Ecuadorian Bike Adventure At Mount Antisana
If you are looking for some challenging adventure and fun, a bike tour to the Antisana, Ecuador’s fourth highest mountain, is a great option. With its 5,704 meters (18,714 feet), it presents one of the most challenging technical climbs and tours in the Ecuadorian Andes.
Our tour started at 7 am, and the ride in the Jeep took us about one hour. Even if it is only 50 km (31 mi) from the capital Quito, the ways to the volcano are adventurous, as after a certain point there are only dirt roads. The ride is pretty nice to get an overview and to already spot some animals. There are mostly cows, sheep and llamas and many dogs running around. If you are lucky you can also spot some rabbits and, if you are really lucky, condors and falcons. I also got the chance to enjoy the view of the impressive snow-covered Antisana surrounded by its beautiful landscape and endemic plants.
When we reached the small town of Pintag, a protected area, we continued on foot. We walked for about an hour up to 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) to enjoy the beautiful landscape towards La Mica Lake.
There we started the biking tour for about 30 kilometers (18 miles). The first kilometers were mainly flat, but then we reached two rises and one mountain. Here comes the challenging part – even though everyone of our group was an experienced athlete, it was somehow tough and our strength was limited by the altitude. The first two hills I managed, but on the last mountain I had to give up. From our group of 17, only two made it to the top. If you do such a trip be aware of your fitness level and choose carefully the level of the tour. But no worries! You can challenge yourself but if it is too much, you can stop at any time and the guide puts your bike on the Jeep and you can take a break in the car.
As a reward after the last mountain, it goes downhill for many kilometers. This is one of the best parts, as you can determine your speed and enjoy the fantastic landscape. You can also take a break any time you want and enjoy the amazing view and take some nice pictures.
An experienced guide is with you all the time and makes sure everyone of the group is happy. Halfway through going downhill, we had a nice picnic with a stunning view (again!) of the many different mountains.
After the lunch break we went even further downhill. What was fascinating was the weather change: It was really, really cold up the mountain and the wind was really strong (bring a scarf and a hat!). On the other side, if the sun comes out it is really warm and you need strong sun block and sun glasses. As if that were not enough, it rained from time to time, so you also need a rain jacket.
Even if it sounds strenuous, if you have the proper equipment it is a lovely ride with different types of climate. This diversity is also reflected by the flora, with all kinds of different trees and shrubs. The area’s biodiversity is also one of the reasons that Antisana got declared Reserva Ecológica de Antisana (Ecological Reserve Antisana, REA). With a maximum number of visitors per day, the park is well protected and cared for by the park rangers.
Around 2 pm we left the Antisana and headed back to the center of Quito where I arrived at around 4 pm at my apartment. The tour is definitely something for all nature enthusiasts who seek a little challenge on the bicycle.
Check out our Mountain Bike Tour, an adventurous three-day tour on Cotopaxi National Park!