Author: miguel

Home > Articles posted by miguel

Posts by miguel

Ecuador, the perfect place for biking

Passionate persons who have made adventure biking part of their lifestyle and enjoy it to the fullest, have the perfect setting to do so in Ecuador. The Ecuadorian geography offers natural settings that allow the development of the sport with different technical levels, enjoying several drastic changes in climate and vegetation.

Biking circuits are integrated into other activities such as accommodation, food, crafts and visits to the towns that make up the routes, attracting a conscious tourism demand that enjoy contact with nature.

1. Route Yaguarcocha – El Chota (Imbabura)

Biking

The route starts in the Yahuarcocha lagoon, Valle del Chota, and ends at Ambuquí sector. During the tour you can enjoy beautiful landscapes where you can feel the different climate changes. It starts in a temperate Andean region and ends in a semitropical valley. You begin this route from the International Speedway Yahuarcocha in the city of Ibarra, it goes up to the mountain Yuracruz and descends to 1,100 meters until the Chota Valley, Ambuquí sector. Yahuarcocha is located at 6.7 kilometers from downtown Ibarra.

  • Route distance: 50 km / Type of road: 2nd and 3rd order. This particular route is suitable for mountain biking.
  • Time: 2-4 hours / Difficulty level: Medium – High.
  • Schedule: Preferably morning and afternoon / The vehicular entrance to Yahuarocha has a cost of USD 0.50. With hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..
  • Other facilities: Parking for vehicles and bicycles.

2. Route: Yachay Trip (Imbabura)

Biking

The route begins and ends in Tapiapamba. The highlight of this place are the old houses of haciendas within a diverse landscape with stunning natural setting. The main attractions of this area are the Chachimbiro hot spring, Timbuyacu Ecotourism complex, the Yanaurku volcano lagoons. From the city of Ibarra, it takes 45 minutes by road to Urcuquí (approximately 15 km).

  • Route distance: 21 km / Type of road: 2nd and 3er order. Only for mountain biking.
  • Time: 1-2 hours / Difficulty level: Medium – High.
  • Schedule: Preferably morning and afternoon / Free admission.
  • Weather: 15 ° – 18 ° C
  • Other facilities: Signaling, exclusive for the route.

3. Route: Imbabura Trip

This route has a stunning view of San Pablo Lake; it also features natural forest in Taita. I starts in the Francisco Páez coliseum in Otavalo and ends at the Guayabillas Protected Forest. The main attractions you will find in this place are the Imbabura volcano, San Pablo Lake, protected forest, Peguche and Guayabillas waterfalls. Likewise, you can discover nearby Otavalo indigenous communities.

  • Route distance: 40 km / Type of road: 2nd and 3rd order
  • Time: 3-8 hours / Difficulty Level: High
  • Schedule: Preferably morning and evening.
  • Weather: 12 ° – 16 ° C
  • Other facilities: The cities of Otavalo and Ibarra have an important hotel offer.

4. Route: Chaquiñán (Pichincha)

Biking

It can start and end at any point of the route, according to the user’s preference. Along the route, there are many highlights such as houses of different styles of construction and old railway stations on the side of the road. On open-sky days, this place offers a spectacular view of the Ruco Pichincha, Cayambe and Ilaló volcanoes, as well as Coturco and Casitahua hills. Walking down this path, you will be able to taste the cuisine of Cumbaya, Tumbaco and Puembo. The route crosses over the Chiche river and there is a small road which leads to the sides of it, which is used to rest and take photographs of the place.

  • Route distance: The route allows you travel up to 40km either by walking or cycling. / Type of road: 1st and rd order.
  • Difficulty level: Medium and High.
  • Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. / Free admission.
  • Weather: 12 ° – 18 ° C
  • Other facilities: Restrooms, Parking, Signaling

5. Route: Quinde Ecoroute Walk (Pichincha)

Quinde Ecoroute Walk is a path that begins in Quito, and then it goes up to the northern slope of Pichincha volcano and then it descends to Mindo through Nono, Tandayapa, and San Tadeo towns, where it ends. The altitude variation is amazing and the biodiversity of the route covers a wide range of the northwestern Pichincha forests and the subtropical region of Mindo.

  • Route distance: 50 Km / Type of road: 3rd order.
  • Time: 3-5 hours / Difficulty level: Medium and High
  • Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. / Free admission.
  • Weather: 12-20 C.
  • Other facilities: Restrooms, Signaling .

