COTOPAXI – BAÑOS – MISAHUALLI
Three day bike tour
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At 07:30 AM we leave Quito. After driving south for 1,5 hours on the Pan-American highway we reach the park entrance of Cotopaxi National Park. We continue the ascent in our 4-wheel drive vehicle until we reach the highest point of the tour, 4.500 meters/15.000 feet. The view from this point is stunning and on a clear day we can see eight volcanoes.
We then put on helmets, gloves and protection pads and the bike adventure on the world’s highest active volcano can begin. The first 8 km will take us down 700 meters (2.300 feet) on dirt roads through volcanic ash and páramo landscape. At 3.800 meters (12.500 feet) you have to do some pedaling while we head down another 8 km between volcanic rocks and wild horses to our lunch spot by an Inca ruin at 3.700 meters (12.000 feet) With some luck we might see a condor or white tail deer. We put the bikes back on the jeep and headed for the lake of Limpiopungo where we start the 16 km downhill biking on dirt roads and the bike adventure is over for this time. Depending on the day we cycle between 35-40 km (22 -25 miles).
We then ascend by jeep in a Southwest direction into the western Cordillera arriving at Baños to spend the night. Here you will be able to soak your muscles in natural spring water pools and enjoy the night life of one of the liveliest towns in Ecuador. There seem to be restaurants and bars competing for your attention everywhere you look, with amazing food from Ecuador but also from the rest of the world. The energy this town has is something you will remember forever.
Day 2) Baños – Misahualli
After a healthy breakfast we are headed towards the highest point of the mountain east of Baños. Here we have different activities such giant swing, zipline with your bicycle and a tree house on the edge of a cliff, all with spectacular views! We hop on our bicycles and start an amazing descent along a winding road all the way to the bottom through a breathtaking landscape. Now it’s time to continue cycling on the main road down to Puyo, to one of the main attractions of Baños, and Ecuador – El Pailon del Diablo (the devils pot), and incredible waterfall which you will be able to see from so close, it will not be a dry experience! You’ll notice the dramatic temperature and vegetation changes as we descend into the steamy Amazon basin as we bike along the Avenue of the Orchids. After Lunch we start our trip by car back down to the amazon basin to the town of Misahualli. We stay in a lovely hotel on the Misahualli riverbanks where you can take a swim on its crystal-clear waters. On this day we cover 40 km (25 miles) of downhill roads on our bicycles.
Day 3) Misahualli – Back to Quito
After breakfast in this lush nature spot our Amazon adventure begins! We cycle to the town of Misahualli where we take a local canoe – bikes and all included – to cross the river. Here we cycle to our first destination, a canoe trip on a lake known for its Paiche fish, one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. This fish species is an obligated air breather so needs to come to the surface regularly to gulp air, where we will have plenty of chances to see it and in some cases even stroke it. After observing different local birds with an expert bird watcher (who also transports the canoe), we continue to cycle to Jatun Sacha nature reserve. Here we do an incredible jungle hike while learning about the different species of birds and plants we see along the way. We will reach a 40-meter (130 foot) bird watching tower that extends above the canopy.
After the jungle tour, we are back on our bicycles, this time to the port town of Ahuano, were boat ferries carry cars and huge buses across the river, its quite a site to see some of these enormous vehicles crawl into a tiny canoe like ferry to take them across. After lunch we climb with our bicycles onto the canoe and go down the river to a Quechua (local indigenous tribe) community to visit their cacao plantation. Everything grown here is organic and they are also the suppliers to large chocolate companies who make chocolate from organic cacao while helping small communities. After showing us around the farm (and seeing local cinnamon and vanilla plants as well), they will prepare a thick chocolate syrup from scratch (roasting the cacao beads first of course). This is followed with a large bowl of fruit fresh from their farm served with melted chocolate on top, yummy! What a dessert! We are now back on the canoe with our bicycles where we travel about one hour upriver through the lush amazon forest back to the hotel, where the driver is waiting to take us back to Quito, after a three-day incredible adventure! We cycle around 35km (22 miles) on this day.
Included: Lunch, mountain bikes, all transportation, all safety gear (helmet, hand gloves) and veteran bilingual guides.
Not included: Entrance fees (e.g. Cotopaxi, currently free of charge), other drinks, personal expenses and tips)