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Dirt Deluxe Self-Guided Tour

6 days

From $2035
See all prices

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 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 altitudes.  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

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Route Map

Elevation Profile

Tour HighLights

About Our Offroad Tours

Itinerary

Day 1 - Mindo

Elevation Profile - Day 1

1-mindo

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

 

You'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.

Quito_Ecuador_panoramica

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

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. 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.

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.  
1-tamer_pic_on_ecoruta_del_quinde

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.mindo_1

The 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.

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.

septimo_paraiso_cloudforest_reserveAfter 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.septimo_paraiso_heated_garden_pool

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.

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 altitude within Cascada_La_Piragua_-_Google_Chrome_03122016_184350.bmpthe 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.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 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.

 

 

Day 2 - Otavalo

Day 3 - Hacienda la Primavera

Day 4 - Aloburo

Day 5 - Papallacta

Day 6 - Quito

TImeline Overview

Photo Gallery

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of 4/5 and is moderately challenging meaning this tour is reserved for those with experience riding on unpaved surfaces. There are no single track sections and nothing "technical" but mud, heavy rain and varying weather conditions should be expected; 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 . Much of the trip takes place in remote areas where medical care can be several hours away. Please note there is one long riding day.

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. 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 80 degrees fahrenheit (4-27 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 but you should be prepared with extra layers including a wool sweater and winter gloves.

Accommodations
Throughout the tour, you will stay in ideally located, high-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 and will notify you in advance of such changes.

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 unique character. Below are the accommodations featured on this tour.
Video - How We Select Accommodations

Full Tour Video

Dates and Pricing

Available year-round except April 1 - May 15.



Dirt Deluxe Self-Guided Tour
Standard Pricing
1 Room 1 Rider
1 Rider + 1 Pillion or Passenger Sharing Room2 People 2 Bikes Sharing Room - Price as 2nd Bike
Yamaha XT250$2,035$1,365
Suzuki DR650$2,275$3,070$1,605
SWM RS 650R$2,275$3,070$1,605
BMW G 650 GS$2,515$3,310$1,785
Yamaha Ténéré XT660$2,555$3,350$1,845
KTM 690 Enduro$2,615$3,410$1,905
Husqvarna 701 Enduro$2,615$3,410$1,905
BMW F700 GS$2,555$3,350$1,845
Triumph Tiger 800XC$2,675$3,470$1,965
BMW F800GS$2,675$3,470$1,965
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000$2,735$3,530$2,025
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000 DCT$2,855$3,650$2,145

4x4
Jeep Wrangler$2,855$3,650$2,145
Volkswagen Amarok $2,975$3,770$2,295
Ford Ranger Diesel
 
$2,975$3,770$2,295

Tour Includes

  • Unlimited Mileage Motorcycle Rental 
  • GPS Navigation System with programmed routes for each day
  • Back-office tracking and monitoring
  • Road Book with daily maps and guide to points of interest
  • Detailed pre-ride briefing
  • Preparation lists, information and videos
  • Prepaid cell phone with 24 hour support
  • Saddlebags or hard luggage system
  • Tank bag
  • Single occupancy hotel rooms
  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Dinners
  • 25% discount on high quality riding gear from 
  • Souvenir T-Shirt
  • Souvenir decal
  • Luggage storage and locker usage
  • Permit to enter Coca-Cayambe Reserve
  • VIP access to the Freedom Riders' Lounge™ with hot shower, jacuzzi, and honor bar.

Not included

  • 100% Refundable security deposit to cover any damage to the rental motorcycle
  • Ecuador IVA tax (12%) - ONLY if you are Ecuadorian
  • 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 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.

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 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