An extraordinary motorcycle journey through 8 countries, starting in the far northern reaches of the Arctic and ending in the tropical climates of Panama. From uninhabited tundra of the Arctic Circle and the glacier littered Icefields Parkway to the deep orange deserts of the Navajo Region and the legendary rock formations of Monument Valley, the landscapes are vast, horizons are endless and the sky is big! After the challenge of the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay, we turn south crossing the famous Gold Rush regions of the Yukon, the Stewart Cassiar Highway and the stunning Icefields Parkway. In the USA, we avoid the Interstates and the big cities and stick to the beautiful back roads, small town America and the stunning National Parks, crossing the rugged terrain that is the Continental Divide, through Waterton, Yellowstone, Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands and Grand Canyon.
Then, like flicking a switch, we cross into Mexico and the change is instant! The colours, noise and chaos of Mexico and Central America will certainly challenge your riding skills. The cooler climes and winding roads of the Sierra Madre and its colonial heartland, incredible highlands of Guatemala, the Mayan ruins in Mexico, the tropical jungles and the smoking volcanoes of Costa Rica, means that this part of the world will be rattling your senses a long time after you have left. You’ll be able to visit the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal, bargain in the local markets of Chichicastenango, try magnificent margaritas in Mexico and smell the incenses at the main cathedral in Zacatecas. We think the best is the ride into stunning Copper Canyon in Northern Mexico! Our the Bridge of the Americas, into Panama City signals the end of this part of our journey.
This is Stage 1 & 2 of our Trans Americas Expedition and can be done as a standalone motorcycle tour.
At a glance
The Rider Price shown is based on the rider using their own motorcycle. For tours less than four weeks, you will need motorcycle rental if you do not have your own motorcycle available at the start destination of the tour.
|Jul 23 – Sep 30, 2020||£17,995||£3,600||£9,995||Tiger 800: £5,434|
Dates & Prices
|The Rider Price shown is based on the rider using their own motorcycle. For tours less than four weeks, you will need motorcycle rental if you do not have your own motorcycle available at the start destination of the tour.|
|Date:||Jul 23 – Sep 30, 2020|
|Rider Shared Room:||£17,995|
|Passenger Shared Room:||£9,995|
|Bike Rental:||Tiger 800: £5,434|
North America (Stage 1)
Central America & Mexico (Stage 2)
This epic motorcycle tour operates for 10 weeks. It starts in Anchorage, Alaska and ends in Panama City, Panama
Week 1 – ALASKA
In Anchorage we celebrate the start with a wild salmon BBQ and shooting guns, Alaskan style! Ride the infamous dirt of the Dalton Highway into the Arctic Circle. Arrive at Prudhoe Bay, the most northerly point accessible by road in the Americas. Getting to Prudhoe Bay is a massive achievement in its own right! Join the Polar Bear Club and swim in the Arctic Ocean. Turn south down the Alaskan Highway.
Weeks 2 & 3 – CANADA
The “town” of Boundary marks our entrance to Canada as we head to the frontier town of Dawson City still with its wooden sidewalks, and dirt roads. Pristine turquoise lakes and endless forests line your route through the Yukon. Most riders spot bear and moose from the side of the road. In British Columbia, we take the peaceful and pretty Stewart Cassiar Highway to Bear Glacier, Stewart and Hyder (the most southerly town in Alaska). If you’ve not seen bears yet, you’ll see them feeding at Fish Creek. Then have your own fresh halibut feast at “The Bus”.
Riding south to Jasper National Park, the scenery continues to be massive vistas of nature at its best – mountains, glaciers and forests. Throughout it all are uncongested beautiful winding roads to enjoy. We are now in the Indian territories of old – visit Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump and learn how generations of Indians hunted and preserved the herds, before relaxing by the lakeshore in Waterton National Park.
Weeks 4 & 5 – USA
Glacier National Park and its famous “Going to the Sun” Road will take your breath away as you cross the Continental Divide at Logans Pass. Ride by the bubbling volcanic mud pools and huge herds of bison in Yellowstone National Park. We stay at Old Faithful Inn, overlooking the world’s most famous geyser. On to Buffalo Bill’s home, Cody to see the cowboys of old and marvel at the rodeo antics.
