Inuvik to Ushuaia

Route: South America - April 14, 2008 to .January 15, 2009

Individual pages with country-by-country info and far more detail on them:
Ridedatemiles/km Elev ft/mt
Cartagena to Maria La Baja, Colombia2008-04-1647/76900/278
Maria La Baja to Toluviejo2008-04-1753/85839/259
Toluviejo to Lorica, Colombia2008-04-1846/74629/194
Lorica to Montería, Colombia2008-04-1939/6342/13
Montería to Buenaventura2008-04-2152/841305/403
Buenaventura to El Jardín de Cáceres2008-04-2250/81997/308
El Jardín to Puerto Valdivia2008-04-2346/741230/380
Puerto Valdivia to Alto de las Ventanas, Colombia2008-04-2423/376017/1857
Alto de las Ventanas to Yarumal2008-04-2515/241958/604
Yarumal to Don Matias2008-04-2647/764104/1267
Don Matias to Medellín, Colombia2008-04-2733/531249/385
Medellín to La Pintada2008-05-0150/813973/1226
La Pintada to La Manuela2008-05-0260/973766/1162
La Manuela to Manizales2008-05-0315/243497/1079
Manizales to Armenia, Colombia2008-05-0562/1005006/1545
Armenia to Salento2008-05-0628/452736/844
Armenia to Armenia, Colombia2008-05-0713/21580/179
Armenia to Buga La Grande2008-05-0845/731528/472
Buga la Grande to Cali, Colombia2008-05-0980/129784/242
Cali to Peaje Tunia2008-05-1355/894344/1341
Peaje Tunia to Popayan, Colombia2008-05-1432/522191/676
Popayan to San Agustin, Colombia2008-05-161/20/0
Popayan to Mojarras2008-05-1977/1244826/1490
Mojarras to El Tablon2008-05-2039/634310/1330
El Tablon to Chachagui2008-05-2127/444438/1370
Chachagui to Pasto, Colombia2008-05-2217/273057/944
Pasto to Ipiales, Colombia2008-05-2448/776351/1960
Ipiales, Colombia to Tulcán, Ecuador2008-05-2517/271679/518
Tulcán to Ambuquí, Ecuador2008-05-2654/873015/931
Ambuquí to Otavalo, Ecuador2008-05-2739/633943/1217
Otavalo to Cayambe2008-05-2820/322070/639
Cayambe to Quito, Ecuador2008-05-2951/824258/1314
Quito to Machachi2008-06-1527/441827/564
Machachi to Pujilí, Ecuador2008-06-1642/682326/718
Baños to Puyo2008-06-2140/651443/445
Puyo to Pastaza River2008-06-2243/691742/538
Pastaza River to Macas, Ecuador2008-06-2338/612595/801
Macas to Sucua2008-06-2415/24488/151
Sucúa to Méndez2008-06-2533/53728/225
Méndez to KM 37 from Méndez2008-06-2623/375754/1776
KM37 past Mendéz to Palmas, Ecuador2008-06-2740/656200/1914
Palmas to Paute, Ecuador2008-06-2825/402238/691
Paute to Cuenca, Ecuador2008-06-2925/401492/460
Cuenca to Oña, Ecuador2008-07-0361/985918/1827
Oña, Ecuador to Saraguro, Ecuador2008-07-0423/373579/1105
Saraguro to Loja, Ecuador2008-07-0538/612818/870
Loja to Vilcabamba2008-07-0730/482578/796
Vilcabamba to High Camp in Podocampus National Park above Valladolid2008-07-1029/476049/1867
High Camp to Palanda by bike then Zumba by bus2008-07-1150/815500/1698
Zumba, Ecuador to Namballe, Peru2008-07-1221/342490/769
Namballe, Peru to San Ignacio, Peru2008-07-1328/454300/1327
San Ignacio to Tamborada2008-07-1645/731650/509
Tamborada to Bagua Grande via Bella Vista2008-07-1743/692034/628
Bagua Grande to Pedro Ruiz and by combi to Chachapoyas2008-07-1842/683600/1111
