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Ron Ayres’ inspiration for the founding of Ayres Adventures occurred in 2002 during a motorcycle trip in South America. Impressed with the natural beauty and attractions of the continent, Ron wanted to share his discovery with other motorcyclists. Our first South American tour was in 2003 and we have been operating unique tours there ever since.
How appropriate then, that the second of our Epic Journey series will encompass an in-depth exploration of this continent: The Epic Journey: South America! This is the perfect motorcycle tour for the adventurous at heart who also appreciate travelling with a level of comfort and support that is second to none!
Starting in Cartagena, Colombia, this 70-day odyssey will take riders (and co-riders) on the ultimate adventure through six countries, featuring the most impressive highlights of each before culminating in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost tip of South America.
Riders will enjoy the incredible riding and awe-inspiring attractions of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Special features include fascinating volcanoes, Iguassu Falls – the largest waterfall system in the world, iconic Machu Picchu, Uyuni, home to the world’s largest salt flat, the world-famous Nazca Lines, the Perito Moreno Glacier (one of only a few advancing glaciers), the Fitzroy Mountain Range and Torres Del Paine National Park – just to name a few. A very special attraction of this tour will be a flight to the Galapagos Islands where guests will board a luxury Catamaran for a private five-night cruise to view the amazing and unique wildlife of the area.
The Epic Journey: South America will be split into two legs that will run one after the other, allowing riders the option to do one or both segments. The first leg of the journey will be 47 days starting in Cartagena, Colombia and ending in Salta, Argentina. The second leg will consist of 25 days starting in Salta and ending in Ushuaia. For those of you who feel 70 days is just getting started, we have arranged the end dates of this trip so that you can easily add on a cruise to Antarctica.
As with most of the tours offered by Ayres Adventures, this tour will be ‘couple friendly’. We will have a two-night stop every three to six days, as well as a five-night stop in the Galapagos and a three-night stop in Salta/Iguassu Falls. A comfortable support vehicle for non-riding companions will follow the bikes to ensure that non-riders share in the group’s activities.
Tour highlights include:
- Beautiful, world famous cities: Cartagena, Cuenca, Cuzco, Mendoza, Valparaiso, San Carlos de Bariloche.
- Six-day excursion to, and luxury cruise around, the Galapagos Islands
- Flight over the famous Nazca Lines
- Excursion to Machu Picchu
- Visit to the floating islands of the Uros on Lake Titicaca
- Ride on the famous “Road of Death” in Bolivia as well as its equivalent in Peru
- Visit to the world’s biggest open silver mine in Potosí
- Excursion and two-night stay at the incredible Iguazu Falls
- Visit to Uyuni, site of the world’s largest salt flats
- Spectacular volcanoes in Colombia, Ecuador and Chile
- Numerous high altitude pass roads in the Andes
- Overnight stay in El Chaltén, Argentina, at the spectacular Fitzroy Mountain Range
- Boat cruise along the Perito Moreno Glacier
- Free day in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
- Ride to the “end of the world”, Patagonia
- Ushuaia, bucket-list destination and southernmost city of South America
October 7 – December 15, 2018
Welcome to Cartagena, one of the most beautiful colonial cities of South America and the perfect place to start your Epic Journey, South America. Today the tour leaders will meet you at the airport and escort you to the start hotel for this incredible adventure. Tonight we will enjoy one of many wonderful dinners together!
After spending a little time getting your bike ready for the upcoming adventure, a rest day in the historical fishing village of Cartagena is the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy a great walk through the cobble stone streets or kick back on one of the nearby sandy beaches.
Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia, after Bogotá with a population of 2.7 million. Medellín has something for everyone to enjoy during our free day from museums to city walking tours.
Today we will ride via the Cocora Valley and visit a coffee plantation as well as get to see some extremely tall wax palm trees before heading back to the Cauca Valley. Cali, the “Salsa capital of the world”, is one of the oldest cities in the Americas (founded in 1536). It is Colombia’s center of agriculture, industry and economy.
A short day in miles but a full day of riding as we twist our way through the Cauca Valley and pass sugar cane plantations. We will stop in the village of Silvia known for traditional Indian costumes. Our destination is Popayan, known as the “white city” for its whitewashed colonial buildings.
