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Argentina - From the salt mines to the jungle
Salta, Tilcara, Salinas Grandes, Purmamarca, Iruya, San Salvador de Jujuy (Argentina)
This wonderful introduction to the Andean Altiplano, or Puna, as the vast region below the High Andes in Argentina is known, centers around the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca Canyon), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most amazing places of the Altiplano. The southern reaches of the Inca Trail once ran through here, later becoming part of the Spanish Royal Road that stretched from Peru down to Buenos Aires in colonial times. You’ll intimately explore towns like Purmamarca and Iruya, with its traditional narrow, cobble-stoned streets and adobe homes, still inhabited by the descendants of the once-mighty Inca. Below the Puna lie the Yungas, a long, thin belt of sub-tropical jungle coming north from Bolivia, fed by the waters of the High Andes. Lush, green rainforests with incredible varieties of plants and amazing birdlife. The contrast from the arid desert landscapes above, add much impact to this beautiful scenery.
The region also provides an incredible setting for mountain biking, a marvelous way to deeply experience this amazing destination. Another opportunity to live our amazing country with great mountain biking, only as MTB Tours knows how to do!
Salta and Jujuy provinces in the Argentinean northeast region near the Andes Mountains and Bolivia, 1800 km from Buenos Aires.
9 days, 8 nights*
* 8 days, 7 nights for guests flying out of Salta or Jujuy at tour end
Flight in: Salta, Argentina
Flight out: Salta or Jujuy, Argentina
*please read about transportation options in detailed itinerary
Guests starting with us in Buenos Aires will depart in our van on Friday afternoon en route to Salta (flight to, and accommodations in Buenos Aires are not included in tour price). The shuttle from Buenos Aires to Salta takes 20 hours, arriving on Saturday.
If you choose to fly to Salta, we will meet you there on Saturday.
Saturday: Welcome to Salta
The group will rendezvous in Salta this afternoon. We’ll have free time to have an overview of the city. Plaza 9 de Julio, the Cathedral, San Francisco Church and Balcarce Street can’t be missed. Time for an Argentinean asado (Barbacue), while we receive a briefing for the next day program.
Sunday: Through a rainforest to the Quebrada de Humahuaca
Getting on our minibus early with the bikes loaded, we’ll drive to bordering Jujuy Province on Old Road 9. We’ll bike through the exuberant sub-tropical rainforest, a truly amazing setting, and a great contrast to the scenery to come. The narrow, winding road will take us through thick foliage, a true rainforest, where we can spot amazing native birds. We’ll stop for lunch at the small town of La Ciénaga, where we’ll load to the bikes and shuttle to Purmamarca. This enchanting town marks the entrance to the Quebrada de Humahuaca. The town itself is charming, and you’ll feel almost like you’re taking a step back in time. The locals are descendants of the Incas, whose great empire reached Northwest Argentina. Tonight we’ll sleep at a cozy "Hosteria".
Monday: into the Andean Plateau
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll drive up towards another trip highlight: the vast, completely white and extremely dry Salinas Grandes (Great Salt Flats), in Jujuy Province. The drive goes over the Cuesta del Lipán, bordering cliffs through a deep canyon, and reaching 4200 ms (13,779 ft), from where we’ll have an amazing view of the nearby Quebrada de Humahuaca. We’ll see guanacos and vicuñas, the wild relatives of the llama. Once over the Lipan Slope, we’ll reach the huge salt flats, and after learning from locals about the salt extraction process, we’ll have lunch together. A great ride ride awaits us: Our first cycling contact with altitude uphilling await us to then ride down the Cuesta de Lipán back into Purmamarca. We recommend exploring the picturesque town and visiting the market in the central plaza. Be sure to visit the viewpoint of the truly amazing Hill of Seven Colors, a nearby slope of exposed rock in all imaginable shades of reds and ocres. We’ll return to the "Hosteria" for a night of deserved rest.
