The High Andes route is a perfect introduction to riding on a South American Motorcycle Tour. From the dynamic heart of Buenos Aires to the remote high altitude salt flats in the Andes, from the white washed adobe churches to the mysterious Nasca Lines, this is quintessential South America, along with some of the best riding on the planet.
You can climb the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, take a reed boat out on Lake Titicaca and visit Che Guavara’s home. Watch out for llamas and vicuna on the twisty mountain roads of the Andes and spot pink flamingos in the salt lakes. And don’t forget to spend the evenings tasting incredible wines and eating the best steaks in the world!
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.
|Apr 2 – May 6, 2019||£8,995||£2,700||£5,995||Triumph Tiger 800: £3,847|
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:||Apr 2 – May 6, 2019|
|Rider Shared Room:||£8,995|
|Passenger Shared Room:||£5,995|
|Bike Rental:||Triumph Tiger 800: £3,847|
Week 1 – Northern Argentina
Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. Collect the bikes from Montevideo, Uruguay. Head out across the Pampas grasslands. Relax in the thermal waters at Rio Hondo. Ride through the UNESCO Listed Quebrada de Humahuaca and the mountains of Seven Colours. Overnight in traditional and picturesque Tilcara. A hectic border crossing to Bolivia.
Week 2 – Bolivia
Ride north to Potosi. Day off to explore this colonial gem and see Potosí’s former mint, the central Casa Nacional de la Moneda or go down the mines of Cerro Rico, originally a vast silver mine exploited by the Spanish. Explore La Paz, the de facto capital of Bolivia – see the witches markets or take the optional “Road of Death” ride. Cross Lake Titicaca on a wooden barge to Copacabana, where we get our bikes blessed at the 16th-century shrine, the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia.
Week 3 – Peru
Cross the border into Pero and our first stop is Puno, where we take a boat out to the floating reed islands of Uros. High altiplano riding to the ancient Inca Capital of Cusco. Time to do a day visit to Machu Picchu, explore the Scared Valley of the Incas and visit the market town of Pisac and the Inca Fortress of Ollantaytambo. Descend from the Andes to Nasca – the is an awesome ride and rates as one of the best loved by previous customers. Take a flight over the mysterious Nasca Lines in the desert. Our final stop is in the White City of Arequipa, in the shadow of El Misti Volcano. Enjoy a local cocktail of pisco sour in the balcony bars on the main plaza, watching the sunset.
Week 4 – Chile
Cross the border into Chile and stop over at the seaside town Arica, (the city of “Eternal Spring”, due to its consistently mild and dry weather) before heading into the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world! Visit the ghost town of Humberstone before reaching Iquique. Then ride the magnificent dramatic Pacific coastal road south. Head inland to San Pedro de Atacama, where you can visit the Tatio Geysers and ride your bike in the Valley of the Moon. We’ll have a superb ride over Paso de Jama crossing at 4200m, to Argentina.
Week 5 – Argentina
A great descent out of the Andes to Purmamarca, heading to Cafayate, famous for its high altitude vineyards. Time to do some wine tasting! This region is the birthplace of the Torrontes wine. Catamarca. Visit Che Guevara’s childhood home in Alta Gracia. Rosario. We return to Montevideo to drop off the bikes before taking the ferry back to Buenos Aires, a celebration evening dinner overlooking the Rio Plata.
We use good standard 4* hotels and some 3 * hotels for this trip. We do not camp or use hostels.
You need to be aware that the hotels standards in Bolivia (the poorest country in South America) may not be what you would normally expect of an equivalent described standard in Europe and North America.
All accommodation has en suite bathrooms and, for most locations, satellite TV in the rooms. Many hotels have free wifi, but it can be slow or sometimes not working inthe more remote locations.
We start and end the tour at the 4* hotel, La Scala Hotel, Buenos Aires. Some of our favourites hotels on this tour are:
You have the benefit of booking your motorcycle tour 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 non-UK riders, please contact us for your own bespoke freight arrangements. We can facilitate freight from major freight hubs in USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and elsewhere. For EU riders we ask you to bring your motorcycle to London for freight and if necessary, we can organise a bike collection and drop off with your nearest dealer. Extra fees will be chargeable for different freight arrangements.
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 destination. You need to book an outward flight to our start point, Buenos Aires, to arrive no later than around midday on 2 April 2019. The earliest leave date is any time on 6 May 2019 from Buenos Aires. Direct flights to Buenos Aires are available from most major European and US cities, including from London Heathrow.
Only book your flights once we have confirmed that your tour 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?
This is primarily all paved road route. (Note that the “Road of Death” is an optional ride only.) Riders must have competent road riding skills, with previous overseas riding experience. The route provides varying road conditions from the flatlands of the Pampas to the twists and turns of the Andes. There are plenty of animals to be wary of – llama, alpaca, vicuna. Traffic conditions in El Alto, La Paz and Arequipa are very busy and chaotic and you need to be alert and assertive, with good slow control to ease yourself through the traffic.
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 (ieg 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.
You also need to have some experience of riding your motorcycle on unpaved surfaces such as gravel, and dirt as if there are any roadworks on our route (or sometimes protests which force us on a diversion), normally diversions will be on temporary dirt roads.
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 sea freighted to the start point. At the other end, the GlobeBusters Team facilitate the Customs Clearance of your motorcycle. You must be physically present for your motorcycle to be cleared and for you to sign the temporary import papers. 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?
Your motorcycle must be fully serviced immediately prior to the start of the expedition and be fitted with new tyres. This is primarily a paved road route so road tyres (such as Conti Trail Attack 2) or dual purpose tyres (such as Conti TKC70) are recommended and will make the whole route, provided that you ride smoothly. Tyre choice is your responsibility but we do provide more advice on this at our Pre-Expedition Meeting. This route is around 6,000 miles and so there are no planned stops for servicing or tyre changes.
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 groups are normally between 8 – 12 riders (some have 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. In the past, there has been a higher proportion of women on this tour, either travelling as a solo rider or as a passenger.
Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
It is a suitable route for couples riding two-up; every High Andes expedition we have operated has had two-up couples as part of the team.
Is there a support vehicle?
All our expeditions have 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. 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 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 are complex with constantly changing requirements, we would direct you to our appointed visa agency for advice www.thevisamachine.com.
What will the weather be like?
This motorcycle expedition is run at the most optimum time for the best weather possible. In April / May, the rainy season has finished and the mountains should be green and lush, but there may still be some light showers and mists high in the mountains. Remember also that you are travelling at altitude and so it can still be chilly, especially in the evening and for early morning starts. During the day, blue skies are the norm; the sun is very strong here, so you will need sun cream. Buenos Aires in in autumn, but temperatures will average around 22C.
Do I need visas for travel?
UK and most EU citizens do not require any visas in advance. USA and Canadian Citizens require a visa for Bolivia and Canadian citizens also have a Reciprocity Fee to pay for entering Argentina. This 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 and medical insurance to cover you for medical treatment and repatriation if you suffer any illness or injury when on this motorcycle 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. Please take specific advice about altitude as you will be sleeping between 3500 and 4000m for around 10 days on this tour. 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 you need to accept when 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 will not readily exchange the notes. The websites below will give you the current rates of exchange.