6. Route: Ascent to Chimborazo (Chimborazo) 

Biking

This route starts and ends in the Chimborazo refuge. It is an ideal place for the observation of flora and fauna. Other attractions to be found here are the Polylepis forest, the Inca´s military headquarters, the Solitary Tree, among others. In addition, inside the Chimborazo refuge you can visit the Royal Palace and La Moya (Museum).

  • Route distance: 10 km. / Type of road: 3rd order.
  • Time: 30 minutes. / Difficulty level: Moderate.
  • Hours: 5:45 to 9:45 – 11:45 to 13:45.
  • Weather: Cold.
  • Other facilities: Accommodation establishments, restaurants, restrooms, parking and camping area.

7. Route: Trip around Cotopaxi (Cotopaxi)

biking

The route starts at El Caspi Town and ends at the same place. It crosses paths and trails around the Cotopaxi volcano in two phases that generally vary from 60 km to 70 km. The level of technical difficulty of the route is moderate because the roads have already been improved. For that reason, the impact of the bicycles in the moorland area is minimum; nevertheless, the kilometers and the altitude that varies between 9.842 ft. and 13.779 ft establish the exigency of the route.

Many times the climatic conditions can get to very low temperatures, strong winds, rain, hail or even snow. The principal attractions are the Cotopaxi volcano and the Limpiopungo lagoon. From Latacunga, take the E35 highway northbound. This trip, up to the Cotopaxi National Park entrance, takes around 40 minutes using public transportation. From this place to the control station, you can a car. This takes around 15 minutes.

  • Route distance: 130 km / Type of road: 4th order
  • Time: 36 hours / Difficulty level: high
  • Schedule: 08:00 – 16:00 / Free admission
  • Weather: 9° to 11°C
  • Other facilities: Accommodation establishments, restaurants, restrooms, parking and camping area.

8. Route: Baños – Puyo (Tungurahua – Pastaza)

Biking

The route starts in Baños city and ends in Puyo city. During the trek it is possible to watch several places where people practice adventure sports, such as bungee jumping, canopy and canyoning. You can also enjoy uncountable landscapes and rivers along the road, as Pastaza, Negro, Verde and Blanco rivers. Restaurants that serve typical food of the zone can also be found (trout and tilapia) during this route. The main attractions of the place are the Tungurahua volcano, the waterfall route, Manto de la novia, Pailón del diablo and Virgen de Agua Santa church. To arrive at the start point of the route, from Ambato, you can take the buses that travel to Baños, which depart each 15 minutes. The cost of the ticket is USD 1.

  • Route distance: 59,4 km / Type of road: 1st route – highway, asphalted path. 2nd route – old road, 40% cobblestone or stone road and 60% asphalted road.
  • Time: 4 hours / Difficulty level: low
  • Schedule: The trek can be done at every hour of the day. The tour operators of the zone offer several travel packages for this activity. / Cost between USD 10 and USD 15, according to the tour operator.
  • Weather: Subtropical
  • Other facilities: Accommodation establishments, restaurants, restrooms and parking.

 

9. Route: Pedernales – Bahía (Manabí)

Biking

The most common trek, which is also the easiest for circulation, is the bake lane Bahía – San Vicente – Briceño – Canoa. The main attractions of this place are the Ecological Reserve Mache Chindul; Pedernales and Cabeza de Vaca beaches; Arrastradero; Corcovado; Surrones; Casa Blanca; Juananu; Coco Solo; and Fragata and Los Pájaros islands. You can also visit the Archeological Zone of Santa Teresita and Atahualpa, Nuestra Madre María Auxiliadora of Pedernales church and the Archeological Zone of San Isidro. To get here, from Pedernales or Bahía, you can travel along the concrete highway.

  • Route distance: 30 km Bahía – Canoa; 120 km Canoa – Pedernales / Type of road: 1st order
  • Time: 2 hours 45 minutes / Difficulty level: Low
  • Schedule: All day / Free admission
  • Weather: 20°C a 25°C
  • Other facilities: Accommodation establishments, restaurants and restrooms.

10. Route: Guayaquil – San Pablo (Guayas – Santa Elena)

The trek starts in Guayaquil (Puerto Azul) and ends at Santa Elena (San Pablo). This is a road in excellent conditions and surrounded by nature, which allows to enjoy the beautiful landscape. The main attractions of the zone are the Puerto Hondo mangrove, Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, The National Park Recreation Area, San Pablo beach. You can also enjoy the delicious gastronomy at San Pablo and visit Real Alto Cultural Museum. From Guayaquil, you can get to the start point of the route by taking the road to the Coast (highway Guayaquil – Salinas). The bake lane starts at Puerto Azul (km 6 ½).

