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Dirt Deluxe Self-Guided Tour

6 days

From $2035
See all prices below

70% Dirt

30% Paved (Approximately)

Availability

All Year
Except April 1 - May 15

Accommodations

Premium Exclusive
Hotels and Lodges

Tour Overview

This 6-day self-guided luxury motorcycle tour  / self-drive luxury 4x4 tour crisscrosses the northern Ecuadorian Andes, a part of the country that still feels enigmatic, subtly inaccessible and not saturated with tourists. It's an area known for its pristine wildlife refuges, coffee plantations, timeworn colonial buildings and therapeutic hot springs.

The route will bring you to a huge variety of climates, cultures and elevations.  You'll visit the beautiful cloud forests on the Western Slopes of the Andes, soak in five different unique volcanic hot springs, haggle at the indigenous markets in Otavalo, savor freshly grown coffee from the some of the world's top growers, and revel in the outstanding vistas all along the way.

Each night's accommodations are in carefully selected exclusive, luxury haciendas and wilderness lodges that are as diverse as the terrains you will traverse. The hospitality of each venue has its own particular regional character which is evident in every gesture.

At a glance

  • 6 days / 5 nights
  • Mostly unimproved dirt roads in rural Ecuador - offering a glimpse into ways of life that have largely disappeared
  • Dinner and Breakfast Included - featuring gourmet cuisine that combines tradition with innovation
  • High End, Exclusive, Award-Winning Luxury Accommodations
  • Adventure-ready motorcycles with accessories for comfort and safety
  • Total Distance Covered: approximately 900 km / 560 miles
  • Total Elevation gain/loss 19,658 meters / 64,595 feet
  • Highest Altitude: 4063 meters / 13,300 feet
  • Lowest Altitude: 935 meters / 3068 feet
  • Steepest grade 29.9% (uphill)
  • 30% asphalt road / 70% dirt or cobblestone roads (approximately)
  • Entrance permits to the Coca-Cayamber National Reserve included
  • Includes 24-hour telephone support and roadside assistance

As featured in

Backroads Magazine Logo

Route Map

Elevation Profile

What You Will See

About Our Offroad Tours

Itinerary

Day 1 - Mindo

Elevation Profile - Day 1

Dirt Bike Deluxe Motorcycle Adventure Tour in Ecuador Cloudforest Mindo

Day 1
 
Quito- Nono Cloudforest Reserve - Mindo
Distance Covered:  78 km / 49 miles

 

Quito_Ecuador_panoramicaYou'll begin this 6-day "Dirt Deluxe" self-guided 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 highest capital city 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.Intinan museum on equator on motorcycle adventure tour in ecuador

During 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. You will be shown how to operate your pre-programmed GPS unit with daily routes and be given a "Road Book" with details and points of interest for each day.  You will also be provided an "emergency kit" containing a pre-paid cell phone, first aid kit, tools and other items to ensure your ride goes smoothly

1-mindoYou 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. Your surrondings will go from urban to country in a surprising instant. You are now surrounded by green pastures and the sounds of the city are replaced with the sounds of rolling brooks, mooing cows and chirping birds.   You will enter 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 this 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.1-tamer_pic_on_ecoruta_del_quinde

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.  

You might 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.

guagrapampa waterfall nono biological reserve mindo dirt bike adventure tourThe ride will continue along this country road with virtually no traffic bring you high into the elevations and bring you to the "Virgen de Camino Mirador" overlook.  You can have a stop here to take in the great views of the valleys below. Then you'll 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 wild toucans or brightly colored frogs.

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

You should stop for lunch in the Bellavista Cloudforest Bird Lodge. This lodge has a wonderful restaurant and a staff that is very happy to share its knowledge of the wildlife in this reserve.

From Bellavista, you'll roll onto the Western Slopes of the Andes and through the hamlet of Santa Rosa -  a farming community. You'll enjoy the scents of the wild orchids and other flowers that line the road here.cloudforest on western slopes of andes in Ecuador dirt deluxe motorcycle adventure tour

Then rejoin the paved road and turn onto the road that takes you to even lower elevations and 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.  Other attractions include a butterfly sanctuary, a tarabita (hand powered cable car over a waterfall) and an orchid garden.

A visit  to El Quetzal for a chocolate tour will educate and entertain you. El Quetzal is an organic chocolate factory and will show you how cacao is grown, harvested, fermented and turned into chocolate.  The tour (included) includes a chocolate bar and tasting of different chocolates.  If you want to learn more about coffee growing, harvesting, processing, roasting and proper preparation of coffee please ask your tour guide for more information.

cacao beans ecuador motorcycle adventureAfter visiting the town of Mindo, you will ride into the Septimo Paraiso Cloudforest Reserve, a private protected area, created in 2001, with the aim of saving and preserving the forest and the diverse ecosystems that are contained within it. It is managed by the Green Mindo Foundation, which is in charge of the conservation and the study of its 420 hectares of pre-montane and montane cloud forest.

