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Is it a bad time to travel through Ecuador?

Season 6: Project Alaska

1 January 2022

A huge part of planning a long- (or short for that matter) distance motorcycle trip is thinking about what the best time is to undertake the adventure. Generally, your adventure is going to be a lot more enjoyable and pleasant if you pick the best season or time of the year. Nobody wants to ride through Africa in the rainy season or in Siberia in the midst of winter. So, planning is essential. 

When I type in 'best time to visit Ecuador', Google advises me to visit Ecuador in June to September because it will be dry and sunny then. But, I was so desperate to go back to South America to finish my journey to Alaska that I didn't check what the weather would be like in November and December. Nor did I care. Come rain or shine, I shall persist and continue the ride. At least that is what I thought. 

So far, it has rained pretty much every afternoon in Ecuador. At first, I thought it was just my own fault of being here during the 'wrong' months of the year. Until I read an interesting article. Turns out, we are dealing with another La Niña year. 

La Niña and Ecuador

Perhaps you are only familiar with her counterpart, El Niño. Both phenomenons are climate patterns that affect weather patterns all over the world. An El Niño or La Niña episode typically lasts 9 to 12 months, but can sometimes last for years. 

The La Niña effect occurs less often, but when it does, it means that more warm waters are being pushed towards Asia because of strong westerly winds. As a result, deep, cold water comes to the surface, west of the Americas. 

The effect of the upwelling of this cold water is that places like Australia and Indonesia are going to receive lots of rainfall and probably experience flooding. The south of the USA becomes drier, whereas its northern part and Canada will experience heavier rainfall. The hurricane season in Central America is often more active during La Niña, causing heavy rainfall, floods and landslides. And as for Ecuador, heavy rainfall is what she will receive. 

That is not very good news for me as I will be traveling through Ecuador, Colombia and Central America in the coming months.

Crime and Ecuador 

On top of that, 2021 hasn't been a good year crime-wise either. Ecuador declared a state of emergency over a crime wave that hit the country and due to several deadly prison riots. It turns out that Ecuador has changed from being a drug trafficking country (not good) to a drug consumer country (worse) as land borders with neighboring countries have been closed due to the pandemic. 

Like many other countries in the world where I've traveled that have big internal crime problems like this (think: South Africa), you don't notice much of it as a motorcycle traveler. Unless you get massively involved in drug trade or other criminal activities, of course. Staying out of bad neighborhoods in big cities and not riding at nighttime will generally do the job. When you explore mountains and other remote areas on your motorcycle during the day, all you will encounter are lovely people that are pretty excited to meet you. In that sense, Ecuador feels safe and not dangerous at all.

Spectacular Ecuador

That leaves the question: is it a bad time to travel to Ecuador? I think it's always a good time to travel to Ecuador, as it's a spectacular country with incredible nature, friendly people and good food (important!). You can't go very wrong here! 

And as for La Niña. Yes, it may not be the best time to be here. But as these big climate patterns have global effects, there are many other countries that also suffer from it. In a way, there is just no escape of La Niña. And I guess that's also part of traveling, experiencing how a nation handles conditions other than just sunshine and blue skies. Seeing how it's like to live in a place when it gets tough. 

The most significant thing for me is to be back on the road again,  exploring and experiencing as much as I can, so I can share it with you. No matter, rain or sunshine!


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I was worrying if you were going to go through Ecuador it is getting really bad their ! Stay safe !

Bradford  | 

Hi, really enjoying your blog. Brings back memories of year in Central and South America. Its interesting how some things change and others stay the same. In 1977 on Honda 350KLs crossing from Panama to Columbia was by far the most difficult crossing. Panama was divided into the American controlled Canal Zone and locally controlled rest which had no proper port, was full of crime but really interesting. In the end got a boat from Panama to Buenaventura where our troubles started. Customs confiscated passport and Carnet leaving us stuck in the docks with no facilities or food for several days .Eventually got out after enlisting some "good cops' who recovered documents and got us out at 2am. Buenaventura was the most desperate place I'd ever been and the rest of Columbia was in the grip of the Cartels with government officials and police being shot and whole towns taken over. Now Columbia is safe and it sounds as if Equadior which in 77 was a friendly and beautiful country is not so safe thanks to the drugs. All the best for the rest of your trip

Has Been  | 

While you're in Colombia, could you go to Gaviotas, the famous village founded in 1971 where they've planted over a million trees and reclaimed land that was dead before? It would be great to see it in reality, through your camera, rather than the official websites.

