Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures

Ride your dreams...

The best way to explore Bolivia by motorcycle

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20 entries.
Cedric Franzen Cedric Franzen wrote on November 25, 2018 at 3:57 pm:
This fall I participated in BMA's Highlander 2 Tour.
First of all I'd like to say that communication with Roland (the owner) has always been superb and I was able to join the tour on very short notice. I actually first contacted him about the tour on August 20th and the tour started on September 12th. Nevertheless we got everything in order quickly and efficiently and I'm very glad it worked out.
Our tour was very well thought out, the stages we had to ride every day were of a length that every average rider can cover without getting exhausted. Of course in a country like Bolivia you can't plan everything down to the last minute (yes, it is an adventure!). For a reason completely out of Roland's control we had to re-route a part of our tour, but all decisions on route changes and stuff like that were taken in the group. At this time, I'd once again like to thank Roland for saving our trip, even though Bolivian bureaucracy nearly prevented it. If you book with BMA you can be absolutely sure that every possible measure will be taken to give you the trip you have booked.
Our bikes were generally in good shape, some smaller gremlins occurred, but nothing that couldn't be fixed on the road by our awesome mechanic Jose. I personally only had flat tires, which in Bolivia is pretty much impossible to avoid. The speed we rode was always very safe, if anything at times it was a little too slow for my taste; but then again we had a rather inexperienced rider in our group.
Also, it is worth noting that Roland is a trained medical professional (intensive care nurse) and when I got food poisoning during the trip it was very reassuring to know that I had someone by my side who knew exactly what to do. He carries a lot of medical supplies, for regular illnesses as well as for emergencies.
Another reviewer said that Roland would be yelling and argumentative, I haven't seen either of that during the more than 3 weeks with him and Jose. It is true that Roland usually airs on the conservative/safe side of things, but taking into account the responsibility he has for the whole group, it's only natural that BMA has a protocol on how to ride safely in a group. All of the "rules" are pretty much common sense to a a normal human being anyways.
All in all, I'd book with him again in a heartbeat and would recommend BMA to any of my riding buddies, if they are looking to do a tour in Bolivia.
Felix Kimmich Felix Kimmich wrote on October 9, 2018 at 4:59 pm:
We booked a custom tour based on the Wild Wild West Tour. The organization of our tour was a constant dialogue. Suggestions from both parties were considered. The owner changed last year and it shows. The bikes were serviced. We wore a back tyre out each, but no technical failures. The new owner Roland is medically trained. For him safety comes first. From hygiene at the restaurants to first-aid kit. He chose wisely and made his homework. In case of an emergency his bike trailer is equipped with a spinal board to ensure a safe transport to the closest ambulance. We drove with the appropriate speed at all times and never felt at risk.
Roland has travelled through Bolivia by foot, kayak, bus, train, car and bike. He knows the spots and somebody somewhere on and off the beaten track. BMA took care of almost anything. In conclusion sovereign performance and beyond any doubt.
Jimmy Cartrette Jimmy Cartrette wrote on October 4, 2018 at 4:50 pm:
This will be a long review because it was a long trip and a lot of money. But it was definitely worth it for the best experience of my life (so far)
Background: I haven't done this trip of trip, only have ridden a motorcycle for 10 months with a couple of track days and no off-road. I've only traveled by plane, bus and train to Europe and SE Asia.
The trip:
Bolivia has the most amazing experience I've had, I regret not doing this type of trip before. I got to take some well paved to unpaved mountain roads, visited a mine, bought some dynamite, saw a valley of a thousand llamas (then tried llama meat), visited lake Titicaca, saw the the abandoned train yard and salt flat of Uyuni, and more. It was an absolutely insane experience for me. There are so many days of action, and so little time to think that I didn't feel homesick until more than a week in.
Experience:
I spoke little Spanish so I definitely improved on that point. The lunch stops were basic, and the rural hotels were basic as well: lunch was rice and potatoes and meat, and hotels with electric heaters which on a good day might get you a 5 minute hot shower. What I expected. This is not a complaint. It was well organized for what it was - you drive outside of tourist norms. When you got to the larger cities they had better hotels and more of metropolitan environment.
The Host and Driver:
Roland the owner guide was wonderful, and so was Jose the driver and sometimes mechanic. Roland speaks 5 languages which is 4 more than me, he kept things to a schedule which for me, I appreciated. Your tastes may vary. Jose, what can I say, he was great company and could always pull a bike or truck repair out of nowhere.
The Bike:
Because I'm "short", 5'9" (standard American height, thanks), I got the Suzuki DR650SE. This particular one was past it's prime - well done - the kind of well done you'd push away if offered in a nice churrascaria. I understand Bolivia's reality of poor spare parts, poor repair opportunities, and I wouldn't have wanted a new bike - however in that known spectrum of newish bike to bike out to pasture, the Suzuki is ready to be taken out and shot. Bad front/rear light the first day, the third day the electrical system broke down for four hours, my clutch was so stripped it wouldn't disengage anymore, few days later it blew a gearbox seal, and on the last day it blew the headlight again. It didn't come to it, but on the last day if we hadn't reached the city lights with my headlight and front brake light working I would have refused to ride it, put it in the truck.
However Jose and Roland got that sucker working for me every day except one, and he maneuvered a different bike until he could get mine going. I still feel bad for the next person to rent it without a support vehicle.

