Ecuador is a rather small country but it covers everything from desert, coast, snow-covered peaks of the Andes and the Amazon and I think that we covered most of it.
The border crossing from Columbia went vey smooth and fast. We arrived to the city Ibarro, late afternoon and the first we met at the campsite was Neil, a hilarious funny English guy that we had earlier ridden with in Guatemala. Keith and Williams from California, two guys we met in Colombia, were there too. We had a couple of fun days with these guys, my god they were crazy in a very good way. The first night I drank far too much wine, which followed by a bad hangover the day after… well worth it though 🙂
So nice to meet up and have a laugh with other bikers.
At the campsite we took the opportunity to change the tyres on the bikes. We had used Heidenau K60 and to get these fuckers from the rim were just crazy difficult. The new ones we put on were TKC 80s, which are so much softer. We would later on get back to Heidenau but that is another story in another country.
The campsite where we were staying was ok except from the bloody dogs that were barking the whole night and the very filthy kitchen. The owner at the campsite told us that we could drink the tap water, which we luckily didn’t do as we later learned that the water had a green brownish colour and smelled like something been dead for a very long time. It even clogged up our water filter, yuk.
We left the campground after a few days and rode towards Ecuador’s capital, Quito. On the way we made a stop in the town Octaval, which is an indigenous town in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador and is surrounded by the peaks of Imbabura, Cotacachi, and Mojanda volcanoes. We took the opportunity to walk around the market for a while and met some very friendly Otavaleños and indigent people from surrounding villages that are still wearing traditional clothing.
They had so many beautiful things in the market but unfortunately when riding a bike you do not have any space for beautiful stuff… that is actually a negativ thing about riding a bike…. probably the only one…
We stayed four nights at the Centrum hostel in Quito where we could camp, very cheap, in the car park. It was two eccentric guys from Germany who owned the place and they were really lovely. One of the guys told us, by using a mix of German, Spanish and English, that he was 85 years old . They came and asked us several times a day if we were ok, so very sweet of them.
Camping in a carpark… it was wet and damp but perfect place in the middle of Quito.
Just outside Quito was the equator, and when the 000000 showed up on the navigator we stopped and took that ‘must’ photo. After that was done we quickly decided to ride south to an active volcano, Cotapaxi. The road was an extremely boring motorway and it rained cats and dogs. We arrived ’surprisingly’ in the dark and we didn’t see any fire coming out from the volcano as it was foggy. The morning after we didn’t see anything either due to the clouds so honestly I am not sure if that bloody volcano was awake or asleep.
When camping at Cotopaxi we had four enormous dogs (only two in the photo) guarding us.
When at Cotapaxi we realised that we still had the key for the gate at Centrum hostal…. It was just to ride the 100 km back to Quito and hand it in. After that we headed for the Amazonas. The road and the scenery were spectacular and when we arrived to the Amazonas it was hot hotter than hottest and the humidity was ridiculously high.
On the way to the Amazonas we stopped at a woman’s food stalls and she smiled and giggled while we were there, Wonderful people in Ecuador.
It took quite a while before we could find a place to camp. First it was nothing only a dirt road twisting through dense jungle. We rode, for what seemed for ages, and of course it became dark. I said to Anders ’what the hell are we doing riding in a jungle in the darkness?´. He told me that he had been thinking the same thing.
However we stopped a few times to drink water and as soon as we turned off the engines the deafening sounds of animals and insects chocked us. As it now had become pitch dark we couldn’t see anything. I had a feeling of that all sorts of creatures were moving around near us. It excited me and scared the crap out of me at the same time.
Due to the ridiculously high humidity we were completely soaked, it was like we just get out of a shower. However, luckily, out of nowhere, an overgrown place showed up that looked like it had been closed for the last 10 to 20 years. We didn’t think there was no one there but to be sure we shouted ‘Hola’ several times and suddenly an old woman came walking toward us. We asked, in poorly spoken Spanish, if we could pitch the tent there and she answered ‘Si’ and smiled.
