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Avenue of Volcanoes, Quilotoa Loop & Amazon Basin Self-Guided Tour

4 days

100% Paved Route

<1% unpaved


All Year
with advanced reservations


Unique non-touristy
Hotels and Lodges

Tour Overview

This four day self-guided tour will give you a good sense of the incredible variety of landscapes, climates and cultures that are available in the small country of Ecuador. The tour takes you through two distinct regions of Ecuador - the Andes and the Amazon Basin. You will ride through the astonishing "Avenue of Volcanoes" taking you past the highest active volcanoes in the world and to the spectacular Quilotoa Crater Lake and its distinct blue-green mineral waters. Then, you will experience a ride through the Amazon jungle, packed with lush vegetation and ample opportunities for rafting, kayaking and hiking along the way.  You'll enjoy a night in an exclusive Amazon Lodge and take an excursion in a motorized canoe with a local guide to show you the local culture and wildlife in this special region of the planet.

The route and accomodations have been carefully selected to provide not only safety, comfort, and great food, but also opportunities to experience other activities such as birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, volcanic baths, rappelling, kayaking and cave exploration along the way.

At a glance

  • Time Needed:  4 days / 3 nights
  • Total Distance: 536 miles / 862 kilometers
  • Total Elevation Gain / Loss :  14,528 meters / 47,665 feet
  • Accomodations:  Unique Luxurious Bed & Breakfast and Luxury Lodge
  • Climactic Zones:  Tropical Rainforest / Highlands Pampa / Cloudforest / Amazon Rainforest
  • Provinces: Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Bolivar, Tungurahua, Pastaza, Napo

As featured in UK Motorcycle News

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Route Map

Elevation Profile


About Our Self-Guided Tours


Click for Timeline Overview

Arrival in Quito

Travel day to Quito

Accommodations: Not included.  See "extensions" below for options.  We will provide you with a list of recommended hotels in Quito near our shop in the heart of the fashionable La Carolina neighborhood so that you can relax and explore the nearby galleries, museums, and cafés.

Travel day to Quito

1 or 2 days prior to the tour start date

Pre-Tour Registration and Tour of Qutio

If you arrive or in Quito a day or two prior to the tour, it would be a good idea to come into the office to complete the paperwork in advance.  Please bring your original passport, original drivers' license and a vaild credit card with available credit for the security deposit on the motorcycle.  See the motorcycle pages for more information on the required deposit.

Quito - Tigua

Distance: 212 km | 132 miles
Meals: Dinner
Activities:  Quilotoa Lake, Furniture Makers, Tigua Art Gallery
Accommodations: Posada de Tigua

Day 1

Day 2

Tigua - Baños de Agua Santa

Distance: 281 km | 175 miles
Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Pujilli Market, Kunuyacu Hot Springs, Chimborazo Wildlife Refuge, Riobamba, Baños Hot Springs
Accommodations: Posada del Arte

Baños - Cotococha Amazon Lodge

Distance:  142 km | 88 miles
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Activities:  Zip Lines, Rappeling, Zoo, Swimming, Paillon del Diablo Waterfall
Accommodations:  Cotococha Amazon Lodge

Day 3

Day 4

Cotococha Amazon Lodge - Quito

Distance: 228 km | 142 miles
Meals: Breakfast
Included Activities:  Canoe Excursion, Jungle Hike with Native Guide, Tubing on Napo River or Community Visit 
Available Activities: Cave hike, zoo and botanical garden

Return home

Many international flights leave around midnight from Quito.  If you are catching a flight the same evening as the last day of the tour, you may enjoy VIP access to our "Freedom Riders' Lounge" - complete with a hot shower, jacuzzi, and honor bar.

Return to Quito

Day 1 - Tigua

Elevation Profile - Day 1

Day 1  
Quito-Sigchos-Chugchilan-Quilotoa Crater Lake-Tigua
Distance Covered:  132 miles / 212 km

After a briefing and orientation to acquaint you with the customs and rules of the road in Ecuador, you will head out on the motorcycle of your choice that has  a GPS navigation system that has been pre-programmed with each day's route. You will be shown how to operate the GPS and given a "Road Book" with daily paper maps listing points of interest, gas stations, lunch suggestions, etc.  Your hotel for each night has been reserved and paid for in advance.   All you need to do now is hop on the bike - and enjoy the ride - safe in the knowledge that you will see some of the best sights and the best roads in Ecuador!

Florian_Neuhauser_at_Quilotoa_LakeYou will roll out of Quito on the Panamerican highway, passing incredibly green high-altitude pasturelands and then after a few miles, you will find yourself in a valley surrounded on both sides by two massive mountain ranges.  This is the beginning of the famous "Avenue of Volcanoes."  You will feel tiny as you roll through this valley with snow-covered volcanoes at either side.  On the left you will get an increasingly closer and closer view of the majestic Cotopaxi Volcano, which rises to almost 4 miles in height and is the world's tallest active volcano.

The GPS unit will indicate where you will take a right, onto a stretch of road known as the "Quilotoa Loop."  This road will take you through many traditional Andean villages with friendly and helpful indigenous people and eventually to the Quilotoa Crater Lake.  For now, you will be treated to challenging (but fun) hairpin turns and majestic views.