Ronman  | 




What a great start to season six. I can see why not to put Alaska into a basket again. Hope the H60's work out much better. What was that fruit opener you used, never saw one with that design.
In a couple of days we made it up from -4.7 F to 51 F ... with wind of course ... it's the Rocky Mountains.
Take care Noraly. Next adventure on the 10th of January 22 is only 36 hours away.

Mike - P.  | 

Hi Noraly. You truly are amazing! You've been going for more than 2 months now! By the time you posted the last video of Savannah in two parts at the end of the Kalahari rally, you have left Quito. After today's episode i think you went back to Quito for new tires and a service on Alaska. So i think you then crossed into Colombia on or near 1st December. By year end you could have been in Costa Rica easily!

Take care and enjoy the ride in 2022.

Tom  | 

Yes, you are spot on. It is an unusual year for the Pacific in that we are experiencing am intensified La Niña this year following a La Niña year last year as well. The NOAA website shows the development of the La Niña this year and you are smack in the epicenter of it as it flows from east to west across the Pacific in the equatorial region. You, Noraly, have the true heart of an adventurer, though. You are on this journey, not just this one, but the one called life, to explore, discover, and push the limits, if needed, to explore and experience that which is there to be experienced in it's raw form. I want to say it was perhaps by only your 3rd or 4th episode of your first season they I remember thinking, you have the heart of a lion, and you do. We, as your fans and supporters, worry about you, of course because we care about you, but I know you would not be you with out your passion for exploration and adventure. That is what makes you, you, and what makes you so special. We will keep watching and riding with you as you take us along on your remarkable journey and continue to inspire us, fellow adventures, four sure you have inspired me, to step out of my comfort zone and take on new adventures of our own. Thank you for sharing your journey with us! 🙏🏼😊

Ranjit  | 

You are a saint keep up the adventures that as we get older we can see the world through your eyes , and enjoy your travels😊😊😊😊😊😊🥂

Chris Venter  | 

Hey my friend. Glad you’re feeling better. Happy new year. Stay safe

Charles S bordelon  | 

Hi Noraly,

Sorry to hear that altitude sickness caught you in Quilotoa at just 3500 m altitude. As you said, you crossed much higher passes in the past, so I assume it was perhaps a fatal combination of altitude and high humidity.

I remember you once said, you are a very bad boss to yourself, so enjoy a small break every once and a while at a nice place and better work not too hard as nearing burnout won't help neither us nor yourself.

So, happy travelling northbound now and all the best for 2022!


Thomas_57  | 

Happy 2022 in Ecuador !! and have a good trip

vespa_italy_oc  | 

Hey Noraly,
Thanks for taking us on your trip, we love the way you are always smiling and positive . . . even in bad traffic and rainy weather!
But mate, get some wet dirt roads tyres OK?
Come and do outback Australia some time!

Chello in Aus  | 

Maybe gives you time to get new tires.

tom teeters  | 

Happy New Year and do enjoy Ecuador as much as you can! Please keep them vids coming since I do love them all.
Best of luck in 2022 and please stay safe!
Al Tesser

al tesser  | 

Here is the good news: Bad people don't like getting cold and wet either. It's a good time to travel! ;-) Having ridden through a number of hailstorms and locust storms (they hurt!), in inadequate gear, I envy your kit! Press on, "If it was easy, it wouldn't need you."

Bob Fry  | 

If it works for you, we have a very nice separate Apartment next to our house by the beach in Nicaragua that you could rest up and good Internet. There is a fun trail that goes from San Juan del Sur to Popoyo that you would enjoy. Thanks for all the great videos.

