Ecuador trip advice please

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Md11 flyer, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. Md11 flyer

    Md11 flyer n00b

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    Hello all! I would like some advice. I want to do a ride in Ecuador in late January 2018. I was planning on doing a self guided tour with freedom and am now considering just renting a bike from them for a week or so and doing my own trip planning and scheduling. I am weighing these two options. Any advice either ways would be appreciated. It should be noted, this will be my first big motorcycle trip and is sort of a shakedown/test to see how much I will enjoy adventure touring before I go all in and purchase a big bike. I do a lot of trail riding in Colorado and some hare scramble racing so I can ride, or at least keep the bike upright. Also, I travel extensively around the world for my job so it being in a foreign country does not concern be much.

    Thanks for any and all advice!!

    P.S. If anyone has any interest in joining me let me know. The guys I race and ride with in Colorado are not showing much interest in this trip so it looks like I will be solo.
    #1
  2. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Freedom doesn't require you to stay any certain place when you rent from them. If self guided it's your schedule, planning etc..
    I'm interested but not in off road there or in January, as we have plans made that month.
    You caught my attention but not much in your profile either? age and gender is it and with only 6 posts to run with little do we know...
    #2
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  3. Md11 flyer

    Md11 flyer n00b

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    Thanks for the response. I looks to me that if you do a self guided trip with them you are paying for their planning/gps/hotel reservations thus the $3500 cost of the 9 day trip. Just to rent the bike for the same amount of time and you do all the planning the cost would be around $1800. The delta would be left for your own planning/hotels/extras.

    As for my profile, 48, live in Colorado but spend A lot of time in Louisville, ride a KTM 300 XCW, lookin at a GSA. Want to get into adventure touring.

    My trip will most likely be the last few days if January and the first week of February.

    Ride safe!!


    #3
  4. Bigsmokindaddy

    Bigsmokindaddy Adventurer

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    I just got back from the nine day self-guided tour. It was awesome having the GPS preprogram for each day, and they were side routes we could take as well. Plenty of dirt options if you want. All of the hotels, except one, that freedom booked for us were fantastic. The one bad Hotel had a recent ownership change. Overall the self-guided tour was fabulous.



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    #4
  5. klrnohio

    klrnohio Adventurer

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    My wife and I did a custom self guided trip mid October and used Freedom Bike Rental and had a great time. They planned both an off road and on road route for each day and booked our lodging for each night which included breakfast and usually dinner. It really made it easy for us, as neither of us speak spanish and the places had bilingual staff. All our food and rooms were good and suggested places were offered for meals and activities. We had a small snafu the first day but Cort (the owner) and his staff were helpful and we were able to take care of the problem so we could carry on with our trip. We didn't care for a large group to tour with, so the self guided worked out perfect and we felt the extra cost of having them plan the routes and gas stops and lodging was a huge help. We tour alot here in the USA and she travels globally for work but found it was really nice to not have to plan for so many unknown things when so far from home. We rode north of the equator in the rain cloud forest, down through the valley of volcanoes and then to the amazon basin and back . Also when packing consider temps from really hot & humid to snow & sleet to rain. We had it all. Hope this might help.
    #5
  6. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    What bikes did you rent? I'm short and actually considered the scooter they have available. I ride a BMW650GS at home with low seat.
    My Mexico bike trips have never included a reservation but I get the ease of travel given by pre-planned. OTOH, I'm a tightwad who requires a good clean bed but no pampering like some folks.
    On the group thing: while I'm not certainly not anti-social ,I'm anti-big group, just not a groupie whatsoever!!! I also have no desire to pay for a guide, not that it bothers me in anyway if I had a local yokel who rode along to show off their area, just as I would do here in my home area.
    klrnohio-did you do any activities in your areas? or just ride. Two up, or not?
    #6
  7. Bigsmokindaddy

    Bigsmokindaddy Adventurer

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    I rode an F800GS and my riding partner had an Africa Twin. Both bikes handled everything Ecuador threw at them.


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  8. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Well, how fluent is your Spanish? The advantage of them booking you something is you only need to do charades long enough to get the hotel key.

    Also, some of the places that we stayed I certainly were not obvious and probably not the driveways you would have driven down if you were just causally passing by. Ecuador is an incredible fun place to visit and ride, but personally I think for your first trip you will have a lot to figure out without the worry of bedding down.

    Freedom books you at high-end places for the area. Usually, the prices we saw were never less than $50/night. And some were easily twice that. You also need to realize that there is not the population nor the gross availability of hotel rooms in Ecuador as there in the states.