Riding along road N° 25 all day, we will enjoy twisties and sweepers through mountainous landscape. Pasto is at the foot of the volcano Galeras, the most active in Colombia. The city is best known for its “Blacks and Whites“ carnival and The Carnival Museum.
The Galapagos Islands are arguably one of the world’s most breathtaking places for wildlife viewing and what better way to enjoy this amazing experience than from our own privately-chartered luxurious boat. Be prepared for six days of absolutely breathtaking scenery and luxury!
A quick return flight to Quito will allow for a relaxing afternoon at our hotel and provide some time to enjoy the city of Quito.
Leaving Quito on the “Avenue of Volcanoes” we will ride to Chucchillán via Saquisilí and Sigchos to the famous Quilotoa Lake (via an easy unpaved road). This is Ecuador’s most scenic loop around volcano Cotopaxi at altitudes of around 13.000 ft.
Riding via Tigua and Latacunga, through the White Water River Canyon and one of the best roads in Ecuador to a higher altitude (~13,123 ft.) we will be surrounded by Ecuador’s highest volcano Chimborazo (20,561 ft.). Tonight we will stay at an altitude of 11,646 ft. at the city of Salinas, known for its cheese production. Assuming an early arrival, we will do a short city tour of 1 – 2 hours.
If you have not already had a good fix of twisty roads, then today will certainly be for you. Heading south on Highway 35 we will enjoy great riding and mountainous scenery as we leave the province of Chimborazo and cross into Cañar Province.
Cuenca is also named the “Athens of Ecuador”. An old city, it is home to the blue-domed Cathedral Nueva and the 16th-century Cathedral Vieja, now a religious museum. The Museo y Parque Arqueológico Pumapungo displays ruins and artifacts from the Incan city of Tomebamba. The perfect place to get off of the bike and enjoy some walking around this historical city. Of course, there is also the option to add on a few more miles for those that would like to do a short morning ride.
With a suggested average speed of only 30 miles per hour, you know that today is going to be super twisty! Despite the low number of miles, we will have an early start as we will have some great twisty riding as well as the border crossing to Peru! Welcome to Peru!!! Once across the border we will enjoy a couple more hours of great riding before reaching our first hotel in Peru.
And you thought that the roads in Ecuador were twisty…… wait for today’s riding – it adds a whole new meaning to a full day’s ride on great twisty roads. Our first ride in the Peruvian Andes will most certainly not disappoint!
With more than 90 registered archaeological destinations, Cajamarca is a great city to explore. For those that want to take relaxation one step further, a dip in the nearby thermo pools at ‘Banos Del Inca’ would be a great place to kick back and relax.
As if a full day of riding twisty roads is not an award of its own, tonight we will be rewarded with a wonderful hotel in the city of Trujillo right near the ocean!
A gentle start in the morning as we follow the coast for the first few miles and then head back in to the mountains reaching an altitude of 9900ft. Tonight’s city offers spectacular views of the surrounding snowcapped Cordillera Range.
‘What goes up, must come down’. Yesterday’s ride took us from the coast up to almost 10,000ft and todays ride will do the opposite as we head back down to the coast and to the wonderful city of Huacho. An early arrival will allow us plenty of time to get off the bikes and enjoy the wonderful beachfront before a great dinner at a nearby local restaurant.
Today’s ride takes us back up into the mountains to the city of Potosí, one of the highest capitals of the world (4090 m, 13,420 ft). Potosí’s historical significance is as a major supplier of silver to Spain during the New World Spanish Empire. The central Casa Nacional de la Moneda, the former Spanish colonial mint, is now a museum dedicated to Bolivian art and history. Next to the mint, Plaza 10 de Noviembre is a square lined with ornate colonial buildings, including the Cathedral.
The ride into Cafayate is absolutely stunning with scenery reminiscent of Utah and the American Southwest. The mountains and incredible rock features vary in color from brown to a deep rusty red with the occasional sollvers of green and yellow! To end this spectacular ride, we will spend the night at a very luxurious wine estate! What better way to end a good day’s ride than with a nice, deep-red glass of fine Argentinian wine!
It is a full days riding from Cafayate to La Rioja but we will be on really good roads. During this scenic ride we will pass some incredible rock features! La Rioja is a small, quiet, yet charming city.
Similar to yesterday, today will be a full day’s riding with great roads and great scenery.
