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Inca Royal Roads Self-Guided Tour

10 Days

From $2,650
See all prices

97% Paved Road

3% Dirt or Cobblestone Roads (Standard)
Optional 25% Unpaved Version Available


Available all year with advanced reservations
Fully Customizable


Premium and luxury
Fine dining

Tour Overview

The Inca reigned over South America before the arrival of the Spanish and were some of the best road builders in history. When their empire expanded from Peru into Ecuador in the early 1500’s, they built impressive cities, fortresses, burial grounds and temples connected by an extensive system of paved roads and suspension bridges known as the “Qhapaq Nan” or "Royal Roads." These roads were of such high quality that large stretches of them are still intact to this day and were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014. The Qhapaq Nan road system was a unique achievement of engineering skills as it passed through varied geographical terrains, including the snow-capped mountain ranges of the Andes, rainforests, fertile valleys and stark deserts.

On this exhilirating tour you'll follow in the footsteps of the Inca and explore many of Ecuador's national parks and wildlife areas. You'll experience Ecuador's mega-diversity of terrains, climates, and cultures as we ride through the Amazon Jungle and various altitudes of the Andes mountains. You will have the opportunity to visit rich cultural areas such as the famous markets in Otavalo, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cuenca, and the traditional vilages of Salinas de Guaranda and Alausi.

Above all, this tour includes some of the best motorcycle roads in South America. You'll tackle the twisties around active volcanoes, ride the altiplanos at 14,500 feet, carve through deep river canyons and go deep into the Amazon jungle.  

At a glance

  • Time: 10 Days / 9 nights (with one rest day)
  • Total Distance: approximately 1865 km / 1160 miles
  • Average distance per day : 207 km / 129 miles of twisty Andean roads
  • Altitude: from 1000 feet to 14,500 feet  (300 meters to 4.500 meters)
  • Paved Route: 97% asphalt road / 3% dirt or cobblestone roads
  • Quality Riding: The best roads in Ecuador- only the most scenic and safest routes are taken.
  • Premium Lodging: Unique luxury hacienda and boutique hotel accomodations for most nights
  • Single occupancy: Your own private hotel room
  • Road Book with guide to genuine points of interest
  • Support: 24- Hour Telephone and Roadside Assistance via provided pre-paid cell phone

As featured in

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Route Map

Elevation Profile

Tour Highlights


Day 1 - Otavalo

Elevation Profile - Day 1

cobbled road to mojanda lake 1600

Day 1
Quito- Inti'ñan - San José de Minas - Laguna de Mojanda - Otavalo
Distance Covered: 116 miles / 186 km

Intinan museum on equator on motorcycle adventure tour in ecuadorYou’ll begin your tour from our shop located in Quito, Ecuador - 2850 meters (almost 2 miles above sea level) in the Andes Mountains, on the Equator, in South America. Quito was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970's for having the best preserved and least altered historic center in all of Latin America. We suggest you arrive a day or two early to experience this amazing town and to get used to the altitude before your ride.  Quito was the second capital of the Inca Empire after Cusco, Peru.Near Perucho Ecuador Motorcycle Adventure Tour

On the morning of the tour departure you’ll be outfitted with the motorcycle of your choice and given a thoughtful presentation that will answer all your questions concerning local customs, rules of the road, and how to operate your pre-programmed GPS. We'll provide a "Road Book" with details on the route and details on 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.

The first day's ride is intended to give you a sampling of the different types of roads you will be riding. You will have a chance to ride on asphalt and just a few miles of ancient Incan cobblestone roads. This is not to challenge you or to push you - its so you become accustomed to your motorcycle quickly.

canyon carving on route out of quito motorcycleYour first stop will be in the middle of the world. The Inti-ñan museum is situated right on the Equator. Inti-ñan means "path of the sun" in Quechua, a native language of Ecuador. Take a tour of this magical site, a place that the indigenous peoples have revered for thousands of years. You will learn how the ancient people came to understand that this was the center of the world, centuries before "modern" geography or GPS devices. Play with gravity here and perform some experiments to learn about the Coriolis effect caused by the Earth's rotation. You will also get to know how the indigenous populations of Ecuador live and visit some typical homes. This tour will give you some excellent background information on Ecuador so that you will better understand the cultures as you pass through various regions of Ecuador over the next ten days.Laguna Mojanda

After the visit at the Inti-ñan museum, you will be riding in the Northern Hemisphere. First, pass through a dry desert canyon that will bring us into a deep canyon. You will then ride out of the canyon into lush green patchwork of fields of vegetables, roses and dairy cattle. Stop in the charming little town of San José de Minas with its beautiful stone church and well-manicured central park.  This will be your first taste of the remarkable diversity of terrains and climates that you will experience on this ride.

otavalo market spices ecuador motorcycle adventure tourFrom San José de Minas, climb in altitude on back roads giving grand vistas of the serene farmlands and forests below. You will experience great aromas as you pass through eucalyptus and pine forests.

You might want to stop to add a layer of clothing as you ride up to a height of over 12,000 feet (3714 meters) to view the majestic Mojanda Lake surrounded by the Fuya-Fuya volcano which guards the lake. 

