When we cycled into Ecuador coming from Colombia we were a bit in a hurry because Maud would arrive in Quito within a week. We had still some kilometers to ride and some hills to challenge. The week was enough for us to explore the emptiness of the northern mountains with some 4000m plus passes.
From Quito Maud joined us backpacking around Ecuador for three weeks.
Stories and pics about this part of our Ecuador experience here
After Maud left we cruised east into the Amazon region, the part of Ecuador we didn’t see when Maud was here. Coming from Quito, after a misty and rainy mountain pass we drove down into the warm and humid Amazon and cruised south.
The last part to the border with Peru was the hardest part. We often pushed our bikes up the steep hills instead of cycling.
Have fun reading again:
Huge line in front of the Ecuador border.
We come closer to the migration office. Just an hour or so to go.
After in line for 5 hours we finaly got our passports stamped. In the meanwhile we made new friends.
Yeah.... finally cycling into Ecuador by the end of the day.
Nice views in the first K's already.
Found a hidden spot to camp for the night. Just 10km after the border.
Breakfast the next morning.
The track is getting worser but the views even better.
A lot of cactus found up here.
Very lonely road.
We climb up higher. The weather nice and cool.
Can anybody tell us what this is?
From the top of the 3725m pass a long way down.
Hidden spot to camp.
Next day, nice views.
Looking to the road underneath where we came from.
Camping and cooking at the Bomberos. (Firemen)
A long road down into the next town.
After a downhill always an uphill appears.
Having another drink.
An old woman with her cows on the road to nowhere.
At a restaurant this young lady served us pretty well 🙂
Camping "Mitad del Mundo" (Middle of the earth)
Very close to the equator we camp and have stunning sunset lights over the valley underneath us.
Camping at the equator.
Yes, we are at N 00.00000 degrees!
From here on we will cycle the southern hemisphere.
Down to Quito now for a backpacking break with Maud.
At Arie's place. A Dutch camping owner close to Quito. Here we can leave our bikes for the time Maud is with us. At this picture we figger out what we need for our 3 week backpacking holiday with Maud.
Wanne read the stories and see the pictures what happened in the meanwhile, follow this >link<
On the bikes again coming from Quito after our break with Maud for a few weeks.
"Nature is our home, don't destroy it!"
Wildcamp again but the next morning a flat before we leave.
Fresh yoghurt along the road. Breakfast!!!
Nice road down.
But soon it goes up and gets cooler and the headwinds stronger.
From 2500m climbing to 4100m in 30km.
6 degrees celsius at the top of the 4100m mountain pass. With the hard wind it feels like freezing.
Restaurant, hopefully it's warmer inside then outside?
Yes!!! a fire pit. Finally warming up again and dry some clothes.
The direction we go, into the mountains again.
A hidden lake between some mountains.
Cycling up to the clouds again.
Camping along a mountain stream in the misty jungle.
It looks perfect but everything is super wet.
The river came up last night, we guess we have to leave.
Rain rain rain...
Free water from the buildings roof at the top of the Quacanayos mountain pass to make some hot tea and coffee from.
Going down it keeps misty and wet. Sad we can't see the beautiful mountains around us.
But still nice views so now and than.
At the end of the day we find a nice and dry spot for camping.
This is close to the Cotopaxi mountain range which we hiked with Maud a few weeks ago.
Next day... sun again! From the cold in the heat, in the afternoon more than 30 degrees celsius.
Sometimes our camp spots are nasty, like here illegal in a farm shed...
...but most of the time we pick nice spots with good views.
This iOverlander spot was at the back of a gasstation looking over the Amazon at 1600m. Not that high but the Amazon is close to zero.
At the gas station we can take a shower after five days seeing none.
Looking east. Thousands of kilometers without roads and people, just jungle. Stunning!!!
Down to the jungle. Here we are close to Puyo and the road becomes even more empty. We hardly see any soul.
Big streams often mark the lowest point of the day. It's always climbing up again from here on.
Up and up we go... In the afternoon we have loads of rain. We cycle from small village to small village. Clearly you can see the people over here didn't see any school in their younger years and live very simple.
That night we found an empty house along the road. There was no one there so we squat the place for one night 😀
Good morning again.
Bye empty house.
Culture along the road. This is an indigenous man with a cooked mans head in his hand. They did this to their enemies in the old days.
We made it a short cycling day today when we saw this beautiful spot along a river. Also a good sunny afternoon for giving our clammy stuff some fresh air.
And with good read and a carton of wine it made my day 🙂
And a full rainbow was over our tent.
5:30 in the morning we woke up with this view.
A hot day of cycling... one of the very few. In the Amazon region we had loads of rain since the rainy season didn't end yet. Now it's 35+ again. Since the highway bend off to Cuenca the road became even more empty as it was already. The road goes steep up and down al the time. Very exhausting.
By the end of the day we pass a village where the cook pigs meat + sugarcane + potatoes in a big bowl.
It's a ritual with friends and beers.
Arjan had to try it as well.
Taking a bath after a warm day is awesome.
Thumbs up, this is ultimate freedom!!
The Red Light District?
The next morning we wake up in the blistering rain. We pack up our wet tent and wait a while for better weather.