Off-road Experience:
I had no off-road experience. I dropped the bike three times. Being American, I had no days for bike or altitude orientation. Roland offers a day course for riding in Bolivia which would have always been impossible to take for me. I planned to ask in the first day for a hour or two of training, but there was an unfortunate accident our first day which took the day and Roland made go away, at great cost to himself.
Once starting off-road, I asked Roland and a fellow traveler for off-road tips, I was told "you just have to experience it". A couple of falls later, I got better tips (keep the front straight and moderately gas it in sand, and think about steering it with your knees) which really helped me out and feel comfortable later on. It wasn't ego, I was eager to learn but didn't get much. I feel much more confident now.

I would highly recommend Bolivia, Roland, BMA, to anyone who is thinking of this type of trip. Especially if Jose is still around and the #6 DR650 is gone.

Thank you Roland, Jose, the Bolivian people and my fellow travelers for the amazing experience. I'll never forget it!
Admin Reply by: Roland
Hello Jimmy

Unfortunately I only found out at the end of our first tour week that you only got the bike driver's license for 8 months and that you only occasionally rode.
This short period is absolutely insufficient to ride the Highlander 2 tour in good conditions. HL2 is classified: Level Medium, for the driving and intensity, nor to build up off-road driving skills learned during the tour.
In retrospect, I only can repeat that you did it pretty well and that also a driver with much more experience felled down once with his bike.

The blue Suzuki DR650SE had a cable fire of 80cm due to a short circuit (dirt, dust, salt and shocks) starting from the rear brake switch, which also ruined the 12V regulator.
We repaired temporarily and replaced the 12V regulator on site. Later in Potosi, a motorcycle electrician, started the new cabling. However, due to time constraints, he was unable to finish this completely.

The mentioned bike Nr.6 returned 12.10.2018 after a 10 days rental without any problem.
You are right, some bikes passed their “live time” for long distance tours, so did Nr.6. It will be replaced for the 2019 season. That’s a continuous process. I will announce the arrival of the new, model 2018 bikes in Facebook… 

José-Carlos and I were visibly relaxer and had a lot of fun with the Highlander 2 tour group. We always are pleased to show Bolivia by bike to nice riders, having good exchanges/ new ideas and challenging all the occurring problems and options on a tour as a team.

Thank you Jimmy for your ride with us.