Then it’s more of the USA’s spectacular national parks. See the famous arch in Arches National Park. Wind your way through the striking red monoliths of Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley. We can’t miss Grand Canyon (North Rim), Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park – just stunning! In Las Vegas, we rest briefly for bike servicing and new tyres or if you are finishing here, then we will say good-bye.
Weeks 6 & 7 – MEXICO
Some riders may be joining us in Las Vegas. Head south via Tombstone to enter Mexico through a small border post and spend our first night at Nuevo Casa Grandes, over 100 miles south of the border. Copper Canyon is larger than the Grand Canyon and we follow the narrow road that winds its way through the lush and spectacular scenery to Batopilas. Head for the colonial heartland of Zacatecas, the centre of silver mining production and the tiny cobbled streets and pink cathedral of San Miguel de Allende.
Climb high into the steamy cloud forests and tiny mountain villages, before descending to the Caribbean coast and endless miles of deserted beaches. Take a plunge in the ocean for the first time since Alaska! Enter Chiapas Province, once the stronghold of the Zapatista rebels, and visit the breath-taking Mayan ruins of Palenque, before spending our final night in Mexico in another colonial gem, San Cristobal.
Week 8 – GUATEMALA
Head into steamy Guatemala and ride to the small town of Panajachel on the edge of Lake Atitlan, with its stunning volcanic backdrop. Relax for a few nights at the exquisite colonial town of Antigua Guatemala. We are here for Independence Day celebrations, so plenty of parades and parties! Dodge the old smoking colourful buses in a hectic ride around Guatemala City to head to the border with Honduras.
Week 9 – HONDURAS & NICARAGUA
Visit the most southern Mayan ruins at Copan. The ride across Honduras takes only a day, but we go off the main Pan American to see local life in smaller villages. In Nicaragua, our first stop is on the main plaza in Granada, where we can sit on the veranda and watch life go by or go boating on Lake Nicaragua. We head to the coast to get our first taste of Pacific beach life and enjoy the best sunsets and fresh lobster.
Week 10 – COSTA RICA & PANAMA
Our penultimate Central American country is Costa Rica. Ride from the palm fringed beaches of the Pacific, past Arenal Volcano to the Caribbean coast for a cocktail on the beach. Stop along the way in the jungle with a chance to walk, raft or zip line through the jungle canopy. Down the coast we cross into Panama on a route used by banana traders since the 1900’s.
Ride over the Bridge of the Americas into our first real city since Las Vegas and prepare the bikes for freight to South America (or back home if you leave us here) – but not before exploring the old city and seeing the huge container ships pass through the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal.
We use 100% hotel accommodation, which is booked in advance. We primarily use good quality 4* and some 3* hotels. In bigger cities, this tends to be 4* hotels, sometimes belonging to an international chain; in smaller or more remote places, hotels can be more independent, characterful hotels. In some more remote locations, we try and use the best available. Almost all hotels we use have rooms with en suite bathrooms, satellite TV, free wifi, bar and restaurant. In warmer climates, hotels generally have swimming pools.
In the US, we do not use chain economy motels (such as Super 8, Econolodge or Motel 6). We aim for places that have character and a connection with the local community. So for example, in Cody we stay in Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel, in Anchorage we use the Historic Anchorage Hotel, in Grand Canyon, we use the pine cabins at Jacobs Lake. And we love Bell 2 Lodge on the Stewart Cassiar Highway in Canada. We hope you get the idea!
This is the same as we travel south, where we favour independent, character hotels and guesthouses. So for example, in Copan we use the Casa de Cafe and in Palenque, we use the Villa Mercedes. We do stop in the 4* Crowne Plaza in Panama, as its infrastructure assists us organising the freight of bikes and flights out.
What we don’t promise you is to stop at the top hotel in every town we pull into. This is not billed as a luxury tour, but we do ensure that you are comfortable, have a clean bed, can get a cold beer and a hot shower. And remember that sometimes “best in the location” may end up being fairly basic, but this is only on a few destinations.
Most riders are delighted at the quality of the accommodation included, the favourable locations and importantly the vast majority have secure on site parking.