Chachapoyas to El Tingo2008-07-1923/37518/160
El Tingo to Kuélap by car2008-07-201/24000/1235
El Tingo to Leymebamba via Revash2008-07-2135/562332/720
Leymebamba to Celendín by potato truck2008-07-2289/144/0
Celendín to Cruz Conga2008-07-2321/342539/784
Cruz Conga to Cajamarca, Peru2008-07-2447/762122/655
Cajamarca to Trujillo (by bus)2008-07-261/2/0
Trujillo to Chao, Peru2008-08-1642/681456/449
Chao to Chuquicara2008-08-1746/742500/772
Chuquicara to Camp 8km before Yuracmarca2008-08-1830/482063/637
Camp near Yuracmarca to Huallanca, Peru2008-08-1913/211794/554
Huallanca to Caraz, Peru2008-08-2025/402700/833
Caraz to Huaraz, Peru2008-08-2243/693600/1111
Huaraz to Cátac, Peru2008-08-2423/371800/556
Catac to Conococha2008-08-2529/472237/690
Conococha to Pachapaqui2008-08-2625/401978/610
Pachapaqui to Huallanca, Huánuco, Peru2008-08-2730/482405/742
Huallanca (Huánuco) to La Unión2008-08-2813/21190/59
La Unión to Tingo Chico2008-08-3020/321204/372
Tingo Chico to Chavinillo2008-08-3123/372270/701
Chavinillo to Huánuco, Peru2008-09-0145/731787/552
Huánuco to Huariaca2008-09-0443/693667/1132
Huariaca to Huancayo by car and bus2008-09-051/2/0
Huancayo to Mariscal Cáceres2008-09-1349/792700/833
Mariscal Cáceres to Camp before Anco2008-09-1441/662083/643
Camp near Anco to Mayocc2008-09-1527/441456/449
Mayocc to Huanta, Peru2008-09-1620/322047/632
Huanta to Ayacucho, Peru2008-09-1730/482381/735
Ayacucho to Andahualas by bus2008-09-211/2/0
Andahuaylas to Cuzco by bus2008-09-221/2/0
Cuzco to Quiquijana2008-09-2944/71485/150
Quiquijana to Sicuani2008-09-3044/711824/563
Sicuani to Santa Rosa2008-10-0142/682677/826
Santa Rosa to Calapuja2008-10-0271/115593/183
Calapuja to Puno, Peru2008-10-0344/71869/268
Puno to Ilave2008-10-0735/561410/435
Ilave to Yunguyo2008-10-0849/792033/627
Yunguyo, Peru to Copacabana, Bolivia2008-10-097/11528/163
Copacabana to Batallas2008-10-1157/922984/921
Batallas to La Paz, Bolivia2008-10-1238/611250/386
La Paz to Uyuni by bus2008-10-201/26888/2126
Uyuni, Bolivia to La Quiaca, Argentina by train2008-10-251/22200/679
La Quiaca to Camp near Tres Cruces (Capilla Vieja)2008-10-2660/971289/398
Capilla Vieja to Humahuaca2008-10-2739/63869/268
Humahuaca to Camp near Purmamarca2008-10-2838/61429/132
Purmamarca to Jujuy2008-10-2943/69718/222
Jujuy to La Caldera2008-11-0145/732068/638
La Caldera to Salta2008-11-0217/27462/143
Salta to Vaqueros2008-11-059/15200/62
Vaqueros to San Lorenzo, Argentina2008-11-0810/16600/185
San Lorenzo to Chicoana2008-11-1837/60718/222
Chicoana to Alemanía2008-11-1943/691492/460
Alemanía to Cafayate2008-11-2052/842788/860
Cafayate to Amaicha del Valle2008-11-2242/682066/638
San Martín de los Andes to Pichi Traful2008-12-0639/633000/926
Pichi Traful to Espejo Chico2008-12-0720/321692/522
Espejo Chico to Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina2008-12-0817/27/0
Bariloche to Casa Pangue, Carabineros, Chile2008-12-3022/351500/463
Casa Pangue to Ensenada, Chile2008-12-3123/37600/185
Ensenada to Puerto Montt, Chile2009-01-0143/692824/872

