Bike touring in Ecuador can be somewhat challenging! If you're planning to go cycling in Ecuador, hopefully my travel experiences and blogs can help you out a little.
Bike Touring in Ecuador
If you're cycling the Pan American Highway, there's a few things to know before you visit Ecuador. Firstly, whatever route you take involves biking up and down mountains. You'll need to mentally prepare yourself for a long climb on almost a daily basis!
Secondly, there are two seasons – the wet season and the dry season. Wherever possible, you'll want to plan your cycling itinerary in Ecuador for the dry season which is June through to September. You'll appreciate all those amazing views of this beautiful country this way!
Thirdly, the roads can be quite rough in some places, so you'll need to make sure your bike is in good order (as well as your fitness!). It can be quite tough on brakes and rims.
Where to sleep
Due to the route that I took and some stomach trouble during this section of my bikepacking trip, I ended up staying in cheap hotels and hospedajes during most of my time cycling Ecuador.
Other options for long distance cyclists include Casa de Cyclistas, Warmshowers, camping, and wild camping. Some cyclists have also said that asking at fire stations gets good results when looking for where to stay as they travel by bicycle through Ecuador.
What to eat
Meals at ‘restaurants' are cheap and filling. A simple dinner of rice, beans, eggs and plantain usually cost $2-3 USD. There's also lots of fresh fruit available which is an ideal snack to keep you fueled up while cycling.
Every small village has somewhere to buy snacks and drinks. You can stock up with food to cook yourself at markets and small stores.
When it comes to water, I suggest using a water filter. My bad stomach affected me for several weeks, and I wouldn't want the same to happen to you!
There is a touch of the ‘are you half sharp?' when it comes to cycling in Ecuador. Basically, the country is one gigantic mountain, as most of it lays at over 3000 metres.
I wouldn't want to start Day 1 of a long distance bike tour here, but having built up some fitness over the previous year cycling down to here from Alaska, I felt pretty good.
Ecuador was the 11th country I'd entered since beginning my Alaska to Argentina bike tour. This was way back in June 2010, which perhaps gives you some indication as to how long I've been blogging here at Dave's Travel Pages!
During this bike tour, I wrote a blog post a day, mainly in diary form as much as for me to remember the trip as to share it with others.
As such, you might find each day's blog entry a bit rough around the edges, but that's what you get when you write after cycling up massive mountains for 8 hours a day, day after day!
Memorable Moments Cycling in Ecuador
- Cycling over the Equator
- Big portions of warming food
- Dirt roads and rain
- Mountains… lots and lots of mountains!
Bike Touring Route in Ecuador
I entered Ecuador by cycling from Colombia. The route I took through Ecuador, was designed to simply get me from one end to another north to south.
Due to a lack of funds and visa restrictions (2 months in the case of Ecuador), I didn't have time to cycle down every dirt road to see if it was a good route or not. As it turned out, some of the route was on dirt roads regardless!
Additionally, information for cycling in Ecuador was scarce at the time. The availability of good maps and internet access, something we take for granted nowadays simply wasn't there. Neither was the time I could spend on researching. It was only later I realised that it would have been only a short detour to see Cotopaxi National Park.
As such, the route I took was roughly the one shown above. I created this Google map in 2019, and it was fun to look back to see where I'd cycled!
After over a month cycling through Ecuador for about 1200 kms give or take, my next destination would be Peru.
Ecuador Bike Touring Blogs
Below are the links to the blogs I wrote each day of the bike tour through Ecuador. They aren't particularly polished, but I think they're enough to give you a feel for what it was like cycling in this challenging country.
- Cycling from Ipiales to San Gabriel (Colombia to Ecuador)
- Day off in San Gabriel
- Cycling from San Gabriel to Ibarra
- Cycling from Ibarra to Cayambe
- Cycling from Cayambe to Quito
- Day off in Quito
- Cycling from Quito to Machachi
- Cycling from Machachi to Latacunga
- Cycling from Latacunga to Ambato
- Day off to watch England play football
- Cycling from Ambato to Banos
- Day off in Banos
- Cycling from Banos to Puyo
- Cycling from Puyo to Macas
- Day off in Macas
- Cycling from Macas to Logrono
- Cycling from Logrono to Limon
- Cycling from Limon to Indanza
- Cycling from Indanza to Gualaquiza
- Day off Gualaquiza
- Cycling from Gualaquiza to El Pangui
- Cycling from El Pangui to Yantzaza
- Cycling from Yantzaza to Zamora
- Cycling from Zamora to Loja
- Day off in Loja
- Another day off in Loja
- Cycling from Loja to Vilcabamba
- Day off in Vilcabamba
- Vilcabamba to Valladolid
- Cycling from Valladolid to Zumba
- Cycling from Zumba to Namballe (into Peru)
Bike touring tips
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