Andes, Amazon and Pacific Coast Tour Print
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AAP-Route-July-2014

Andes, Amazon and Pacific Coast Tour

A 9-Day/8 night Adventure Through the Three Distinct "Worlds" of Ecuador

 

Overview:

Distance:  1,609 kilometers / 1,000 miles  98% paved road / 2% unpaved road

Time Needed:  9 days / 8 nights (add an arrival and departure day and compare to an 11-day tour at most tour operators)

Climatic Zones:  Cloudforest, Tropical Rainforest, Tropical Grasslands, Desert, Highlands Pampa, Dry Forest

Highest Elevation: 4,445 meters | 14,583 feet

Lowest Elevation: -1 meter | -3 feet

Elevation Gain / Loss:  25,658 meters | 84,179 feet

Riding experience needed: Intermediate

Recommended Gear:  Raingear, camera, waterproof saddlebags, suntan lotion, insect repellent, sunglasses, summer and winter weight gloves.

All-inclusive pricing:  includes meals, gas, tolls, single occupancy hotel rooms, entrance fees to parks, excursions and motorcycle use on rest days (if desired) and more

Minimum participants:  one. (guaranteed departures)

Maximum riders: 8 (keeps things fun and easy!)

Tour dates:  See below or check our Tour Calendar

Pricing:  All inclusive (gas,  all meals, lodging included) From $4215- .   See pricing at the bottom of this page after reading the detailed itinerary.

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As featured in Rider Magazine: please click to read the review.

 

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Description:

This tour traverses three distinctive regions in Ecuador: the Pacific Coast, Andes Mountains, and Amazon jungle basin while passing through several climatic zones, including cloudforests, coastal savannah, beach, desert, rainforests on both the eastern and western slopes of the Andes, and the unique Amazon jungle.

This is an opportunity to experience several different cultures and varied ways of life from traditional coastal villages to those of indigenous people in the highlands and Amazon basin. The tour goes through some of the most bio-diverse regions in the world and parts of rural Ecuador that few visitors get to see. Activities include a special coffee and chocolate tour, the Inti-ñan Solar Museum, and an Amazon jungle hike. The tour packs a lot into a very exciting nine days to create memories that will last for a lifetime.

 


 

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Day 1
Quito-Inti'ñan-Pululahua Crater-Bellavista-Mindo

Distance Covered: 64 miles / 103 km on paved road (unpaved 10 miles optional)

You'll begin this 9-day / 8 night “Andes, Amazon and Pacific Coast” tour from our shop in Quito, Ecuador. In 1978, Quito became the first place on the planet to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for having the best-preserved historic center in all of Latin America. Quito is high on the Antiplano Plateau (the second highest in the world) in the Andes at 9,350 feet.  We suggest that you arrive a day or two early to experience our magnificent capital city while getting acclimated to high altitude before beginning the tour.on_the_road_to_mindo

equator_lineDuring the first morning of the tour you’ll be outfitted with the motorcycle of your choice and given a thorough orientation answering all questions concerning local customs, rules of the road, riding signals, Ecuadorian driver courtesies, and more. The first day’s ride purposefully includes a sampling of the different types of roads that will be ridden.   You will have the opportunity to safely become accustomed to asphalt, dry gravel, cobblestone, and dirt farm roads.  

mindo_1Inti-ñan means “path of the Sun” in the Quechua language and the Inti-ñan Museum is situated directly on the Equator. The indigenous peoples have revered this site for thousands of years and our group will learn how ancient people came to understand that this was the center of the world centuries before the advent of modern geography or GPS devices. During our first stop directly on the “red line” you will experiment with gravity, including witnessing how water drains either clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on which side of the Equator you are standing. You will also have the opportunity to see how the indigenous populations of Ecuador live by visiting models of their homes. This will enable you to better understand the cultures and ways of life that you will experience as we pass through the various regions.colibri_en_la_ecoruta_del_quinde

Departing the Inti-ñan Museum, we are now officially outside of the Quito metropolitan region, and have begun riding in the Northern Hemisphere. Our second stop is to view the beautiful Pululahua Crater Geo-Botanical Reserve, a crater formed by a volcanic eruption 2,500 years ago. From there, head onto the western slopes of the Andes that are full of dense, green forests and steep mountains. The roads have been recently paved and riding these sharp curves is certain to be exhilarating fun.  

