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Self-Guided Chocolate & Cloudforest Tour

1 day

From $100
See all prices

60% Paved Route

40% unpaved

Tour Overview

If you are looking for an absolutely amazing one-day ride that will astound you and leave you with a true appreciation and respect for the incredible bio-diversity and richness of culture that surrounds Quito, this tour is for you!  

The tour heads out of Quito and immediately into the lush, green Nono Biological Reserve, known as one of the world's most biodiverse forests.  The unpaved route to Mindo is magical, with opportunities for swimming in waterfalls, birdwatching and picnics.  Mindo offers many exciting and educational activities such as coffee, chocolate and butterfly tours and outdoor activities such as rafting and zip lines.  The return to Quito is on an exciting paved road packed full of twisties as well stops to visit the Pululahua Crater and the Inti-ñan Museum, right on the Equator.  The tour can be done in one day (starting at 10:00 am) or with an overnight (starting anytime 11:00 am - 1:00 pm).

At a glance

  • Time Needed:  1 day (approximately 6 hours) 24 hour rental included
  • Total Distance: 114 miles / 183 kilometers
  • Approximate Offroad Distance: 30 miles / 50 kilometers
  • Elevation gain and loss : +/-22,355 feet | +/- 6814 meters

Route Map

Elevation Profile

Highlights

Itinerary

You will head out of Quito, rising in elevation as you climb the foothold of the Pichincha Volcano, getting absolutely spectacular views of the city below.  Once over the pass, your surrondings will go from urban to country in an instant.  You are now surrounded by green pastures and the sounds of the city are replaced with the sounds of rolling brooks and streams and chirping birds.  You will descend into the smal village of Nono.- a quaint, friendly little place that feels a world away from Quito. There are a few good restaurants in the center of the small town.                  

After a stop in Nono, you’ll be on the "Route of the Hummingbird." This route is famous for its incredible natural beauty. It has won several awards from the Audubon Society for the large number of bird species that can be seen. Although the area is relatively small in size it is one of the most bio-diverse on the planet, counting thousands of species of butterflies, plus hundreds of different reptilian, amphibian and bird species - including several types of toucans and hummingbirds.

While the vast majority of old dirt roads in Ecuador are succumbing to pavement, the narrow Nono-to-Tandayapa stretch keep modern pretensions behind, remaining - as much as possible - as it was when Pedro Vicente Maldonado first cleared its way towards the sea over 250 years ago. With its ironic feeling of remoteness just minutes outside the city, it is one of Quito's most special attractions.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Once outside of Nono, you may want to stop for a swim in the beautiful Guagrapamba Waterfall. which is just along the route and can be reached after a short hike.

Your ride will continue along these country roads with virtually no traffic bring you high into the elevations and bring you to the "Virgen de Camino Mirador" overlook.   Stop here and get some great views of the valleys below.   Then you will descend  along a rolling river of cold, clear water and into the rainforests for a completely new biological habitat.   You may catch a glimpse of some wild toucans or brightly colored frogs.

You will pass by the world famous Tandayapa Bird Lodge.  You can stop here for lunch in their restaurant or just sneak a peak at their amazing balcony and be surrounded by hundreds of hummingbirds in a show that will fascinate you.

Back on the road, the aromas and sounds of the rainforest you will experience will be something that stay with you long after this ride is over. 

If you didn't get a bite to eat at the Tandayapa, you can also stop for lunch in the Bellavista Cloudforest Bird Lodge.   They offer incredible over-the- canopy where you can get a great meal while watching hundreds of bird species.

Then you will head from the cloudforests into the warm microclimate of the town of Mindo.  This funky, eclectic town offers great restaurants, bars and activities such as zip wire canopy tours and innertube rides down white water river. 

Once in Mindo, you will head to the El Quetzal for a tour that will educate and entertain you.   You can taste some freshly roasted local Ecuadorian coffee, some of the best in Ecuador.  You will learn about organic cocoa farming and processing.  You will learn how cacao is turned into chocolate from the moment it is picked from the tree to the completed chocolate bars.  The Chocolate tour starts every day at 4 PM and there is a charge for your tickets which are not included with the Ecuador Freedom Chocolate & Cloudforest tour. If you want to learn more about coffee growing, harvesting, processing, roasting and proper preparation of coffee you can visit the Mindo Coffee Tour.  Also the Butterfly Garden is an amazing place with hundreds of butterflies in various stages of life from.  You'll see jewel-like chrysali, caterpillars and beautiful colorful butterflies.