Tuesday: and the high Andean Puna
This morning we’ll begin driving from Purmamarca through the wonderful Quebrada de Humahuaca, passing through the towns of Tilcara, Tumbaya and Humahuaca. We’ll have plenty of time to take in the amazing scenery that will surround us. After Humahuaca, we will detour to Iruya and that’s where one of the most beautiful rides of the tour starts. We will be riding over a dirt road taking us up to 3,900 ms of elevation, and passing through small towns like Iturbe and Chaupe Rodeo. Once reaching the highest point, at the famous Abra del Condor (the Condor’s Pass), we’ll get on our bikes and begin another great downhill ride, following a zigzagging, narrow dirt road, crossing small farms and settlements, with ancient terraces built into the slopes. The natural scenery does not cease to amaze here - arid landscapes, huge mountains cut by deep canyons, and all imaginable colors exposed in the eroded slopes. The town of Iruya awaits us, another pre-Columbian town of narrow cobble stones streets and adobe homes. The beautiful church in the central plaza is not to be missed here. Tonight we’ll be lodged at a local simple inn.
Wednesday: Hiking in the Altiplano
Today we’ll walk from Iruya to the tiny settlement of San Isidro, located 7 km (4,5 miles) north of Iruya. We’ll ascend slowly but steadily, crossing a river several times, through canyons enveloped by the always-amazing mountains of this region. We’ll hopefully get a glimpse of the Andean Condor flying high above. Once in San Isidro, we’ll stroll this ancient town, and have a chance to shop for wonderful regional handicrafts at the small market. In the afternoon we’ll return to Iruya.
Thursday: Back into the Quebrada
We’ll drive out of Iruya on a different road, and once again reach the high pass where we’ll get on our mountain bikes, riding towards the Quebrada de Humahuaca. Another awesome zigzagging ride from 3,900 to 3,000 ms. We’ll eventually re-route, heading to Humahuaca, where we’ll spend the night. In the afternoon those wanting to, are invited to join us in a 25km drive to see the sunset in the fantastic red and ocre "Serrania de Hornocal" at more than 4.300 meters.
Friday: Ride in the "Altiplano"
After breakfast we take our bikes and start riding on the road that leads to "Abra de Zenta" from 2.900 meters to 3.300 meters over the sea level. After 10k of continuous uphill we take a detour to the south to "Quebrada de Ucumazo". The red colored hills combined with the green fertile valley, the slope done by years and years of erosion and the zig-zag of the dirt road are the perfect way to finish this fantastic tour. In our hotel in Humahuaca we’ll have our lunch and celebrate the end of the tour. Free time to explore "Humahuaca" in the afternoon.
We leave Humahuaca after breakfast. There’s a three hours drive back to Salta Capital. Those travelling back to Buenos Aires with us will continue overnight and we’ll arrive in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning, after driving over paved roads during 20 hours.
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Price: 1430 u$ dollars
Argentina - The Andes cross
This fantastic journey will take you over and through the Andes Range, over a little-used mountain pass (the Vergara Pass, at 2460 meters above sea level - 8070 feet). You will share the road with the desert wind, condors soaring high above, and your fellow cyclists. The tour begins in Malargüe, a small city in the province of Mendoza, Argentina, bordering with the Northern edge of Patagonia. After 5 days of exhilarating cycling, we’ll arrive in Curico, Chile. The challenging climbing is rewarded by long downhill rides once we enter Chile. We will camp under incredibly huge skies, involved in a magical setting of jagged peaks, snow-capped mountains and desolate desert landscapes.
Our experienced team of tour leaders, support staff and cooks work as an efficient team, always a step ahead of our guests’ needs. You will always have a team member nearby; if you prefer cycling alone, whether it be cycling strong at the front, or at your own relaxed pace in the rear, you will have this freedom. Our team members will greet you around the next curve with an encouraging word and a friendly smile, supporting you every step of the way.
We have been successfully running this tour for years, so you can be assured that every detail has been thought of, letting you concentrate on fully enjoying your journey across the Andes, and to deeply experience our country and culture. Live this once-in-a-lifetime experience with us!
The starting point is Malargüe, in the Argentine province of Mendoza- the heart of the Andes. The destination is Curicó, Chile where we arrive after crossing the Andes at Vergara Pass (2460 meters/ 8,200 feet above sea level) and Portezuelo del Carqueque 2800 meters
(9100 feet above the sea level).
8 days/7 nights*.
The trip can be done from January to March, due to the weather and path conditions. From April to December this dirt road is closed to transit.
