Northern Chile / Argentina
After an amazing ride through Bolivia I arrived in San Pedro Atacama, Chile. The first town across the border from Bolivia.
I met up with some other riders that I have crossed paths with along the way, and we celebrated our riding by drinking beer and enjoying the town. San Pedro Atacama is a big tourist spot. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a tour company taking people to Bolivia and the other attractions around the area.
We went on a star gazing tour
And enjoyed the town
And had some more beer
My friend Kristyn was having trouble with her bike so we went to Antofagasta to find a mechanic
And enjoyed the sunset
After Kristyn got her bike fixed we headed back to San Pedro for one more night before heading in to Argentina to ride the famous Ruta 40.
The road leading to Argentina was awesome and took you over a beautiful mountain pass
I rode with Kristyn for a couple of days. When we arrived in Argentina the road turned to dirt. She had a bad fall, and so for the rest of the day we went slow and stayed in the first town.
Later we met up with the other guys in Salta and enjoyed some good food
Argentina is much cheaper than Chile. Hostels in Chile can be about $15 where as Argentina is about $6. Gas is also cheaper by about ½. Argentina also loves their siesta. Everything closes between 2-5 pm.
Heading off on my own, I headed south along Ruta 40. Ruta 40 is famous, but I found it to be quite boring. Long stretches of straight road. There is one dirt section that goes through a canyon with awesome scenery, but it was raining the day I wanted to go, so I did a bypass, but the bypass also had some great scenery.
Spending two nights in Cafayate, I went on a hike with a nice girl from France to a waterfall.
Cafayate is wine country and the town pretty
Back on to Ruta 40 for a full day of loooong straight boring road with a headwind to destroy my fuel economy. I spent my last night in Northern Argentina in a nice small city San Juan.
The next day I headed back in to Chile to meet back up with friends I’ve met on the road in Santiago.
The road to Santiago was beautiful, but windy. The frontier was at the top of a mountain pass, and I was rewarded with an awesome twisty road back into Chile.
Santiago is a lovely city. I was surprised how calm and tranquil the city was compared to other large cities in Latin America where noise and chaos are the norm. Orange brick buildings and concrete were replaced with beautiful wooden structures and tree lined streets.
The further south you go the more things start to look like home.
I spent a few nights in a hostel owned by a motorcycle guy. He had a garage to work on your bike and he had a collection of Yamaha Tenere motorcycles.
After a few nights in Santiago I continued south to Pucon. A beautiful town at the base of a volcano surrounded by lakes.
In Pucon there is a hostel just outside the city called Motocamp. My friends had heard about it and wanted to stay there, but after finding out the prices, I decided to pass and find something more reasonable. I found a nice hostel for $8 and there were other moto travelers.
After a few days in Pucon, I made my way to Puerto Varas where I would start the famous Carretera Austral (Ruta 7) This road is supposed to be amazingly beautiful as it twist you through the mountains of Southern Chile. But first a stop at many of the hot springs around Pucon.
Puerto Varas is where you really start to see the European influences. Towards the end of WWII, many germans fled to Chile and Argentina.
From here I will ride the Carretera Austral and back in to Argentina.
See you in the next chapter!
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