You have the benefit of booking your motorcycle expedition with a UK tour operator who has in place Financial Payment Protection Insurance with Towergate Stevens & Chapman, so that your money paid to us in advance is protected in accordance with The Package Travel Regulations 1992.
Before you go
For clarity, we do not include your passenger flights. Once we have confirmed that this tour is a guaranteed departure, it is your responsibility to organise your own flights to and from the start and end point.
You need to book an outward flight to our start point, Anchorage Alaska to arrive no later than 23 July 2020. The earliest leave date is any time on 30 September 2020 from Panama City.
Only book your flights once we have confirmed that your motorcycle expedition is a guaranteed departure. We do not refund flight costs if you have booked flights for a tour that has not been notified as a guaranteed departure.
Should you wish to arrive before the official date or stay after the official end date, please simply request extra nights at the time of booking and we can make the reservation at our group hotel.
We understand that booking a motorcycle expedition is a big commitment both financially and in terms of time and preparation. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked before riders make a booking. If you wish to meet with us prior to booking to ask more questions, do not hesitate to contact us and we can set up a one-to-one meeting. In addition, we hold a Pre-Expedition Meeting for the group at our premises between 3 – 6 months prior to the start of the expedition.
What type of bike do I need?
Our expeditions are designed so that you can use your own motorcycle. We recommend that you use a dual purpose / adventure style bike. We support any make and model. Our Support Crew ride the Triumph Tiger 800XCA or Tiger 1200XCA. We also have extensive experience with the BMW GS motorcycle range, having ridden them for over 15 years. What is important is that you have a reliable and robust bike that you are comfortable riding and has been fully serviced prior to the start and has new tyres.
What riding experience do I need?
For this trip you need to have some experience of riding on unpaved surfaces, as well as being a confident and assertive rider to deal with the traffic conditions in Mexico & Central America. You also need to have some experience of riding your motorcycle on unpaved surfaces such as gravel, and dirt because some of the expedition routes are on these types of roads – the best example of this is riding on the Dalton Highway in Alaska. In addition, if there any roadworks on our route, normally diversions will be on temporary dirt roads.
We generally recommend that you are an experienced motorcyclist, who has ridden overseas before and is used to touring. You will enjoy the experience more if your riding is of an advanced standard and by that we mean you have a good command of slow control (eg you don’t dangle your feet or paddle at slow speeds and can U-turn your bike), you are assertive on the road and have good forward planning and hazard perception, you are able to perform safe and precise overtakes and are able ride to the legal speed limits.
How does motorcycle freight work?
Included in your price is freight to and from the UK, but no matter where you are based in the world, we can facilitate freight of your motorcycle. Freight outside of the UK may incur additional costs – please ask us for a quote.
You must take your motorcycle to the appointed freight depot. Our freight agent will crate your motorcycle and do all the necessary documents. Your bike is either air freighted or sea freighted to the start point. At the other end, the GlobeBusters Team facilitate the Customs Clearance of your motorcycle. Sometimes you must be physically present for your motorcycle to be cleared; sometimes we can do this on your behalf. Each trip is different and processes regularly change. When the trip finishes, you will ride your bike to our freight agent, who will freight your motorcycle back to the original leave point.
What about servicing & tyres?
For expeditions of over 6,000 miles, we will facilitate all servicing, by making the appointment in advance at the dealer and we pre-order tyres for you if you have requested this. The service point on this expedition will be in Las Vegas. Where possible all servicing is arranged at an authorised dealer for your make of bike. You are responsible for the costs of the service directly with the dealer, as well as the costs of any new tyres you have requested.
Is it difficult to get fuel?
We have never had any issue with finding fuel. In certain regions, once en route, we will warn you in advance of any possible fuel shortages or if there is a route with a key fuel stop, where everyone must fill up with fuel to get to the next destination. It is not necessary to fit any after-market large fuel tank or carry fuel bottles, although some riders chose to do so. Our support vehicle also carries spare fuel for emergencies.
What is the average group size?
Our motorcycle groups are normally between 10 – 16 riders, some with passengers. Our groups are often very international and whilst the majority of riders come from the UK, we also get riders from USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and so on. Groups are predominantly solo male riders, but every expedition normally has between one to four couples travelling.
Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
We have had other riders successfully complete this ride with a pillion passenger. Your passenger needs to also be an experienced tourer.
Is there a support vehicle?
There is a dedicated GlobeBusters Support Vehicle, driven by a GlobeBusters Support Driver. It is capable of carrying two motorcycle and two passengers. Our support vehicles carry a satellite phone, mobile phone, medical bag and spinal board, spare fuel, water, tools, some spare parts, some spare tyres. Our support vehicle provides temporary assistance to you if you have a mechanical problem or an accident and are injured. This is not a luggage vehicle – you must carry your own luggage on your motorcycle (except for pillion passengers who can put one small pannier size bag into the support vehicle). For more information, please see our Support Vehicle section.
Do I have to ride in a group?
No! We do not make you ride in convoy. We offer you the freedom to decide how you would like to ride. We give you a road book, GPS co-ordinates and hotel information. You can use this to self-navigate. If you prefer to ride with our Motorcycle Expedition Leader, then you can do this. Occasionally we will ask you to ride in a group when we are crossing a border or if there is a security issue.
What documents do I need?
You will need your original documents as follows: Passport, Motorcycle Registration Document or Title, Driving Licence, International Driving Permit. In addition you must have travel/medical insurance and 3rd party motorcycle insurance (where available). As visa requirements are dependent on your nationality and a complex with constantly changing requirements, we would direct you to our appointed visa agency for advice. www.thevisamachine.com
Are these countries safe?
We advise you to check with your own government about the safety and security of these places. As of November 2018, and according to British FCO advice at that time, none of the route runs through areas that have travel warnings in place, although some of the countries do have some regions that are advised against travel. We do not go to any of these regions. Many people, especially US citizens, ask us if Mexico is safe. We have travelled there since 1999 and have never encountered a single problem, if you take the proper precautions and are sensible. We do not go to areas against advice and we do not travel at night. Nicaragua is currently on an essential travel only travel advice.
What will the weather be like?
The Trans Americas Expedition is run at the most optimum time for the best weather possible. However, given we are travelling almost the half length of the planet, there are some sections of the trip which will not have the best weather conditions. We are in the Arctic in July, but it can still be unpredictable and there could be very low temperatures and even snow flurries or you could be in T-Shirts. Mexico highlands will be warm and pleasant, but the lowlands and Central America is generally hot and humid. It is also rainy season, so this can mean short afternoon downpours. Most riders find this refreshing! So be prepared!
Do I need visas for travel?
UK / EU Citizens will normally require a USA visa in advance, because we are leaving the USA overland into Mexico and do not have a return flight ticket out of the USA. We recommend each person check out the US requirements for the Visa Waiver Programme and visa requirements for the US to satisfy themselves. No other visas are currently needed in advance of travel at this time.
The above information is provided in good faith. It is your responsibility to have the correct visas in place prior to travel. Please check what requirements are necessary for your nationality.
What about my health when I am abroad?
It is a condition of your travel with us that you have in place travel / medical insurance to cover you for medical treatment and repatriation if you suffer any illness or injury when on the expedition, including any injury sustained from riding or being a passenger on a motorcycle. Before you travel, we strongly recommend that you visit your GP or a specialised travel clinic to get advice on the recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures needed for the countries on this trip. As background, the websites listed below may prove useful.
Please note that many countries on this route do not have the same level of medical infrastructure nor consistent medical standards that you may be used to. In particular, emergency services often may be a long distance away, with no co-ordinated response, or sometimes no medical response available within reasonable times. This is a risk that yo u must accept when you make your booking.
What about local currency?
The base currency for this trip is the US Dollar. The US Dollar is readily exchangeable for the local currencies. When you bring US Dollars, it must be in MINT condition or locals in Mexico and Central America will not readily exchange the notes. The websites below will give you the current rates of exchange.
USA – US Dollar
Canada – Canadian Dollar
Mexico – Mexican Peso
Guatemala – Quetzales
Honduras – Lempiras
Nicaragua – Cordobas
Costa Rica – Colones
Panama – US Dollar