*8 days for those flying home from Santiago, Chile
Flight in: San Rafael, Argentina
Flight out: Santiago de Chile
Depart: (Friday) Guests starting with us in Buenos Aires will depart in our van on Friday afternoon. Our meeting point is in Buenos Aires (flight to, and accommodations in Buenos Aires are not included in tour price). We recommend flying to the city of San Rafael, in Mendoza Province. If you choose to fly to Mendoza, you must arrive in Malargüe by Friday or Saturday. The nearest airport is San Rafael, which is 180 km from Malargüe. We can arrange for your transfer from San Rafael airport to Malargüe.
Saturday Day 1:
We’ll arrive in Malargüe in the afternoon, giving you free time to stroll the town, visit a museum or rest. Tonight we’ll be lodged at a local hotel. Dinner is on your own, so you can visit the town and choose from the varied regional options. Malargüe is famous for chivito, the local name for goat. Of course, you will also find the famous Argentine grilled meat here.
Sunday Day 2: Malargüe - Portezuelo del Carqueque
After our detailed welcome and safety talk, we begin biking from the town’s central square. The first stage involves leaving Malargüe heading west towards the "Portezuelo del Carqueque"
In the beginning the uphill is quite relax and easy and we always have the "Cerro Torrecillas" 3.770 meters (12.370 feet) on our right. After doing 22km we pass by the "Castillos de Pincheira" some strange geological formations that received the name "Castles of Pincheira". Our delicious first picnic is ready and we’ll be delighted with our cooks! Our support team will prepare lunch and dinner every day we are cycling, welcoming guests at midday with a hearty outdoors lunch, and preparing dinner at our previously organized campsite in the evening.
After lunch real uphill starts, it’s the time to focus on the bike and take our pace. While we ride the views will change to real mountains scenery with Plaster Mountains and water streams.
During this first stage, the temperature will be around 30º Celsius (86º Fahrenheit) at day, and as low as 0ºC at night (32ºF).
42,5 km (26,5 miles) - 1000 meters (3280 Feet) uphill
Monday day 3: Portezuelo del Carqueque - Puesto de Don Beno Forquera
In the first morning in the Andes we wake up surrounded by a dreamlike mountain landscape. After having breakfast and putting the tents down, we start the stage where we’ll arrive to the top of the trip at 2800 meters (9100 feet above the sea level).
In the kilometer 13 we are finally there in the high Andes! As always, you can choose from cycling hard ahead of the pack, or at a relaxed pace, taking your time to snap pictures and marvel at the landscape. Our support vehicles will be used to move our equipment and baggage ahead as well as to give support to riders.
Twelve kilometers down we’ll enjoy our lunch together. In the afternoon we’ll have the second uphill of the day, not as hard as the first one but still challenging, until arriving to one of the most beautiful parts of the trip: a viewpoint from where to see Mt. Campanario, the "Río Grande", the glacier of Peteroa Vulcano and the Mt. Planchón. From now it’s all the way down and we loose more than 600 meters (1900 feet) until crossing the "Río Grande" through a yellow big bridge. We set camp at a local puesto, basically a hamlet where locals will treat us with the famous chivito of Mendoza.
46 km (28,5 miles) - 1000 meters (3280 Feet) uphill
Tuesday Day 4: Puesto de Don Beno Forquera - Glaciar del Azufre
Today’s challenging stage will see us begin early, getting us ever closer to our ultimate goal. Our objective will be the wonderful plateaus under the Peteroa Volcano, which last blew ashes in the 90’s. We’ll see this amazing smoking massif high above us. The ride involves plenty of climbing, getting us into the very heart of the mountains. We’ll also see fields of volcanic stone and ash as we reach our campsite, which will be set up under a nearby glacier. No better way to celebrate today’s accomplishments!
52 km (32,3 miles) - 1100 meters (3600 Feet) uphill/455 meters (1488 Feet) downhill
Wednesday Day 5: Glaciar del Azufre - Río Teno
Emotion and excitement will abound us, as we finish our climbing and we leave Argentina across the border into Chile. This is the start of some amazing downhill riding! After 9 km we’ll reach the border control, as well as the tour’s maximum elevation of 2,465 ms above sea level (8,070 ft). The zigzag downhill path will get your adrenaline flowing; but be sure to stop for the amazing views. We’ll arrive to lunch stop just by the Chilean border control. More downhills by the "Río Teno" to arrive at our campsite near by Teno River, where Olympic kayak teams train. One more night to replenish ourselves with a nourishing meal, enjoying the company of our group, which will, by now be a unified team!