 After visiting the sites in Mindo, you will headback onto the asphalt road, passing through the cloudforest town of Nanegalito.  Continue on this road and you can stop to see the huge Volcanic crater, the Pululahua Volcanic Crater.

On the way back into Quito, be sure to stop at the Museo Intinan to learn about the astronomical observatories established at the Equator by ancient indigenous cultures.   You can also perform some fun and interesting experiments to show you the strange gravitational effects that can only be observed on the Equatorial line.

Then, head back into Quito - and you will have finished the tour.   We hope you will share your photos and experiences with your friends!

The tour can be done in one round-trip if you pick up and return the bike around 10:00 am or if you want to stay overnight in Mindo (see the extension below for an exclusive hotel offer) then it is best to pick up the bike around 1:00 - 2:00 pm. 

Photo Gallery

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of 3/5.  The offroad section requires a rider who is comfortable riding on unpaved surfaces and with sections of mud and in rain which is possible in the cloudforest. The unpaved sections are slightly challenging and are reserved for experienced riders.  The tour may be done as a 100% paved route if requested.  The itinerary suits a wide range of interests and abilities, with options for light and moderate activities . 

Weather and Temperatures
Weather and temperature ranges in Quito are generally the same year round. You can expect the chance of passing showers but rarely a full day of rain.  Chances for a full day of rain are more likely in April and early May. On this tour, temperatures will be between 60 and 80 degrees fahrenheit (4-27 celsius). The cold temperatures are experienced at the high elevation point (refer to the elevation profiles on this page).  

Packing List and Preparation
Ecuador Freedom will provide you with detailed information to prepare for the ride, including a packing list and tutorial videos.

Pricing


Dirt Bike City Tour
Yamaha XT250
                      
$110
SWM Gran Milano 440
$100
Suzuki DR650
$150
SWM RS 650R
$150
Suzuki V-Strom DL65
$180
BMW G 650 GS
$180
Yamaha Ténéré XT660
$190
KTM 690 EnduroR
$200
Husqvarna 701 Enduro
$200
BMW F700 GS
$190
Triumph Tiger 800XCx
$210
BMW F800GS
$210
Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS
$190
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000
$220
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000 DCT
$240
KTM 1050 Adventure
$240

Tour Includes

  • Unlimited Mileage Motorcycle Rental (24 hours) 
  • Saddlebags or hard luggage system
  • Pre-programmed Garmin zümo GPS
  • Pre-ride briefing
  • Tank bag
  • Luggage Storage and locker usage
  • VIP access to the Freedom After-Ride Lounge™ with hot shower, jacuzzi, and wet bar.
  • Pre-paid cell phone and 24-hour support

Not included

  • Refundable security deposit to cover any damage to the rental motorcycle
  • Ecuador IVA (sales) tax ONLY if you are Ecuadorian
  • NO TAX FOR TOURISTS TO ECUADOR!
  • Hotel accomodations before and after the tour in Quito

Booking and cancellation policy

To secure your booking you need to pay 50% at the time of booking your rental or tour. Please contact us and we will send you a payment request from our secure payments provider (currently we use BlueSnap and PayPal)..Using our payments providers, you may pay with any major credit card or with your checking account.

Deposits are refundable minus 10% of the total rental or tour price only if cancelled at least 90 days prior to departure or pick-up date. Cancellations are very costly to us as they impede our planning and ability to sell rentals and tours to other customers. Therefore, cancellations for anyreason made less than 90 days before the pickup or departure date are not refundable nor may they be applied to a future rental or tour.

To protect yourself from this loss of your deposit, it is up to you to secure travel insurance that covers cancellations due to health problems, family tragedies or problems with flight departures, etc.  

To get a free quote for travel insurance that will reimburse you in case you must cancel your trip (plus provide medical and repatriation coverage in case of an accident), just go towww.allianztravelinsurance.com and enter agency code F203715 which will indicate to them that you are travelling with us.  

We highly recommend Ripcord Travel Insurance, a partner of ours.  They provide very extensive travel insurance plus outstanding repatriation and assistance in an emergency.  To purchase, just go to this page.

The balance (second 50%) of your rental or tour is due when you pick up the bike in our office in Quito.   The second 50% can be paid in cash or with a credit card.  We accept Mastercard, Visa, and American Express.


© 2018 Ecuador Freedom Corporation, Quito, Ecuador