The Reserve has one of the largest bird counts of the north-western area of Pichincha, with 328 species of birds. Several species of mammal have been found; such as puma, spectacled bear, black howler monkey, capuchin monkey, Andean coati, armadillos, white tailed and brocket deer, two toed sloth to name just a few. Also an incredible number of reptile and amphibian species had been spotted, plus an overwhelming number of plant species.  The isolation of the region has created one of the most delicate, but rich and complex ecosystems known in the Mindo region.cloudforest on western slopes of ecuador for dirt bike motorcycle adventure tour

You will check into your room at the Septimo Paraiso Cloudforest Lodge, winner of the 2017 "Cloudforest Hotel of the Year" Award from Luxury Travel Guide.  The lodge features a heated pool, large unheated pool and jacuzzi plus a billiards room and fully stocked bar.  We'll enjoy a gourmet, all you can eat Ecuadorian dinner including fresh juices, soups and desserts.  You'll want to get the recipes from Ana Lucia - owner and gracious hostess at the Lodge.

Cascada_La_Piragua_-_Google_Chrome_03122016_184350.bmpA private protected area, created in 2001, with the aim of saving and preserving the forest and the diverse ecosystems that are contained within it. It is managed by the Green Mindo Foundation, which is in charge of the conservation and the study of its 420 hectares of pre-montane and montane cloud forest.
 
The Reserve has one of the largest bird counts of the north-western area of Pichincha, with 328 species of birds. Several species of mammal have been found; such as puma, spectacled bear, black howler monkey, capuchin monkey, Andean coati, armadillos, white tailed and brocket deer, two toed sloth to name just a few.septimo_paraiso_heated_garden_pool
 
Also an incredible number of reptile and amphibian species had been spotted, plus an overwhelming number of plant species. The altitude within the reserve drastically changes from 950 meters to 1650 meters above sea level. In addition, the isolation of the region has created one of the most delicate, but rich and complex ecosystems known in the Mindo region.a private protected area, created in 2001, with the aim of saving and preserving the forest and the diverse ecosystems that are contained within it. It is managed by the Green Mindo Foundation, which is in charge of the conservation and the study of its 420 hectares of pre-montane and montane cloud forest.
 

Day 2 - Otavalo
Day 3 - Hacienda la Primavera
Day 4 - Aloburo
Day 5 - Papallacta
Day 6 - Quito
Click for Timeline Overview

Arrival in Quito

Travel day to Quito

Accommodations in Quito: Not included.  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 Quito

Arrive a day or two prior to departure to enjoy Quito and we'll provide you with tickets on the Hop-on / Hop - Off bus to enjoy a stress-free day in the capital.  For those who want a little more fun, we can provide you with a selfd-guided tour of Quito on one of our 150cc motorscooters. When you stop in, we will process the paperwork so that you'll have an easier departure on Day 1.

Quito - Mindo

Distance: 97 km | 60 miles
Included Meals:  Dinner
Activities: EcoRuta del Quinde, Guapambra Waterfall, Bellavista Cloudforest Bird Lodge, Organic Chocolate Factory
Accommodations: Septimo Paraiso Cloudforest Lodge

Day 1

Day 2

Mindo - Otavalo

Distance: 188 km |117 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Activities: Cascada de la Piragua, Nangulvi Hot Springs, Coffee Growers, Plaza de los Ponchos
Accommodations: Hacienda Cusin

Otavalo - Hacienda La Primavera

Distance: 155 Km / 96 miles 
Included Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Activities: Traditional Leather Maker, Chachimbiro Hot Springs
Accommodations: Hacienda Primavera Wilderness Lodge

Day 3

Day 4

Hacienda La Primavera - Aloburo

Distance: 253 km / 157 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 
Activities:
Coffee Growers, El Angel National Park, Tufiño Hot Springs  

Accommodations: Tunas and Cabras Lodge

Aloburo - Papallacta

Distance: 170km | 106 miles 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Laguna Yaguarcocha, Paila Ice Cream Maker, Cheese Maker, Quitsato Equator monument, Oyacachi Hot Spring, Coca-Cayambe National Park
Accommodations: Termas Papallacta Hot Springs Spa & Resort

Day 5

Day 6

Papallacta - Quito

Distance:  150 km | 93 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast 

Activities: Enjoy a relaxed morning at Termas De Papallacta Spa Resort, Lago Muerto Pungo

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, gym, and honor bar before your flight home.

Return to Quito

Photo Gallery

What to Expect

This self-guided adventure will start in our offices located in the Carolina neighborhood of Quito.  Prior to your departure  you will be provided a detailed and thoughtful presentation on Ecuadorian rules of the road, customs and courtesies. You'll be instructed on how to operate your pre-programmed GPS navigation unit and be handed packet that includes your prepaid hotel vouchers, daily map sheets with points of interest, descriptions of local highlights, and "hidden gems" that aren't common knowlege.  You can use this information to tailor your days - including as much or as little as you like. The route will be reviewed with you in detail to provide you with additional useful information about timing, suggestions for lunch stops and where to get gas along the way.  