Roland
Michael Fehrenbach Michael Fehrenbach wrote on June 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm:
(copied from facebook)
Ich poste diese Bewertung für Christophe Fehrenbach, da er kein Facebook hat:
Ich habe an der Wild Wild West im Mai 2018 teilgenommen. Diese Reise hat viel Spass gemacht und es war der Hammer! Wir hatten Adventure pur. Die vielen Schotter- und Naturstrassen inkl. der Flussdurchfahrten haben uns viel Spass bereitet. Bolivien bietet noch vollen Offraod-Spass J.
Die Motoräder waren in gutem Zustand teilweise sogar frisch revidiert. Reparaturen wurden immer schnell durch Jose ausgeführt. Im Begleitfahrzeug war genügend Benzin und medizinisches Material für alle Notfälle vorhanden. Zum Glück haben wir dieses Material nur gesehen. Die Mahlzeiten waren gut ausgesucht sodass ich während der Reise keine Magenprobleme hatte. Roland hat die Tagesetappen laufend auf unsere Wünsche angepasst. So konnten wir z.B. über Eisenbahnbrücken fahren. Aufgrund von Strassenblockaden musste Roland laufend die Planung unserer Reise anpassen. Wir haben wenig davon gemerkt und hatten unseren Spass. Dank der vielen Sprachen, die Roland spricht, kamen wir überall leicht durch. Die Kommunikation mit ihm war problemlos. Ich kann euch die Reise nur empfehlen… vielleicht werde ich noch eine weitere Tour fahren.
Admin Reply by: pollo616
(copied form Facebook)
Danke Christophe, deine Bewertung freut uns sehr.

Für mich als Führer und José-Carlos als Fahrer des Begleitfahrzeug war es ein Vergnügen mit eurer Gruppe durch Bolivien zu touren. Jederzeit wieder…

Thank you Christophe, we are very happy about your rating.

For me as a guide and José-Carlos as driver of the assistance vehicle it was a pleasure to tour with your group through Bolivia. Any time…

Roland and José Carlos
Blaž Tratnik Blaž Tratnik wrote on October 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm:
I'm just a messenger for my parents who were on this tour, because they don't have facebook 🙂
Just a perfect day! We could say for each day of this tour. Program is excelent, motorcycle was in good shape and didn't cause any major problem than it should.
The team BMA tours and us got together very good, it was a real friendly enviorment.
The tour is just right difficulcy for an experienced riders who want some adventure.
Big cities with their chaotic traffic is an undertaking of its own.
The path gave for both of us a pleasure of admiring the surroundings, landscape and simple people who enchant you with their friendliness.
By following the instructionf of an experienced ridder with medicine knowledge, and an skillful mechanic, so we didn't have no worries.
steve white steve white from Clinton, Wa. USA wrote on June 4, 2017 at 3:40 pm:
Beautiful country, unique experience.
I say YES, GO.
Steve
Leanna Tucker Leanna Tucker wrote on March 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm:
(copied from Facebook)
While the ride and scenery was amazing the bikes were in poor repair and our tour guide rude and arrogant. . In fact the bike my husband rode had major problems on arrival and clearly had not been maintained. As a motor mechanic he made the repairs himself to ensure the safety of the vehicle.
On the first day riding about 100 km in his bike had a He was forced to his bike suffered a terminal failure and he was forced to return back to collect a less than suitable bike to complete the ride. The second bike was unsuitable for the ride, had not been services and limped along the entire ride with daily mechanical failures. We have heard from others they had experienced similar experiences. Even if the bikes had failures, offer tour guides can make or break a ride. Ours BROKE with constant insults, blamed us for the mechanical failures and was very short tempered and rude. We did get along with the other riders in our group which was some compensation.
Admin Reply by: pollo616
(copied from Facebook)
Maarten Munnik :
Leana and her husband Trevor did a "pilot" tour (a tour to try out a new route to test it, for a reduced price) with BMA in October 2015. I was one of the guides and even though I don't work for BMA anymore, I feel compelled to respond to this review.

Trevor's bike did develop a problem, less than 100 km in the tour. Dirty fuel (not so terminal) as it turned out, but at that moment I though it better to be sure and swap the bike while we could. Trevor agreed to this.

On day 9 of the tour Trevor's bike acted up. Running badly, no power. A quick examination turned up an airfilter so dirty, it was completely blocked. Strange since we cleaned all airfilters a few days before (standard procedure), so I advised Trevor to try to keep enough distance and not ride in the dust of the bike in front of him. (Not to blame him, but to prevent it from happening again)

During that day we had to clean the airfilter several times. Very frustrating, especially for Trevor. During the 3rd time we stopped to clean it, I noticed a stone had punched a hole in the exhaust, causing it to blow all dust from the rear-wheel, straight into the air-intake.

