Date: October 14, 2014 | By: bigfive | Category: Travel Blog
Biking in the highlands of Ecuador
Bicycles were introduced in the mid-19th Century in Europe. Today, they outnumber cars by something like two to one around the world. They serve as the primary means of transportation for millions of people. Most Americans ride bikes for recreation, but some areas such as Southern California are more conducive to biking as part of daily life.
We looked for five stunning settings where biking excursions offer remarkable rewards to the adventurous traveler.
Highlands of Ecuador In the spectacular highlands of the Northern Andes, Hacienda Zuleta dates from the late 16th century, and is a colonial working farm. For more than a century, it has belonged to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador. With this as a base, you can explore these dramatic highlands by mountain bike. The hacienda offers six mountain bikes, sizes 15” to 18.5” as well as helmets. You may want to reserve one when planning your itinerary. In addition to the wide-ranging Andean trails that are perfect for mountain bikes, you can also ride to Condor Huasi, Zuleta’s Andean condor rehabilitation project just five kilometers from the hacienda in a valley surrounded by native forest. Take to the Andes on our Ecuador Highlands adventure.
Chyulu Hills, Kenya The Chyulu Hills sit about 150 km east of the Kenya Rift and encompass several hundred small flows and cones created by volcanism, dating back about 1.4 million. Ol Donyo Lodge is in the heart of the 275,000-acre Mbirikani Group Ranch, on the slopes of the Chyulu Hills, between Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks. Here you can explore the terrain by mountain bike, savoring the thrill of riding amid herds of Africa’s plains game, including giraffe, antelope, wildebeest and cape buffalo. Imagine pedaling through a heard of zebra that meet your gaze at eye level, or past a family of elephants. This may very well be the ride of a lifetime. Include a stay at the lodge when organizing your ideal safari. Our Tanzania & Kenya: The Challenge and the Promise offers this and so much more.
Bagan, Myanmar In Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, you can explore the extraordinary temple site of Bagan on a privately guided bicycle tour. This UNESCO World Heritage Site stretches across a spectacular plain away from the Ayeyarwaddy River, and, incredibly, encompasses thousands of 800-year-old temples and temple remnants. Although human habitation here dates back almost to the beginning of the Christian era, Bagan only entered its golden period with the conquest of Thaton in 1057 AD. You will be awed by this remarkable experience. You can include it in your itinerary such as on our 10-day Myanmar exploration.
Atacama Desert, Chile The Atacama Desert is a remarkable ecosystem with almost other-worldly landscapes, an ancient culture and unusual wildlife. A biking excursion into this vast space is perfect for those who want a spectacular communion with nature. One such adventure takes riders into an ancient tunnel leading to Calama. From there, cyclists descend into Death Valley before returning to San Pedro de Atacama. Outstanding guides will help you craft your own Atacama experience of this great desert. Consider our distinctive journey that encompasses Atacama and two other iconic landscapes: Patagonia, Atacama & Easter Island.
Flinders Range, Australia The Flinders Ranges is the largest mountain range in South Australia making hiking and biking popular activities here. With an abundance of off-road cycling trails, the Flinders is paradise for keen cyclists. The towering granite outcrops reward the adventurous with spectacular lookouts. Saw-toothed peaks encircle the majestic natural amphitheater of Wilpena Pound’s giant stone crater. Among these most ancient landscapes, this timeless terrain showcases a kaleidoscope of outback experiences. Plan your Australia adventure to include some of the myriad outdoor opportunities Australia has to offer. Consider our 18-day Australia journey.