We will have lunch in the garden of a fantastic restaurant in the heart of the cloudforest.   We'll watch in amazement as hundreds of colorful birds surround us as we enjoy our first Ecuadorian meal together.

septimo_paraiso_cloudforest_reserveChanging the pace a little bit, we take a left turn off the main highway and venture onto an unpaved, unmarked road that leads even deeper into the cloudforest. Here, at the world-famous Bellavista Cloudforest Bird Lodge, we take a break on their amazing patio and watch hundreds of hummingbirds flitting around us.  These are all of a completely different species than the birds seen at lunch.  There is no other place on earth where so many species of birds can be viewed.  Note that the unpaved section is optional - we can continue along the newly paved highway all the way to Mindo if you are not comfortable riding on unpaved roads.
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Continue through the lush cloudforest along clear streams with cascading waterfalls to the funky, eclectic town of Mindo. Mindo is situated in a warm microclimate cloudforest that’s known for its natural beauty and great restaurants. We will visit the El Quetzal chocolate factory for a tour that entertains while educating about the farming and processing of organic cocoa and how it is turned into chocolate and formed into bars.   You will want to sample this chocolate, as Ecuador produces some of the best chocolate in the world.

After our visit to the The Quetzal , we check into the carefully selected accommodations for the night deep in the cloudforest setting at the charmingly luxurious Septimo Paraiso Resort, winner of the 2016 "Best Cloudforest Lodge" by Luxury Travel Guide.

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Day 2

Mindo - Laguna Azul - Pedernales - Jama - Canoa

295 km / 183 miles on 100% asphalt road

After a hearty breakfast, hop on your bike, and we will head out of the Septimo Paraiso Cloudforest Reseve. We first climb in elevation and then begin to descend along the western slope of the Andes. Expect fog as we pass through the cloudforest and down into tropical rainforest. From San Miguel de Los Bancos, we continue a long, gradual descent towards the Pacific coast. The temperature begins to rise as we decrease 1-cascada_verdeour altitude, rolling through sweeping corners, crossing roaring rivers, and experiencing breathtaking views along the way.

Palm trees appear and the leaves of “junglesque growth” along the road grow in size the farther west we travel. Crossing the coastal savannah of Manabi Province we notice that horses are a more common mode of transportation than cars or buses.
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We stop to take a short hike into the rainforest for a swim in one of the most beautiful swimming holes in Ecuador - the Blue Lagoon (laguna azul) with its serene, deep, warm water and cascading waterfall.  

After your swim, we will cross over a wire suspension bridge (photo above) that will take us to an island in the Caony River for a wonderful lunch stop in a beautiful rainforest setting.

La Concordia is a commercial city and trading center for the area’s biggest crop: palm oil. The palm groves that surround this city appear almost magical.

Canoa_BeachOn the Pacific coast the city of Pedernales - sometimes referred to as the "Wild Wild West" -- is known for it’s chaotic markets, plentiful restaurants, nightclubs, and fun-loving residents. The closest beach to Quito, this resort town is Ecuador’s shrimp capital and naturally we will stop at one of the ocean-side restaurants for a taste. Expect to enjoy the freshest and most delicious shrimp you’ve eaten in your life.manabi_coast

From Pedernales we ride south along the coastal road, passing wild, undeveloped beaches and shrimp farms. We will pass through the quiet town of Jama, a throwback to a simpler time where the tides and fishermen set the pace.

Our day ends in the town of Canoa. This is home to a mixed population of native fishermen, transient surfers, and expatriate retirees who are seeking sun and relaxation. Our carefully selected accomodations are at the  Canoa Beach Hotel, right on the beach and with a great atmosphere thanks to its friendly helpful and fun staff.

