Motorcycle touring, BMW's, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, & Ushuaia!
Day 1 – Arrive in Santiago, Chile and then Osorno, Chile - YOUR ADVENTURE BEGINS!
Whether you’re taking extra time to explore the capital city of Santiago or just flying through, riders need to arrive in Osorno on or before this date, as we'll be departing early the next morning. Intra-Chile flights can be booked through www.latam.com or www.skyairline.cl (Santiago/SCL to Osorno/ZOS and then from Punta Arenas/PUQ at the end.) The bi-lingual RIDE Adventures Guides will pick you up from the airport, and a welcome meeting and dinner will be held once everyone is together in Osorno. Excitement will be peaking, and we understand.
Day 2 – Osorno, Chile to San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina – 239km
After our morning meeting and fitting of your motorcycle, we’ll be ready to go when everyone is comfortable for departure. You'll certainly have the opportunity to bring any unique parts & accessories from home to customize the bike’s fit to your liking and assistance with anything you need is of the utmost importance, as safety is key to enjoyment and completion of the incredible journey ahead. Then it’s time to start riding into the heart of Patagonia!
Due to the wild series of inlets and land formations that make up the coast of southern Chile, this trip heads east up into the Andes Mountains before going further south into Patagonia. Either way, passing through Parque Nacional Puyuhue and later Nahuel Huapi, it’s going to be a fantastic first day’s ride all the way in to where Bariloche sits along the lakeshore. Settling in for the night, our first Argentine asado (barbeque) in this lively town sets us up for even greater riding ahead.
Day 3 – Bariloche to Trevelin, Argentina – 308km
An optional ride will be presented for the morning to enjoy the "Circuito Chico," a one-hour loop through Llao Llao to the west of Bariloche. Leaving Bariloche, most of the trucks and traffic will take the obvious Route 40 south, but we’ll enjoy a detour through Parque Nacional Los Alerces just to the west. Sweeping sandy turns through the “Fitzroya” trees (cousin to the Redwoods found in California and the tallest trees in all of South America,) beautiful lakes and mountains guide us through the national park. Positioning ourselves to cross back into Chile the next day, how did you enjoy the gravel or "ripio" as it's called here?
Day 4 – Trevelin to Puyuhaupi, Chile – 246km
Today marks the start of our ride down the Carretera Austral (Highway to the South) and what many folks agree is some of the best riding anywhere in the world. First crossing the Futaleufú River, we’ll also be passing near Parque Nacional Corcovado, one of very few privately owned land preserves in the world, arranged as such by the late Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face and Esprit clothing brands.
Heading further south on the Carretera (formerly called the "Ruta Agosto Pinochet,") rain is likely before arriving in the town of Puyuhaupi, but such conditions only add to the atmosphere and adventurous feeling of Patagonia. With the gigantic Nalca Plants lining the road, glaciers to the left, waterfalls all around, and the rainforest to be enjoyed, this is unforgettable riding.
Day 5 - Puyuhuapi to Coihaique, Chile - 224km
If we're going to get rain on this trip, it'll likely be here in the Queulat Rainforest in this stunning valley full of switchbacks and unforgettable scenery. Even the most "reserved" personalities tend to burst a bit in this section, as every turn reveals a new view of the precious Patagonia we've grown to love. Waterfalls that cascade down from a few hundred meters high and all the bright green forestry full of the gigantic Nalca plants of Patagonia await you.
Day 6 – Coihaique to Puerto Tranquilo, Chile – 225km
The plant life and rain makes for an amazing atmosphere though with snow-capped mountains, rivers and waterfalls, and in the right season, salmon spawning in the River Cisnes.
After Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo and its sharp mountain peaks, you’ll get your first glimpses of Lago General Carrera, and if the sun is out, another site never to be forgotten. Glacier fed waters reflect blue light which makes the water bright blue, and combined with more snow-capped mountains in the background, this is one incredible ride into Puerto Tranquilo. If we arrived early enough, opportunities for fishing, boat tours of the nearby Marble Caves, and canopy tours are possible.
Day 7 – REST DAY in Puerto Tranquilo, Chile
The rest day in Puerto Tranquilo is chosen for a couple of reasons. First, Patagonia makes for some tough riding and we need to rest up, and second, because you probably won’t want to leave the Puerto Tranquilo area! We will be far "off the beaten path” at this point and varying emotions about seclusion and our normal lives are bound to set in. With activities like boat tours, fly-fishing, horseback riding, canopy tours, and river rafting on the Rio Baker, be as active as you like on this rest day. On the other hand, if you really feel you want to ride a little this day, the fabulous "Patagonia Park," one of the late Doug Tompkin's conservation efforts is right near by with plenty of guanacos bouncing around the lodge Valle Chacabuco.
Day 8 - Puerto Tranquilo to Los Antiguos, Argentina – 175km
Leaving this spot about only about 50m/80km from the Pacific Ocean, we’ll ride along the shores of Lago General Carrera with its blue beauty guiding us along rock walls and fantastic scenery on our way back into Argentina. Now get ready for the wind! As Pacific air rolls across the Andes, it typically rushes down the eastern side of the mountains in quite a hurry, so this can be a challenging day of riding.
Day 9– Los Antiguos to near Gobernador Gregores, Argentina – 414km
Just grip down and get through what could definitely be more pounding winds today, as this is part of why Ruta 40 is so famous! Extremely remote territories, very few fueling points, and the wide-open “pampas” region of Argentina again add to the variety in this adventure. Guanacos (like a small llama, indigenous to South America and this region in particular) will be dancing around the road before us, so we take extra caution on rides like this.
