South America Summary: about 33000kms

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.

Group Tour

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.

   11895939_793453660722651_9064897214693988622_n Colombia

 Crossing the equator in Ecuador

A 06 group tour peru 4 Beautiful Peru

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Highest pass of the trip in Peru

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

A 12 group tour brazil 11 A 13 group tour 1 brazil 12 A 14 group tour brazil 5 A 15 group tour brazil OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Yup the bull dust got the better of me too

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.

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Sadly many thousands of hectares of the Amazon have been destroyed

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One of the beautiful butterflies we saw

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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.

A 19 FG 1 One of the gorgeous Amazon trees in French Guyana

A 23 group tour suriname 3Dolphin watching in Suriname

A 26 group tour guyana 3The stunning Kai falls, 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Curacao

B1 solovenezuela 1 Venezuela

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.

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my favourite plant in Guyana, the tin cacti (I don’t know it’s Latin name)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The wonderful friendly police in Suriname

ring-tailed coati Ring-tailed coati French Guyana

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.

B3 solo brazil 3 Rubem and Cristina

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Crossing the equator in Macapa

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Asquerosos MC

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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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Marcia and Junior

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The wonderful L.A.M.A members with Jean-paul

12042871_772361926209355_3891586448098682907_n Rui and Sinomar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The beautiful Iguacu falls, nice even in the rain

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

rodriguezmansilla.com My wonderful simple wedding

C 03 Joern argentina 2 

Our ”Lord of the rings” rings. I still get such a kick out of them.

 C 04 Joern argentina 3 My just married sign 🙂

C 05 Joern argentina 6 The beautiful Argentinean coast

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One of the many surreal Argentinean sights

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The crazy Patagonian wind which has to be experienced to be believed 

Memories of Chile

C 01 Joern chile 01 Chilling in chilly Chile

C 02 Joern chile 03 Stunning Patagonia

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The Patagonian wind finally got us where it wanted us

C 10 Joern chile 6

Mai, Christians Dad, Christian and Francisca at Casa Matte hostel

C 13 Joern hcile 10

Lorraine Chittoch and her wonderful dogs

C 15 Joern chile 12 The Atacama at it’s best

C 17 Joern CHile 17 According to Joern one of the best roads ever

C 20 Joern Atacama The Atacama

C 23 Joern Chile 19 The Atacama flamingos

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Zulu gets sick and then even sicker which leads us to leaving him behind in Argentina and hiring a 4×4 to travel through Bolivia for the last 3 weeks of our honeymoon

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One of the many many street dogs we made friends with and wanted to take home

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.

C Joern argentina 18 Breath-taking Atacama

C 05 Joern Chile 2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

D 01 Bolivia 1

I have never seen so many butterflies in my life

D 02 Bolivia 3 Beautiful Bolivia

D 05 Bolivia 6

 D 06 Bolivia 9 Our little Suzuki 4×4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Catching up with Stewart, Will and NatalieD 21 Bolivia 14 Having fun on the salt flats of Uyuni

D 22 Bolivia 16

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.

 D 30a Bolivia 27 Lake Titicaca

D 31 Bolivia 22 D 33 Bolivia 26 

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.

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