Motorcycle trip through Ecuador - from Quito via Riobamba to Cuenca


If you got to this article, it means you are thinking about a motorcycle trip in Ecuador. You’ve come to the right place, because I’m going to tell you about my experience traveling through Ecuador on a 250 CC motorcycle.

This adventure of more than 1500 km started in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, located in the north of the country at 2850 m above sea level.

Quito and its surroundings

Quito with basilika

Quito is a beautiful city in the Ecuadorian highlands, surrounded by huge volcanoes and historic buildings. The historic center of Quito was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. Here you can still find intact architectural gems built more than 400 years ago.

Have you ever imagined standing on both hemispheres of the earth at the same time? In Ecuador this is possible: north of Quito, 13.5 km from the historic center, is the monument Mitad del Mundo (Center of the World) and here crosses the equator line.

You can do some activities, such as climb to the top of the monument, buy handicrafts, enjoy the delicious Ecuadorian cuisine or surprise yourself with physical experiments, such as putting an egg on a nail without it falling right down. 

Admission to the Mitad del Mundo costs $5 USD and can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00.

From Quito south to Riobamba

The adventure continued and I headed to the south of the country. My next destination was the city of Riobamba, about 200 km from Quito. The fastest route is the Panamericana E35 Troncal de la Sierra. On this route you pass through the towns of Latacunga and Ambato. The travel time is takes 3 hours. In the Ecuadorian Sierra, motorcycles must pay 0.20 dollar cents at each toll booth.

Located at the foot of Chimborazo volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador and the closest point to the sun, surpassing Everest by 2 km. Its altitude is 6263 m above sea level.

road to Chimborazo

It is one of the most visited places in Riobamba and ideal for mountaineers. The volcano is surrounded by the Chimborazo Fauna Production Reserve, which protects the ecosystems of the area. Thanks to the reserve, it is normal to find native animals such as the vicuña, the llama or the alpaca.

The best time to visit this volcano is from May to December, since this is the dry season.

Riobamba is a small city, but its colonial architecture, cobbled streets, squares and markets will surely captivate you. This city is known as the “City of Firsts” because it was fundamental to some historical events of the country.

Among the important historical facts that have given the city of Riobamba this nickname are:

  1. on August 15, 1534, Diego de Almagro founded Riobamba, making it the first city founded by Spaniards in Ecuador.
  2. the first tramway in Ecuador was built in Riobamba.
  3. the Balbanera Church is the first church built in Ecuador in 1534.
  4. the first automatic telephone exchange of Ecuador was installed in Riobamba in 1955.
  5. in 1830 the Republic of Ecuador was founded and the first Constituent Assembly was convened.
church in Riobamba

Side trip to the coastal region

After visiting the majestic Chimborazo volcano, I drove to the coast of Ecuador. My destination was Guayaquil. The distance between these two cities is 230 km, and the driving time is about 4 hours and 30 minutes. The route I took was the E487 via Pallatanga- La Troncal- Milagro- Guayaquil.

Motorcycles do not have to pay tolls on the Ecuadorian coast. Much of this road is in poor condition and the weather was not kind to me with lots of fog and rain. I recommend taking precautions and driving responsibly.

wet street motorbike

Guayaquil is also called “The Pearl of the Pacific” and is one of the most important cities in Ecuador. It is an important commercial center, as the main port of the country is located here.

The most important places to visit are

– The Malecon 2000 (waterfront promenade along the Guyas River)

– Barrio las Peñas, the first neighborhood of Guayaquil with more than 400 years of history.

– Park of the Iguanas.

– Santa Ana Hill

– Parque Historico

Guyaquil from Santa Ana Hill

I continued to the coast. Salinas is located in the province of Santa Elena, 2 hours from Guayaquil, on the road “Via a la costa E-40”. The road is in perfect condition and it is flat with no curves. This route is traveled by many motorcyclists, because Salinas is one of the most important seaside resorts in Ecuador.

Motorbike beach Salinas

It is a wonderful place to enjoy the beach, the sun and a great variety of landscapes. On the way to the westernmost point of the Ecuadorian mainland, you can observe a sea lion colony on a rock in the sea.

From Guayaquil to Cuenca

My final destination was the city of Cuenca in southern Ecuador, 190 km from Guayaquil, which takes about 4 hours. The fastest route for this trip is the E582 via Molleturo.

Cuenca is another Ecuadorian city that has been declared a World Heritage Site and is the third largest city in the country. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Cathedral of Cuenca or New Cathedral, is one of the most representative places in the historic center of the city. Visitors are amazed by the blue dome, which provides a great scenery.

You can get up to the domes of the cathedral at a cost of $ 2 dollars and its time is from Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 13:30 and from 14:00 to 16:00.

cathedral Cuenca

Ecuador is a small and wonderful country, where you don’t need to travel long distances to get from one destination to another. In the morning you can enjoy the beach or the sea and in the afternoon visit the Andes, the trip was very safe and economical. Do not hesitate any longer come and travel through Ecuador by motorcycle.

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