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Day 3
"Rest Day" in Canoa

Break Day! Relaxation and sunshine! Canoa has one of the best beaches on the Ecuadorian coast and is a very popular place for surfing..  Other available activities include paragliding, whale watching, horseback riding or fishing.

You can also take the bike out and explore the beautiful back country of Manabi Province.   Or take a boat expedition to explore the famous bird-watching mecca of El Corazon Island.  Corazon Island is a haven of mangroves, located between Bahia de Caraquez and San Vicente in the Chone River estuary in the province of Manabi. Inside there is a path through the mangroves where native guides interpret the life of the mangrove and its rich biodiversity. It is a community ecotourism project which seeks to educate and preserve mangrove resources through education of its inhabitants and visitors.

Or, you can just pull up a chair at some of the great hang-outs, beachside bars and restaurants and enjoy a restful day away from the bike.

 

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Day 4

Canoa - Bahia de Caraquez -  Vinces

250  kilometers / 155 miles on 100% asphalt road

Enjoy a last swim on the beautiful beach in Canoa and a filling breakfast. This morning's ride will continue down the coastal road also known as "Ruta del Sol" After crossing the Bahia de Caraquez riding_in_banana_fields, we’ll begin to head away from the coast, passing through many cacao, rice and cattle farms and through the town of Portoviejo.

This part of the country is full of fishing birds of all types and a natural forest kept intact by the locals, where hundreds of South American squirrels live in the wild.  You will definitely hear - and may be  lucky - to glimpse the famous howling monkey.  

The population in this area of Ecuador make their living from agricultur -, mostly rice and cattle.ceibo-300x276

Here we will see many of the majestic Ceibo Trees.  These trees were fabled by the ancient people to be the Earth's ties to the spiritual world.  Since the only place they grow in the world is along the equatorial belt, their bare branches were thought to be roots that kept the world attached to heaven.  They flower only once every five years and can store thousands of liters of water in their huge trunks.

We will pass through the friendly town of Santa Ana and through the tranquil countryside of Los Rios and Guayas Provinces.  Here you will see the landscapes change as you enter the flood plains.   The farming changes here and you will see plantations of bananas, teak and chocolate - crops that require abundant water and sunlight.


vinces_architectureWe'll end the day's ride outside the town of Vinces.  Vinces was settled by French chocolatiers in the 19th century and still retains its French architectural heritage.  The region is famous for producing the world's best chocolate, known as "arriba" chocolate.  The chocolate is called "arriba" because when the first European chocolate makers came here, they noticed the locals were carrying some of the best smelling and delicious chocolate in their canoes.  When asked where the chocolate came from, the locals replied "arriba" which meant up-river, where Vinces is located today.

 We will enjoy the night on a chocolate and banana plantation. in the luxurious Senor de los Caballos Resort.  We'll get a chance to learn how teakwood, chocolate and bananas are grown and cultivated by walking around with the farmets and workers on the plantation.  You'll also learn to make a special drink.  The hotel features a beautiful pool, fancy pigeon aviary and a stocked fish pond.

 

 

 

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Day 5

Vinces - Quilotoa Crater Lake - Chugchilan

266 kilometers / 165 miles on 100% paved roads

After a breakfast of fresh juices, fruits and eggs by the pool, we pack up the bikes and head into the peaceful countryside of Los Rios Province.  We'll be crossing expansive chocolate plantations and palm tree groves.  We'll pass through the "River City" of Quevedo.  Quevedo has a large population of Chinese-Ecuadorians and is a center for agriculture and food processing.   It is a perfect place to stop for lunch at one of the best Chinese-Ecuadorian restaurants in the country.

v-strom_climbingThe tremendous Andes mountains begin to tower above as we enter the foothills and begin to climb in altitude, passing through - and then popping above-the clouds.  Again, you'll be treated to several spectacular waterfalls that line this road.1-zumbahua_indigenous

