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Self-Guided Introduction to Ecuador

12 days

From $3080
See all prices (tab at bottom of page)

99% Paved

1% unpaved

Availability

Available All Year
Fully Customizable

Accommodations

Premium and luxury
Fine dining

Tour Overview

Ecuador is one of the most geographically, culturally, and biologically diverse countries in the world.  Amazing landscapes encompassing rainforests, Andean mountain ranges, coastal ranges, deserts, and tropical grasslands make this South American country a haven for astonishing wildlife, stunning panoramas as well as rich anthropological and cultural sites.

This tour will take you to all of the best that continental Ecuador has to offer on this unforgettable motorcycle adventure.

You will visit all of the major regions of continental Ecuador - the Andes, the Coast, and the Amazon Basin. You will have time to explore the major cities of Quito, Loja, Manta, Esmeraldas, and Cuenca, including many places, declared "World Heritage Sites" by the United Nations. You'll visit the popular "gringo" hangouts such as Canoa, Vilcabamba, Otavalo, and Baños. You will experience the various cuisines and cultures of Ecuador such as the Criolla cuisine in Esmeraldas, fresh coffee from plantations in Loja, raw chocolate from the cacao plantations in Vinces, hearty soups of the Andean highlands, and steamed fish wrapped in Amazonian jungle leaves.
working_the_fields_with_animals_in_Ecuador

One of the things that sets a motorcycle trip apart from other types of tourism are the scents, fragrances, and aromas that you can experience while riding - you can't experience these while traveling in a bus or car. Ecuador provides you with a feast for all your senses - you will pass through brilliant fields of multi-colored roses, see wild orchids in the rainforests, smell the eucalyptus and pine forests, ripening bananas, and ride through the salty mist along the shore. You'll get passing whiffs of the fresh, wood-oven baked bread in colonial cities.

The tour will also take you off the beaten track to explore some of the wild areas of Ecuador.  It is one of the most adventurous trips that you can do, giving you access to untouched wildlife and unforgettable insight into how native Ecuadorians have lived for centuries.

At a glance

  • 12 Days / 11 nights (10 riding days with two rest days)
  • Total Distance Covered:  2,811 kilometers / 1,747 miles
  • Average distance per riding day : 280 kilometers / 174 miles (10 riding days)
  • 99% asphalt road / 1% dirt, gravel or cobblestone roads 
  • Elevation gain/loss: 16,385 meters / 55,232 feet
  • Luxurious hotel accomodations including unique hacienda, wilderness lodge and boutique hotel accomodations
  • Single occupancy (your own private hotel room at no extra charge)
  • Programmed GPS Navigation
  • Road Book with guide to genuine points of interest
  • 24- Hour Telephone and Roadside Assistance via provided pre-paid cell phone
  • See Pricing Below

 

Route Map

Elevation Profile

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Highlights

Itinerary

Click for Timeline Overview

Travel day to Quito

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.

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. You may stop into our shop to finalize the paperwork in advance, for an easier start on Day 1. Consider taking one of our self-guided tours of Quito or to Mindo!

Day 1

Quito - Otavalo

Distance: 160 km | 99 Miles
Elevation gain/ loss:  4198 m / -4446 m  13,773 ft/ -14,587 ft
Included Meals: Dinner
Activities: Inti-ñan Equator Museum, Mojanda Lake, Otavalo Market, Evening Music performance
Accommodations: Hacienda Pinsaqui

Day 1

Day 2

Otavalo - Samé

Distance:  367 km | 228 miles
Elevation gain/ loss: +2344 m / -4999 m  | +7690ft/-16,400 ft
Included Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Otavalo Animal Market, Cotacachi Leather Maker, Exotic Fruit Markets
Accommodations: Acantillado Lodge

Day 3

Samé - Canoa

Distance: 226 km / 140 miles
Elevation gain/ loss:  +977 m/-940m | +3205 ft/-3084 ft
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & DInner
Activities: Shrimp farm, Black Beach, Mompiche Beach
Accommodations: Canoa Beach Hotel

