GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 4/5 - Hard
Track length: 368.49 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 12188 Meters
Total Descent: 12139 Meters

F-1.0  Loop Vilcabamba - Amaluza - Zumba – Vilcabamba

Distance         370 km             

Time               2–3 Days

Altitude          850 m – 3500 m

Ascent            11045 m

Descent          11000 m

Rating             Hard 4/5

Start               Vilcabamba bus terminal

End                 Vilcabamba bus terminal

Sin doubt, this is the ultimate Motorbike run out of Vilcabamba. Three Cordillera-crossings, the national parks Yacuri & Podocarpus, rainforests, Paramo, waterfalls, pre Inca petroglyphs, Lagunas, trails off the beaten track. This loop via Purunuma-Quilanga-Amaluza-Jimbura-Zumba-Vallodolid-Vilcabamba, has it all. For safety reasons it’s recommended to set out on this trip only in groups.

Chino’s Bicycle Shop (Chino tel. 098 187 63 47) can arrange it for you.  

 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. At km 17 from Vilcabamba, leave the sealed road and turn left onto the gravel road to Purunuma. Descending 4.5 km to the Rio Catamayo, you cross the river, then a 16 km climb past the Barrio Chiquil brings you up to the pass & Shrine Huacaca at 2’335 m. 2.5 km later, you reach the secluded town of Purunuma. At the hillside end of the village, turn left. (Don’t follow the Gonzanama-road). 8 km out of Purunuma, through Eucalyptus forests pastures and small farms, you reach a fork. The left branch leads to the Plaza del Inca, but we take the right branch down to the town of Quilanga. 3.5 km after the Intersection, you pass a small waterfall on your right. Quilanga still preserves the charm of a laid back country town even though it’s now accessed by a sealed road from Gonzanama and Ingenio. As a side trip we can visit the Petroglyphs Anganuma 3 km out of Quilanga on the road towards Gonzanama. From Anganuma we retrace via Quilanga 20 km to the south on a good road to the intersection of Ingenio, at the bridge of Rio Pindo. Turn left at the junction. The 25 km bad gravel from here to Amaluza are being upgraded, so that you even may find a nice road by the time you get here. It’s best to spend the night in Amaluza. For a bird’s eye view of the Town, you can drive up to the Mirador Bellavista, some 9 km uphill via the Barrio Bellavista. Next day, we leave the town westwards on the Jimbura road. At the laid back town Jimbura, 16 km from Amaluza, the border police might check your ID’s, make sure you have them with you. 3 km later, there is a fork to the nearby Peruvian border to the west. Our road south starts climbing steeply to the visitor center/shelter of the Yacuri national park at 3200m. From here, you can hike for 40 minutes through the Paramo, to visit the impressive Laguna Negra some 200 meters above the center. Continuing south, the road climbs to the highest point of our trip at 3500m. From the grassy Paramo above the timberline, we descend a thousand meters trough rainforest to the lush pastures of the first tiny settlement on the eastern side of the Cordillera, San Andres. Slowly getting back to civilization, we pass the village La Diversion on the way to Zumba. I recommend to spend the night in Zumba.

The 50 km from Zumba to Palanda are the roughest leg of today. Some 4 km out of Palanda you can visit the pre-Inca archaeological site of Santa Ana-La Florida. The worthwhile site is located less than one km off the highway to the right, at the bank of the Rio Palanda. Between Palanda & Vallodolid our gravel adventure comes to an end, when we hit the new concrete road. Crossing the eastern Cordillera between Vallodolid & Yangana one last time, we pass through the rainforest of the southwest corner of Podocarpus national park. Quite often you get stormy rains and dense fog on this crossing, be prepared. Once we get to Yangana, we’re saved. In just 30 minutes we reach our starting point in Vilcabamba.




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