Envision yourself waking up in an Andean valley, the towering green hills shrouded in mist. The rest of your family sleep soundly inside the tent while you step outside into a tranquil morning. Already the smell of a hearty breakfast of homemade granola, yogurt, fresh bread, and coffee steers you towards the ‘kitchen’. Here, a ménage of parked bikes, fellow travelers, guides and children oiling chains welcomes you.
Imagine traveling by bike from village to village with your family, in the care of local, English speaking guides who are dedicated to sustainable practices and outdoor education. Your have found yourself on a Gogi Abroad Family Bikepacking trip.
In March, Gogi Abroad (www.gogiabroad.com) is teaming up with Nahual Expeditions (http://www.nahual.com.ec/) to create a family friendly biking adventure. We will pedal power our way from Nahual’s home base at the Palugo Farm outside Quito to the small indigenous town of San Clemente in the north of Ecuador. The centuries old Palugo Farm itself is an experiment in experiential outdoor education. They’ve used permaculture principles to create a stunning and unique environment from which the trip will set out. With a day of farm work preparations to process, pack and dehydrate food as well as organize gear and fit bikes, we will be on our way as we travel through the Andean plateau. Our stops and itinerary will entertain both adults and little ones. Traveling the dirt and cobblestone roads, through paths and trails, we will take in what most tourists to this verdant land miss.
Nahual and Gogi have formed ties with the San Clemente people over years of leading trips that blend ecotourism with altruism. It is a relationship of shared values and culture. The families on this trip will have homestays in the village, where they will soak in the life of the indigenous residence, learning crafts and participating in traditional fiestas. After a few nights above the clouds, the group makes its way down to the enchanting city of Otavalo, home of a world-renowned craft market, on their way “home” to the Palugo Farm.
Their vision is that these trips will be an opportunity for families looking to travel, create community and learn local and sustainable practices, all while partaking in adventure sports that are accessible to the whole family. Nahual has a sturdy fleet of mountain bikes with all the bikepacking gear necessary for adults. Many of the frame bags, handlebar bags and saddlebags are custom made at the farm using the best materials. Trailers and youth bikes can be brought with you or rented here in Ecuador.
This family bikepacking trip in Ecuador is sure to offer many moments of gratitude. The guides hope that the families will depart Quito with a sense of awe, appreciation for each other and for the earth. After a week of cultural exploration, biking, and living in an indigenous village, the trip winds up with a refreshing soak in beautiful hot springs where they will reminisce with new friends about the adventure of riding in the magical Andes!
Bike riding is a great way to see new places. You can take your time to really enjoy the stunning landscape that Ecuador has to offer while understanding its geography in a tangible way. Gogi Abroad designs their trips so that participants are gently pushed out of their comfort zones with compassion and trust. Not only can family bikepacking be an incredible experience for everyone physically, it can also be life changing on a deeper level. People gain appreciation and a new awareness of the world and our natural resources while traveling abroad. It gives people hope for a new paradigm to emerge in the management of our planet’s natural resources, and in fraught international relations.
While the folks at Gogi and Nahual know how to have fun, they also take their travel seriously. There is an understanding that they can share their philosophy of the need to allow the new to spring up from the compost of the old paradigms of “us” and “them”, to replace the concept of “tolerance” with a sense of humility and appreciation for other cultures. Through world travel and cross-cultural engagement, it is possible to develop a more united perspective by experiencing indigenous art, permaculture and social ritual. There’s an awareness that all of us can work together as citizens of the earth, to share methods of managing vital resources such as water, as well as methods of farming, animal husbandry and food production for the benefit of all.
For more information visit www.gogiabraod.com
All photos credits: Michael Dammer/Nahual: http://eltaraumara.blogspot.com/