Motorcycle Travel in Ecuador
The first kilometres on the Pan-American Highway were already very different than in Colombia. Roads are wide and very well-maintained. There are some tolls but it’s only 0,20$ per motorbike. The surroundings can change very quickly, from the desert to the jungle. For the fuel, we used “super”.
For accommodations, it’s quite easy to find good campsites. Costing around 5-6$ per person, they usually include hot showers, Wi-Fi and parking.
First, we stopped in Ibarra, 130kms away from the border. We were hearing a noise for a little while on one of the sidecars. We previously changed the fuel pump, the ignition coil and the injector but the noise is still there and the sidecar didn’t like the last hills to reach Ecuador. It’s time to stop for some mechanics.
It’s maybe an issue with the electricity for the injections. We added a new ground. Then, we checked the valve adjustment. But next to the side, we can’t keep the correct adjustment and even more for the intake valve. We removed the cylinder head, checked the push rods, end pivot rocker arms, cylinder, crankshaft, camshaft… all fine! However, the intake valve needs a re-machining. We went to see a mechanic for this procedure and then we’re reassembling. But after a test, the noise was still there! The last thing we didn’t checked is the vertical adjustment of the end pivot rocker arms. Indeed, it was twice bigger than it should be. We found calibrated washers in a tiny DIY store owned by an elderly couple. After reassembling, it seemed better, we will see in a few hundred kilometres!
We were back on the road and we a first stop in Cayambe after visiting the Otavalo’s handcrafted market. We stayed at the “Camping Mitad del Mundo” and learnt a lot about the traditions and customs of the owner’s family. The official Equator line is crossing just a few hundred meters away, we are at the “Middle of the world” where North and South hemispheres are officially separated.
Heading towards the South, we did 130kms to reach the National Park of Cotopaxi. But we found out motorbikes are not allowed in this park. Therefore, we needed a guide with a car to visit. We left the sidecars for a little while and went with a guide to see the second highest active volcano in the world (5.897m above sea level).
130kms away there is the Quilotoa volcano and its lagoon that we reached. Next stop was 150kms away in Baños. Touristic village with many hiking and water activities available due to the many waterfalls around. We also enjoyed the traditions during El Dia de los Difuntos celebrating the death on the 2nd November.
We left the Pan-American Highway and head to Puyo. The road is sinuous but well-maintained. Puyo is at the door of the Amazonian forest and the monkey rescue centre “Monos” is worthy of a visit.
Going back towards the South, we were heading Cuenca. On the way, one of the sidecars lost its trajectory. A big fear for the rider and we noticed that the break disc of the side is not fixed anymore and we lost the struts holding it. We removed the disc and carried on until we’ll find a solution as there is no importer of this break discs in South America.
Before reaching Gualaceo, the road is steep, sinuous with uneven road surface and many roadworks. Our sidecars are covered of tar! We finally arrived in Cuenca, a paved city with many handcrafted markets which is very enjoyable. We stayed a couple of days at “Tu Parada en Cuenca” to enjoy the city and also to clean the sidecars.
Let’s go then to cross the Peruvian border! We did a stop in Santa Rosa for the night and then ahead to the Huaquillas border (220kms away from Cuenca).