Day 10 – Gobernador Gregores to El Calafate, Argentina - 330km
Still out in the Argentine wild, we tilt back to the west with the Andes in site today. Passing Lago Cardiel and Lago Viedma, the piercing peaks of Mount Fitz Roy and the town of El Chaltén will be seen in the distance. Passing Lago Argentino and nearing the town of El Calafate, a fun town with great shopping, dining, and relaxation potential sets us up for one of the greatest highlights in all of Patagonia the next day.
Day 11 - REST DAY in El Calafate (optional, but strongly encouraged visit to Perito Moreno Glacier: 160km)
It's important to rest once again, and there might be no better town to do so in. Just a short twisting ride in the morning leads us to yet another incredible site in Patagonia: The Perito Moreno Glacier! One of only 3 known glaciers in the world that is still actually growing, huge chunks of ice will fall off before our eyes, crashing into the bay before us. As if this awesome sight isn’t enough, the rumbling sounds of ice cracking throughout the ice field will remain a definite part of Patagonia memories. Enjoy the remainder of the day around the town of El Calafate where shopping, crafts, culture and restaurants all await you.
Day 12 – El Calafate to Torres del Paine National Park – 379km
Circling back through the wide-open “pampas” of Argentina one more time, the goal is yet another stunning site on the Chilean side. Crossing the border at Paso Rio Don Guillermo, it might not appear that there’s anything in site; however, when approaching the middle of Torres del Paine National Park, riders will understand why this is a special place in Patagonia.
The famous Torres (Towers) and Los Cuernos (The Horns) of Torres del Paine National Park beg you to take a rest day and either hike or ride around the area to enjoy the beauty. From the south side of Los Cuernos, travelers can be found waiting to photograph that perfect sunrise where orange and pink hues radiate across this unforgettable mountain formation. Designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 by UNESCO, photos might not even be necessary as the images will remain clear in traveler’s minds forever.
Day 13 – Torres del Paine N.P. to Cerro Sombrero, Chile – 454km
Finally, the Province and Island of Tierra del Fuego! Originally given that name by Ferdinand Magellan (meaning “Land of Fire”) because of the indigenous peoples' fires he thought he saw blazing before him, Magellan might have better named it “Land of Wind,” because you’re likely be inundated by it most of the day. Those who are skipping the ride to Ushuaia and finishing in Punta Arenas will still witness Tierra del Fuego. The vast landscape will be just 1 km across from the highway while you are guided back to the shop to return the motorcycles and reflect back on the incredible journey behind you.
For those of us continuing to Ushuaia, we'll be shifting over to Punta Delgada in time to take the ferry across the Straight of Magellan and spend the night in Cerro Sombrero.
Day 14 – Cerro Sombrero to Ushuaia, Argentina – 414km
Finally, the “Fin del Mundo” or the “End of the World!”
As an adventure motorcycle rider, this destination has long been in your sites, and finally waits before you. Thoughts about the amazing journey that now rests behind you might sneak into the amazing anticipation that comes with riding to this point, only 700m/1000km from Antarctica!
Wide open wind blasts are likely throughout the day until about 100km before arriving in Ushuaia, at which point the scenery drastically improves while you ride through Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. We'll finish the ride with plenty of photos at the gate to Ushuaia, and then go a bit further into the National Park Tierra del Fuego. There at Lapataia in the National Park awaits where you can seize the photo opportunity with a sign that truly marks the end of Ruta 3, just 17,848 kilometers from Alaska! Then off to a nice seafood dinner on the coast with plenty to laugh and smile about, looking back at the amazing journey behind us.
Day 15 - REST DAY in Ushuaia, Argentina
Your trip might not have taken you to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see penguins up close before you leave! With reservations in advance and an early departure, you can be among the 80 people per day that are allowed to walk on the Harberton Estancia’s trail right along with the Magellanic Penguins. Those who prefer to just relax and enjoy the bustling town of Ushuaia may also visit the prison in town, which was once home to Argentina's worst criminals (Think: Alcatraz, and the climate that would make it difficult to escape.) Ushuaia is a nice place to visit though, and a day of rest is ultimately yours to enjoy as you wish, celebrating the riding challenges you bested thus far.
Day 16 - Ushuaia to Porvenir, Chile - 384km
With some variations on the return to Chile possible, we get to enjoy Tierra del Fuego to its fullest and soak up the fantastic riding in this region. Guanacos and other challenges of the road we ride will ensure that riders need to stay alert, as this amazing trip comes to an end.
Day 17 - Porvenir to Punta Arenas, Chile - Ferry Ride (10km riding), or back through the northern route (307km)
How is that possible that we have such options? Ahh, the challenges of riding around Tierra del Fuego. We'll be making decisions based on weather conditions, as they pertain to the ferry services and options before us. Nonetheless, this is all part of the fun and variety that make up a motorycle trip that involves "Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia!" A farewell and final dinner together in the pleasant town of Punta Arenas will mark the end of our riding on this trip.
Day 18 - Departure from Punta Arenas, Chile
With nothing short of an incredible motorcycle trip experience behind you, it seems that all good events in life still must come to an end. The memories, however, will last forever. This is a trip that we promise, you'll never, ever forget. Start arranging and editing the hundreds or thousands of photos you probably took, say goodbye to some new friends you've made, and we'll get you to the airport if you must leave. Looking forward to a RIDE with you again soon!
BMW 650 GS (Single Cylinder)
BMW F700GS (twin cylinder)
BMW R1200GS - Liquid Cooled 2013
BMW R1200GS Adventure (2014+ Liquid Cooled)
Honda Africa Twin