We had a good night sleep, oh well, as good as you can sleep when it’s extremely hot, humid and with penetrating sounds from the animals and insects. Time after another I woke up by the sound of something moving just outside the tent. The knowledge of that it’s only that very thin fabric between you and the animal, snake or insect is a crazy thrilling feeling. The morning after when the sun was up we bravely crawled out of the tent and there was only a harmless tarantella waiting for us.
After the adventure in the jungle we happily rode about 400 km to Cuenca on a lovely winding tarmac road. The scenery was again fantastic. We climbed up and down the mountain and the altitudes varied from 1500 to 3600 and the temperature varied with the altitude from 7 to 27 degrees. It was a long but wonderful day and we arrived to Cuenca rather late and found a place to stay with a room where we had our own toilet and shower. Though it was far from a luxury room it felt like that especially after weeks of camping and the old man who owned the place was so lovely.
Another safe place where we parked the bikes
After four days we packed the bikes and with a fantastic good feeling we set off towards Vilcabamba. Once again we were on an awesome winding road with not much traffic. The scenery was stunning and the weather perfect.
The town, Vilcabamba, is tucked away deep in southern Ecuador. The Incas referred to it as the Sacred Valley, but today it’s known as the Valley of longevity, though we didn’t see many old people. The town is rather small and with the incredibly friendly people and beautiful jagged mountain peaks rising on all sides it’s a wonderful place to spend a few days.
The day after Vilcabamba we headed for the La Balsa border that would take us into Peru. We rode about 100 km in pouring rain. Half of the time we couldn’t see anything as the fog and rain was blocking the sight. We met another couple that had turned around because they said that the road was in a terrible condition. So far the road hadn’t been too bad but they told us that just before the border it was really bad. Just 30 km from the border the road got worse so we decided to turn back… so annoying. We went back to Vilcabamba and camped one night in a hotel’s play garden.
The misty forrest on the way to the Peru border was beautiful. The scenery was stunning
A detour of 800 km
The day after we packed our stuff and left Vilcabamba for the second time. We had decided to cross at another border, an unofficial border, called La Amor. The landscape changed from one beautiful view to another and the weather was just perfect. We stopped one night in Celica, a small town up in the mountains covered in clouds. By the look of the people I don’t think they were used to see gringos.
The next morning we started early after that we had had some of the driest bread we have ever had for breakfast. We needed to drink lots of water to be able to get it down. We rode about 220 km to another tiny town, Catacocha. This was a stunning little town that I wished we had stayed a bit longer in. The people we met were just the nicest ever and they smiled wherever we went. It was also an impeccable clean town with nice buildings and the little square where all the people gathered in the evening, it was just stunning.
We left this little town for the La Amor border. On the way there both Anders and myself went very quite and after a while we both said that we regretted that we didn’t take the La Balsa border. Said and done we quickly decided that we should go back about 400 km and cross the La Balsa border into Peru. What does it matter that we did a detour of nearly 800 km when we got to see so many nice places and meet these incredible friendly people.
If you look carefully, you can see me on the road 😀
I met this fantastic woman on the road and we were chatting for quite a long time without understand each other… I am sure she did not speak Spanish. She was obviously telling me about her cock… is it really called cock? Anders say I should write roster….. anyway she wanted me to photograph it and so I did. These moments, when you meet people and can connect without understand the language, are just magic.
When we passed Vilcabamba again we could see the dark clouds hanging low over the mountain range and I said loud, ‘common rain, just common, you cannot make me turn around again’. Luckily we only had little bit of rain and it turned out to be a fantastic day and we both loved the dirt road. Again, the view just took our breath away.
When we were, just about, one kilometre from the border we could see Peru and the road winding down to the border crossing and it is an understatement to say that we were super excited. Peru here we come, awesome.
Again, we met very nice people at the aduana.
Random photos from Ecuador
We saw a women carrying lots of stuff on the road so we decided to help her taking it to her house.
This was the house where the women lived.
A boy we met in the Amazonas. He wanted us to photograph him and every time we took a photo he pressed his arms along the body.
A whole pig restaurant was something we come across many many times in Ecuador… and we do not eat pig…
Sometimes it is just very narrow bridges
Two policemen interested in our bikes.
Jeep that´s me 😀
Graffiti in Ecuador