Route distance: 123,5 km: Puerto Azul – El Lagoon Park (17 km); El Lagoon Park – Cerecita (26 km); Cerecita – Progreso (14,5 km); Progreso – San Vicente (52 km); San Vicente – San Pablo (14 km). Consider that the San Vicente – San Pablo road isn’t finished yet, the same as a part of the trek Puerto Azul – El Lago Park / Type of road: 1st order

  • Time: 12 hours or more / Difficulty level: High
  • Schedule: All day / Free admission
  • Weather: 25 °C on average
  • Other facilities: Accommodation establishments, restaurants, restrooms and parking.

11. Route: Loja – Vilcabamba (Loja)

This place has several segments. The first segment is Caxarumi, which starts at Cajanuma and ends at Rumishitana; the second one is Mandango, which starts at Vilcabamba Park and ends at Tumianuma; and the third segment is Malacatos Chaupi, it starts at Ceibopamba and ends at Chaupi town. This route has climbing segments at its first part and medium technical level section near to Vilcabamba valley, which is located at 1.700 m (5.577 feet) above sea level. Along the route you will cross cultivation areas, fruit orchards and eucalyptus forests. The main attractions of this route are Mandango hill, Vilcabamba valley, Agua de Hierro and Rumihuilco Reserves. You can get to the place from Loja by taking bus of the Sur Oriente or Vilcabambaturis lines at the Reina del Cisne Bus Terminal. The cost of the bus ticket is USD 1,50.

  • Route distance: Loja – Vilcabamba 45 km, Caxarumi – Rumishitana 13 km, trip around Mandango 42 km and Malacatos – Chaupi 12 km / Type of road: 4th order
  • Time: Caxarumi (30 min), trip around Mandango (4 hours), Malacatos – Chaupi (1 hour 30 min), Loja – Vilcabamba (2 hours) / Difficulty level: Caxarumi Route (medium – high); Trip around Mandango (high).
  • Schedule: Commonly the route is performed from 07:00 to 15:00 / Free admission
  • Weather: 20 °C
  • Other facilities: Accommodation establishments, restaurants and restrooms.

For more information about Ecuador please visit www.ecuador.travel

Stories of love and heartbreak at the Av. of the volcanoes

One of the routes you can not miss when traveling through Ecuador is the Avenue of the Volcanoes. This consists in several volcanoes, snow capped mountains and hills in the center and north of Ecuadorian Andes. But before you get to know the giants, you must know the love story of the volcanoes of Ecuador.

Considering that, from the indigenous worldview, the Earth or Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) is a living being, the beings that inhabit in it, such as volcanoes and mountains are living beings too. This is why they have their own stories: they feel, dream, act and interact with each other.

Legends of the volcanoes of Ecuador

The mama Tungurahua and its idylls

You must have something clear, the Mama Tungurahua is a heartbreaker. Several love affairs are known to this Volcano of 5.023 meters above sea level, which vary according to the indigenous community that tells it.

Perhaps the best known love story of the Ecuadorian volcanoes is the battle between the Cotopaxi and the Chimborazo to conquer the Mama Tungurahua. They say that the Taita (Father) Chimborazo was the winner and got married with the Tungurahua volcano. The Pichincha volcano was born from them. It is believed that when he cries Guagua (Baby) Pichincha, Mama Tungurahua gets worried.

Banos-volcan-tungurahua-New

The tears of the Quilotoa

The Ilinizas are the parents of this legend. When their daughter, Quilotoa, fell in love with the Cotopaxi volcano, the Ilinizas did not agree with that relationship. Quilotoa erupted of the fury and its crater was created. Then her desperate cry filled the cauldron with turquoise tears.

From this story you can reach to the conclusion that an unparalleled beauty can be born from a broken love. Visit the Quilotoa lagoon nearly 4,000 meters above sea level, it is a unique spectacle of nature.

quilotoa

An eternal love between Imbabura y Cotacachi

The taita Imbabura (4.600 meters above sea level) was a young rogue, but fell in love with mama Cotacachi (4.944 meters above sea level). From their union the Yanahurco mountain, the Yaguarcocha and the San Pablo lagoons were born, reflecting their union forever.

lago san luis

The love stories of the volcanoes of Ecuador have a social function in the country’s indigenous cultures. Besides regulating the morals of the community, they explain natural phenomena.

 

Blog provided by: Ecuador travel

8 Amazing Destinations To Visit In Ecuador

Ecuador is a magical country, full of surprises and adventures. In every corner, you can discover some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world.

