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Old 10-31-2013, 10:09 AM   #136
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Quilotoa Volcano Summit


We finally reached the summit of the Quilotoa volcano, which is the perfect vantage point from which to view the Quilotoa Crater Lake below:
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:18 AM   #137
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Laguna del Quilotoa

Quilotoa is the western-most volcano in Ecuador, and is actually known as a water filled caldera. Its most recent catastrophic eruption occurred about 800 years ago, and produced lava flows which reached the Pacific Ocean. Since that time, the caldera has accumulated water more than 800' deep.

The pictures below were shot with my iPhone from the caldera rim at 12,850 FT elevation. The surface of the lake is more than 1,360 feet below at 11,485 FT elevation:






The water is a hypnotic blue/green color due to mineral absorption.
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:53 AM   #138
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Quilotoa has an Indigenous village, and entry is free after passing through a roadblock/security station and registering. The Indians were warm and friendly, possibly by nature and possibly due to their lucrative Indigenous market at the site.

Parking at the Indigenous Market. The hill in the background is the actual exterior rim on the Quiloto Volcano:


The tourist observation deck has a railing:



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Old 11-03-2013, 07:36 PM   #139
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Quilotoa

The Hostal Punua Wasi is located at the rim of the volcano. Considering the 38 degree F ambient temperature, coupled with 30 mph winds and 12,000 ft. altitude, there is no need to refrigerate the beverages displayed for sale:

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Old 11-11-2013, 10:22 AM   #140
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Quilotoa Descent

With clear skies and frigid temperatures we began our descent from the Quilotoa Volcano rim:


Once we descended below the tree line, we were again immersed into the spectacular Andean landscape:





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Old 11-12-2013, 07:21 AM   #141
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Motorcycling Bliss

If I was wearing an open faced helmet, you would know I was grinning from ear to ear:


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Old 11-14-2013, 03:46 PM   #142
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Descending into Pujni

As we raced down the mountain toward the town of Pujni, we encountered a section of fresh asphalt with dozens of nice hairpin turns and sweepers:





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Old 11-14-2013, 03:57 PM   #143
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Road conditions eventually deteriorated (as will happen in Ecuador), but the riding was fantastic!


As we approached a town that was not shown on our map, the road was being surfaced with pavers:


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Old 11-16-2013, 08:47 AM   #144
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Thanks for the great report with all the photos! My wife and I have booked our tickets to Ecuador and a bike with Freedom Bike. Really looking forward to more.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:45 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by keithbob View Post
Thanks for the great report with all the photos! My wife and I have booked our tickets to Ecuador and a bike with Freedom Bike. Really looking forward to more.
You really can't go wrong selecting Ecuador Freedom, I hope you and your wife have an awesome trip!



Cheers,

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Old 01-09-2014, 12:25 PM   #146
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Returning to Quito

As we continued our descent the switchbacks wrapped around the Northeast side of the mountain, with temperatures hovering at 40 degrees F and gusty 50+ mph winds. Between the altitude, the cold and the gusty winds it required 100% concentration to keep the rubber side down.

Half way between Quilatoa (12,850 FT) and the plateau below (9,200 FT) we took a break and enjoyed an amazing vista of Latacunga:




CulinT was removing his jacket to ADD layers; we assumed it would worm up as we descended:


A cold poolman, regretting the decision to remove the outer jacket and ride down the frozen mountain in mesh:


We reached Latacunga, where CulinT overestimated his inseam (it was the only nap of the trip):



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Old 01-09-2014, 12:38 PM   #147
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Man, that looks like a great area!
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:42 PM   #148
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Man, that looks like a great area!
Thanks, Matt. It was spectacularly scenic and spectacularly cold!

Much credit to previous ride reports here on Adv and also Ecuador Freedom for identifying the interesting places to visit.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:44 PM   #149
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The Pan-American Highway

Many envision the Pan-American Highway as the incarnation of freedom and independence, enabling international and even intercontinental travel and connecting peoples of varying cultures, customs and languages. In actuality it is just another highway, only traveled by more poorly maintained trucks than routinely seen elsewhere. Although the Pan-Am spans nearly 48,000 KM, it does not cross the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, essentially defeating its purpose.


The Pan-American is the only toll road in Ecuador which does not allow free passage for motorcycles:


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Old 01-09-2014, 01:47 PM   #150
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El Cafe de la Vaca

Trucks, pedestrians and general chaos:


We stopped along the highway for excellent empanadas at El Cafe de la Vaca. The gentleman pictured watched our gear:


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