We wait and wait...
... and we discover Kim has a flat tire. We patched the tire and took off. It was still raining 🙁
Accidentally Kim drove in this huge mud slide.
Stuck in a mud slide and hard pushing out. The road was just gone.
More mud slides.
It's Sunday today and every little shop we pass is closed. We can't find any food till we find one which is open but only sells chips and cookies. Guess what we ate?
Next day in Limon; Happy birthday to me 🙂
In the evening we find the only restaurant in town which is open. It has a lot on the menu but today they only have Pizza. And we don't have any choice, they only have one flavour of Pizza. Luckily it's a good one.
Skipping the rain and take a ride more south to Loja.
The poor dog bound on the roof of a public bus 🙁
Fixing day: Insects ate small holes in our tent floor over the last year. We patched them with duck tape.
Also Arjan's iPhone was broken and we found a shop in town who could fix it.
And... we had our clothes washed in a laundry, the first time since four months ago in Mexico. We smell like flowers again. But for how long? 😀
After a few nights in Loja going south and after climbing from 1600m to 2500m going down to Vilcabamba. The town with the oldest people in the world.
Ahhh, this is why Kim is so fast all the time...Coffee...
The mountains around Vilcabamba.
At the ecolodge.
Our kitchen for a few days.
The river to swim in, 10m from our tent.
Hiking time. Ridge Trail 3.
No, this picture is not taken from inside a rabbit hole, the route is just very steep up.
Vilcabamba in the back.
Our route map for today.
A break at the highest point of the route.
Walking down fast we nearly walked into this fellows huge web. At the last moment we saw the big spider, just 10cm in front of our face.
Up to Gully Trail 2.
Huge walls made out of mud and stones.
At the end of all the hiking we reached Bathing Spot 2.
Not to bad at all. Although Kim had huge allergic reactions from the water.
Having some snack, one of the many street dogs begged for some meat as well. And he got some...
No cyclists aloud 🙁
Time to leave again. We planned to stay two nights at the Ecolodge but we ended up staying four nights in this little paradise.
Village centre of Vilcabamba. Some people drive Alaska to Ushuaia by van, some cycle it. Some are more lazy then others 😉
Leaving town... South you must go.
Street art. Check the cut out tree on top of the painting as well !!
Puppies along the road.
Making friends. "Shall we take one?"
Without any dog we leave again.
The roads in Ecuador are the steepest so far on our trip. The last few kilometers we pushed our bikes up instead of cycling. We just made 36km in a full day of cycling today.
On iOverlander we found a spot to camp with the description:
Plateau with amazing Views | Wild Camping;
Big plateau gravel lot, probably an old road works site. A 4x4 might make it up the little bank from the road, easy access with bicycle or motorbike. Further back is a nice bay surrounded by trees on three sides for shelter if the wind blows and it is well hidden from the road the further back you go.
Amazing 360 degree view!
And indeed the views are worth some pictures.
The views from an 2400m altitude.
Time to cook some as well.
Nice spot for the night.
Packing up the tent the next morning.
The wind was hard so Kim lay on the tent and Arjan rolled it up in the meantime.
Time to leave again.
Clouds coming up fast when we climb higher into the mountains.
Head in the clouds.
Fresh natural drinking water. Filling up all our bottles.
Locals fill up their bottles here as well.
Always good to have plenty of fresh water. We carry 6.5 Liter each if we're fully loaded.
Cold up here.
You're kidding me...Bears up here??? We did give away our bearspray already so fingers crossed.
In a far distance you can see the town of Valladolid, our town for a lunchbreak today.
Road or River, or River road of Road river?
Washed away roads. Just one lane is clear to pass by.
One of the many river crossings.
Yet they remain beautiful.
Land slides all over.
Actually the road should go straight here, but a shortcut to the right has been made because of the huge landslide beside the waterfall.
Did i say yet we cross many bridges over beautiful rivers?
The long way down.
Pushing up again, why the hell are those roads so steep?
A little girl is playing with the chicks. I don't know if the chicks really like it?
"No, I didn't do anything!"
Say "Hi" even when you push.
Pffff... and it is 35 degrees Celsius.
In a far far distance you can see the small village we had our lunch two hours ago. In between an 1000m deep gap.
Filling up gasoline for our MSR petrol stove. The workers always look confused when we cycle into a gas station and ask for gasoline.
And from the river up again. Still 30C+
Fortunately we are not the only crazy cyclists up here. Colleagues have added 19k to the border with Peru.
Through a small canyon.
Taking a bath in the wild after not seeing a shower for a week.
Fresh and clean we push up again.
Road signs in the f***ing middle of nowhere. La Balsa is the border town so just 11KM to go to Peru.
Helping a poisonous caterpillar safely to the other side of the road.
The Peru mountains in the distance.
Close to the border on a high mountain rim. On the left you see Ecuador, on the right Peru.
The "huge" migration office at the border.
At this border crossing there was also a small restaurant where we had a cold drink. No one passed the border during the hour we were there.
This was just all for now. Thanks for reading again.
We're cycling Peru at the moment, an 3500km long, high Andes route. It will probably take a while before we enter Bolivia and post again on our website but we will update our Instagram account as much as possible.