42 km (26 miles) - 420 meters (1374 Feet) uphill/1620 meters (5298 Feet) downhill
Thursday Day 6: Río Teno - Curicó
More downhill riding on this last stage of our High Andes Crossing. Still, there are plenty of challenges, as we must carefully steer our bikes over the winding dirt road. The temperatures will rise today as we near sea level, so we’ll begin early to enjoy the swimming pool at the hotel this afternoon (well worth it!). The landscape will differ drastically, as we experience a change in vegetation in the more humid Chilean region. After crossing the town of Los Queñes, we’ll once again cycle over a paved road, with 26 km to go before reaching Curicó. The support team will wait at the hotel with lunch prepared, ready to celebrate the success of our tour with champagne! After loading our bikes, you’ll have time for a relaxing shower, with a free afternoon to enjoy the pool, followed by a group dinner at our hotel.
68 km (42,5 miles) - 420 meters (1374 Feet) uphill/1420 meters (4644 Feet) downhill
Friday Day 7:
We’ll leave Curicó in our minibus, heading towards back to Malargüe, Argentina. We will arrange the shuttle to drive you to Santiago de Chile, where you can fly home or extend your travels in the amazing country of Chile. From the famous wineries of the Central Valley, to the deserts of the North and the glaciers of the South, Chile offers truly magical destinations.
Saturday Day 8:
After an early start in Malargüe, we expect to arrive in Buenos Aires around 10pm, travelling over paved roads throughout the day.
Difficult level: Advanced
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Price: 1370u$ dollars
Private tent: 130u$
Transfer from San Rafael airport to Malargüe: 70 u$ dollars
Argentina - The heart of the Andes
This fantastic MTB Tour is truly done in the heart of the Andes. Without crossing the border to Chile but riding very near to it, we use almost forgotten paths and gravel roads that are hardly kept "alive" and we get to know one of the most beautiful places in Argentina. This ride will take us along the "Barrancas" river in the first three days, going up to 9.000ft to then take us to Varvarco Andean and pristine lagoon; will make us ride by Domuyo mtn. the highest in Patagonia (15.000ft) and enjoy the thermal waters coming from underneath and will let us enjoy the only geysers in Argentina.
t’s a demanding ride as we gather more tan 12.000ft elevation gain in the first three days, but landscapes and views will pay by far the effort giving back a great experience!
Andean ride, from Barrancas to Huingancó in North Patagonia.
Nine days. The tour is done only in summetime, from January to March. The chose paths receive very little maintenance, looking more as "jeep tracks" and only from January to Marh water streams and rivers are low enough to be crossed. Our support gear and structure are a little bit simpler comparing to our other tours in the area.
Flight in: Neuquen, Argentina
Flight out: Neuquen, Argentina
Depart: (Friday) Guests starting with us in Buenos Aires will depart in our van on Friday afternoon (22hs drive). Our meeting point is in Buenos Aires (flight to, and accommodations in Buenos Aires are not included in tour price). We recommend flying to the city of Neuquen, in Neuquen Province. The nearest airport is Neuquen’s Airport (230 miles) and we can arrange your transfer to Chos Malal (Flight and transfer not included in the tour price).
Saturday Day 1:
Meet & greet in Chos Malal, left time to prepare the Bikes, walk in town and rest. Tonight we’ll be lodged at a local hotel. Dinner is on your own, so you can visit the town and choose from the varied regional options. Chos Malal is famous for chivito, the local name for goat. Of course, you will also find the famous Argentine grilled meat here.
Sunday Day 2: Chos Malal - Barrancas - Barrancas River
After our detailed welcome and safety talk, our adventure starts! Early in the morning we do a 78 miles/2 hours transfer from Chos Malal to Barrancas. After setting the bikes and receiving a briefing of the tour we start cycling northwest. We’ll ride two kilometers on paved roads until getting into gravel roads and jeep tracks until the end of the journey. The start is quite challenging, as we start at 3.600ft over the sea level and in few miles we’ll get to "Batra lauquen" lagoon. After twelve miles we’ll be already at 5.000ft and the volcanic views will be amazing. Very little afterwards we’ll downhill to "Huaraco" stream to then uphill for three miles and then downhill to "Chadileu" stream where we’ll have lunch. Some few kilometers will be left for the rest of the afternoon until getting into the first campsite of the tour.