A relaxed start and short ride will have us in Mendoza for lunch! Mendoza is the wine capital of Argentina and is best known for its Malbec and other red wines. What better way to enjoy this beautiful part of the world than from the luxury of a beautiful wine estate that we will call home for the next two nights!
A luxurious hotel, surrounded by mountains and wine estates, makes Mendoza the perfect place to enjoy some time off the bike. One option is to trade the bike for real ‘horse power’ and take a guided horse-riding tour through the wine region. There are dozens of wine estates that offer tasting and a few of them have restaurants for lunch and dinner.
Today we will head straight into the mountains as we make our way to the border where we will temporarily say goodbye to Argentina to spend some time in Chile. From the hinterland, through the mountains and straight down to the coast, we will arrive at Valparaiso where we will stay in a luxurious ocean-facing hotel!
Most of the riding today will be on Highway 5 heading south. It will be one of our longer days, so we will have an early start to get us into Concepcion with enough time to enjoy the hotel and surroundings, before heading out for a wonderful dinner at a nearby restaurant.
With an early start, we will get into Pucón with enough time to enjoy the city and scenery. Pucón is nestled on the banks of Lake Villarrica and provides a stunning view of the snow-capped Villarrica volcano. A walk through town will remind you of an Alpine village with its many rustic wooden buildings. Pucon is known for adventure tourism due to its natural surroundings of lakes, volcanoes, waterfalls, nature reserves, and hot springs. Definitely a place well worth visiting!
The first part of today’s ride is absolutely spectacular as we skirt the Villarrica volcano and national park! We temporarily say goodbye to Chile and ride across the border back into Argentina. It is a good ride from the border to the beautiful five-star hotel where we will be staying for the next two nights, just outside the town of Bariloche!
Being a five-star hotel, there are plenty of off bike activities and amenities for everyone to enjoy including a spa and absolutely spectacular lake views! For those who would like to add on a few more miles, there is an optional loop ride of the seven lakes! It’s a tough decision: relax and enjoy the amenities of the hotel or explore the breathtaking areas surrounding Bariloche.
After a lazy start and a late breakfast, we will cover the 190 miles to Esquel quickly on good roads. Esquel is a small sleepy town at the foothills of the dramatic Andes mountains. We will have a nice hotel and dine at a nearby local restaurant.
Crossing back into Chile, we will be spoiled with great riding and stunning scenery as we skirt along several national parks and traverse through the mighty Andes mountains! We will be riding on some gravel roads today but all are in great condition.
Another great day of riding! The Andes are absolutely spectacular and we will be getting to see the best part of them from every angle! Coyhaique is a small Chilean city located on the banks of the Rio Simpson. A comfortable local hotel and wonderful dinner at a local restaurant will be the perfect ending to a great day.
It will be a short and scenic ride to Puerto Ingeniero Ibañez where we will board a ferry that will take us over Lago Gran Carrera into Chile Chico. From here it is a short ride to Los Antiguos (with the Chilean/Argentinean border between the two cities). Our hotel for the night is located on the banks of the lake where we can watch a wonderful sunset!
Today we ride the infamous Ruta 40! Fortunately, the section of the road we will be on is paved so we will enjoy a good ride. Though we will have had a full days ride, there will still be time to take a stroll around the city before we head to a nearby restaurant for a well-deserved dinner!
Today’s ride includes 120 km of gravel but the road is in good condition. It’ll be a scenic ride particularly near the end of the day as we ride along the banks of Lago Viedma. El Chaltén is located within Los Glaciares National Park so that views of the surrounding mountains are absolutely spectacular. An early arrival will allow us to enjoy this wonderful little city and its many fascinating shops.
Perito Merino glacier is an absolute must see! You will have the option to take an hour-long ride from El Calafate to the glacier, or if you would like a day off the bike, you can go in the support vehicle. In addition to watching the glacier calve from the viewing stands, we will go on a short boat cruise that will provide a close up view of the glacier calving into the beautiful turquoise water below.
It is a nice easy ride from El Calafate to the Chilean border where we plan to have lunch. The border crossing from Argentina back in to Chile is an easy process so we will get through quickly and smoothly. Once we are in Chile, the road is a well-maintained gravel road leading to our lodging located in one of the most beautiful parks in South America, Torres Del Paine! Be on the lookout for Alpaca once we are inside of the park.
A free day in Torres Del Paine gives us time to relax, do a little additional riding or do some hiking around the national park! The area is another photographers dream.
