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The Best Biking Routes in Ecuador

- By: Rebecca Braak

Biking at Cotopaxi

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike, the incomparable feeling of freedom while you visit new places. This is where I want to take you and share the best biking routes in Ecuador I know, being an experienced mountain biker. If you love road bikes, mountain bikes, or even downhill adventures, there will always be a perfect route to take you to breathtaking places. 

If you love cycling just like me, Ecuador should definitely be a MUST on your bucket list. Ecuador has incredible bike packing routes through the Andes, Coast, the Galapagos Islands, and the Amazon rainforest, and epic mountain biking descents around Quito (the capital city). Suppose you are into traveling with friends and/or family, in that case, Ecuador can offer towns nestled in valleys surrounded by volcanoes, enormous biodiversity, indigenous cultures, incredibly diverse landscapes, welcoming people, and the unique Galapagos Islands. Moreover, if you are looking for a couples trip for a biking experience, Ecuador offers basic to professional difficulty levels.  

I have been trying to do as many routes as possible in the last couple of years, and I still find incredible places. As a biker, I am aware that I have a long way to get to know all available routes; however, I would like to share my top 5 favorite ones with you (even though it was difficult to choose just five). Let’s hope you try them one day, and you love them all as much as I do.

Top 5 Biking Routes in Ecuador

Quito to Salcedo

This was, in fact, my first long route on a road bike, and I genuinely loved it. This route is an excellent option if you prefer road bikes. You will be able to ride for about 115 Km and enjoy incredible views, passing by small towns, and having breaks to buy local food and drinks in case you need them. It is a standard route for bikers in Ecuador to feel safe during all the track. Once arriving at the destination, the reward for your effort is enjoying a famous Salcedo’s ice cream which is the perfect dessert after a long one-hour ride. Keeping in mind that the weather in Ecuador is unpredictable, one must be prepared for sunny to heavy raining days.

Biking Around the Cotopaxi

The Cotopaxi National Park, named after one of the highest active volcanoes on Earth, at nineteen thousand feet, is the most beautiful volcano in Ecuador. The park offers great routes next to the volcano’s base with the volcano’s views at all times, and it is widespread to find endemic animals throughout the natural track. This magic place will give you the energy that you will need during the whole ride. It is also a place that has different competitions such as “La Vuelta al Cotopaxi” (Around the Cotopaxi) and “El Cotopaxi Sobre 4,000mt” (Cotopaxi over 13,123). It is the perfect place to go biking around the Cotopaxi.

This area of the Andes is called the paramo (the moorland) and is known for high winds and constant drizzle. Keep in mind that the weather tends to change quickly, and you should always be prepared for bad weather. It’s usually sunny in the area, so it is recommended to always wear sun protection.

Biker-tip: The temperature in the Andes moorlands is sunny, but the weather might feel chilly. For the perfect biking adventure, make sure you have enough hydration and food, it is also an excellent place for a picnic.

Cotopaxi Biking RouteBiking in the Chimborazo

At over twenty feet Chimborazo is considered the highest peak in the world; can it beat Mount Everest? Mount Everest is 8848 meters high (29,031 feet), while Chimborazo is 6263 meters above sea level (20,564 feet), but the peak of Chimborazo is the closest point to the sun from the center of the Earth. In fact, it beats Mount Everest by 2 Km if measured from the center of the planet, and as a winner point, you can bike around this fantastic place.

The most common route is going to the first refugee located at 5,000m (16,400 ft.) in the volcano. This is a high-level route and will take serious training to go through that steep track. However, it is said that all things that go up, must go down… so if you like downhill, you will love to bike this route. Sincerely I am not a fan of descent, so I choose to go slowly at a speed where I feel comfortable and safe. Although, this route is very challenging and demanding; it is still one of my favorites. Once again, this adventure requires preparation for the cold weather; it is colder than other routes. Most of the time, there will be scattered snow showers by the last Kms.

Biker-tip: You will need extra sugar in your diet for this adventure. 

Chimborazo is also the location of one of the hardest bike competitions in Ecuador called “Chimborazo Extremo” (Extreme Chimborazo) The cycling competition labels itself “extreme” because it is the “highest” race in Ecuador. The starting point of this competition is the town and canyon of San Juan, at 3,200 masl. From here, the route passes indigenous villages, down (and up) impressive trails ending at the first refuge of Mount Chimborazo at 4,800m (16,400 ft.). All of this makes it one of the best biking routes in Ecuador. Would you dare to try it?
Biking in the mountain route

Biking in the Amazon

The Amazon is just unique, and it has great routes for bikers. Places such as Tena can offer you unique experiences. It is a good idea to start a ride early in the morning to avoid dehydration, the heat, and the sun. Trust me! Waking up a little bit earlier will be so worth it. Riding a bike surrounded by the sounds of the jungle is just magical; you will love it. 

You can go from Tean city to Misahualli, or visit places in-between such as “Cascada Las Latas” (Latas waterfalls), or even to the “La Laguna Azul” (Blue Lagoon) where you can take a refreshing bath in the river, to reload your energy. The friendly people will always assist you in case you need any help. Whenever locals see you riding a bike, they will assume you need extra water and give it to you. The Amazonian weather is humid and rainy, and I’m not too fond of biking during the rain. Anyhow, the Amazon is an exception, and I don’t even bother bringing extra clothes or rain. The rain is just refreshing, and it makes you feel warm and cool at the same time. Amazon Biking Route

Biking Routes in the Galapagos

Of course, I have to add Galapagos to the list. It is one of the most magical places globally and makes it more special once you are on a bike. It is a dream come true. Since you are on small islands, rent a bike and discover the great places that Galapagos offers; in Santa Cruz, you can go to the Highlands and see some turtles on the road. If you prefer the beach area, Isabela offers a beautiful route with a great beach view and the chance to see Flamingos at the lagoons and giant tortoises next to the dirt road that takes you to the Wall of Tears. Galapagos is a bucket-list destination on its own.

Biker-tip: Once in Galapagos, make sure to rent a bike at least one time and try a long route.Galapagos Biking Route

So what are you waiting for? Ecuador has the best biking routes of all! And if you love biking, this is the perfect place to spend your holiday time. After a strict lockdown, it is time to hop on our bikes and feel free once again. 

Contact us because we are ready to make sure your perfect biking adventure comes true.

If you are interested in more adventures with bikes, check out our 6-day Ecuador Multisport Tour

By Wilma L.

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