South America is amazing, the people, the scenery, I just loved it. It is so interesting and easy to travel there. I can’t pick the best things I’ve seen because there have been so many.
I started my trip in Colombia which I can highly recommend as a travel destination. It is beautiful and the people are wonderful. It is not the same Colombia of 30 years ago and quite safe to visit. It was there that I joined the tour group for the Amazon challenge.
I really made a mistake signing up for this tour, besides having the worst roommate ever, and I mean a real nightmare roommate who complained about everything. I am a solo traveller and don’t enjoying tour groups or even riding in groups. The only reason I would join a tour is if there is somewhere I want to go that I cannot go alone for example the BAM in Russia. I was led to believe the Amazon would be like the BAM i.e. off-road technically challenging. I was told that you had to have a support vehicle as it was not very populated so petrol and water were very scarce. This could not have been further from the truth. The Amazonian highway is an extremely bad dirt road but that is it, it is not technically very difficult, just slow going. The worse part of it is the number of huge trucks, the way they drive and the dust they cause. Petrol, water, food and accommodation can be found everywhere, there are plenty of towns even a couple of cities. The only challenge was that the tour was not that well organised so they had designed the route for us to ride 400 to 600kms on some days. Sorry but only an idiot would create a schedule for 13 riders to ride up to 600kms on an extremely bad dirt road. This meant that we arrived in some towns after dark, not a very safe idea.
Images of the Amazonian Highway in Brazil
Other than the bad organisation the tour was just not my kind of tour. When I rode across Asia in a group we were given GPS waypoints and everyone rode at their own speed. Stopping when they wanted to take pictures, for a coffee, lunch etc. It was far more relaxed and even though we ended up spending a lot of time riding together we did not have to be ‘’nannied’’ by a guide and sweeper rider. I am a slow rider but across Asia was not always the slowest as people stopped quite frequently (and we did some 700km days). This tour was completely different since we had to ride as a group there was always this race to be first behind the guide, and I was ”nannied” at the back as I was always 5 mins behind the group. It was just not my style.
Sadly many thousands of hectares of the Amazon have been destroyed
One of the beautiful butterflies we saw
The infamous Amazon ferry from Belem to Macapa
I honestly regret taking the tour and spending the money and won’t do that in a hurry again. The best thing about the trip though was the people. Other than my roommate the group were wonderful and I made some really good friends who I had a blast with. On the tour we travelled though Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana.
I can say the worst country I went to was Guyana. It really is a dive, the population is only 800 thousand but most of these people live along the cost where it is phenomenally polluted with garbage everywhere and not very safe. Nothing bad happened to me but I just didn’t feel good when I was there and was happy to ride out of it. The most beautiful part of Guyana is the Amazon but sadly the government is not looking after it very well allowing logging and mines with very little control. Guyana’s next door neighbour Suriname on the other hand is fantastic with wonderful people and scenery.
Solo from Guyana to Argentina
We were supposed to go through Venezuela on the tour but could not due to political unrest. Because of this I flew to Venezuela and stopped off at Curacao on the way, what a great place I enjoyed it a lot.
After leaving the group I then rode solo back through Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana. Then I rode north to south through Brazil and onto Buenos Aires, Argentina. While in Brazil I also did a quick detour to Paraguay as I wanted to see it, not very great I have to say.
my favourite plant in Guyana, the tin cacti (I don’t know it’s Latin name)
People wise Brazil, hands down, wins the best people award. I have never met such wonderful, friendly generous and hospitable people during all my travels. I will never forget the wonderful time I had in Brazil or the people I met who are all very special to me.
One of the many many straight boring roads on the Brazilian Highway. I somehow got to really enjoy these roads and the solitude they gave me, it really became like meditation.
Argentina, Chile and Bolivia with Joern
Once in Argentina I rushed through to Buenos Aires to meet Joern and of course get married. For our honeymoon Joern and I travelled through Argentina, Chile and then Argentina again by bike and Bolivia in a 4×4. I have therefore travelled to every country in South America, including Uruguay which was on a previous trip a few years ago. Although I love travelling alone, I will admit it is even better with Joern as we travel so well together.
Memories of Argentina
Our ”Lord of the rings” rings. I still get such a kick out of them.
One of the many surreal Argentinean sights
The crazy Patagonian wind which has to be experienced to be believed
Memories of Chile
The Patagonian wind finally got us where it wanted us
Mai, Christians Dad, Christian and Francisca at Casa Matte hostel
Lorraine Chittoch and her wonderful dogs
Scenery wise my favourite country has to be Chile it is just simple stunning (although Bolivia comes in a close second), from Patagonia to the Atacama. I never realised just how beautiful a desert could be or that there are so many shades of brown.
Not only did we stay in a couple of one horse towns in Chile and one Lama towns in Argentina but we met the horse and the lama.
Memories of Bolivia
I have never seen so many butterflies in my life
The Bolivian people are very nice contrary to what a lot of people told us. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America which is sad considering it has so much mineral wealth.
In a nutshell I just loved South America. Even though I was there for 6 months I really think I only scratched the surface of and I know that I need to come back 🙂
From the dust of the Amazonian highway to the best, sweetest juiciest fruit I have ever eaten I will never forget South America.