South America travel article by: Ron Marshall
Adventure riding got you down? Anyone confined to the pristine roads and mild off-road riding in their homeland is often looking to push the boundaries of adventure and themselves. For those who want to step it up a notch, hose down your Husqvarna and fasten up your Fox boots, South America will take you for one hell of a ride.
Colombia – Mountain Curves & Coffee Country – Route 40
Not the cocaine economy and Escobar entitled narco-state it once was. Colombia has some of the most pristine riding, stunning landscapes, and inviting riding in South America. To top it all off, Colombians are motorcycle crazy.
All roads lead out of Bogotá, and you can easily make your way through to nearby Salento in the wax-palm-lined Cocora Valley. The ride is roughly 300-kilometers on route 40, with peg-dragging roads that pass some of the worlds most sought-after coffee beans.
From Salento, take your ride just up the road to the cobblestone streets and café-lined square in neighboring Filandia. Real adventure bikers will first explore the countryside, then spend the night at the infamous Steel Horse Filandia. The front yard at Filandia is a regular mix of international license plates where riders from across the world are welcome.
- To ride in Colombia, you can literally FedEx your motorcycle into Bogotá or hire from a company like Motolombia in Cali.
- Don’t believe what you heard about Colombia. Ask anyone who’s ridden a motorcycle there, the response will be considerably more positive than you’d imagined.
- Colombia is a vast mountainous region, make sure to check the season and altitude of where you plan to ride before assuming hot-hot-hot.
Brazil – Dirt Roads & Amazon Jungle – BR319
The most widely used adventure motorcycle in Brazil is the Honda Tornado, something similar to the Honda CRF250L, then the BMW GS line of bikes. Brazilians are equally as crazy about life on two wheels.
For a real adventure ride, make your way through the infamous BR319 road en route to Manaus in the Brazils Amazon region. The road runs through some of the most impressive stretches of the Amazon rainforest that can be accessed by motorists, with lurking Jaguars and lacking fuel stations. You’ll want to be well prepared for the 870-kilometer ride from Porto Velho up into the Amazons metropolitan hub.
The ride will offer up everything from dust in August, to complete road washouts in February and March. You can venture deeper into the rainforest depending on the season. The road is a bikers Pilgrimage for anyone with a longing sense of wilderness adventure.
- A one or two-day ride could be six or seven in the wrong season. As for fuel, food, and water, pack what you need.
- Flying or shipping a foreign motorcycle directly into Brazil is more red tape than you’ll want to deal with. Rent, or start in nearby Lima Peru, Montevideo Uruguay.
- On the way, ride into the Pantanal. The worlds largest wetland. Picture a 20-kmph, self-guided motorbike safari with optional river cruise for you & the bike, incredible!
Chile – Patagonia Mountain Range – Carretera Austral
With the far north of Chile holding the majestic Atacama Desert, and the center offering up wonderful wine regions and horse-riding landscapes. The real riding though, is through the world-renowned Patagonia.
For anyone who’s a moto-camping aficionado, you and your ADV bike will fall in love with Patagonia. You can ride right into the Torres Del Paine National Park for a few days of getting in touch with your inner hiker. Then later slip away unnoticed into the endless rivers and remote regions around Coyhaique for some trout fishing right off the backside of your saddlebags.
From here, crank up those heated grips and ride further into the Tierra del Fuego region of the very south. Anyone looking to ramp up their road trip can cross the border into the most Southerly city in the world, Ushuaia Argentina.
The #1 motorcycle related activity in Ushuaia you ask?! Buy a sticker for your panniers.
- A country that runs on longitude, the far north and far south are very different at any time of year. Pack cold weather & rain gear, any other riding will be a welcome bonus.
- Chile has arguably the best paved roads in South America. If you’re looking for off-track riding, download Wikiloc
- You can fly your motorcycle into Santiago or ship it to nearby Valparaiso pretty easily. For a short trip, look into someone like Compass Expeditions to hook you up.
Wherever you ride in whatever part of the planet, there has likely been thousands if not millions on that road before you. It’s easier, safer, and more memorable than even the best YouTube video or stories you’ve read. Stop dreaming, start riding, and for some of the best adventure motorcycle roads on the planet, South America has you covered.