29 miles - 3600 feet elevation gain
Monday day 3: Barrancas River - Cajon de los Nevados
After the first camping night and a delicious breakfast our second Andean tour stage starts. During the whole journey there will be several support vehicles: One of them will go in the rear, bringing the group’s personal luggage, mechanical gear, a spare bike and water, fruits and snacks. The other support vehicles will move always forward to attend bikers with the campsites already set up and specially to welcome them with delicious homemade brownies and snacks. Today we venture deeper in the Andes Mountains. We’ll find very far away little ranches where local settlers raise sheep and goats. The elevation gain graphic is a little bit fanciful: In the first 27 miles we’ll only climb 1.600ft, and in the last 8 miles we’ll climb another 1.600ft. Following the mountain road we’ll pass by "Cari Lauquen" Lagoon, a beautiful blue mirror, home of lots of different water birds. The valley gets narrow, and then gets wide again. The last miles keep a surprise for the bikers: A steep spiral path goes up for more than two miles and up there we get fantastic views of the area. We’ll camp near "Barrancas" River.
35 miles - 3600 feet elevation gain
Tuesday Day 4: Cajon de los Nevados - Varvarco Tapia Lagoon
Today we start the ride with a gentle and soft uphill, but that doesn’t last for long! We leave "Barrancas" River valley and we enter "Los Nevados" stream valley and we’ll climb until getting to the headwaters! This uphill will be the most demanding of the tour which will take us to the roof of the tour in almost 11 miles. The uphill through this narrow valley will make us crossing tiny water streams and will take us to a breathtaking mountain scenery. And there will be the king of the Andes: the Andean Condor, and if lucky it won’t be about seeing one or two, we’ll have lots of them on sight. The climb will be over at 9.000ft, we’ll go up and down for few miles and then the desired downhill starts.
Probably this is one of the highlights of the tour as the landscape is stunning; the narrow valley, green meadows, mountain snowcapped needles until getting into our privileged campsite near "Varvarco Tapia" Lagoon, probably the best place for sunset pics spotting as we’ll be camping in front of the north face of "Domuyo" mtn.
31 miles - 4600 feet elevation gain
Wednesday Day 5: Varvarco Tapia Lagoon - Aguas Calientes
Today we’ll live a unique day in our journey: We’ll string along with the west face of "Domuyo" mtn, through a fantastic path that is doesn’t enable vehicles transit as successive snow and snow meltings have spoiled it and now only offers the chance to walk, ride or horseback.
During nearly 16 miles we’ll ride with no vehicle support and we’ll carry our gear until meeting our support vehicles again. When this path meets the "Varvarco" river we’ll have assistance to cross the river with our bikes. Once on the other side, we’ll pass by "Ailinco" Chapel until getting to "Puesto Valdez" where we’ll camp. Today our effort will be very well payed: "Aguas Calientes" is not far away and we’ll have the chance to enjoy a hot thermal mountain sparkling bath. "Domuyo" mtn has volcanic activity underneath and waters come at 95° to 120° Fahrenheit.
26 miles - 1300 feet elevation gain
Thursday Day 6: Aguas Calientes - The Geysers - Varvarco
After breakfast we leave towards "Varvarco" and only 4 miles afterwards we take a detour to the right and we’ll start uphilling on the west side of "Domuyo" mtn. We’ll leave bikes and do a short twenty minutes hike to see the sole geysers in Argentina, named "Los Tachos". After shooting our best pics we get back to the main road and keep heading south. It’s mainly down although there will be a couple of short but steep uphills at "Covunco" and "Atreuco" stream dales.
Just before entering "Varvarco" town we’ll find an astonishing situation: The clear "Neuquen" river and the milky "Varvarco" river join together and get along several hundred yards without blending, giving the river a peculiar aspect.
31 miles - 2500 feet elevation gain
Friday Day 7: Varvarco - Huingancó
In our last day of our journey, we leave "Varvarco" and keep riding south through a very likeable narrow road that goes along the "Neuquen" river and it’s surrounded by pine forests. Today we’ll ride between 3.600 and 4.200ft but as we’ll go constantly up and down we’ll gather more than 3.600ft elevation gain.
After 12 miles we’ll cross "Butalón Norte" and in the mile 18 we’ll enjoy our lunch.
In the afternoon we’ll arrive in Huinganco, where we’ll load the bikes in the trailer and we’ll be transferred to Chos Malal. We’ll spend the night at a very pleasant hotel and will enjoy a very nice evening meal.