Day 3

Day 4

Rest Day in Canoa

Distance: ? - motorcycle available for you to explore on your own if you wish.
Elevation gain/ loss: ?
Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Available activities include parasailing, surf lessons, surfing, fishing, kayaking, swimming, and nightlife
Accommodations: Canoa Beach Hotel

Day 5

Canoa - Vinces

Distance: 386 km / 240 miles
Elevation gain/ loss: +350 m / -330 m | +1148 ft / -1083 ft
Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Included Activities: Banana and chocolate plantation tour
Accommodations: Señor de los Caballos Lodge

Day 5

Day 6

Vinces - Zaruma

Distance: 359 km / 223 miles
Elevation gain/ loss:  +2659 m / -1608 m | +8724 ft / -5276 ft
Included Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Pineapple Plantation
Accommodations: Roland Hotel

Day 7

Zaruma - VIlcabamba

Distance: 263 km / 163 miles
Elevation gain/ loss: +6517 m./ -6124 m | +21,383 ft / -20,092 ft
Included Meals: none
Activities: Gold Mine Tour
Accommodations: Madre Tierra Ecologocal Resort

Day 7

Day 8

Vilcabamba - Cuenca

Distance: 251 km | 156 miles
Elevation gain/ loss: +5131 m / -3130m | +16,834 ft / -10,259 ft
Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Saraguro Market, Colonial Cuenca
Accommodations: Hotel Victoria

Day 9

Cuenca - Baños

Distance:
Riding Time:
420 km | 261 miles
Elevation gain/ loss: +7176 m / -7926 m | +23,543 ft / -26,004 ft
Included Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Ingapirca Ruins, Chimborazo Wildlife Refuge, Hot Springs
Accommodations: Posada del Arte

Day 9

Day 10

Rest Day in Baños

Distance:  You may use the motorcycle to explore on your own
Included Meals: Breakfast
Activities: Available activities include rafting, canyoning, rapelling, swing jump, canopy zip lines, horseback riding, ATV rentals,
Accommodations: Posada del Arte Bed & Breakfast Inn

Day 11

Baños - Cotococha

Distance:  161 km  | 90 miles
Elevation gain/ loss: +2910 m /-4442 m | +9547 ft / -14,574 ft
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Activities: Tibetan Bridge, Zip Line, Waterfalls
Accommodations: Cotococha Amazon Lodge

Day 11

Day 12

Cotococha Amazon Lodge - Quito

Distance:  234 km / 145 miles
Elevation gain/ loss: +7339 m / -4933 m | +24,078 ft / -16,184 ft
Included Meals: Breakfast 
Included Activities: Motorized Canoe Expedition, Hike with Native Guide, Swim in Waterfall, Tubing on Napo River

Return to Quito

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 "After-Ride Lounge" - complete with a hot shower, jacuzzi, and open bar.

Return to Quito

Day 1 - Otavalo
Image

Elevation Profile - Day 1

Day 1

 Quito- Inti'ñan - San José de Minas - Laguna de Mojanda - Otavalo
Distance Covered: 95 miles / 157 km

You’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 1970s 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.

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. We will provide 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. These roads are not to challenge you or to push you - it is there so that you become accustomed to your motorcycle quickly.

Your 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.

After the visit to the Inti-ñan museum, you will be riding in the Northern Hemisphere. First, pass through a desert canyon road that will bring us into a deep gorge. You will then ride out of the canyon into a 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 high road will be your first taste of the remarkable diversity of terrains and climates that you will experience on this ride.cobblestone to mojanda

From 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.

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 -Galera
Day 3 - Canoa
Day 4- Rest Day in Canoa
Day 5 - Vinces
Day 6 - Zaruma
Day 7 - Vilcabamba
Day 8 - Cuenca
Day 9 - Baños
Day 10 - Rest Day in Baños
Day 11 - Puerto Misahuallí
Day 12 - Quito

Photo Gallery

Full Tour Video

What to Expect

This 12-day self-guided adventure will start in our offices located in the fashionable Carolina neighborhood of Quito.  Prior to your departure, we will provide you with a detailed and thoughtful presentation on the Ecuadorian rules of the road, customs and courtesies. We will instruct you on how to operate your pre-programmed GPS navigation unit and given a packet that includes your prepaid hotel vouchers, daily map sheets containing points of interest, descriptions of local highlights, and "hidden gems" that aren't common knowledge.  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 the timing, suggestions for lunch stops and where to get gas along the way.  