Colombia hospitality

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Ivo cutting up fruit in Manizales
Ivo cutting up fruit in Manizales (View on flickr)

We have been very blessed to be invited to the homes of new friends in Colombia. We contacted 4 different people in four different parts of Colombia that offer hospitality through the website. All four answered us and offered us the warmest welcome to stay with them.

We've now visited the four wonderful hosts on our route in Colombia. The first one was in Manizales, up a huge climb, huger then huge but worth every inch of the climb. We stayed with Jon Olson and his new wife, Ivo. Jon is orginally from Minnisota and currently lives in Manizales teaching math in a bilingual school. Ivo, a native of Bogotá, is a speech therapist by professional who until she got married 3 months ago worked at a university in her home town. (She is currently looking for work in Manizales.)

The two of them gave us a great view of Colombia, educated us to proper etiquette and answered so many questions we had. It was a wanderful to stay with them in their fourth-floor penthouse and kick back for a day off. Ivo is a master of making juices from exotic fruit and an excellent cook. I even went to the store with them and bought every different kind of fruit I had never tasted. Some I liked and some I did not, and some I did not have chance to taste because we were just too busy to cut it all up and give it a try. Watermelon was the favorite by everyone.

We left Manizales and cycled to Armenia in one day.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

San Agustín: Archaeology Side-trip

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San Agustin Image
San Agustin Image (View on flickr)

Randy and I have made a priority of visiting many pre-Columbian archeology sites during our bike trip from the north pole to the south pole. After a month of riding the beautiful country of Colombia we decided to go off-route and take a bus 6 hours from Popayán to San Agustín, a magical place full of thousands of pre-Columbian sculptures and burial sites. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, San Agustín is a place of natural beauty and important universal culture. Some artifacts have been carbon dated as early as 3300 B.C., and aparently it was one continuous culture from that period to the date it mysteriously disappeared in the 8th century A.D.

Who built these and why are both total mysteries. Some theorize it was all a city for the dead - since humans live a short time on this earth but a long time in the after life, the burials require their own city. This spiritual place is a burial place to honor those in the after life. The hundreds of burial sites found throughout the 50,000 hectare area are full of treasures, potteries and huge sculptures guarding the tombs of the dead. Standing erect are mystical megalithic sculptures representing gods, and mystical animals. Almost all the sculptures have mammoth heads two or three times large than the body, either short legs or none and also human and animal features intermixed. The majority have jaguar or eagle features carved into the huge free standing carefully sculptured rocks. Some are realistic and others are rather abstract.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

The Casa de Ciclistas in Cali, Colombia

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Miller, Pablo, and Nancy making Ajiaco soup for Mother's Day
Miller, Pablo, and Nancy making Ajiaco soup for Mother's Day (View on flickr)

We stayed at our first "Casa de Ciclistas" (House of Cyclists) in Cali, and it was an incredible experience.

Casas de Ciclistas are a special Latin American institution, probably started by a gentleman in Trujillo, Peru named Lucho. He opened his home to travelers on bicycle years ago and has now hosted hundreds. He has a very humble home, but always makes it available for cyclists, and is one of the best known resources for touring cyclists in Latin America.

Well, other people think it´s a good idea too, and our new friend Miller Hernan in Cali. Miller is interested in touring, and decided to follow Lucho´s example, and what a delightful Casa de Ciclistas he has created. Hernan's family has a very simple house in a calm "tranquilo" neighborhood in southern Cali, and they just invited us in. We put up our tent in their very nice patio and were more comfortable than we've been in 90% of the hotels we've ever stayed in.

But it even went further. We were there for Mother's Day, and Miller invited Nancy to join his mother for the dinner festivities. And they shopped together for the ajiaco soup, then prepared it together and it was a delight.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

We're Sponsored! (Sort of)

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Randy and Nancy leaving the Casa de Ciclistas in Cali
Randy and Nancy leaving the Casa de Ciclistas in Cali (View on flickr)

We met some very nice people in Cali. One of them was Jose Lopez (and his whole family), an excellent and active cyclist who has ridden the entire country on his mountain bike. Jose belongs to a group called Colombia Nuestra Meta (Colombia Our Goal), which does major country-crossing rides and raises money to get bikes for kids in remote villages.

