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Ecuador offers varied biking options. Rentals in Baños and certain beach towns provide the option of heading off on your own. The highlands have a better climate for biking and are traversed by countless dirt tracks, with seemingly unlimited options for mountain biking, but there is a real potential for getting lost, which makes guided tours a good option. Some travelers fly their bike down and explore on their own, avoiding the country's main roads. Various tour companies -- most of them based in Quito -- provide the highway transport, bilingual guides, and logistical support.

Tour Operators & Outfitters

Adventure Planet Ecuador (tel. 02/2863-086; www.adventureplanet-ecuador.com) runs a selection of mountain-bike tours lasting from 3 to 16 days. The shorter trips explore the scenery around Cotopaxi and Otavalo, whereas the 1-week trip combines exploration of protected areas with stops at indigenous markets, and the 2-week trips go from the highlands down to the Amazon basin or Pacific coast.

Aries Bike Company (tel. 02/2906-052; www.ariesbikecompany.com) has an array of guided tours that last anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks. Those itineraries range from challenging rides over the rugged countryside surrounding Ecuador's highest peaks, or around the crater lake of Quilotoa, to more leisurely downhill routes.

Luna Runtun (tel. 03/2740-882; www.lunaruntun.com), the hotel and spa perched on a hillside above Baños, has a selection of day tours through the surrounding countryside that vary in difficulty, but all include amazing views.

Quinde Expeditions (tel. 02/2257-924; www.quinde.com) runs tours ranging from 1 to 5 days in various regions. Shorter trips explore the slopes of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo volcanoes, or the cloud forests of Mindo, whereas longer ones traverse the highlands north of Quito, or the tropical dry forest of Machalilla National Park on the Pacific coast.

Safari Ecuador (tel. 02/2552-505; www.safari.com.ec) offers mountain-bike safaris around Volcán Cotopaxi and to indigenous villages, including a back-road trip from Quito to the market town of Otavalo.

Surtrek (tel. 866/978-7398 in the U.S. and Canada, or 02/2231-534 in Ecuador; www.surtrek.com), one of the country's biggest tour operators/wholesalers, has mountain-bike tours ranging from 1 day to 2 weeks.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.