17 Days. Level: Hard 2.305 km, 40% offroad U$ 3,400.-
21 Days. Level: Hard 3.310 km, 50% offroad U$ 4,320.-
This tour takes you from the breathtaking highlands into the steaming Amazon basin and (in the + version via the “missions”) back again. Some of the roads (if you can call them that) are at best “horrible”. If there is asphalt, it has potholes that can swallow a medium size family car. Be prepared for mud, soft sand, bull dust and lots and lots of river crossings. Some with bridges, some without. South America at its best.
Day 1. Airport pickup at Viru viru, Santa Cruz (alt. 400 mtr.)
We pick you up at the airport of Santa Cruz, Bolivia from where we drive to the small town Samaipata (120 km, 3 hours). There we check into a comfortable hotel and spend the rest of the day to relax and rest from the flight. If your flight arrives late, we will spend the night in Santa Cruz. In that case the following day is considered day 1.
Day 2. Samaipata (alt. 1,600 mtr.)
We start with a “briefing” where we learn more about our route, the local “traffic rules” and about each other. Then it is time to meet your bike. To get used to it we go for a ride to the archeological site “El Fuerte” which is 5 km on tarmac and 5 km on dirt. “El Fuerte” is an old Inca town build around the, much older, largest stone-sculpture in America.
Day 3. To Totora (alt. 2800 mtr.) 260 km, 30% offroad
We start easy on decent, but sometimes missing, asphalt, but soon the asphalt disapears completely. The scenery becomes one of rough and colorful mountains and the road becomes challenging.
After a simple lunch we enter a cobblestone road that follows the rims of the mountains and offers amazing views. At the end of the afternoon we enter Totora, a small colonial town, laid out as a labyrinth of alleyways and bridges.
Day 4. To Cochabamba (alt. 2500 mtr.) 145 km, 0% offroad
The road to Cochabamba is all high quality asphalt that curves though picturesque valleys filled with farms and fields.
We’ll have lunch on the shores of a large lake where the menu is fresh fish or fresh fish.
The ride into Cochabamba is chaotic. A good practice for the traffic-horrors of El Alto tomorrow.
Day 5. To La Paz (alt. 3700 mtr.) 375 km, 0% offroad
Leaving the valley of Cochabamba we quickly start to climb. Through desolate, but beautiful, mountain scenery, we reach the Alti-Plano (the highlands). With the roads leveling out we quickly reach La paz, the defacto capital of Bolivia.
If all goes according to plan we’ll be on time to see the “changing of the guards” at the presidential palace
Day 6. To Caranavi via the Death Road 165 km, 60% offroad
Leaving the crowded streets of La Paz behind us we climb to 4.700 meters above sea level and then we almost literally plunge into the Amazon basin. First we have to navigate the famous “Death Road”, officially the most dangerous road in the world.
If we survive this, you get a chance to prove your bravery on a 1,5 Km zip/line.
After all this, you get to ride the real Death Road as it continues from Coroico to Caranavi. This time there are no tourists on mountainbikes. Instead it is filled with cars, trucks and buses that are all in a deadly hurry.
Day 7. To Rurrennabaque 250 km, 50% offroad
The narrow mountain-road slowly levels out as we reach the edge of the Amazon basin. Today we continue to our destination, Rurrennabaque the jungle-trekking capital of Bolivia. Although it is a native Amazonian town, there seem to be more gringos then indians on its dusty streets.
Day 8. To Santa Rosa 105 Km 100% offroad
The road to Santa Rosa is rough, dusty and hot, but just before it all becomes to much, we reach our lodge on the shores of the Yacumo river. After lunch we’ll start exploring this amazing natural hub, filled to the brim with wild animals such as crocodiles, capybaras, dolphins, turtles, various sorts of monkeys and literally thousands of birds.
Day 9. Anacondas and piranhas.
