Colombia-Ecuador 2013. Day 11: Baeza – Tena (includes Baeza – Quito)


baeza - tena

Click on image to see map

There are 2 options to leave Baeza:

-West, towards Quito. There are some 50 km of steady climb, from aprox 1900m up to 3800m. Almost no rest. There’re two “major” towns along the way, and the views are superb. The road, at the beginning, goes next to a canyon covered in rainforest and waterfalls. And you get some views of the 5700m hight snowed volcano Antisana. Then, after Pallactal, it turns into a Paramo kind of landscape. The road is in good conditions (paved 100%) and there isn’t much traffic (still, more than in previous roads). I wouldn’t recommend to go all the way to Quito; the traffic, the polution and the poor road conditions in the surrounding areas would make it a pain. Instead, I’d take the crossroad close to Pifo and turn south to ride the so called “avenue of the volcanoes”.
(I know all of this because I did it by bus. I had to go to Quito for some spare parts for my bike. By the way, I found 7 proper bike shops in just 500m!!! Speciallyzed, Cannondale, GT, KTM, Trek-MyBike, Ecobikes and 2Wheels. They’re in the north of Quito, on walking distance from Rio Coca bus station). Also: I found it faster and more useful to take the bus to Cumbayá instead of the bus station. From there, every bus will take you into Rio Coca bus station fast and cheap.
-The other option was to continue South, towards Tena. This is the one I chose. Yeah, I might sound lazy (and I am), but it’s not completely true. These were going to be my last 2 days of rainforest roads, and then I’d have to climb to the same hight somewhere later on (in Puyo-Baños area, or that was the plan).

After a late departure due to rain, the road began uphill, when I was expecting some heavy downhill. Anyway. The road goes through some very nice rainforest. Once you reach the top, both the views and the forest are great. Initial 6 downhill kilometers aprox are spectacular. Really recommended!! The downhill, by the way, continues all the to the crossroad with the southern route, the TransAmazonica. Nice place for a stop. Also, those ones felt like some very fast 50 km!!

The rest of the day was pretty much downhill as well, so this one ended up being the fastest of all my days! There’s nothing remarcable along the route, jt’s just nice. A great and quiet cycling day. Yes, you’ve got a zoo, some waterfalls, the “famous” Jamundí caves (they are a water park!! Dissapointing) and some other stuff along the way. But the easy and nice cycling made my day. It’s good to relax before the hills start again…

Getting into Tena is a weird experience. It’s a very normal town with an airport and a double line road to get in. Not much traffic though, which is always good.

One last thing. The roads in this area were almost empty and in good condition, though not as good as the previous roads I’ve been cycling through so far. Guess what? There’s no oil in this region. Nuff said.


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