The air will begin to cool as you start of series of downshifts and hairpin turns to climb from near sea level to over 13,400 feet.  The views are stunning along this climb and we will stop on a few occasions to marvel at the scenery below, capture some great photos and to add additional layers of clothing. After crossing the scenic high altitude village of Pilalo, we descend into the town of Zumbahua, known for its Indigenous market in the center of town.


quilotoa_loop_sweepersFrom Zumbahua, we are now on the famous "Quilotoa Loop" - famous for its incredible scenery and for the astonishing Quilotoa Crater Lake.  We will stop at the lake to admire its odd blue-green color from the minerals left after a catastophic volcanic eruption created it only about 800years ago.  The indigenous people are friendly here and wear their traditional dress.  Here they farm potatoes, sheep, llama, chickens and dairy cows.

Once past the lake, you will be riding on newly paved roads that wind through several indigenous villages and past peaceful family farms.

The day's ride will end by relaxing in the internationally-acclaimed, award winning Ecolodge, Black Sheep Inn.

 

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Day 6

Chugchilan - Chimborazo Wildlife Refuge - Baños

323 kilometers / 201 miles on 95% paved roads

You wake up in the crisp mountain air surrounded by breathtaking view.  We will have a good Ecuadorian country breakfast.. The village of Chugchilan is known for its fine woodworkers and we will stop to visit the Don Bosco woodworking shop, where they teach kids how to build wood furniture.  Their work is very impressive and worth a stop!

vicuna_crossing_roadSigchos was an indigenous settlement long before the arrival of the Spanish who settled it in the early 1500's. It has a beautiful church and well-maintained town center.  Once through Sigchos the road will become a beautiful newly-paved road that is several centuries old built by the Incas before the Spanish arrived. This road is one of the most beautiful in Ecuador, with incredible views and fun tight switchbacks with very little traffic.mirror_and_chimborazo

With fantastic scenery at all times you turn onto the Avenue of Volcanoes.   This is where the peaks of the Andeas are at the ir most dramatic. The road takes you between 13 different volcanoes including Cotopazi and The Illinizas.

We ride through the city of Ambato, known for its flower growers and fruit growers.  It has several excellent restaurants for lunch. From Ambato, we follow along the Ambato River canyon.  This is "canyon carving"" at its finest and this road will twist and turn among precipitous cliffs and take us from about 8,000 feet in elevation to over 14,000 feet.   You'll see the "King of the Andes" - Chimborazo Volcano - as it comes into view.  Here we stop at the Kunuyacu Hot Springs - a place of relaxation for the hardworking Ecuadorian cowboys or gauchos that tend to their cows, horses and sheep in this area.

Volcan Chimborazo the highest mountain in Ecuador and is the highest land mass on Earth when you take into account its proximity to the equator. (Yes go ahead and google it!).   The Earth bulges at the Equator, which means the peak of Chimborazo is technically closest to the sun and furthest from the core of the planet!

Florian_Neuhause_riding_towards_chimborazoOur ride around Chimborazo will take you through the Chimborazo National Wildlife Refuge where you'll be sure to see the rare wild vicuña, the lighter, faster higher altitude cousin of the llama and camel.   There are also condors, wild guinea pigs and other wild animals. We will be at an altitude of about 14,500 feet (4,350 meters) - so be sure to have your warm gloves on.  The views will be stunning!

We then cross through the colonial city of Riobamha and continue eastward, following the Chambo River and scenic valleys.  We'll climb and twist on a newly paved road that carves through the sides of the mountain and gives you spectacular views of the active Tungurahua Volcano.

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We then arrive in the town of Baños - one of the best adventure capitals of the world.   We will be sure to soak away the day's ride in the volcanic baths that are kept at varying temperatures - the best time to get to the baths is when they open at 5:00 pm.   The baths close at 4 pm every day to change the water so getting there at 5 means a smaller crowd and cleaner water!  We make sure to get there at the right time.

