The day started with the dirty road out of Lago Agrio. It’s quite a big and ugly city, which works more as commercial “port” than as a city of the Amazonia. First 20 km or so are horrible: enough to make me regret not having taken the other road, the one through Coca. No hard shoulder, lots of traffic (and quite fast!), heat (it was increadibly hot that day!!), and no glimpse of the jungle.
It gets better after a while, and by kilometer 40 or so it’s really nice. It’s true, you still cycle pass some indigenous communities that look really sad, and it was bloody hot that day. There are couple of towns where you can stop for food, drinks, internet or whatever. Everything changes when you arrive to a huge river (that will be with you for a while), and get closer to the Andes again. By the way, that’s when the up and down begins! And, with the heat, it gets hard!!
Lumbaqui was a dissapointing place. It’s supposes to be at exactly 0°0’0″, so I was expecting something to show that, and instead I only found a night club and some sad people. I asked around for some waterfalls that were supposed to be somewhere close, and nobody knew anything. They didn’t show much interest neither. Lots of soldiers and workers of the nearby bridge were there, no more.
So I left, even if it was steaming hot.
There are some small rivers where you can go for a swim before and after Lumbaqui. I waited until the waterfall call La Maravilla for that. It was the best way I could have found to wait for the heat to calm down a little bit.
Besides, that waterfall/pool is at the beginning of the climb to El Reventador. And this one is a hard climb, honest!! Still, the views start to get really nice as you cycle up, so it’s really worth the effor. But expect some very hard parts.
You cycle close to some factories that… well, I’ll leave the opinions to yourself this time. Just a comment: how can it be that it takes ages and lots of money to build a public road, and then some companies can construct some private ones up and down the borders of natural parks, in such difficult environments?
There are couple of bars along the climb. Even a very small town with almost no accomodation but they’ll make some room for you (this is some 12 km before El Reventador, once the hardest part is over, but when you still have some climbing ahead).
By the way, I liked El Reventador, even if it’s basically a town for lorries to stop for food. The view of the volcano from there is really nice, and people play volleyball a lot!!