A bad night (my stomach feeling like s#*t) made me no eat at all during this day. And I was really weak as well. So my comments might be influenced by that (I even screwed the wikiloc route of the day, and pedalled with an open bag for last kilometers. I’m glad I didn’t loose anything).
After I waited for the rain to leave (and my belly to calm down), started pedalling through a surprisingly busy road!! There’s lots of traffic leaving Puyo. That made first kilometers pretty crap, past the town called Shell and until I reached Mera (the town with the highest living estimation in Ecuador). It got better, but expect some traffic all day long.
The road gets nicer after Mera, but not spectacular. Waterfalls start to appear. The uphill is relatively constant. Not bad (I had some rain; it’s suppossed to rain a lot in this area).
Things get better after Rio Verde. Lots of waterfalls, some quite impressive (and you’ve seen millions of waterfalls by now…), and the most surprising of everything: a bike path!!!!!
The bike path starts in Rio Verde, but there might not be much point taking it there, since it basically saves you cycling on the main road, which is better paved.
But then you reach a tunnel (?!? First one of the tryp!!) and you must use the bike path. Which is great here, by the way!!! Oh, you need a mountain bike or an offroad bike. Otherwise you need to take the tunnels (they’re suppossed to be forbidden for bikes!! But bring some lights and it’ll be ok).
There are some tunnels one after the other, and bordering them was one of the highlights of the day. It’s really nice. Just one complain: since they’ve build up a bike trail, they could well keep it clean and out of crystals!!!!!!
The “downturn” of the day were… tourists. You get millions here. And I wasn’t used to it, so it made quite a shock on me. The ones doing the rafting or descending the valley by bike are ok. But the bus full of old people, with a guide and her microphone, taking pictures of everything, made me feel somewhere else…
Baños is a relatively big and quite turist town. It’s nice after a while, but being full of shops and bars… It takes a while to get used to it.
Couple of extra facts of the day:
The rainforest ends in Rio Verde. Surprisingly early!! That’s pretty low alttitude… But there’s some (relatively) heavy farming in Baños, so I guess that’s why.
The climb was much easier than what I expected. Only after Rio Verde gets hard; the rest is pretty easy. Honest.
There’s a Basque girl in Mera!! Hi Isabel!!
It’s not easy to see the volcano, and less easy to see the lava. I did see the volcano but not the lava… Some other time!!