San Pedro, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina
By far the largest leg of the journey Chile and Argentina will offer the a huge variety of riding and weather conditions. From deserts to water falls to Glaciers. It will be fun!
Starting at the border town of San Pedro de Alacama we head south across the Salar de Atacama, across the Argentinean border and into the musica folklorica, Salta.
Heading south east through the Chaco wilderness we hit the Parana river for the first time at Corrientes and continue west along the south river bank to Posadas.
Posadas is best known for San Ignacio Mini, the best preserved Argentinean mission.
From here we follow the Paraguay border to Puerto Iguazu, home to the huge and spectacular Iguazu Falls. With 275 falls in just 1.7 miles it will be hard to put the camera away and just liove the experience.
Continuing south, we follow the Brazilian border and the river Madeira as far as Uruguaiana and on to the lively university town of Santa Fe where a few beers will be had.
Chilean border bound we pass through Cordoba and the famous Argentinean wine country of Mendoza before crossing the border and hitting the heritage site and costal town of Valpariso. Unfortunatly due to the recent earthquake in Febuary 2010 we will have to keep posted as to weather this is a good destination idea or not.
Only 40 miles away is the capital city of Santiago. Set at the base of the Andes range, it is spectacular but rarely seen as smog fills the skies.
We jump back across the border and ride the stark desert 101 south through Malargue, Chos Malal, and the border town of Caviahue shadowed by Volcano Copahue.
Jumping across the border again and now back in Chile, we head to Victoria to visit Tolhuaca National Park and the baths of Tolhuaca Malalcahuello.
Heading south we reach the costal town of Valdivia where sea lions have made their home on the shores and coached the tourists for a free feed.
From here the lake village of Puerto Varas on Lago Llanquihue is a hit list for outdoor sporting enthusiast. Im sure we could find something to get our butts off the seat for a few hours.
Puerto Monte is just a short ride away, known as the capital of the lakes district it earns the roll as a beautiful city.
Crossing over to Isle Grande de Chilo we travel as far south as Trincao and then back up to the delightful town of Castro. This should supply us with our first view of Arctic Panguins possibly best seen from a sea kayak expedition.
Heading back past Puerto Monte we cross the border and follow dirt tracks south not far from Route 40 and make a stop at El Bolson, known to locals as the hippy town it s surrounded by some of the most beautiful hikes in Argentina…….maybe the world.
We are now in glacier country. After skimming along the edge of Lago Futalautquen we pass Tecka and Rio Pica before crossing the border once again at Lago Verde.
We zig zag our way south around lakes and across rivers while we photograph and put more and more layers on to keep warm until we reach the coastal towns of Puerto Aisen and Puerto Chacabuco.
After passing through the wind farms of Coyhaique, we find ourselves again crossing back into Argentina.
Continuing south around Lago Buenos Aires, the township of Las Horquetas and Lago Cardiel, we reach Parque National Perito Moreno. With an average of 1200 visitors per year, you will defiantly feel isolated as the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Colarada tower over you like sentinels.
El Chalten amongst the Fitz Roy Rangers, set along a beautiful river will make a great stop to view Cerro Fitz Roy at almost 10500 feet. Extreme hikers flock here every year to have their shot at the peak. Unfortunatly the weather here is very extreme as well, cold, windy, rainy and that’s just summer!!
Passing the eastern end of Lago Argentino we are now in Parque National Los Glaciers which is home to the famous Glacier Perito Morno at 30Km long, 5 Km wide and 60 meters high, but what really makes this exceptional is its advancement of over 2 meters per day allowing huge building like icebergs to break off and bounce around. A definite must see!
We cross back into Chile for the last time and see Patagonia’s most prestige hiking area of Torres Del Paine and continue in to Puerto Natales for a nights rest.
We can almost smell the finish line now.
Punta Arenas is our next stop and believe it or not is only the mid point of Chile as it reaches all the way to a sector of Antarctica.
Following the Bahia San Felipe to almost the coast we take a ferry across and leave Chile behind for the final time as we pass San Sebastian, Rio Grande and Lago Fegnano to reach our final destination of Ushuaia, the southern most city of the world.
Did I say our final destination…..well for the bikes anyway. From here we will be embarking on an Antarctic expedition for 20 days.
What better way to end “Circle to Circle”!!