Today we’ll try to find the (in)famous anaconda, the largest watersnake in the world (up to 10 meters). After lunch and siesta we will try our luck with piranha-fishing and at night we’ll do some extremely exciting crocodile “hunting” (all eco-friendly of course).
Day 10. Swimming together with dolphins, To San Borja 95 km 100% offroad
In the morning a sunrise-walk followed by (for many people) the highlight: Swimming together with the amazing pink dolphins. After lunch we leave this little paradise via an old trail that only exists in the dry season. There is a good chance to see crocodiles sunbathing in the middle of this “road” and the ponds on the side are the homes of capybara families.
The road ends in San Borja where we check in to a sort of Amazonian bungalow-park.
Day 11 To San Ignacio de los moxos 140 km, 100% offroad
In this sleepy indigenous town we’ll spend the night. Breakfast will be at the local market.
Day 12. To Trinidad 95 km, 90% offroad
Trinidad, the capital of the department Beni, is a large Amazonian town where you might see Boa Constrictors swimming in the open sewers. It has is a fantastic plaza, the best milkshakes ever and a 7 meter “pet anaconda”.
Special attraction is a Boeing 727 (a big plane) that crashed in the jungle close to town.
Day 13. To San Xavier 415 km, 0% offroad (but there are more holes then asphalt)
Today we “enjoy” asphalt again. But don’t be to happy, you’ll be plenty busy avoiding potholes the size of minivans. Ay the end of this rather long day we reach San Xavier, one of the mission towns of chiquitania. Before we set off to bed we’ll have a look at the humongous wooden church.
Day 14. Via Concepcion to San Ignacion 230 km 50% offroad (Only in the + version)
Via the capital of the missions, Concepcion, where we visit the cathedral, we ride to San Ignacio. Here we’ll enjoy the swimmingpool of our mini-resort hotel or a walk to the huge artificial lake to watch the fishermen at work.
Day 15. To Santiago de Chiquitos 360 km, 50% offroad (Only in the + version)
In the morning we leave San Ignacio on great motorcycle-roads. After a lunch at a Mennonite-hangout, we’ll arrive on the “Santa Cruz / Puerto Quijaro highway. On this smooth asphalt we continue to Robore, a military outpost, where we turn off to our destination Santiago de Chiquitos. You can visit the mission church, but mostly we are here for the spectacular natural site Aguas Calientes.
Day 16. Aguas Calientes 80 km, 0% offroad (Only in the + version)
Aguas Calientes is a lake filled with hot springs, so the water is around 35 to 40 degrees. We’ll spend the morning hanging around, and in, the water, which is supposed to have healing powers, so our “saddle sore” should be completely gone at the end of the morning.
In the afternoon we’ll climb a mountain with an amazing view and mysterious rock-formations.
Day 17. To San Jose de Chiquitos 160 km, 0% offroad (Only in the + version)
Leaving Santiago in the morning we arrive in San Jose, the last of our mission towns, well before noon. We’ll look at the church, the original location of Santa Cruz and walk around some spectacular lunar landscapes just out of town.
Day 18. To Buena Vista 385 km in the + version, 230 km in the regular version
Mostly on busy asphalt we ride to the wonderful town of Buena Vista, a small oasis in the busy Santa Cruz trade-center of Bolivia. Our hotel, of course with pool, is on the plaza where you can sit on the terrace, sipping a cappuccino, watching the hustle and bustle of daily town life.
Day 19. To Samaipata 185 km 60% offroad
Today we cross the Amboro National Park on narrow roads and curvy trails. Half a dozen river-crossings (no bride in sight) make this a very exciting morning.
After lunch we’ll enjoy majestic views on a crumbling asphalt road that curves up into the foothills of the Andes towards our final destination, Samaipata.
Day 20. To Santa Cruz
We leave our bikes behind and set off for Santa Cruz where we can do some last minute souvenirs shopping and enjoy Brazillian churasquero and Oriental cuisine.
Day 21. To the airport.
We bring you to the airport, help you with the check-in and as you walk through customs we say goodbye. Hopefully we will meet again.