Dale T  | 

Hi Noraly: Thank you for all of what you do. May you be safe in your travels and enjoy all of it as you go. I am not a fan of riding in the rain but hay it is all part of the adventures of life. I am waiting for spring here in Chelan Washington. It is 14% F here and 6" of snow on the ground and more on the way. So I just go out in my garage to look at my new CRF300L Rally and dream about what I want to add to her where we will go come spring. Happy New Year and may God bless you and keep you safe.

recumbentman  | 

Thanks for the rainy ride experience in Cuenca. And the Cuenca nature symphony. Keeping it real and natural. :)

secondcreekrider  | 

Amazed at all of your talents - including a concise explanation of La Nina. Wow. Had never thought of it that was. Perfectly written - I get it now. We're getting snow here in Ellensburg, Washington, USA every day this month. Best wishes to you, Dear Noraly.

Nick Zentner  | 

Ni la Niña ni el Niño ni nada pueden contigo y tu empuje.
Ánimo y mucha suerte en tu camino al Gran Norte.

Manuel  | 

I agree it's better to go and travel than to wait, for as we all know if you wait you end up being 60years old and still haven't gone!

Telg1  | 

Dear Miss Noraly !
Thank You for '22.wishes, I of we, can only hope that the world generally will be better in '22. !
And also to You - all the best, health and all Your wishes to be fulfilled in '22. !
Also - the best season ever ! !!
With best regards, sincerely

Srecko  | 

Enjoying this new season ☺
Its snow here now so my bikes are tuck away for winter. I look forward to each episode grab a coffee and see what you have for us.
Thank you and Happy New Year🎉

Soap  | 

I'm not a fan of riding the rain, but at least you have good equipment. Happy new year.

Dave Marriott  | 

Hi Noraly. Happy New year to you too. Every day you go out on Alaska is an Adventure or Challenge, Unfortunately the Weather is something we can't control, so we make the best of it as you do. Ride Safe.

Les moore  | 

Happy New year to you Noraly, May you have safe travels through out 2022.
My diet would have to be watched if I had to to eat some of the things I have seen.
Keep up all the great content as I look forward for the next episode.

Davidjeng  | 

Beste Noraly,
Gelukkig nieuwjaar! Weer nieuwe avonturen, helaas een beetje nat maar een goede uitrusting en een paar goede banden maken het reizen een stuk aangenamer,veel plezier!

Arnout  | 

Never tried it myself, but I think if I were attempting a Patagonia to Alaska trip I would want to first of all try to avoid snow, ice and below freezing temperatures as much as possible. I remember your ride into Kyrgyzstan. Hypothermia is definitely NOT fun.
As such, Ecuador is probably as good a place as any to be at this time of the year.
Not so up here near the Alberta/Montana Rockies. Minus 28 again this morning. Yikessssss!
Stay warm, Noraly.

Bill Foster  | 

You are better prepared as I think the Iceland and Norway segments helped forumulat a proper rain gear plan. It's great what Revit has helped you with Noraly. (Not counting pouring H2O out of your H2O boots.) Plus it's been a long time since beautiful young women we human sacrifices in parts of South America.

Stay strong, watch you six, and be blessed by God always.

Mike - P.  | 

Love what you do, we watch from Vancouver Island keep up the fab work😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

Chris Venter  | 

It's good to hear that you will persist as I note that you are usually pretty conservative when it comes to the weather. It will be all the more important to get those better off road tyres onto Alaska I guess, or has this already happened?

SteveLam  | 

The crime issue and excessive rain are certainly concerning but, then again, the rain contributes to those incredibly beautiful, lush forests and mountain sides and the soft, diffused light makes all the colors really pop in your footage. I'm becoming addicted to the sound of Alaska's engine and exhaust note and am especially glad you did not trade her in your latest episode :) Wishing you a great year and interesting and safe travels.

Bsmukler  | 

For adventures, It doesn't matter if the sun is shining or it's raining. But I hope for you that sometimes you can get a break and enjoy the landscapes and take nice rides without worrying about filming in bad weather or driving in the mud.
Drive safe and stay positive!

MartijnD  | 
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