After fixing the hole things improved a lot, but due to all delays and to much distance to cover on that day (this is why we do a pilot tour) we had to skip a part of the program.

Trevor's bike ran fine the rest of the tour, but it was quit a bit heavier than his original choice, so at one point I offered him my bike (same model as his original choice).

During this tour Leana crashed her bike several times, causing quit some damage. As compensation for Trevor's bad luck with the bikes, we did not charge a cent for this damage (around U$ 500), which at the time was greatly appreciated.

In the evaluation-form Trevor sad that his only disappointment was that he had missed 70 km of the tour (on day 1).

This is why I don't understand why now, 1,5 years later, Leana feels the need to write this, rather exaggerated, review.

(copied from Facebook)

Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures:

Dear Leanna Tucker

Your comment is without references …! I found your and your husband’s name in the archives, booked at the Mission Impossible Tour from 14.10.2015. Are you referring to events of this tour, one and a half years ago?

As the new owner of Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures, I do not know the details of the 2015 Mission Impossible tour. I can only tell you that you should not have waited 15 months, but should have referred at the moment the events occurred to Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures ....

The guide is responsible for the entire group and constantly tries to take into account the wishes and individuality of the riders in relation to the timetable of the tour.

The offer of our motorbikes is as different as the individuality of our customers. We offer from easy to handle to competition motorcycles. All bikes have been approved on our tours.
Our entire motorcycle fleet is subject to a regular maintenance schedule and is continually being changed.
This for safety and to ensure that no breakdowns occur during a tour. Nevertheless, unforeseen breakdown can occurs. This can also happen in a major city of your residence country.
We repair minor problems on site with the material in the support vehicle, a bigger one in the next city. A total failure occurs very rare and is mostly in relation with the motorcycle driver.
In this case, technically we had once a defective alternator, we have constantly 1-2 spare motorcycles ready at our base.

Our tours are adventures tours!

As the owner of Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures, I can also assure you that all our motorbikes are technically checked and cleaned just before a tour.

I hope I could replied constructive to your comment, even if I don’t be sure that you refer to events happened one and a half year ago!?

Now and in the future we will continue to achieve all personal and technical requirements, so that our customers will remember the unique Bolivia, experienced in the motorcycle saddle, for a long time.
Mark Head Mark Head from England wrote on January 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm:
I did the mission impossible tour November 2016 and if you like riding motorbikes and want an adventure in Bolivia then Maarten is your man. The route was fantastic with great scenery, some challenging but very enjoyable riding and experiences that will stay with me forever. A well organised trip with a very knowledgeable and helpful guide. Bolivia is an amazing country and Maarten will show you the best of it.
Ian Stevenson Ian Stevenson from England wrote on December 24, 2016 at 3:37 pm:
I did the Mission impossible tour- which is possible! a bona-fide motorcycle adventure with some epic scenery. Deserts, dunes, rugged mountain passes, suphourus mountain tops and salt flats! The places we stayed were varied, some being remote and gave you a real sense of the wilderness, others in the Bolivian towns and cities gave you a real insight into the Bolivian culture- and karioke bars! Big thanks to Maartin and Jose for getting us around Bolivia safely.
Martin Hanse Martin Hanse from Netherlands wrote on October 24, 2016 at 3:36 pm:
Heb een geweldige tijd gehad met BMA tours. Amazonia+ tour een echte aanrader om van alles wat mee te maken.
"All you need to do is ride... We will take care of the rest"
Dat is zeer zeker uitgekomen!!
Bedankt Maarten & Jose
Chuck Chuck from Canada wrote on August 27, 2016 at 3:33 pm:
Sand, sun, dust, cobblestone, more dust, river crossings, goat trails, more dust, unplanned excursions, and much much more. Blisters on the butt and war wounds attest to the efforts Maarten has invested in creating a memorable visit to Bolivia. Civil unrest and dubious traffic laws enhanced the experience as they are seldom if ever seen at home. Unfortunately I will be unable to attend more of his adventures but the memories will last forever.
Thank you Maarten, Joseph and Tipp
David Miller David Miller from Vancouver, Canada wrote on August 26, 2016 at 3:32 pm:
Just finished the Amazonia tour. It was an amazing couple of weeks. We encountered many adventures on the road and emerged unscathed. The roads were challenging and the scenery incredible. Maarten did a great job of putting together a great tour. Would highly recommend this tour to any experienced rider who wants to push their limits and be challenged. Bolivia is an amazing country and this tour lets one get to know a broad cross section and maybe come back for more!
steffen randahl steffen randahl from Denmark wrote on August 23, 2016 at 3:30 pm:
Maarten/BMA does an excellent job!

