Why Biking in Ecuador?
Over the last couple of years biking has become more and more popular in Ecuador. Several tourists and locals alike chose a biking trip in this South American country over all the other vacation possibilities. There are numerous reasons which make Ecuador a unique biking destination.
The country is blessed with several different landscapes. From the Andes to the rainforest to the coast – Ecuador offers huge volcanoes, of which some are still active, deep nature in the jungle with widespread forests, white and black beaches with stunning views to the Pacific Ocean and of course the famous Galapagos Islands with its unique wildlife.
But make no mistake, all these things make the country also quite tricky. The high elevation acquires plenty of acclimatization. Before starting the trip, you should make sure to stay in a high located city like Quito (2,850m/9,350ft) for a couple of days in order to get used to the altitude and to prevent altitude sickness.
Often the unpaved tracks and off road trails can be very challenging, yet the adventurers will gain more courage and build their characters.
The strong sun and steep hills might also be problematic at times due to the sun being close at the Equator. Therefore the treks can be long and demanding.
Why it’s worth the effort
But all of that won’t matter once standing on the Avenue of the Volcanoes looking down at the Paramo landscape or up at the snow-capped peak of the mighty Cotopaxi, one of the highest still active volcanoes in the world. Neither will it be of importance as the bike under your body takes up speed downhill with the magnificent surrounding nature flying past while covering several meters in altitude during the shortest amount of time.
As the country’s name already implies it is located at the Equator and thereby the middle of the world. This fact invites to take a picture of the southern and northern hemisphere cutting your bike in half.
However, being close to the Equator, the sun in Ecuador sets at the same time every day. At around 6:30 pm it is dark and riding at that time, much of the beautiful landscape is getting lost and you won’t be able to see anything.
Despite the many tourists, Ecuador’s authenticity still stays intact. On a bike you can encounter and interact with many welcoming villages of friendly people who are excited to meet Gringos. They might invite you to celebrations or simply to talk randomly about the origin and facts of the bikes you are riding as well as asking you to talk in their schools in English.
Whenever you are getting thirsty, the country’s natural richness of fruits is of greatest value. Many of the exotic fruits are turned into delicious juices wherever your bike might lead you.
All in all, it is absolutely worth visiting Ecuador, as long as one is well prepared. Acclimating properly, taking protection against the sun as well as wild animals, and preparing the routes in advance make for a perfect adventure through this highly diverse and valuable country.