Galapagos Islands

How could you make a list of the most epic destinations in Ecuador and not include the world famous Galapagos Islands? Home to Darwin’s theory of evolution and all of the marvellous animals that were used as evidence in his scientific exploration, the islands are a truly unique destination.

The Galapagos are composed of 21 islands, each totally different in vegetation, animals, landscapes and even weather. If you are short on time, or budget, it can seem an impossible task to fit the islands into your itinerary. The advertised tours are usually in the several thousands for a few days, but fret not; there is an affordable way to see this iconic destination.

Despite cruises obviously being a delightful way to experience the Galapagos Islands; their price tag can seem overwhelming. However, if you factor the amount that you see in a relatively short space of time; the cost of day trips, food, and accommodation you can sometimes find last minute deals that end up being relatively affordable. Pro tip: Haggle with the tourist operators to get an even better deal.

If cruises are definitely not an option, fly to one of the main islands where you can find hostels to stay in and arrange trips to the areas you would like to visit. Doing the Galapagos this way means you can really adapt it to your personal budget. To save money, don’t book much more than your flights and initial accommodation online. There are plenty of last minute deals on the islands for tours running the next day. For more details on the sights to see in the Galapagos, check out the ideal 5-day itinerary created by Wanderbus Ecuador.

Mindo

Paradise. Quite literally; Mindo is one of the most biodiverse places in the planet with hundreds of species of orchids, over 600 species of birds, bears, butterflies, trees, and plants. Home to some of the most beautiful views in the country, Mindo attracts a small but steady flow of birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts all year.

You’ll be pleased to hear it’s easy to get to, as it’s only a couple of hours away from Quito, and there is even a direct bus. If you have a couple of days to explore around Quito, this is the perfect option to get out of the city and experience some of Ecuador’s incredible nature.

Mindo is synonymous with water in every sense, rivers, waterfalls, and lots of rain. Some of the activities you can do include scooting down the rivers in rubber rings, jumping 12 meters into a waterfall, or even abseiling down a few of them.

There are three tracks that lead out of Mindo in different directions and make for lovely long walks. The weather here can be hot when the sun is out and cooler when its really rainy, but generally always fluctuates in a really comfortable range, especially for walking or cycling. You can rent mountain bikes in town for a few hours or a whole day.

While you are here, take the opportunity to book a bird watching tour, even if it is something you wouldn’t usually be interested in. You are bound to see innumerable incredible species of trogons, quetzals, toucans, and tanagers. The local community are particularly passionate about birds and organize an annual bird count where they count the number of species they can see in the space of 24 hours.

Quilotoa

One of the most iconic locations in Ecuador, this may be the reason you want to visit the country. If it’s not, it should be. Quilotoa is a remote volcano in the Andes south of Quito. It is particularly recognisable thanks to its iconic turquoise lagoon located in the crater. The lagoon shifts and changes colour as the sun and clouds move across it throughout the day.

Surrounding Quilotoa are some amazing landscapes, some of which you can see on the journey there. You can also find tiny indigenous communities, traditional markets, where famers and locals come together to exchange livestock and fresh food. Make sure to try the traditional local dishes, which include caldo de gallina, or chicken soup, mote con chicharron, boiled corn with pork, and possibly even cuy, guinea pig!

If you have the time, there is a hiking route known as the Quilotoa Loop which takes you from Quilotoa to Isinlivi or vice versa. This route will give you tremendous insight into the local landscapes and communities. Allowing you to really see how locals live in these somewhat harsh but beautiful conditions. Make sure to visit the carpentry known as Don Bosco in the little village of Isinlivi. You can also stay at an amazing hostal here called Llullu Llama, with lots of maps, amazing food, and a spa to top it off.

Vilcabamba

Vilcabamba is a village located near Loja in the south of Ecuador. It is often visited as the the valley where it is located is known as the valley of longevity. Its inhabitants are known to live to 100, and some to 120 or even 135 years of age. The area was historically used as a retreat for Incan royalty, and the name comes from the Quechua huilco pamba meaning plain of sacred trees.

Located in a lush valley near the Podocarpus national park, Vilcabamba is the perfect location for beautiful hikes and horse rides. These usually cost about $15 for two hours, $25 for four or $35 for the whole day. There are iconic hikes from the village itself such as the Cerro Mandango trail, which ascends the distinctive peak west of town and takes four hours out and back. For more hikes in the Podocarpus national park, there is a long hike to a waterfall called Cascada el Palto. Make sure you enquire into how far it is before heading out so that you take sufficient provisions with you.