I've enjoyed riding a private tour in the valleys of Bolivia with awesome scenery and great dirt, cobblestone and asphalt roads.
Even though I've been living in Bolivia and I've travelled extensively in Bolivia, Maarten offers great experiences with his knowledge about (riding in) Bolivia and know every corner in the countryside worth knowing about.
Great guy, and absolutely recommendable.
Karl Schembri Wismayer Karl Schembri Wismayer from Malta wrote on May 28, 2016 at 3:29 pm:
Surpassed all expectations. Bolivia's natural beauty is truly something to behold. The great group of guys I met on the Highlander II tour made it an even more memorable experience. A no frills motorbike adventure through some of Bolivia's most spectacular scenery.

In Maarten's capable hands, you're sure to have a fantastic time. Highly recommended.
LAURIE WAUGH LAURIE WAUGH from Hampshire England wrote on May 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm:
Great three weeks of biking,Maartens knowledge of all things Bolivian is superb
Trevor Trevor from Australia wrote on November 4, 2015 at 3:23 pm:
I enjoyed the Mission Impossible Pilot Tour very much! Amazing sights, heaps of riding fun along with challenging conditions. Great lifetime memories created, thanks BMA.
Chris S. Chris S. from Santa Cruz wrote on October 5, 2015 at 3:22 pm:
Had a great time seeing a lot of Bolivia in a relatively short period of time. Accommodations and food was great, the ride contained a good mix of dirt and asphalt. Some sections were a challenge but that's what I paid for so I enjoyed it. Im my opinion there's no better way to see Bolivia than on a motorcycle.
Jean-Paul Kivit Jean-Paul Kivit from Netherlands wrote on August 10, 2015 at 3:20 pm:
Beste bikers,

Afgelopen zomer een tour gemaakt met BMA (wild wild west tour) het is een tour die zeer de moeite waard is. Van hoge kale vlaktes met een hemel zo blauw tot de zoutvlakte van Uyuni en van rivierbeddingen tot zandpaden.

Slapen doe je in goede hotels, met bijbehorend goede diners.
De motoren zijn goed onderhouden en opgewassen tegen de zware omstandigheden van de tour.

Onderleiding van Maarten (de gids) leer je het land goed kennen.

Ook belangrijk!! Je kan ten alle tijden mailen met BMA over de diversen tours en andere vragen, en vaak krijg je binnen 24 uur een antwoord. Kortom, een organisatie en tours die de moeite waard zijn.
Bart Wesdorp Bart Wesdorp from Netherlands wrote on July 11, 2015 at 3:17 pm:
Travelled with an awesome group (along with Koos and two others) and had an amazing trip and a great experience.

Bolivia is an amazing country and I've had many moments I was overwhelmed by what I saw. Very diverse set of sceneries and far more beautiful and intimidating than any photo can convey.

Loved the fact we travelled through parts of the country with so little traffic. You could really appreciate some of the desolation and the rough nature.

Bikes were well maintained and the guide was friendly and helpful.

Sure, you go into this not expecting much comfort and, yeah, there's parts where there isn't much of that. Don't expect to be able to hang back into full tourist mode and expect roomservice. Pay attention, this is Bolivia. It's supposed to be an adventure after all. But Maarten certainly tries to make the best comfort possible and help you on your way.

Very much recommended
Koos van Marle Koos van Marle from the Netherlands wrote on May 10, 2015 at 3:09 pm:
Met de Wild Wild West tour waarschijnlijk een van de mooiste motorreizen gemaakt die je kan maken qua landschap en afwisselend rijden.

Bolivia is een schitterend land, Maarten een goede degelijke gids en dat bij elkaar levert een op veel fronten onvergetelijke reis op. True story! :!cool:

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