We have a full days riding and a ferry crossing ahead of us today. It will take approximately two hours to get to the ferry terminal at Punta Delgado. Once we have completed the 20-minute ferry ride, we will be on a good gravel road heading to the Argentinean border. After a nice lunch stop we will head to Rio Grande where we will have plenty of time to relax before dinner.
Even though this is the last day of the ride, it is going to be a spectacular one as we cross the Andes for the last time before dropping down into Ushuaia! Be sure to stop for a photo opportunity of the welcome sign as you enter Ushuaia. Welcome to the southern tip of South America! Once in Ushuaia we will do a short excursion to Tierra Del Fuego National Park, the southernmost navigable (by road) tip of South America. Tonight we will enjoy a very special final group dinner!
For those that have planned a cruise to Antarctica, the tour leaders will arrange your transfer to the harbour to meet your ship.
Due to the duration of this tour, we would highly recommend shipping your own bike to Cartagena, Colombia for the start of the tour and back home from Argentina, either Salta or Ushuaia, depending on where you end the tour. Bike shipping is not included in the price of the tour, but Ayres Adventures will be available to assist you with making the arrangements.
For those who do not want to ship their own bikes, we anticipate being able to offer the BMW 700GS, 800GS and 1200GS. Pricing for the use of a rental bike will be handled based on individual requests.
While this tour is designed to be comfortable for two-up riding, riders should be prepared for varying road conditions. For the most part the roads will be paved, in good condition and suitable for riders on larger Adventure bikes. However, some off-road riding will be unavoidable with approximately 1,500 miles either on hard-packed or loose gravel roads. Gravel road riding experience is a must to ensure that you are comfortable and safe. Some of the days on this tour may look short in distance, but busy, narrow, and technically challenging roads will make for longer days in the saddle, despite the short distance.
Since this tour goes from North to South, riders must be prepared for all weather conditions. We will encounter several consecutive days of riding at high altitudes (up to 15,000 feet), which can get quite chilly. At other times we will experience the hotter temperatures of the desert. Though we’ve selected tour dates to coincide with the best weather, rain is always a possibility. Riders should have riding gear suitable for each of these conditions, estimating temperatures ranging from 30° to 110° F.
As with all of our tours, the logistics of this Adventure will be handled by our internal staff and Ayres Adventures tour leaders will lead the entire tour. There will be a guide on a motorcycle as well as one driving the support vehicle. The support vehicle will be fully equipped with necessary tools and some spare parts. In addition to transporting luggage, the support vehicle will have extra seating space for non-riders or riders who want to take a rest.
The tour price is based on a rider using/shipping their own bike.
Part 1: Cartagena to Salta (47 days):
- Rider: $39,850
- Co-rider: $39,850
- Single Room Supplement: $4,200
Booking Deposit: $3,500 per person (non-refundable)
Part 2: Salta to Ushuaia (25 days)
- Rider: $16,500
- Co-rider: $16,500
- Single Room Supplement: $1,650
Booking Deposit: $3,500 per person (non-refundable)
Bookings and deposits are being accepted now and may be made over our website.
The deposit is non-refundable. We suggest that you procure trip cancellation/interruption protection before you place a deposit. Most travel insurance companies will not sell trip cancellation and interruption insurance after payment has been made.
If you cancel after the final payment amount has been paid, you will receive a 50% refund if the cancellation is made more than 60 days before the scheduled start of the trip. If you cancel less than 60 days before the scheduled start of the trip, no refund will be made. Payment is due 120 days before the start of the tour.
What is Included?
The following are included in the tour price:
- All accommodations, breakfasts, 60 dinners, and several lunches
- A 6 day luxurious cruise to the Galapagos Islands
- A day excursion to the Inca Ruins (Machu Picchu) in Peru
- A boat cruise to see Perito Merino Glacier
- A scenic flight over the Nazca Lines
- Return flight and a two night stay at Iguassu Falls
- All national park and border crossing fees
- Two tour guides
- Airport transfers at the start and end of the tour
What is not Included?
Anything not specifically identified as included in the price is not included. Major cost items not included in the
price of the trip include:
- Visas, motorcycle fuel, alcohol, most lunches, and flights at the start/end of the tour
- Motorcycle shipment to/from South America
- Necessary insurances for personal motorcycles