Last year, Colombia Nuestra Meta rode the entire route that we're riding (impressive!) and this year they're doing a route that's even harder, crossing all three mountain ranges that define this country, crossing it from east to west.

Jose met us and gave us a grand tour of Cali, and then gave us two absolutely beautiful cycling jackets (shown in the picture) - the nicest we've ever had. Our job is to take a picture of ourselves in front of famous South American sites with these beautiful jackets. It gives us a good excuse to get more pictures of us together.

Thanks, Jose!

Colombia: Notes along the way

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Randy getting a lift on a passing truck
Randy getting a lift on a passing truck (View on flickr)

Some notes from our 1000 miles (1600+ kilometers) so far in Colombia:

It's very common here for cyclists to grab the back of a slow-moving truck for a ride up to the top of a hill. It's loads of fun. Don't slap my hand too hard...  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Colombia Wrapup and Memories

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Woman carrying her bundle of firewood
Woman carrying her bundle of firewood (View on flickr)

Some more ramblings about our (wonderful) time in Colombia:

Colombia is such a diverse country. I'd say there's more money here than in any country we've been in since we left the US. Many relatively small towns have very fancy downtowns, with great services. (If you're looking for a place to invest, you should consider Colombia. It's looked on so poorly by the outside world, but is actually thriving and on the way up.)

On the other hand, we've seen poverty as severe as many other places, and lots of rural scenes. Horse carts galore, competing in cities with fancy cars in underpasses. Bicycles loaded with all kinds of construction goods and equipment. People living along the highway in shacks made of plastic sheeting. Beggars crawling around in the cities. Sometimes very sad.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

We crossed into Ecuador today

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Nancy and Randy at the Ecuador border
Nancy and Randy at the Ecuador border (View on flickr)

We crossed into Ecuador today! Our 10th country. 11,000 miles (17,700 km) into the ride. It's high, cold, mountainous.

In the last few days we've been riding up to and above 10,000 feet in elevation and it's been so cloudy or foggy that we can't see much at all of the beautiful scenery above us. We can usually see valleys below, but can't see even the sides of the great volcanoes.

Colombia Maps and GPS Information

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Mapas de Ruta - the excellent strip-maps we used in Colombia
Mapas de Ruta - the excellent strip-maps we used in Colombia (View on flickr)

The most commonly available map of Colombia (outside the country) is the widely available one from ITMB (International Travel Maps). As usual theirs is quite poor, but since it was the only one we could get before arriving in the country, we bought it.

However, we were able to get some excellent map resources at the national institute of geography, the Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi, and that did us very well. They offered a number of maps, but we bought their set of route maps "Mapas de Ruta", that gave 1:750,000 renditions of the major highway stretches of the whole country.

There are also a couple of widely available travel guides for the country, with lots of great information, but they're big glossy books with lots of ads and they're extremely heavy. One of these is the Guia de Rutas Por Colombia and another is published by the big telephone company Telefonica.

The GPS maps we used don't seem to be available, but a helpful visitor commented "If you are looking for very good maps for tha garmin GPS try Gisco at"

Nancy's remembrances of Colombia

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Cartagena bay
Cartagena bay (View on flickr)

About a year ago Randy and I started talking about the pros and cons of riding through the most northern country of South America. We all know that Colombia has had a bad reputation for years because of narcotrafficking, the FARC guerrilla organization, paramilitary groups, kidnapping, etc. We even told our family members we would skip this country and fly straight to Ecuador. After reading the wonderful adventures of other cyclists who dared to enter the foreboding country we started to understand things have changed for the better of the last few years. The most current reports tell how Colombia has gone and is still going through a great metamorphosis. Much of the change can be attributed to the President, Álvaro Uribe, who is determined to make Colombia a safe place after more than 40 years of conflict.

The following is my impression of Colombia during our bicycle ride in May 2008.

We entered the seaport of Cartagena after sailing from Panama. The cityscape looked like a mixture of Quebec, Canada, Miami, Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Cartagena is surrounded by stone fortresses built to protect the city from years and years of pirate attacks that the city endured in the time that it was a key treasure port for the Spanish. Currently there is an astonishing number of new skyscrapers being built -- I counted over 20 huge cranes hanging over the city´s waterfront, a sure sign of prosperity and growth.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

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