Inuvik to Ushuaia

First impressions of Argentina

Tagged:  •  
Cacti everywhere - Valley of Humahuaca
Cacti everywhere - Valley of Humahuaca (View on flickr)

Now that we have been in Argentina for a bit over a week, I have noticed some differences I would like to share. Wine flows more freely than water and is way cheaper than bottled water. I haven't really found good wine since the USA so this land of wine and honey is a great place to buy very good wine at a fantastic price. I wish I knew which wine vineyards are the best. (If you have a recommendation of some of the better wines let me know.)

Water can be drunk directly from the tap all over Argentina! No more buying plastic bottles of water and adding to the world's plastic waste.

We have entered into the land of refrigerators so we can buy cold cuts and cheeses, and refrigerated yogurts. We are now preparing sandwiches for lunch instead of the lunch specials or menu del día found in most of Latin America. The lunch specials usually consisted of rice, french fries, yucca, chicken or beef with a soup as an appetizer with rice, potato, stock and some kind of chicken or beef all for an amazing price of a dollar or two. Argentina's lunch specials are far more expensive than we've had in the rest of South America, at 3 or 4 dollars. They eat around 2:00pm, take 3 hours off and then start the evening feasting and entertainment around 9:00. We went out for dinner the other night to have our first Argentinan steak. At 8:15 we were the first ones in the restaurant that night and they had to turn on the lights for us. Most Argentinans eat dinner about 9 o´clock or 10 o´clock at night.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Argentina and Chile

Tagged:  •  

Argentina and just a bit of Chile.

Each day has elevation profile, map, and GPS information.

Other resources: PDFs of daily route notes from Florian and Rebekkah are gems of information. These are rehashes of a set that has been carried by many cyclists.
Ridedatemiles/km Elev ft/mt
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

Toll Roads and Cyclists in Latin America

Cyclists occasionally ask us about our experience on toll roads in Latin America, so I thought I'd give a little overview. We've ridden on many of them without trouble.

Throughout Latin America roads have been "privatized", giving a concession to a private company to operate them for a period of years. In general, this means better maintenance on the roads.

We have never been asked to pay a toll on any of the roads we've traveled from Mexico to Argentina. However, we have heard of cyclists being required to pay on some roads in Mexico.

Also in Mexico, we avoided the toll roads but occasionally took them. (We find that the toll roads there are fast and fancy, but you get no sense of the culture of the country.) There was one road (from Pueba to Oaxaca) that was rumored to exclude cyclists. Also, the road from Tijuana to Rosario in Baja California is supposed to rigorously exclude cyclists, forcing them onto a very dangerous, narrow alternate.

In our experience, though: We haven't been excluded from any toll roads, and we haven't been charged tolls.

On occasional, in Mexico and again in Peru, there were specific procedures they wanted us to take when approaching a toll booth. They did not want us to go through the auto lane (because we'd register on a camera?) but rather go completely around the toll booth installation. One time in Mexico, not understanding this, I approached too close and the guard did raise his gun for my benefit.

Latin American Highway Etiquette and Cyclists

Nancy riding with the big rigs
Nancy riding with the big rigs (View on flickr)

We've heard many people complain about motorists in Latin America, we we haven't had a lot of trouble. We actually have quite a lot of respect for the drivers, especially the professional drivers, as they seem to know what to do with us and often do it with courtesy.

However: The more you stay on the busy roads, the more complaints you will have. For example, we often say that there are two experiences cyclists have in Mexico. Those who come down the main highway on the west coast feel like Mexico is one big, busy, ugly highway. Those who mosey down the small roads in the interior of the country feel like it's a wonderful, welcoming, interesting country with reasonable highways.

Here are some of our observations about highway etiquette and getting along on the roads in Latin America:  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Safety: Riding on Sunday

Drunk guy at Sacapulas
Drunk guy at Sacapulas (View on flickr)

One thing we heard repeatedly in various people's blogs: "Sunday is a big drinking day in Latin America, so you should avoid riding on Sundays".

Well, they were certainly right about Sunday being a drinking day for the men. Wow, have we seen a lot of blasted men on Sundays. And I'm sure some of those men were driving.

But most people in Latin America do not drive private vehicles, and there is far less traffic on the road on Sundays. So our experience, over and over, has been that Sunday is a great day to cycle. It's also the day that the local sports-cyclists get out and ride. It's the perfect day for cycling.

Putting Your Bike on a Bus in Latin America

We have now used buses in Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Peru, and Bolivia, and have used the train in Mexico and Bolivia.