On the morning of your departure, you will be provided the adventure-ready 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 any time during your trip.  We will carefully review the bike using our multi-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.

The route you will follow over the next twelve days is based on several years' of experience and of riding this route many times on our guided version of the tour.  The route consists of paved backroads that avoid traffic as much as possible.  There are several stops available which are marked on the GPS unit and the daily route sheets.  Upon request, Ecuador Freedom can provide you with route options containing some off-the-beaten-track unpaved, natural dirt roads.  

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 onboard 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.  This ride will be in elevations between sea level on the Pacific Coast  (where temperatures can reach around 90 degrees Fahrenheit) to 14,500 feet in the Chimborazo Wildlife Refuge (where temperatures can be in the 30's Fahrenheit). Dressing in layers is recommended.  Please see this article for more information about the weather in Ecuador. 

Accommodations
Throughout the tour, you will stay in carefully selected, ideally-located, non-touristy, comfortable, accommodations. See this page for details, photos, and links to the accommodations provided.  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

Dates and Pricing


Self-Guided Introduction to Ecuador Tour
MotorcycleStandard Pricing
1 Room 1 Rider
Single Occupancy
1 Pilllion Sharing Room with Rider
Double Occupancy
Discounted Price for 2nd Bike
Double Occupancy
Yamaha XT250
                      
$3,140n/a$2,160
BMW G310GS 
$3,280$1,090$2,400
BMW G310GS (LOWERED)
$3,280$1,090$2,400
SWM Gran Milano 440
$3,080$1,090$2,100
Suzuki DR650
$3,620n/a$2,640
Suzuki DR650 (LOWERED)
$3,620n/a$2,640
SWM RS 650R
$3,620n/a$2,640
Suzuki V-Strom DL650XT
$3,770$1,090$3,000
Suzuki V-Strom DL650XT (LOWERED)
$3,770$1,090$3,000
Husqvarna 701 Enduro
$4,500n/a
 
$3,240
BMW F700 GS
$4,380$1,090$3,120
BMW F750 GS
$4,500$1,090$3,240
Triumph Tiger 800XCx
$4,620$1,090$3,360
BMW F800GS
$4,620$1,090$3,360
BMW F850GS
$4,740$1,090$3,480
Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS
$4,620$1,090$3,360
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000
$4,740$1,090$3,480
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000 DCT
$4,740$1,090$3,480
4x4
Jeep Wrangler
$4,500$1,090$3,720
Volkswagen Amarok 
$4,980$1,090$4,020
Ford Ranger Diesel
 
$4,980$1,090$4,020

All prices are in US Dollars (USD) - the official currency of the Republic of Ecuador.

Available all year with advanced reservations.

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
  • 10 Breakfasts
  • 3 Dinners
  • 25% discount on high quality riding gear from 
  • Souvenir T-Shirt
  • Souvenir decal
  • Luggage storage and locker usage
  • Canoe expedition with native guide in Amazon and river tubing
  • 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
  • NO TAX FOR TOURISTS TO ECUADOR!
  • Hotel accomodations before and after the tour in Quito
  • 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 to www.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.

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.

Canoa Beach Hotel

Canoa Beach Hotel

Add an extra rest day at the beach at the Canoa Beach Hotel Flat Fee: $250

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

Private Fishing Charter

1 Day Private Fishing Charter

Spend a full day deep sea fishing on a private fishing boat.

$1000 for a full day (10 hours) up to 6 people

Hotel Victoria, Cuenca

Victoria Hotel, Cuenca

Add an extra day in Cuenca to walk this beautiful city or explore the region on your own

Flat fee: $300

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

Posada del Arte, Baños

Posade del Arte, Baños

Add an extra rest day to enjoy all that Baños has to offerr!

Flat fee: $250

Madre Tierra Lodge

Madre Tierra Lodge

Add an extra rest day in Vilcabamba at the Madre Tierra Lodge Flat Fee: $300

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