GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 4/5 - Hard
Track length: 99.45 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 3527 Meters
Total Descent: 3483 Meters

D-3.1  Loop Vilca - Tambo - "La Palma" - Loja - Vilca

Distance         100 km

Time               3.25 hours

Altitude          1455 m – 2890 m

Ascent            3140 m

Descent          3100 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 we join the Malacatos-Loja road of the “High-rise-Track”. Here you have the choice of returning to Malacatos by the “High-rise” on top of the ridge or via the town of Loja.

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 Vista Bella. 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. Within 300 meters, you find a road trail branching uphill to your right. From here, the trail climbs steeply for 1300 meters. On this lonely trail, the only sign of civilization is the Escuela Clodoveo Carrión in La Palma, some 7.5 km up the ridge. On top of the ridge at La “Y” de la Palma, you join the road of the “High-rise” route, coming from Malacatos. If you haven’t had enough of rough trails, you can turn right and follow the ridge road back to Malacatos. But our recorded track follows the road to the left and eventually switches back and down to the southern outskirts of Loja. Once the western detour of Loja is completed, you can avoid the town of Loja altogether and join the southern highway on the new road.





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