In the US it's quite a lot of pain to transport your bike by bus or plane - they want you to disassemble it, put it in a box, etc. It's a big deal. But we've had generally good and easy experiences.

  • The size of the bus's storage compartment is often the biggest issue. If the bike won't fit, it will have to be disassembled. On a dangerous road in Costa Rica we decided to bail and take a bus and we had to wait overnight for a larger bus with a larger storage compartment.
  • Sometimes the bike goes on top. In that case, we try to supervise how it's fastened down. But they seem to be experts. However, it's our bike, and therefore our responsibility. We care about it more than anybody else does.
  • Sometimes they have charged us a bit for the bikes, which seems reasonable. It is generally negotiable. Sometimes we haven't been charged at all.
  • There is some risk of damage to the bikes, as they rattle around. Normally they come out with some scratch or something that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. On a couple of dirt roads they have gotten extraordinarily dusty.
  • Sometimes when things are very busy you may have to make advance reservations and wait, since baggage compartments may be all full.

Overall, our experiences with buses have been quite satisfactory and easy.

Bike-Dreams: A Supported Ride from Quito to Ushuaia

If you want to ride the length of South America, you don't have to do it self-supported! We ran into a group, Bike Dreams out of Holland riding from Quito, Ecuador to Ushuaia at the tip of Argentina. They are fully supported and having a grand time. For just 8,900 Euros (about $11,400 right now) you could do the entire ride without having to carry gear. It sounds like a pretty good deal. They also do Paris to Dakar.

Bolivia Wrapup

Tagged:  •  
Marchers in the new-constitution march on La Paz
Marchers in the new-constitution march on La Paz (View on flickr)

Our pictures for Bolivia are up on flickr - Here's the slideshow of Bolivia and here's the slideshow of the Salar de Uyuni. Also, all our route maps and elevation profiles are updated.

Since we've been in Argentina for weeks, I guess it's time that I wrote a little something to wrap up our time in Bolivia!

We had a delightful time in Bolivia, despite the fact that we were lazy and only rode the bikes two fairly easy days (from the Peruvian border to La Paz). After that we took a bus to Uyuni, a tour of the Salar de Uyuni, and then a train to the border at Villazon. (We did get back on the bikes to ride to where we currently are in northern Argentina, in Salta).

Something is always going on politically in Bolivia, and our time there was no exception. You've probably heard about the tension between Bolivia (and Venezuela) and the U.S., and just before we arrived the US Ambassador was asked to leave the country because he was accused of instigating demonstrations in favor of breaking up the country. The current president, Evo Morales, is a campesino (he started his career growing coca!) and is clearly a populist leftist, and has lots of challenges ahead of him.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Greetings from Patagonia!

Tagged:  •  

We are in Bariloche, in Patagonia in southern Argentina. We have rented an apartment for a month and will enjoy a gorgeous place with fine weather. As winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, we will be exploring the lakes district which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and spring weather. Please let me know if you are sufficiently jealous.

Valley in Quebrada de Cafayate
Valley in Quebrada de Cafayate (View on flickr)

We rode from Salta, Argentina, a jazzy city in Northern Argentina, through the Canyon of the Shells (Quebrada de Las Conchas or Quebrada de Cafayate) an impressive multi-colored landscape with interesting geological and cultural history. As my friend, Linda, described It is like Moab, Utah but with more pizazz. The landscape was inspiring as we traveled down the las Conchas Ravine and colorful sedimentary mountains towered over us. I was gleeful to be riding. Amazed at that we where riding this region in Northern Argentina. How lucky can we be?  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Biking the Seven Lakes (Siete Lagos) District in Patagonia

Tagged:  •  

Even though we are taking a break in Bariloche, Argentina for a month, we are not staying still. One of my dreams for years has to been to ride my bike through the incredibly beautiful Patagonian Seven Lakes, or Siete Lagos district. This past weekend, this dream came through. The plan was take a bus to San Martin de Lost Andes and pedal back along the way we had come to La Angostura along a road that was paved for half paved and half dirt.

We loaded our bikes on a bus departing at 7:00 pm from Bariloche and got to San Martin de los Andes 11:00. We had no trouble loading our two bikes into the back compartment of the bus as they fit perfectly standing up and we didn't even have to take off the wheels. Not all bus service in Argentina will take bikes but after a few phone calls we found out that Albus would take two bikes on each trip. The bus company Aribus was great all the ways: courteous, efficient, clean new buses, safe and best of all, they took our bikes with no fuss. Being able to put our bikes on a bus and travel short or long distances has been one of the nicest parts of traveling in Latin America. No boxes, no fussing, just load and go.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Syndicate content