Once we have soaked away the effects of the road, we will sit down for a meal at one of the town's fantastic restaurants. Our carefully selected accomodations for tonight are at the beautifuly decorated and charming  Posada del Arte which is a combination art gallery/bed and breakfast owned by our friends, Marsha and Jim from Chicago, USA.

 

 

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Day 7

"Rest" Day in Banos

Today is another chance for some additional great adventures! Baños is one of the world's best centers for adventure and extreme sports. With so many inexpensive, experienced guides and tours available, we strongly encourage you to take full advantage of them in order to experience the incredible natural beauty that surrounds this town.

You can go for a day of rafting or kayaking on some world-class rapids, do some bungee jumps, go canyoning (rapelling down waterfalls), take a jungle tour, hike some magnificent trails, rent an ATV, ride down a volcano on a mountain bike or improve your rock-climbing skills.  Contact our friends at GeoTours for more information on these activities.  If none of those activities appeal to you, Baños has some great hangouts, restaurants and bars and and an exciting nightlife, too. This is the perfect spot for a rewarding rest day no matter what you choose to do.

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Day 8

Banos - Puyo - Cotococha Amazon Lodge

141 kilometers / 88 miles on 100% paved roads

Take another steamy volcanic bath and enjoy a full breakfast at the comfortable Posada del Arte hotel before we head back on the road.   We will head you eastward - riding down what is known as the "Route of the Waterfalls" through the eastern slopes which will eventually descend into the Amazon River Basin.
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On the way down the Eastern Slopes, we will have several opportunities for exhilirating zip lines across the gorge of the Pastaza River.  You can also try one of the "swing jumps" which is like a bungee jump but with a normal rope.  The idea is to jump out off a high bridge and then fall while swinging under the bridge.   It will give you a great surge of adrenaline!

pailon_del_diabolo_stairsIn the town of Rio Verde we stop to view the tremendous "Pailon del Diablo" or "Cauldron of the Devil" waterfalls.  The falls crash about 250 feet into a hole that has been bored into the rock over centuries.  To get the best view of the falls we will take a small hike and cross over a suspension bridge which leads to steps that will bring us down into the "cauldron."  The falls draws photographers from around the world and they will amaze you.

Again,  you will see the vegetation and cultures change dramatically on today's ride.  The air will become warm as you arrive in Puyo - and you are now officially in the Amazonia region.   We will be riding north, and with a great view of the Sierra to our left as we ride the comfortable, newly paved road with rolling hills and plenty of sweeping curves to keep it fun.pastaza_river

We take a right, turning onto a road that follows the Napo River, and go deeper into the Amazon jungle.  The Napo River is the fifth largest triubutary to the Amazon River.


cotococha_lodge_cabin We arrive at the Cotococha Amazon Lodge and you will check into your private bungalow for the night.  Each bungalow is built according to traditional architecture- in harmony with the surrounding rainforest. All bungalows are equipped with a private bathroom, a private veranda with reclining chairs or hammocks in which to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of Ecuador's Amazon.  You can have a swim in the sandy banks of the Napo or a relaxing swim in their pool and jacuzzi.

We'll enjoy a gourmet dinner and be given oil lamps to light your private cabin along the banks of the river.   The Cotococha Lodge will show you how luxury and comfort can be had without the use of electricity.  You'll enjoy a night of the pure sounds of the Amazon jungle.   Note you can still charge your cameras, etc in the main Lodge which provides a bar and electic outlets.

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Day 9

Cotococha Amazon Lodge - Puerto Misahualli - Papallacta - Quito

Distance Covered: 139 miles / 224 km on 100% paved road

cascada_de_las_latasIn the morning you will be treated to a full breakfast at the lodge with fresh fruits, juice and eggs and then taken to the boat house where you will be fitted with a life vest and rubber boots.  We'll board a long, motorized canoe that will take us up the Napo River.  You will go for a short hike through secondary forest with a native guide who will point out several plant, animal and insect species that are in this Amazon jungle rainforest.  He will explain their traditional uses and herbal remedies.   Then we go for a swim in the beautiful Cascada de las Latas. This amazing waterfall has a natural rock waterslide and a water pit for bathing. There are a couple of other waterfalls that can be visited during your stay depending on time.

