This tour called “Hot Springs and Highlands MTB Circuit” takes you on exciting and challenging mountain bike treks through varied landscapes including the Avenue of the Volcanoes, the Andean Highlands and the gateway to the Amazon! Discover the magnificent Cotopaxi up to the edge of its glacier and descent through the high plateau ending at the peaceful Limpiopungo Lagoon at the foot of the Rumiñahui volcano. Pedal around the impressive Quilotoa Lagoon with the snowcovered mountain peaks in the background, while your silhouette is reflected on the emerald green water and get to know the high biodiversity of the Mindo cloud forest. Take a refreshing dip in the waterfalls of Baños and relax in the hot thermals of Papallacta. You won’t need to worry about logistics. We provide the transportation and expertise necessary for each activity. As this tour goes to a height of 4,810 m it is important that you are prepared for this kind of altitude. We recommend acclimatizing at least two days around 3,000 m.
Extra: For this tour you can rent a professional high quality bike for an additional cost starting from $45.
You have the choice between a Rockhopper Comp 29”, Rockhopper Pro Evo 29”, and especially designed for women the Jett 29”.
After a 1 ½ hour drive east of Quito we arrive at the starting point of our biking trip: the Virgen of Paramo. The pass from Quito valley into the Amazon basin reaches its highest point there at around 4000m. Then you descend by bike down the eastern slope to Baeza, a village located at 1800 m. The first half hour is on asphalt road while the following 3 hours are on a gravel road along a river valley with a beautiful changing landscape from the high Andean Paramo region to sub-tropical cloud forest vegetation interspersed with waterfalls. Then we drive back up by jeep with a stop at the Hot springs at Papallacta where you take a deserving rest in the hot water pools.
The Nono-Mindo trail is very popular for both bird lovers and for adventurous types since it combines both of these in one program. We’ll descend from a wonderful cloud forest through the enormous Tandayapa canyon. The tour itself starts at Nono where we will challenge your suspension as we encounter a cobblestone road. After that, enjoy 25km of downhill biking to give you enough strength for the next 10km ascent at Bellavista. There will always be a support vehicle behind you in case you feel the need to take a break. After working hard to reach the final slope you’ll have the last descent arriving at the Calacali Road where we continue on for another 1.5km until we reach Mindo.
As one of the highest active snow-caped volcanoes in the world, Cotopaxi’s (5,897m) symmetric cone rises up from a vast plain that is home to llamas, condors and herds of wild horses. Cotopaxi National Park tour is an exciting day that begins with spectacular views of the unique Andean landscape in the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. Inside the national park we hike up to the refuge, which is situated at 4,810m on the Cotopaxi snowline.
Depending on conditions we will then hike up to 5,000m where it can be possible to see the glacier.
We will then have a short safety briefing before our descent on mountain bikes! There are two sections to the mountain biking, the first of which we recommend to experienced riders. The journey finishes at the beautiful lagoon at the base of Cotopaxi.
From there we go on with the bus to the Hosteria PapaGayo, where the staff is waiting with a delicious lunch and a slice of cake.
The Quilotoa Lagoon is an amazing emerald lagoon inside a volcano crater at the height of 3,800m. This tour displays a beautiful view of the Andean mountains, passing the ancient canyon of Zumbahua and many indigenous towns and farmlands. You start with an exciting drive around the lagoon, continue with the visit of the Shalala community and be back for lunch in Quilotoa. After that you will start your descent to the Chugchilan on amazing indigenous community roads with sheeps and llamas.
Leaving Baños you will bike mostly downhill for 21 km in the direction of Machay. After 20 minutes you’ll arrive at Agoyan, the first waterfall where you can stop to rest and take pictures. The next stop is the waterfall Manto de la Novia where you can stop and cross over the impressive Pastaza River in a cable car. The views of the waterfall from above the river are unbeatable. After 18 km you will arrive in the town of Río Verde (Green River) where you can take a break to enjoy the next waterfall Pailón del Diablo. You can hike down through the cloud forest for about half an hour to enjoy the view on this impressive waterfall. Then you can continue to Machay, the final waterfall where you will have the opportunity to hike down to the waterfall as well and cool off in its powerful and refreshing water. After you are done with swimming and taking in the impressive Machay you can head back to Río Verde to enjoy a delicious lunch before heading back to Baños by car.
Important: For the use of bicycles, you will be kindly asked in PapaGayo to sign a document that you accept responsibility of the good use of the bicycle and asked to let an identity document that will be given back after the tour. Thanks for your understanding.
Gulliver Expeditions is a local operator that organizes Ecuador Tours to travelers that like to experience Unlimited Adventures like climbing to the closest point on earth to the sun in the Chimborazo Volcano or travel along the deepest landscapes in the Amazon Rainforest to the stunning sceneries of the Galapagos Islands.