GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 4/5 - Hard
Track length: 106.42 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 3068 Meters
Total Descent: 3019 Meters

D-3.0   Loop Vilcabamba - Tambo - Villonaco- Loja - Vilcabamba

Distance                     106 km

Time                           3.5 hours

Altitude min/max     1450 m – 2600 m

Ascent                        2805 m

Descent                      2755 m

Rating                         Difficult

Start                           Vilcabamba bus terminal

End                             Vilcabamba bus terminal

The first leg of this trip up to Tambo is identical to the Vilca-Tambo Catamayo loop. But in Tambo, we climb the Cordillera to the east, where the trails are getting very rough & difficult, especially after heavy rains. You should not attempt this trip unless you have some off road experience. The intrepid biker gets rewarded with a unique back country adventure, riding on exposed ridges and cliff cut trails. Here again, you move from a dry region up to the rainforest near the top of the ridge, where the 11 wind power turbines of Villonaco high above the town of Loja are located.    


Route: Follow the Loja-highway to the north across the Cararango-pass to Malacatos. In Malacatos turn left at the second traffic light onto the Malacatos-Catamayo road. Past Malacatos you pass the Barrio Ceibopamba and the new leisure park Bella Vista. The first leg past the Purunuma junction is still sealed, but soon gives way to a washed out gravel road. The only bigger hamlet on this stretch is the Barrio La Merced which even has a church of their own. Tambo is another one of this small secluded country towns, but by know accessed by a sealed, upgraded road from Catamayo. Leave the town square in Tambo on its northeastern corner and follow the most obvious road for 1.5 km to an intersection. Here, take the steep switch back to the right. Zigzagging up the flank, you gain height very quickly and are soon rewarded by birds’ eye views back on Tambo. For the next 16 kilometers, you might not encounter a single person and feel kind of lost, until the mighty wind turbines of Villonaco come into view. From this ridge at Cerro Villonaco, the sealed road switches back down to the Barrio Tierras Colorados of Loja, where, within a couple of months from this writing, (July 2015) you should be able to use the new western bypass, to the south and back to Vilcabamba, in order to avoid the city of Loja altogether.






display:none display:none display:none