To get back to the Lodge, we float down the Napo River on inner tubes and enjoy the serenity of the jungle. (please note that the excursions provided by the lodge are subject to change due to weather conditions or other factors that we cannot control)tubing_on_the_napo

Back on the bike, we head east a few miles and cross a one lane metal bridge into the town of Puerto Misahualli.  This is the western-most navigable port of the Amazon river basin.  FPuerto Misahualli has a mischievous monkey population that loves to play with the local dogs and tourists.  Be sure to bring your camera!

Further up the road are the Jumandi Caves, created by the river currents.  There are guides there that can show you around the caves, but you will need to wade through water - so be sure to have a pair of shorts handy.

We pass through the rainforest town of Baeza and start the climb back into the Sierra.  Then we can have another stop and opportunity for bathing and swimming in the thermal springs of Papallacta before heading over a high (and chilly) mountain pass at 4,200 meters (about 13,400 feet) and an easy ride back into the magnificent capital city of Quito via the funky bohemian neighborhood of Guapulo.

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Tour Dates:

Please see our tour calendar or please contact us for specific dates that you require!

Upcoming dates:

  • 07 OCTOBER 2017
  • 16 DECEMBER 2017
  • 24 FEBRUARY 2018
  • 05 MAY 2018
  • 30 JUNE 2018

Prices:

  • On a Yamaha XT250: $4,440
  • On a Suzuki DR650: $4,800
  • On a Suzuki V-Strom DL650: $4,900
  • On a BMW G650 GS: $4,900
  • On a Yamaha Ténéré XT660: $5,090
  • On a KTM 690 Enduro R: $5,180
  • On a Husqvarna 701 Enduro: $5,180
  • On a BMW F700 GS: $5,090
  • On a Triumph Tiger 800XC: $5,280
  • On a BMW F800GS: $5,280
  • On a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 ABS: $5,090
  • On a Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L: $5,370
  • On a KTM 1050 Adventure: $5,460
  • Passenger / Pillion Charge (double occupancy): $2,490

Prices Include:

  • Unlimited Mileage Motorcyle Rental
  • Saddlebags or hard luggage system
  • tank bag
  • ALL Meals and drinks on riding days
  • Breakfast every day
  • Single occupancy in 3-4 star hotels and hostels
  • SOAT emergency medical and third party liability insurance
  • Experienced, multi-lingual, fulltime local resident, "insider" guide
  • Tolls
  • Gasoline
  • Souvenir T-Shirt
  • Tour of Quito on doubledecker bus (arrive a day early!)
  • Entry fees to offibike activities mentioned in the description (volcanic baths, chocolate tour, etc)
  • Guaranteed Departure Policy (we go even if only 1 participant - we do not cancel tours on you!)
  • Support vehicle for groups of 4+ riders
  • Pre-tour 25% discount on high quality riding gear from  

Prices do not include:

  • Hotel accomodations before and after the tour in Quito
  • Alcholic beverages
  • Refundable security deposit for motorcycle rental
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunch & dinner on rest days
  • Optional activities on rest days
  • Ecuador IVA tax (14%) - for Ecuadorian residents ONLY
  • Tips and gratuities for your guide
  • **TOURISTS TO ECUADOR PAY NO TAX!**

Available Discounts:

  • Sign up additional riders- get $100 each your price!

How to Book Your Adventure:

Have a look at our tour calendar to see what dates work for you.  Then, just contact us and let us know which tour and which bike you are interested in.  

Or, just click the button below and fill out the form.  It's as easy as 1-2-3 !

We'll get back to you usually within a day (sometimes we are out guiding tours and may take 2 days to respond at most).  If you don't see a date that fits your schedule, just ask and we'll see what we can do.


Photos from a previous Andes, Amazon & Pacific Coast tour (click photo to see gallery):

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