There’s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and I’ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.
This post was written on my previous blog while working on a fleet of National Geographic Ships and before I started Two Wheeled Wanderer, so it’s a bit different than my ‘typical’ posts.
After a good night’s sleep in Misahualli, we woke up to a cloudy, but rain-free day. We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then C and I took a walk down to a muddy river to have a look at the beach.
There were a few long boats waiting for the tourists to arrive to take them downriver and into the Amazon rainforest. A man tried to sell us one of his numerous trips, but we told him we were leaving for Baeza in a few minutes.
Starting off on our bikes right outside our hotel, we retraced the 12 kilometers of paved road we rode yesterday to the small town of Puerto Napo with a brief stop at a butterfly center to see the different stages of a butterfly’s life. There was also a large netted area where we could watch live specimens fluttering about. It was interesting, but I was more impressed with the center in Malaysia.
Butterflies weren’t the only thing we saw.
In Puerto Napo, Arie was waiting for us with a pair of delicious, freshly made danishes filled with a sweet fruit marmalade. From there it was a steady climb with a few downhill reprieves to the town of Tena. We didn’t go through the town, but took a road skirting the edge.
I can’t say this bike route was the prettiest or most scenic ride we’ve done so far. It was mainly on a highway with big trucks passing on our left and garbage littering the gutters to our right.
One good thing, though, was that it was relatively flat with only a few gradual ups and downs – something we hadn’t yet experienced in Ecuador. Most of the topography is either steep up or steep down.
After Tena, the rain came. And it didn’t let up. C and I suffered through the deluge for several more kilometers before we pulled over and told Arie that we were ready to ride in the car for a while.
We slowly began to gain elevation until we left the low tropical rainforest behind and entered into a misty, and I thought more beautiful, cloud forest.
After 25 kilometers of switchbacks, we reached the apex where Arie pulled out lunch and we enjoyed a view of the clouded hills and ridges above the tree line.
Despite being chilled and soaking wet, we donned more layers (there was a noticeable temperature change from when we started) and got back on our bikes for a 25ish-kilometer ride to Baeza, where we spent the night.
The first part was all downhill, but then the road leveled out and continued on in an up-and-down fashion. It was still raining slightly, and I was pretty cold, so I didn’t bother with pictures. The landscape was beautiful, though! Very green and idyllic with cows in the pastures and steep green mountains stretching down to the river.
After a very muddy and slightly damp ride, combined with several sweaty uphills, we were ready to get off our bikes and take a shower. Shower we did, but not with hot water.
Baeza is a tiny little town with not much going on, but it’s situated smack dab in the middle of three Ecological Reserves – Cayambe-Coca, Sumaco Napo-Galeras, and Antisana – making it a convenient base for hiking and bird-watching.
Although we arrived at our hotel early – around 3pm – C and I didn’t really have any desire to explore the area any further. We quickly showered, then headed downstairs to the restaurant for a hot cup of tea and some reading/writing time.
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow we’ll be back in Quito! We still have half a day on our bikes and the rumor is we’ll visit some hot springs before getting back into the city. Then it’s part II of our Ecuadorian adventure – the Galapagos!
>> Read next: Biking Through Ecuador Day 9