You will pass through the town of Sigchos, a colonial town founded in the 1500's by the Spanish but has a longer history as an trading center for indigenous peoples for centuries. The center of town has a colorful market and there are plenty of restaurants serving up hearty local soups and savory meats.quilotoa_fields

The road weaves along dramatic cliffs with views of the deep canyon below and natural terraces and winds through more Quechua-speaking villages and their centuries-old ways of life.   We recommend a stop at the Don Bosco Woodworking shop, where children are taught the art of carpentry.  Their work is very impressive.   You will pass through the friendly town of Chugchilan and then you'll start climbing to an altitude of over 12,000 feet - arriving at the Quilotoa Crater Lake.

This amazing lake is a water-filled caldera and is the western-most volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes.  It was created about 800 years ago in a catastrophic eruption that sent pyroclastic flows all the way to the Pacific Ocean.  Today it is a calm, peaceful place that will inspire meditation and awe.

1-zumbahua_indigenousAfter gazing in awe at the lake, you will head south through a fertile valley and more picturesque traditional indigenous villages such as Zumbahua, a farming town known for its artisan market of foods, textiles, wool and handmade knives.  If it is Saturday it is market day in Zumbahua, and even more worthwhile to stop to see the market.  

From Zumbahua, you'll climb again in elevation and will give you views of a golden patchwork of Andean countryside. You'll enter the community of Tigua, known for its artists who paint bright paintings of village life and bright colored wooden masks used in traditional celebrations and rituals.  The community of Tigua has about 20 different art studios and you can visit the galleries there that display and sell their spectacular work.

Tonight's carefully selected accomodations are at the Posada del Tigua - a family-run farmhouse and dairy farm converted into a cozy bed-and-breakfast inn. The farmhouse dates back to the 1890's and has walls that are three feet thick to help you keep warm at night.  The family that runs this inn will show you to your private room and then invite you to join them for a healthy, organic meal created from the produce of their farm.  This will be one of the best meals you will have in Ecuador. 

Day 2 - Baños de Agua Santa

Day 3 - Cotococha Amazon Lodge

Day 4- Quito

Photo Gallery

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of 3/5. Travelers should be in good health and comfortable riding for extended periods of time through adverse weather and at times unpredictable road conditions. The itinerary suits a wide range of interests and abilities, with options for light and moderate activities . There are two long riding days (8+ hours).

Weather and Temperatures
Weather and temperature ranges in Ecuador are generally the same year round. In the highlands, 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 on the western slopes of the Andes in April and early May and in the Amazon basin in June and early July. There are no weather forecasts on Ecuador radio or TV stations; it is generally impossible to predict the weather in such a diverse number of climatic regions and elevations. On this tour, temperatures will be between 40 and 90 degrees fahrenheit (4-32 celsius).  The extreme cold temperatures are only experienced at the high elevation points (refer to the elevation profiles on this page).  These low temperatures are brief.

Throughout the tour, we stay in ideally located, medium-end accommodations with many amenities. See this page for details and links to the accommodations provide.  Ecuador Freedom has the right to substitute accommodations of equal quality due to availability.

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

Accommodations on this Tour

Accommodations on this tour
Our accommodations are selected for their exceptional quality, location, and uniaue character. Below are the accommodations featured on this tour.
Video - How We Select Accommodations

Dates and Pricing

Self-Guided Ave. Volcanoes, Quilotoa Loop & Amazon Basin Tour 
Standard Pricing
1 Room 1 Rider
1 Pilllion Sharing Room with Rider

2 People 2 Bikes Sharing Room - Discounted Price for 2nd Bike
Yamaha XT250
SWM Gran Milano 440
Suzuki DR650
BMW G 650 GS
Suzuki V-Strom DL650
Yamaha Ténéré XT660
KTM 690 EnduroR
Husqvarna 701 Enduro
Triumph Tiger 800XCx
Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000 DCT
KTM 1050 Adventure

Jeep Wrangler
Volkswagen Amarok 
Ford Ranger Diesel

Available All Year Long with Advanced Reservations

Tour Includes

  • Unlimited Mileage Motorcycle Rental 
  • Garmin zümo navigation system with pre-programmed daily routes
  • Road Book with daily maps and points of interest guide
  • Saddlebags or hard luggage system
  • Tank bag
  • Single occupancy hotel rooms are standard (best botel in town) - your own private room each night!
  • 3 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners
  • Canoe excursion and hike with native guide in the Amazon Jungle
  • Tubing in the Napo River
  • Pre-tour 25% discount on high quality riding gear from KLIM
  • Souvenir T-Shirt
  • Souvenir Decal
  • Luggage Storage and locker usage
  • VIP access to the Freedom After-Ride Lounge™ with hot shower, jacuzzi, and wet bar.

Not included

  • Refundable security deposit to cover any damage to the rental motorcycle
  • Ecuador IVA (sales) tax ONLY if you are Ecuadorian
  • Hotel accomodations before and after the tour in Quito
  • Meals not listed
  • Tips and gratuties 
  • Gas or Diesel Fuel

Booking and cancellation policy

To secure your booking you will 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 any reason 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 to www.allianztravelinsurance.com and enter agency code F203715 which will indicate to them that you are travelling with us.  

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