On the morning of your departure, you will be provided the offroad-capable motorcycle (or 4x4) of your choice which is fitted with waterproof luggage system, a first aid kit, a tankbag (if you want one), spare innertubes (or tire repair kit) and a set of tools. In addition you will have a prepaid cell phone to call us for support at anytime during your trip.  We will carefully review the bike with you using our mult-point checklist to be sure that everything is in perfect working order before your departure and that you know what to do in case of an emergency or breakdown.

You may use our lockers and storage area to store your luggage and belongings that you will not take with you on the ride.

The route you will follow over the next six days is based on several years' of experience and riding these routes many times on our guided version of the tour.  The route is not highly technical and is a dual sport tour, meaning there is a mix of paved backroads and dirt natural, unimproved dirt roads without gravel.  There are several stops available which are marked on the GPS unit and the daily route sheets.  You should be aware that there is one long riding day and that you will be traveling in areas where access to medical care may be several hours away.

You will have many opportunities for amazing photos and stops in remote villages where visitors are very rare. Locals are friendly and the areas visited are very safe with very low crime rates. 

During your ride, Ecuador Freedom staff will monitor your daily progress using an on-board GPS satellite tracking system and can assist you by telephone if you need to change your route, need roadside assistance or help in any way.

Upon returning, you will have access to our honor bar, jacuzzi, hot shower and staff that can assist you with your next destination.

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 March, April and early May, which is why we do not recommend this tour during April and early May.  This ride will be in elevations of about 3,000 feet/ 900 meters (where temperatures can be around 80 degrees fahrenheit) to about 13,500 feet (where temperatures can be in the 30's fahrenheit). Dressing in layers is recommended.  Please see this article for more nformation about the weather in Ecuador. 

Accommodations
Throughout the tour, you will stay in carefully selected, high-end accommodations with many amenities and in upgraded, superior rooms or suites. See this page for details, photos and links to the accommodations provided.  Dinner and breakfast are included for each accommodation. Ecuador Freedom has the right to substitute accommodations of equal quality due to availability and will notify you of these changes.

Packing List and Preparation
Ecuador Freedom will provide you with detailed information to prepare for the ride, including a packing list.  You should know how to make general motorcycle repairs and maintenance and to be able to change an innertube (click for a video tutorial).  Before you travel, we recommend that you familiarize yourself in advance with these recommended guidebooks and maps.

Accommodations on this Tour

Accommodations on this tour

Our accommodations are selected for their exceptional quality, location, and unique character. Below are the accommodations featured on this tour.

Video - How We Select Accommodations

Full Tour Videos

Dates and Pricing

Prices



Dirt Deluxe Self-Guided Tour
Standard Pricing
1 Room 1 Rider
Single Occupancy
1 Pillion or Passenger Sharing Room with Rider
Double Occupancy
2 People 2 Bikes Sharing Room - Discounted Price as 2nd Bike
Double Occupancy
Yamaha XT250$2,035$1,365
BMW G310GS$2,155$795$1,485
Suzuki DR650$2,275$795$1,605
SWM RS 650R$2,275$795$1,605
BMW G 650 GS$2,515$795$1,785
Yamaha Ténéré XT660$2,555$795$1,845
KTM 690 Enduro$2,615$795$1,905
Husqvarna 701 Enduro$2,615$795$1,905
BMW F700 GS$2,555$795$1,845
Triumph Tiger 800XC$2,675$795$1,965
BMW F800GS$2,675$795$1,965
BMW F850GS$2,735$795$2,025
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000$2,735$795$2,025
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000 DCT$2,855$795$2,145

4x4
Jeep Wrangler$2,855$795$2,145
Volkswagen Amarok $2,975$795$2,295
Ford Ranger Diesel
 
$2,975$795$2,295

Dates - Availabilty
What's Included
What's Not Included
Booking and Cancellation Policy

Available Extensions

Add additional rest days to your trip to relax and explore the area on your own.  Simple, flat fees include extra lodging, breakfast and vehicle rental fees.

Septimo Paraiso, Mindo

Septimo Paraiso Cloudforest Reserve Lodge

Add an extra rest day in Mindo. Flat Fee: $300

Termas de Papallacta

Termas de Papallacta

Add an additional day, staying in a private cabin with hot springs at the Termas de Papallacta Lodge. Flat Fee: $400

Galapagos Cruise

Galapagos Cruise

We work with the the longest-running cruise operator in the Galapagos and offer our tour customers special reduced pricing on permium tours in the Galapagos of 4,5 and 8 day cruises.

Please let us know if you would like more info


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