We understand that booking an 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 book. If you wish to meet with us prior to booking to ask more questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
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 motorcycle expedition is not suitable for novice riders. 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.
Riding in Latin America can make for a challenging ride. Unpredictable road conditions, such as broken asphalt, potholes, homemade speed bumps, no road markings or lack of properly marked junctions, worn cobbled surfaces, or objects and animals in the road are just some of the things to contend with.
It is also strongly recommended to have experience of riding your motorcycle on unpaved surfaces such as gravel, and dirt as some of the expedition routes are on these types of roads, especially down in Patagonia. Please note that our route covers around 10% of dirt and gravel roads (up to 1,700 miles), although as the infrastructure develops, this may reduce in future years. In addition, if there any roadworks on our route, normally diversions will be on temporary dirt roads.
If you need to improve your off road riding skills, attending a training school such as Adventure Bike Training www.adventurebiketraining.co.uk, Triumph Adventure Experience https://www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk/adventure-experience or BMW Off Road Skills is highly recommended.
It is your responsibility to ensure your motorcycling skills are up to the requirements for this Expedition.
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?
You must ensure that your motorcycle has had a full service prior to arriving and has new tyres. Tyre choice is your responsibility but we do discuss what some of the options available at our Pre-Expedition Meeting.
Due to the length of the journey, your motorcycle will need to be serviced en route and have a tyre change. The service point(s) on this expedition will be in Bogota, Colombia and Santiago, Chile where there are authorised dealers for most brands. You are responsible for taking your bike to the dealer and the paying for the costs of the service and new tyres directly with the dealer. We can assist you in making your service appointment, if required.
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 – 20 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, used to long distance riding and riding on unpaved roads. Your passenger must ride the motorcycle each touring day – there is no option to sit in the support vehicle as this is only for participants who are ill or injured, or unless the road conditions are too difficult for a rider and passenger to attempt two-up.
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 (with the exception of a pillion passenger who can place one small pannier size bag in 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 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 (valid for more than 6 months after the end of your Tour), Motorcycle Registration Document or Title, Driving Licence, International Driving Permits (1926, 1968 & 1949), minimum Third Party Motorcycle Liability Insurance (where available) and Travel Insurance Certificate (see below).
Do I need visas for travel?
UK 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. http://www.usembassy.org.uk/ No other visas are required in advance of travel.
As visa requirements are dependent on your nationality and are complex with constantly changing requirements, we would direct you to our preferred visa agency for advice. http://www.thevisamachine.com/
The above information is general information and provided in good faith. It is your responsibility to have the correct visas in place prior to travel. Other nationalities should check as to the visa requirements.
Are these countries safe?
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) (www.fco.gov.uk/travel) monitors overseas destinations and provides destination travel advice for UK nationals. GlobeBusters monitors the advice from the FCO and any decisions taken regarding a Tour’s safety and security will use the vast experience of the company’s 16 years of operating as well as the FCO advice. In the interests of your safety and security, changes may be made to your Tour based on any FCO warnings given.
We strongly recommend that you read the information about the country you are planning to visit to be fully informed – each country has a summary and general information as well as advice on safety & security, local laws & customs, entry requirements and health, and road conditions.
There are currently warnings and travel restrictions in place about travel to the countries listed in the itinerary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We assume that by the time of travel these will have been withdrawn.
If you are not a UK national please make sure you have checked your own country’s travel advice for your destination/s: The US Department of State: http://travel.state.gov Canadian Foreign Affairs: www.voyage.gc.ca Australian Government Travel Advice: www.smartraveller.gov.au NZ Government Travel Advice: www.safetravel.govt.nz.
What will the weather be like?
We are in Central America in rainy season, which often can mean afternoon downpours in the lowlands and jungle areas. We are in the Andes in dry season, so we expect the skies to be blue, but altitude will make it chilly in the evenings. We are in Patagonia in November/December – the start of their summer – but it is so far south, that summer can mean snow flurries or T-Shirts. The bottom line is that on this trip, it is possible to experience every weather condition – from below freezing to above 45 degrees centigrade heat at the start in Arizona to flooded Panamanian streets. So be prepared!
What about my health when I am abroad?
You need to be physically fit and healthy and also take the necessary health precautions. It is essential for you to consult your doctor or travel clinic for up-to-date medical travel information prior of travel, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. For up-to-date medical advice you may wish to use the Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad “MASTA” https://www.masta-travel-health.com/, the NHS website http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx or NaTHNaC https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/.
You will be obliged to disclose any medical condition or medication that you are taking to GlobeBusters in advance and to your Tour Manager at the start of your Tour, for health and safety purposes. We provide you with our Emergency Details Form for this purpose and to collect information about who to contact for you back home in the event of an emergency.
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. Please do not book this trip if this unduly concerns you.
First Aid Training
It is not a requirement to be first aid trained to participate in this expedition. However, we do strongly recommend that you consider doing a motorcycle first aid course. Some sections of this trip are remote and hundreds of miles away from medical treatment. If you, or a rider you are with, are involved in any accident, whilst not riding with or not close to the support team, having first aid skills may make a significant difference to an injured party.
When we ride in South America, you will be in areas of high altitude of up to 3,800m (sleeping and 4,500m (riding). You must think carefully about how fit you are and whether altitude may be an issue. Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences.
Disease from Mosquitos
In tropical countries, mosquitoes can spread diseases such as dengue, malaria, yellow fever and Zika virus. Whilst travelling there are several simple measures you can take to reduce your risk of infections spread by mosquitoes: wear suitable clothing and cover up at times of day when mosquitoes are active and use insect repellent on exposed skin.
Travel / Medical Insurance
It is a condition of you travelling with us that you are adequately insured. Your insurance policy must cover you for the costs of any medical expenses, medical treatment or repatriation needed, due to injury or illness on this trip, including those that occur whilst motorcycle touring, either as the rider or a passenger. It is important that your insurance company understands that the MAIN PURPOSE of your trip is motorcycle touring, using your own large capacity cc motorcycle or a rental motorcycle. Your insurance must cover you for the full duration of the trip and for all countries we travel through.
In addition, we strongly recommend that your insurance policy has cover for loss or damage to your personal belongings, delay at your outward or homeward point of departure, personal liability, overseas legal expenses and cancellation and curtailment.
We also strongly recommend that you take out your travel insurance at the time of booking your trip as cover will commence for pre-departure cancellation from the policy issue date. This will therefore provide cover should you have to cancel your trip for an insured reason such as illness or serious injury. We do not refund your deposit simply because you failed to take out insurance in sufficient time.
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.