shadow of the Pinchinchia Volcano.
  • The Avenue of the Volcanoes is a legendary part of Ecuador, and you can cycle through the entire route… It leads you up the high mountain passes of some of Ecuador’s tallest mountains. It’s better done on a mountain bike, and is quite a challenging route, simply because of the massive climbs up to the plateau’s of active volcanoes. It’ll take you to Ecuador’s tallest volcano – Chimborazo, which peaks high above the clouds, at a whopping 20, 564 feet. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and bags and bags of determination.
  • The Quilotoa Loop is located in the country’s western cordillera. It’s a remote region, packed with charming farmlands, challenging hills, cobbled streets, oh – yes, and plenty of sheep. Some of the Loop will require you to walk with your bicycle, when crossing streams. There’s plenty to see on the Loop, as you traverse high-altitude hills, cross suspension bridges over streams, and winding up at a basin filled with crystalline blue water, this is the Quilotoa Rim Volcanic Lake.
  • Cuenca is another popular Ecuadorian city, it combines culture, nature and architecture – displaying some of the country’s most unique and brilliantly designed churches, cathedrals, housing and much more! Cuenca’s historic area is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to Ecuador’s largest selection of ruins from the time of the Inca’s.

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Ecuador is a small country located in South America at the middle of the world LAT 0°00´00´´. It is most bio-diverse country in the world. On this trip you going to discover Andean villages and indigenous markets at highlands through the avenue of volcanoes until arrive to the beach. [/one_third] [one_third]

Sightsee in Itchimbia Park, home to locations such as Old Town, look over luscious greenery to a 200 meter hill named “El Panecillo”, and gaze upon the glorious Cayambe and Pichincha Volcanoes. [/one_third] [one_third_last]

See Ecuador’s Old Town from the saddle. There are many attractions, such as the Plaza Grande square, the Asemblea Nacional (the National Assembly), and the Old Astronomic Observatory.

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Facts About Ecuador

  • Ecuador was created initially in 1830, after the dissolution of Gran Colombia.
  • “Ecuador” is Spanish for “equator”. The Equator runs through the country.
  • Guinea pig is considered to be an Ecuadorian delicacy.
  • Ecuador is home to many active volcanoes, and has one of the highest densities of active volcanoes in the world. Cotopaxi, located in the country – is the world’s highest active volcano.
  • Ecuadorians celebrate their independence from Spanish colonialism on August 10th.
  • The national flower of Ecuador, is the rose.
  • Ecuador adopted the U.S Dollar as legal tender in 2000, but it also uses it’s own coinage system, in addition to U.S coins.
  • The peak of Mount Chimborazo is the furthest point from the center of the Earth, and the closest point to the Sun.
  • There are three species of vampire bats known to the world. These can all be found in Ecuador.
  • The first drug that was used to treat malaria – Quinine, was extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree that grows in Ecuador.

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Photos by Rinaldo Wurglitsch, Rinaldo Wurglitsch and Tea, two sugars.