From there, ride down through the colonial city of Otavalo, famous for its expansive indigenous market.hacienda pinsaqui

You will finish today's ride enjoying the local music and delicious local fare at the 300 year old Hacienda Pinsaqui - one of the oldest haciendas in Ecuador and famous as the site of the Pinsaqui Treaty which brought lasting peace with neighboring Colombia. Simon Bolivar was a frequent guest of the Hacienda. Dinner is included with the tour.

Day 2 - Cotococha Amazon Lodge
Day 3 - Baños
Day 4 - Alausi
Day 5 - Cuenca
Day 6 - Rest Day in Cuenca
Day 7 - Macas
Day 8 - Salinas de Guaranda
Day 9 - Chugchilan
Day 10 - Quito
Click for Timeline Overview

Arrival in Quto

Travel day to Quito

Fly to Quito's airport (code UIO) and transfer to one of the recommended hotels near our shop in tn the heart of the fashionable La Carolina neighborhood, and explore the nearby galleries, shopping, museums, and cafés.  Taxis are inexpensive, plentiful and safe from the airport - there is never a wait.

Travel day to Quito

1 or 2 days prior to the tour start date

Pre-Tour Registration and Tour of Qutio

Arrive a day or two prior to departure to enjoy Quito and stop in our shop to finalize the paperwork for an easier departure on Day 1.  A great way to see the city is with one of our self-guided scooter tours of the city.

Quito - Otavalo

Distance: 94 miles / 151 km
Included Meals: Dinner
Activities: Inti-ñan Equator Museum, Mojanda Lake, Otavalo Market, Evening Music performance
Accommodations: Hacienda Pinsaqui

Day 1

Day 2

Otavalo - Cotococha Amazon Lodge

Distance:  306 km | 190 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Activities: Plaza de los Pochos, Paramo de Papallacta, Puerto Misahualli, Saddlemaker, Embroiderers
Accommodations: Cotococha Amazon Lodge

Cotococha Amazon Lodge - Baños

Distance: 141 km / 88 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast
Included Activities: Canoe Expedition, Tubing in the Napo River, Waterfall Swim
Activities: Ruta de las Cascadas, Paillon Del Diablo, Zip line, hot springs

Accommodations: Posada Del Arte Hotel

Day 3

Day 4

Baños - Alausi

Distance: 179 km / 111 miles
Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Morning in Baños, Riobamba Market, Guamote Market, Palmira Desert
Accommodations: Hosteria La Quinta

Alausi - Cuenca

Distance: 189 km / 117 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast
Included Activities: Train Ride on the Nariz del Diablo, Condor Museum
Activities: Ingapirca Solar Temple Ruins, Walking Tour of Cuenca

Accommodations: Hotel Victoria

Day 5

Day 6

Rest Day in Cuenca

Distance: Motorcycle available to explore on your own
Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Many activities are available such as museums, hot springs, horseback riding, city tours, archeological sites, shopping and nightlife
Accommodations: Hotel Victoria

Cuenca - Macas

Distance: 247 km / 154 miles
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Activities: Guitar Makers, Silversmith, Macas
Accommodations: Arrayanes y Piedra Lodge

Day 7

Day 8

Macas - Salinas de Guaranda

Distance: 256 km | 159 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Sangay National Park, Lagunas Atillo, Wool Mill, Soccer Ball Maker, Cheese Maker, Chocolate Maker
Accommodations: El Refugio

Salinas - Chugchilan

Distance:  238 km | 148 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Activities:  Kunuyacu Hot Springs, Ambato, Pujilli Market, Tribal Mask Maker, Tigua Art Gallery, Quilota Crater Lake
Accommodations: Mama Hilda

Day 9

Day 10

Chugchilan - Quito

Distance:  160 km | 100 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast

Activities: Furniture Maker, Capulin Cherry Winery

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

Photo Gallery

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light/moderate; travelers should be in good health and comfortable riding for extended periods of time and in in rapidly changing weather conditions. The itinerary suits a wide range of interests and abilities, with options for light and moderate activities or more challenging hikes. Excursions include boarding boats, climbing stairs without handrails, longer hikes on uneven terrain with some steep ascents/descents, and optional adventure sports activities such as zip lines. 

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 95 degrees fahrenheit (4-35 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. However it is best to be prepared with extra layers, winter gloves and a wool sweater.

Throughout the tour, we stay in ideally located, high and medium-end accommodations with many amenities.  Laundry service is available on day 7. See this page for details and links to the accommodations provided.  Note that Ecuador Freedom reserves the right to substitute accommodations or change the route slightly to accommodate due to availability or road conditions.

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

Dates and Pricing

Available All Year Long.

Best time for this tour: May - February

Inca Royal Roads Guided Tour
MotorcycleStandard Pricing
1 Room 1 Rider
1 Rider + 1 Pillion (or passenger) Sharing Room with Rider2 People 2 Bikes Sharing Room - Discounted Price for 2nd Bike
Yamaha XT250
SWM Gran Milano 440
Suzuki DR650
Suzuki V-Strom DL65
BMW G 650 GS
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

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 standard
  • 9 Breakfasts
  • 4 Dinners
  • 25% discount on high quality riding gear from 
  • Souvenir T-Shirt
  • Souvenir decal
  • Luggage storage and locker usage
  • Train ride on Devil's Nose Train in Alausi
  • Canoe excursion with native guide in Amazon basin 
  • 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 (sales) tax ONLY if you are Ecuadorian
  • Hotel accomodations before and after the tour in Quito
  • Meals not listed
  • Fuel

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