After spending the New Years in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, I readied myself with the border crossing at La Balza on my way to Jaén, Peru. The trip would take me more than 10 hours and 200 miles (313 kilometers) across mostly on off-road dirt tracks through the Andes mountain ranges. A friend of mine, Chris, had taken this journey less than a week earlier.
After spending only one night in Cuenca, Ecuador, I had a long trip to Vilcabamba, Ecuador via Guayaquil.Vilcabamba is a small town nestled in a valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains. Vilcabamba is where I would spend New Year’s Eve and get myself ready for the border crossing to into Peru.
After spending 4 nights in Quito Ecuador, I needed to get back on the road and the 290+ miles (487 kilometres) to Cuenca, Ecuador. The ride would take me deep into the Andes Ranges and would take over 8 hours. It was so great to get on the road again and driving high up mountains and then deep into the valleys through some spectacular villages on my way to Cuenca was a treat I had been missing for a while.
From my base in Quito Ecuador, I spent the day visiting the Historic Centre and the Middle of the World – Manuel Cordova Galarza, Quito, Ecuador. I will tell you from the outset I am an in and out traveler in regards to major tourist attractions and both these are no exceptions. I would probably avoid these places on weekends.
After only 2 rain-soaked nights in Cali, my next destination would be Pasto, Colombia. Again I had an amazing riding day with lots of switchbacks (hairpin turns) and elevated riding. I also met a great guy from Cali, Luis who was traveling around Colombia on his moto. We chatted for about 20 minutes before a bridge. He is a bit of a base guitar rock guru in Colombia.
One night in Pasto got me ready for my border crossing heading to Quito, Ecuador. I left for Quito before first light, and I would reach the border crossing by around 8 am, for hopefully a fast border crossing. I only had 216 miles(348 kilometres) to travel, as I always do shorter trips for border crossing days, so I thought I would arrive in Quito by just after midday.