The border crossing from Colombia to Ecuador was a shock: it was orderly, logical, and free of people hassling us. A drastic change from the chaos of Central America. A couple of months ago a plan was set a motion to meet friends from New Zealand in Peru. They will all be renting motorcycles and we will all ride from Lima to Machu Picchu together. What we failed to comprehend is the sheer size of Peru. After all the itty countries of Central America we were lulled into thinking in “days” of transit time and not “weeks”. Unfortunately this meant we had to make quick work of Ecuador.
Every place we went in Ecuador was remarkable and we were surrounded by new friends and great riding. Oh, how we wish we could have stayed longer. We camped our first night in-country at Finca Sommerwind. It was definitely a place we could have gotten “stuck” and stayed for a week or more but after only one night it was off to Quito for the Amazon trip.
After Quito we made a soggy camp outside of Banos at Pequeno Paraiso near Rio Verde. This overlander oasis is run by Mark and Sue and as fellow overlanders they know what travelers need. Again we found ourselves at a place we could get stuck for a week or more. We highly recommend you stay here if you are ever in the area. After two nights we felt like Sue and Mark were long lost friends and we were sad to go.
Near the village of Vilcabamba we were invited to stay with Scott from Bentleys Big Adventure. Scott had bought property and is in the process of setting up an overland camp tailored to overland motorcycle travelers. While not quite ready for business he is in full construction mode and should come online soon with Rio Moto motorcycle camp. This was a perfect stop for full tune-ups on both bikes and we ended up staying here for four-nights.
The final push to the border with Peru was supposed to be an easy day using an obscure and little used crossing near the village of Zumba. The best laid plans of mice and men…..It is an El Nino year and the rain has been relentless, dry season has yet to materialize. The soggy conditions paired with a road cut through unstable Andes mountainsides meant more landslides and mud bogs on the track then I care to count. It was a slow slog but extraordinarily beautiful. We were forced to ride after dark, something we never plan to do, and our anticipated 7-hour day ended up being 11-hours. It still rocked and we would not trade this adventure for anything. Our lives have become rich and full and I wish everyone could travel like this at least once in their lives. The world would be a better place I am sure.
We cheated Ecuador by not staying longer. It is a small yet diverse country with a lot to see. We will be back someday.