Gone Bike About

It’s never easy to reduce a trip to a favourite place or destination. However, we do have some that left their mark, for better or for worse! After 15 months cycling round South America, here is a sampling of our highs and lows in the 9 countries we visited.

BREAKFAST

Best – Brazil 


Fresh juice, coffee, milk, french bread, cheese, ham, butter, jam, doce de leite, cakes and fresh tropical fruit (included in the hotel price!)

Worst – Paraguay


Very cheap coffee, milk and stale biscuits…but available from 4am!

LUNCH/DINNER

Best – Brazil


Even in the smallest town/roadhouse Brazil wins hands down for quality, variety & quantity….but our favourites are still the all you can eat rodizio Pizza & BBQs.

Worst – Southern Chile


Food generally lacked imagination & variety or was just not available. The comment “Oh! I just ran out of that last week” was just too often on the tip of their tongues.

MARKETS

Best – La Paz & Cochabamba, Bolivia


You name it they had it! With colour and charm thrown in for good measure.



Best Food market – Sucre, Bolivia


I

t took us a whole week to eat our way through one of the local speciality blackboards and we topped off every meal with the best tropical fruit salads and juices.

MOST SCENIC ROUTES

Inter Oceanica Road, Peru (500km) 


From 4,800masl to 250masl we cycled from glaciers and snow-capped mountains in the altiplano right down to the lush, Amazon jungle.

Cafayate Gorge, Argentina 
(60km)


Awesome stone sculptures & rock formations in spectacular rainbow colours…. and all asphalted!

Costa Azul & Verde, Brazil (400km)


From Rio de Janeiro south to Santos, this stretch is between the Atlantic rainforest and endless white beaches, along tranquil blue waters dotted with lush islands.

Sico Pass, Argentina/Chile
(500 km)


From Salta, Argentina to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, this string of 5 mountain passes exceeding 4,000masl was as beautiful as it was taxing. Altiplano at its best … with volcanic peaks, numerous glaciers and lagoons in kitch colours.

FAVOURITE SIGHTS


Torres del Paine N.P., Chile

It’s hard to beat this for it’s scenic beauty of turquoise lakes, snow capped mountains, sheer cliffs, groaning glaciers and frisky guanacos…. pity about the road!

Iguazu Falls, Argentina & Brazil 


The sheer size and volume of these falls are stunning, not to mention their picture postcard material.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia 


The sensation of cycling for 2 days on a solid lake of salt, showing the curvature of the earth on the horizon, is too uyunique to be missed!

Machu Picchu, Peru


It may be the most visited site in South America, but it’s easy to see why. This magnificent Incacitadel, built on top of a huge rock outcrop and surrounded by jungle, is a must see on any itinerary.

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


We really enjoyed this trip into evolution’s laboratory, where exotic animals show no fear, and pose willingly in unique, volcanic surrounds.

FAVOURITE CITIES

Cartagena, Colombia 


This sugar-candy colonial town overlooking the Caribbean is definitely one of the big South American highlights. Beautifully carved wooden balconies, colourful churches and restored defence structures add charm as well as a glimpse into it’s lively past. 

Buenos Aires, Argentina 


Buenos Aires rocks! Shop till you drop, dance tamgo till the wee hours & let the varying areas enchant you for at least a couple of weeks.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 


Where else can you find a tropical rainforest right downtown? Add superb white sand beaches, excellent restaurants and magnificent viewpoints & you have a mix that’s hard to beat.

Valparaiso, Chile 


This unique maze built into the side of numerous hills, has a surprise on every streetcorner.

PEOPLE AWARDS

 

Without exception, we found friendly people throughout South America. The Colombians, Brazilians and Uruguayans were especially welcoming and helpful, as were the Argentines

 

 

But for entertainment value, our people award has to go to the Argentines, who have an expert opinion on everything from nuclear science to the perfect Asado Chimichurri. Argentines,even in the smallest of villages, can come up with a very convincing answer on the distance to Alaska. Of course, it is never just a simple, round figure, but rather something very exact like 7,654.0967km! We know they’re about 10,000km off…. but listening to them you’d nearly believe it!!!

WORST DRIVERS

Peru

The worst stretch of our whole trip was along Lago Titicaca in Southern Peru. There, we had trucks and buses that where openly hostile, and even oncoming vehicles managed to drive us off the road!

Misiones, Argentina
The main drag north of Posadas was treacherous. The lack of a hard shoulder, coupled with heavy, fast traffic following the law of the jungle made this stretch very unpleasant to say the least.  bus drivers were the worst offenders.
Colombia
The lack of secondary roads in Colombia means that the main highway is just too busy to be enjoyed. On corners it was obvious that many drivers had no concept of how long their vehicles were and their tails were often far too close for comfort. Add speed and wicked diesel fumes and you have quite a lethal mix. Brasilia Express bus drivers earned first place on our black list.