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10 reasons to cycle South America from top to bottom
1. A climber’s paradise
The Andes is the longest mountain range on the planet and you can cycle up and down and across it as many times as your heart desires. Bonus points – you will become intimate with the Gods of the Mountains.
2. Biological Multi-diversity
Experience the biodiversity of Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile from the seat of a bicycle. No other continent can compare to this one.
3. Be the modern gaucho
Riding South America is for the tough ones – real men and women – the longest and toughest continental bike ride. You will become an honorary gaucho; rough, tough and free. To start, you will dip your bike in the Caribbean Sea, for fun at the half way point dip it again somewhere on a beautiful isolated Pacific beach in Chile and finally, for the last time, immerse your mechanical partner in the frigid Southern Ocean in Ushuaia, Tierra de Fuego.
4. Experience Magic Realism
As one day of cycling the 13,000km (8000miles) route merges into the next, you will experience magic realism – what happens when a highly-detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something ‘too strange to believe’ – best described by the Colombian author, Gabriel García Márquez
5. Incredible ascents and more amazing descents
You have not experienced descents until you cycle nonstop from above 4,000 meters to sea level. You have never known what climbing is until you climb all day on the South American Epic from sea level to over 4,000 meters, all the while slowly observing the ever-changing scenery.
6. Patagonia – enough said
Cycling the length of Patagonia, you will experience jagged peaks, unspoiled rivers, and nature that is wild, barren and beautiful.
7. Visit that “special place”
On the long journey, day in day out, over 5 months, you will inevitably come face to face with yourself and inevitably visit that ‘special place’ – one that men and women who have undertaken extraordinary challenges know only too well.
8. Follow in the footsteps of people who are larger than life
Cycling South America means you can follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara, Simon Bolivar and Butch Cassidy. Spin through the jungles of Columbia and Ecuador, cross the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, pedal for 1200km on the wild Carretera Austral and visit UNESCO World Heritage sites like Cuzco, Nazca, Chan Chan and more than a dozen others.
9. Experience the famed Southern winds or catch a glimpse of Hell
The sailors sailing the Southern Hemisphere have a saying; “below the 40th latitude there is no law; below the 50th there is no god” As the infamous Southern wind tries to push you off your bike, as you get closer to Ushuaia on the tip of South America, you will begin to understand Bruce Chatwin’s comment that “a journey is a fragment of Hell“.
10. A Magical and Mythical continent
There is no better way to experience the music, culture, the food, the people, the beaches, the wildlife, the nature of this amazing continent than by crossing it on a bicycle.
Experience these amazing sights for yourself on the South American Epic bicycle expedition.
24 Comments for "10 reasons to cycle South America from top to bottom"
Looks like a thrill. I am interested in doing a few days here and there for a week or 2 as I can’t give up 5 months right now. Can that work?
Hi Carl, You could absolutely do that…just not this year. The next edition of the South American Epic will be in 2017 and we hope you can join us then.
Count me interested in 2017.
Great. We look forward to having you with us.
I would like to meet like minded people and discuss your next cycling trip to South America
Hello Jose. Our next cycling tour to South American is schedule to start July 2017 in Colombia. Registration is already open and you can see who is registered on this page. https://tdaglobalcycling.com/south-american-epic/people
thanks for your message!
Can you please give me more info on this trip as it really makes me excited
Hi Shane, The dates and prices for the 2017 South American Epic will be announced in our July Newsletter. More information can be found on the website but please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any specific questions.
My and my girl are going to cycle from Colombia to Chile or vice-versa starting on next February .
We don’t know if we should do it from north to south or… South to North. I read winds in Patagonia are very strong and it mostly winds southwards.
Thanks for your help!
I’m also planning to cycle from Cartagena in February to Ushuaia and then back up to São Paulo – will need the warmth after Argentina… from what I’ve heard and read they say it’s best to cycle from Colombia down due to the winds….like you, hoping it’s the right direction..otherwise bike will be on top of the bus!
Hi i’m interested in starting a cycle trip from california alle the way to argentina. Do you know if there are planned routes described by someone? I woud hope to start in california the bezinning of december 2017.
Thanks for the info
You will see that we often post blogs like this one with tips and information for touring cyclists, so please keep checking our blog. Check out this one we posted 2 weeks ago on Patagonia.
Otherwise, we have linked to some excellent resouces at the bottom of this post. My favourites have always been TravellingTwo and CrazyGuyonaBIke… but there are soo many. Independant cyclists have been crossing South America for decades.
Enjoy your trip.
Did you end up doing your San Diego to Argentina bike trip? I was planning on doing a similar trip and would love any tips or help you could provide. Thanks 🙂
Can this journey be done solo, or maybe with 1 other person for part of the trip?
It sounds amazing!
Hi Lewis, You could do it alone but it would be a huge logistical undertaking. It is more fun to do it with us!
Hi there, my partner and I are planning to cycle South America from top to bottom next year. Planning January to June as we will only be able to get a 6 month visa at this stage. Do you think these months will work for us weather wise? Appreciate your thoughts and any other tips for this grand trip? Warm regards Kellie
Hi, I found your blog really interesting.
I am looking for cycling trips such as South America ‘top to bottom’.
Where can I find out more details about best time to go, logistics, costs routes etc?
I am just about to cycle South Korea Seoul to Busan, but this is nothing like the SA cycle.
Would love to join a group
Hi John, the best idea is to join us on our South American Epic in 2020 – https://tdaglobalcycling.com/south-american-epic
Hello, I’m planning to cycle from top to bottom (Punta Gallinas – Ushuaia) starting in July or August. If anyone is thinking likewise, get in touch! email@example.com
Hi. I’m Martin from Germany. I plan to cycle from Quito, Ecuador south towards Patagonia. I’ll start beginning of September.
Hey! I’m graduating from university in May and then starting full-time work in September. I’ve cycled across the U.S. and Australia and am looking for my next big challenge before joining the real world.
I’m looking to ride either South American top to bottom or key west to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska but am looking for groups.
If there’s one going out after January I may graduate early so I can catch the ride but at this stage just want to know if any rides out there!
Well there is our South American Epic – https://tdaglobalcycling.com/south-american-epic – if you can hold off until 2020.
Hi … is this tour still ongoing .
I’m interested in looking at a the adventure for 2022
Hi Cathy, Currently the South American Epic is scheduled for 2021 but with the current COVID situation, that could change. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to keep in the loop regarding this expedition.