Have you ever heard of the guitar makers of Ecuador?
While were hibernating the remainder of 2020 out with few opportunities to travel internationally, there’s always the plotting and scheming for adventures next year. And if we’re to travel slower and more sustainably, and experiences matter more than destinations, then here’s another handful of ideas if you plan to ride South America generally and Ecuador in particular. Instead of just traveling along the Pan American highway, consider:
The Guitar Route
Ecuador is famous for its biodiversity, the Galapagos Islands, and the Andean routes, but it is diverse culturally as it is rich in natural wonders. Aside from its indigenous communities, places like Otavalo and Cotacachi famous for local leather artisans, and its world-famous chocolatiers, Ecuador is also home to some of the most masterful guitar makers of South America.
Guitars made in Ecuador end up in the hands of famous classical guitars players from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, and you can find a wide variety of local artists making exquisite musical instruments in the most unlikely places. To connect with local guitar makers of Ecuador and see their work up close, start in Cuenca and visit the small towns of Bartolome and Sigsig. Often, you’ll spot the guitar makers’ homes and workshops right from the road, and you can simply pull up to any one of them and say hi – the locals love showcasing their work to travelers. Added bonus: there’s no shortage of scenic rides and dirt trails in the area.
Exploring the Amazon
While Peru is more famous for those who want to see the Amazon rainforest up close and personal, Ecuador can actually be a better place as it is less crowded and less touristy. Starting in Puerto Misahuali, just a day’s ride from the capital Quito, you can take a boat trip down the Napo river, visit local communities who still live in the forest, learn about the local ways of life, and see the incredible abundance of wildlife and biodiversity in just a few short days.
Puerto Misahuali is also excellent for jungle lodge stays, hikes, and local cuisine. This is the perfect place to park the bike for a few days and explore on foot or by boat.