Vilcabamba is also known for its relaxation, and there are many locations offering spa services, massages, meditation sessions, or even manicures and pedicures. Yoga has become increasingly popular, and is very affordable, as are the other spa services.

Mompiche

Mompiche is an idyllic fishing village with a dose of surfing on the Ecuadorian coast. It combines the beauty of its surroundings, amazing food, and having fun, in perfect harmony. The beach is stunning, with a dry rainforest(!) coming all the way down to the sea. These forests are now in danger of extinction and are home to unique ecosystems.

Mompiche is a surf paradise, similar to other locations along the coast such as Montañita or Canoa. What we love about Mompiche is that it is just a bit more laid back than either of those places. If you love to party – but not all the time – this is the place for you. If you’re a total techno-head you should head to Montañita, where you can pretty much party 24/7 and there is a club that has a great sound system and is dedicated to techno and house music.

If you are down for chilling, Mompiche is the place to be. There are a couple of cool bars, like the reggae spot that serves caipirinhas. A 20-minute walk down the road will take you to one of the most beautiful places on the coast called Playa Negra, or black beach. The sand is made of a mixture of minerals that makes it black and sparkly like the night sky. Unfortunately, this beach is in danger of disappearing, as the sand is being mined for its unique beauty.

Cuenca

Cuenca is a picturesque town that seems to have been stuck in time with it’s churches, flowered balconies, nuns, and school children in uniforms. It is notably visited for its historic center where, like Quito, architecture from various periods reside side by side. Beautiful squares host markets selling quality traditional crafts, such as ceramics and woven goods. Cafes with terraces are dotted around the area, especially on pedestrians roads, and offer many types of cuisine.

Cuenca is notably visited for it’s Incan historical ruins and history. The most significant ruins are those found at Ingapirca, a day trip from Cuenca. Ingapirca is made up of both Incan and Cañari structures, as the Cañari inhabited the area before the Incans arrived. As they were unable to conquer them, the Incans lived alongside the Cañari in the area. This means there are some temples worshipping the sun built by Incans, and others worshipping the moon built by Cañaris.

Cuenca is also near the beautiful national park of Cajas. Cajas is a protected area at high altitude, and is famous for its beautiful cloud forests, and paramo landscapes. This unique ecosystem of sponge-like plants holds as much water as the lakes that surround it, making it a unique source of water for the surrounding region. The park has numerous trails that wind through hundreds of lakes and surrounding mountain summits. Some of the wildlife that lives here includes Andean condors, giant hummingbirds, coatis and more.

The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon is one of the most magical places in Ecuador, with huge expanses still relatively untouched. The mystery of this forest enthralls everyone who visits, and certainly makes for an unforgettable experience.

Ecuador has two major natural conservation parks in the Amazon; Cuyabeno in the northern region of the Amazon, and Yasuni further south. Both are renowned for their great bio-diversity and beauty. You will need at least 4 or 5 days to visit the Amazon, as many of the ecolodges are at least a day’s journey away from Quito.

The Amazon is home to many unique species, unseen in other regions due to the presence of the Andes. From pink river dolphins, to giant parrots known as macaws, there are stunning animals to see. Monkeys are extremely common in some areas, and can be seen in large packs. Cuyabeno forest is home to the world’s smallest monkey, the pygmy marmoset, which is about 12 cm in height and weighs around 100 grams.

There are a number of ecolodges in both Cuyabeno and Yasuni, ranging in price from the thousands of dollars to around $250 for a 4-day excursion. Lodges such as Sani or Napo Wildlife Center might be expensive but they also have top of the range guides, as well as stunning facilities. Lodges such as Jamu or Cuyabeno are much cheaper, and although you may not have guides that are quite as experienced, you will still see a vast quantity of incredible species and natural areas.

Papallacta

Perched on the highest point of the Andean mountain range between Quito and the Amazon, Papallacta is a beautiful village famous for its thermal baths. Not only is Papallacta worth a visit for a relaxing, restoring experience at the well-kept and attractive baths, but also for the journey there. If you are visiting from Quito, the route to the village takes you up a slowly climbing highway that leaves beautiful views of Quito behind, as well as stunning mountain scenery the higher you climb.

Papallacta is close enough to Quito to be able to do as a day trip, but if you have the time staying overnight means you get to explore the area. The thermal baths have a hotel that is part of the complex, but it is particularly expensive. If you are on a budget we recommend staying back in the village.

There are some beautiful hikes in the area, so we recommend spending some time hiking before going to the baths for a relaxing soak. Just a head’s up; you’ll need a nap after the baths.

Blog provided by:

www.wanderbusecuador.com