    Unless you are motivated by doing this for reasons other than saving some dinero, I think the few hundred bucks you are going to save are not worth potentially giving you a really miserable time.
    #8
  9. Md11 flyer

    Md11 flyer n00b

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    Thanks all for the input. I think the self guided tour is the way to go.
    #9
  10. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    I would be inclined to ask for a comparison between Mexico (where I've traveled extensively) and Ecuador, certainly not the USA lodging situation.
    My Spanish is laughable at best and I get along fine in Mexico, only missing the cultural exchange that's offered by better face to face communication. Reading maps, signs and generally navigating the country I do OK.
    I have looked on Freedom's website at the lodging and even linked over to those places-they look like they are well chosen to my taste overall.
    #10
  11. shu

    shu ...

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    I rented 2 bikes last December from Freedom in Quito: a DR650 for some solo dirt travel and a G650GS for 2 up with my wife.

    [​IMG]



    I looked at the route maps Freedom has posted on their websites and marked out some tentative routes: places and roads I wanted to try, and just took it from there. Sometimes I had to turn back from my chosen route but mostly things worked out fine. Court spent about an hour with me when I picked up the DR650, going over some of the places and roads I had chosen and was great about advising me on dirt routes.

    [​IMG]

    We had no trouble finding decent hotels, generally a lot cheaper than the places the guided routes would take you. Almost every place we stayed had WIFI so in the evening we would get out the maps, decide on a route and a destination for the next day, and get on Booking.com or Trip advisor and see what we could find for lodging. It worked well, I could generally pin down the location of the hotel on my GPS (I brought my own from home, loaded with OSM maps), and navigate right to it.

    If you enjoy the unexpected experiences and contacts you make while bumbling around in someone else's backyard, I'd go it alone.

    [​IMG]

    ..............shu
    #11
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  12. knight

    knight Been here awhile

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    I had no problems finding cheap accommodation with secure parking when showing up in the following towns without a reservation

    Quito , Foch District
    Mindo
    Canoa
    Montanita
    Quevedo
    Banos
    Cuenca
    Loja

    Room prices averaged $8 to $20 per night in 2016 ...prior to the earthquake

    Room prices double and triple during Carnival and availability will be scarce

    Don't miss a chance to visit Laguna Quilotoa

    Along with my Garmin I used the free Maps.Me app on a tablet , it works offline and has routing. Hotels and hostels , gas , ATMs etc. appear as blue dots on the map
    #12
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  13. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    I'd love to have my 300xc-w with me in Ecuador! Coño carajo!

    We've had no problem rolling into a town and finding accommodation and food. We've even had people come up and ask us if we're looking for a place to stay. $8-12/night/person is attainable. And yeah there's tons of info available about roads/routes and internet is not hard to come by. Food is easy, restaurants abound, street food is good and safe, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, twenty bucks a day will keep you fat & happy. Claro que es una gran ventaja hablar la idioma. But all that requires effort, not a typical gringo trait, particularly on vacation. So for a mere chump change $1700 difference it's relax and ride, and let others do all the thinking.
    Buena suerte y que le vaya bien.
    #13
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  14. Md11 flyer

    Md11 flyer n00b

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    I ride/race a 300 XC-W and love it almost more than life itself. It would be a fun bike in Ecuador for sure but not much room to pack stuff.

    Thanks for the input. I’m leaning towards the pay for someone else to do the thinking! Low stress...high fun!!!
    #14
  15. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    First time i went there, years ago, we were heading to an aunt's farm, an hour canoe ride upriver, pretty intense - when we climbed out i saw two motorcycles at the farmhouse and of course my eyes bulged. Turns out a cousin had two 125s, and we rode those jokers every day to and from a nearby town for a week along dirt roads under construction. They could not believe me dropping down into gorges and climbing back out, doing wheelies, etc. I told him i wish i had my bike here then you'd see. :D

    I'm skewed because I'd know where to go and what to do. Plus, on a bike I'd be doing some real back-roady stuff. It would be a blast. I could be a guide / trip leader. Now if i could just get a group to hire me, all expenses paid. :D

    Have a fantastic trip; i know you will.
    #15
  16. Ferk

    Ferk n00b

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    Hey, I am also from Colorado and planning a motor ride through Ecuador using Freedom. I am planning on mid Jan. Need to be back by 28th. Not sure if you already have a crew put together but would love to talk about plans. Thank Brett
    #16
  17. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Using Occam's Razor

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    I have rented from Freedom, they are a super outfit. We went completely on our own schedule and in our own direction. What you do depends entirely on your preferences. For me, 1/2 the fun is interacting with the locals and negotiating my way through. We stayed in some "funky" places sometimes, but really, those are the places we reflect on the most after the trip. Do you want to experience real Ecuador or tourist Ecuador.....
    #17
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  18. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    La verdadera, sin falta!
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  19. Ferk

    Ferk n00b

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  20. Ferk

    Ferk n00b

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    Are you still planning an Ecuador trip?
    #20