Ride Ecuador Mountain Bike Trip Report – Day 5 Quilotoa

Ecuador – Avenue of Volcanoes, Inca Trails and a burgeoning mountain bike scene.

Overview ||Day 1-Ilalo and Lumbisi || Day 2-Pululahua || Day 3-Chota Trails || Day 4-Rucu Pichincha || Day 6-Chimborazo || Day 7-Mama Rumi || Day 8-Camino Del Rey || Day 9-I-Line || Day 10-La Paz || Cuyabeno Lodge


Day 5 – Quilotoa

Day 5 of our Ecuador mountain biking trip was supposed to be a rest day and had us further acclimatizing to altitude by sleeping at 3914m and then riding a short loop close to Volcan Quilotoa. Quilotoa is both the name of the water-filled caldera (old crater) of the now-extinct volcano and the small town closest to the volcano. . You get there by way of a two-three hour drive southwest from Quito towards higher points in the Ecuadorian Andean cordillera passing some larger and many smaller towns. The area is deep in the heart of what is land inhabited mainly by indigenous people; tourism is a major contributor to their well-being and one can see that tourism dollars goes a long way here.

The ride is part of the Quilotoa Loop an exceptionally beautifully scenic and well known hiking/biking loop towards the centre of Ecuador. Sharon and Mateo went for a short ride sampling part of the loop while Lee recovered from drinking the Agua Ibarra.

The Quilotoa loop itself is in an area where you pay a small fee to enter the area where you can view the Caldera. The pay-for area is surrounded by the small indigenous name-saked community that has taken full advantage of its prime location by establishing hostels, some restaurants and small markets. . The section of ride on the loop is fairly flat being high on the alpine plateau and that’s a good thing since at 4000m you probably won’t be charging too hard. Generally speaking it’s almost always cool and breezy (daytime temps of 10 to 15 C) here so dress accordingly.


The Caldera

Short ride around the Caldera

Short ride around the Caldera

Short ride around the Caldera

Descent into town

Flowering Cacti

The dogs are pretty chill here.



Elevation profile of our short ride.


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Where to stay

The Hosteria Alpaka was the first hotel in Quilotoa and was set up by an indigenous couple who are doing incredibly well in this small town. The food is simple and good. Accommodations are clean and basic. Keep in mind where you are and how hard it is to get amenities to a relatively geographically isolated place like this and you will better appreciate the warmth of the wood-fired stove in the rooms

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