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Biking Adventure on 5 Day Galapagos Tour

Land Of The Imbayas Biking Adventure, 5 Days

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Rich Biking Experiences, Cultures and Breathtaking Scenery

Where will your wheels take you along this epic journey? Immerse yourself in the culture of Ecuador by bike as you follow the itinerary below.



Our first ride starts just 20 minutes outside of Quito. The trail follows an abandoned railroad track that was once used to transport goods out of Quito and into Ecuador’s rural north. The scenery is beautiful, with flowers and hummingbirds along the tracks, and we pass under a series of tunnels, over a river, and through quaint rural towns. The ride is slightly uphill, but it is very easy. The slight climb helps us build endurance and acclimate, and the wide, flat trail allows us to grow familiar with our bikes before heading to more remote and difficult terrain. We enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. Weather and energy dependent, we head towards Quitoloma in the afternoon. Quitoloma is one of the world’s largest pre-Inca ruins, but it remains mostly unexcavated. After exploring the ruins, we hop back on our bikes and begin a short but tough climb. At 3,838 m (12,668 ft), we crest and begin an exhilarating downhill ride, during which we will descend about 1,050 m (3,500 ft). Along with this spectacular descent, we enjoy views of glaciated Volcan Cayambe, known the mountain of light. We end our ride at the equator, where we learn about the mythology and powerful significance of the equator to pre-Inca cultures like the Imbaya. We enjoy dinner and spend the night at Hacienda Miraflores. (B, L, D)


After enjoying views of Cayambe during breakfast, we head to the nearby village of Zuleta, home to some of the most renowned indigenous embroiderers in Ecuador. As we appreciate their work and learn about their techniques, we also sample the town’s famous cheeses. After a pleasant visit, we begin our ride, passing through indigenous farmland as we cruise down the slopes of Volcan Imbabura. As we ride, we admire magnificent views of Lago San Pablo and the surrounding volcanic peaks. We then continue down a narrow path past the town of Peguche and on to Otavalo, home to one of the largest indigenous markets in Latin America. The Otavaleños are particularly famous for their textiles, and the market is full of ponchos, sweaters, tapestries, and blankets. Artisans also sell Panama hats, paintings, jewelry, and more. On the edges of the market, restaurants serve local dishes like fritada and llapingachos. With its delicious aromas, bright colors, and traditional music, the Otavalo market is a true feast for the senses. After getting our fill of shopping and bargaining, we head to Hacienda Pinsaqui, a colonial hacienda with over three centuries of history, for the night. (B, L, D)


This morning, we drive to the small city of Ibarra, where we begin our ride. Today we cycle through a dry forest ecosystem filled with cacti and elongated acacia trees, very different from the paramo and cloud forests of the previous days. We ride a fun single-track trail down into the valley of the Chota River, whose fertile riverbanks are a stark contrast to the surrounding dry forest. The Chota valley has a strong afro-Ecuadorian presence and is famous for producing great footballers. After a leisurely ride through this unique area, we trade bikes for the rails, taking a scenic train ride back up into the higher lands of Salinas de Ibarra. As we steam along this historic route, we admire the scenic landscape of fruit plantations and small Afro-Ecuadorian towns. We dine and spend the night at Polylepis Lodge. (B, L, D)

For a change of pace, we start the day with a hike through nearby El Angel Ecological Reserve. El Angel is home to two unique, endemic forests. Our hike starts through one of Ecuador’s best-preserved Polylepis forests. The Polylepis is a strange tree that grows above the natural tree line and has multi-layered, papery bark. Oddly enough, its closest relative is the rose. We ford a river and climb a waterfall before arriving at another endemic ecosystem, the Giant Speletia (Frailejon) forest. With their long hairy leaves, these bizarre bushes make for a truly unique landscape. After our hike, we enjoy lunch at Polylepis Lodge and drive to the other side of the reserve, where we begin biking through more Giant Speletia forest. Our route takes us through classic Andean scenery and several tiny rural villages that seem untouched by time. After arriving at the town of Inguesa, we return to our vehicles and head back to Hacienda Pinsaqui for our last evening in Northern Ecuador. (B, L, D)

For our last ride, we head to Mojanda, a group of three beautiful crater lakes at 3,500 m (11,600 ft) of elevation. We drive over some rough terrain to reach the trailhead, but this ride will be well worth the long and difficult approach. The trail starts off shallow, but before long we are blasting down a steep downhill, weaving along narrow trails and enjoying incredible views of the volcanic landscape. It won’t take long for you to realize we’ve saved the best for last. As we descend, the high mountain cloud forest transitions to dry forest, and eventually we end up in the village of Collagal. The locals here are always surprised to see cyclists in their tiny agricultural village, and we’re sure to get some hoots and odd looks as we ride through town. We enjoy a celebratory lunch at Guayllabamba, famous for serving the best Locro de Papas (potato soup) in Ecuador, and return to Quito in the afternoon. (B, L)


Quick Facts

Quito, Tumbaco, Otavalo, Chota Valley, Angel Reserve, Mojanda Crater Lake

Dates & Prices
5 Days from $1428


Expedition Type


Expedition Level
Easy hikes, biking, and culture immersion

Hacienda Miraflores, Hacienda Pinsaqui, and Polylepis Lodge.

PE01 Otavalo Market Masks

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