32,5 miles - 3600 feet elevation gain
Saturday Day 8:
Depart to Buenos Aires from Chos Malal. On the way to Buenos Aires we’ll pass through Neuquen city (The nearest airport). Arrival to Buenos Aires early in the morning of Sunday Day 9.
if plane is not required, land transportation is about 22 hours.
Difficult level: Expert
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Price: 1370u$ dollars
Private tent: 130u$
Transfer from Neuquen’s airport to Chos Malal at an extra cost.
Argentina & Chile - The windy mountain range
Chos Malal, Los Angeles, Neuquen (Argentina & Chile)
This is our new MTB Tours journey, a fantastic plenty of contrasts Andes ride that starts under the Domuyo Volcano domains, the highest mountain in Patagonia, until arriving in "Los Angeles", the capital of the 8° region in Chile.
The challenging climbing is rewarded by long downhill rides once we enter Chile. We will camp under incredibly huge skies, involved in a magical setting of jagged peaks, snow-capped mountains and desolate desert landscapes. Our experienced team of tour leaders, support staff and cooks work as an efficient team, always a step ahead of our guests needs. You will always have a team member nearby; if you prefer cycling alone, whether it be cycling strong at the front, or at your own relaxed pace in the rear, you will have this freedom. Our team members will greet you around the next curve with an encouraging word and a friendly smile, supporting you every step of the way. Live this once-in-a-lifetime experience with us!
The starting point is Chos Malal, in the Argentine province of Neuquen - the heart of the Andes. The destination is "Los Angeles", Chile where we arrive after crossing the Andes at Pichachen Andean Pass.
9 days/8 nights*.
The trip can be done only in January and February, due to the weather and path conditions. From March to December this dirt road is closed to transit.
*8 days for those flying home from Santiago, Chile
Flight in: Neuquen, Argentina
Flight out: Neuquen, Argentina or Concepción, Chile
Depart: (Friday) Guests starting with us in Buenos Aires will depart in our van on Friday afternoon. Our meeting point is in Buenos Aires (flight to, and accommodations in Buenos Aires are not included in tour price). We recommend flying to the city of Neuquen, in Neuquen Province. If you choose to fly to Neuquen, you must arrive in Chos Malal by Friday or Saturday. The nearest airport is Neuquen, which is 380 km from Chos Malal. We can arrange for your transfer from Neuquen airport to Chos Malal (Flight and transfer not included).
Saturday Day 1:
Those travelling by land must expect twenty hours on the road until arriving in Chos Malal. The left time will be used to set the bikes up and meet the staff and your travelling colleagues. We’ll stay the night at the nicest hotel in town (Hotel included, dinner free and not included). Chos Malal is famous for chivito, the local name for goat. Of course, you will also find the famous Argentine grilled meat here.
Sunday Day 2: Chos Malal - Huinganco
After breakfast, the organization staff will give a speech of the tour before starting to ride. Once on the road, we start the first stage from Chos Malal towards the northwest, looking after "Cordillera del viento", the windy Andes range.
Just after some few miles, we’ll see the "Domuyo" Volcano (4700 meters over the sea level) the highest mountain in Patagonia, one of the most important icons for trekking and climbing expeditions in North Patagonia. The morning ride will take us through a wide open valley and over a nice paved road. In the afternoon, views will change completely: We’ll enter the Huinganco Valley and enjoy a narrow and undulating path, surrounded by dense pine forests until arriving in Huinganco summer village. Riders must expect a wide range of temperatures between the day and the night.
61.65 km (38.50 miles) - 1375 meters (4500 feet) uphill/1037 meters (3400 feet) downhill
Monday day 3: Huinganco - Río Reñil Leuvú
In the second stage of the Andes cross, we leave "Huinganco" and will soon pass by "Andacollo", the last town we’ll meet in Argentina towards the limit between both countries. Our support team will prepare lunch and dinner every day we are cycling, welcoming guests at midday with a hearty outdoors lunch, and preparing dinner at our previously organized campsite in the evening. As always, you can choose from cycling hard ahead of the pack, or at a relaxed pace, taking your time to snap pictures and marvel at the landscape. Our support vehicles will be used to move our equipment and baggage ahead as well as to give support to riders. After passing by "Andacollo" and after crossing the "Neuquen" River, we’ll continue riding over a gravel road, surrounded by a semi desert landscape that will clearly allow us to see the snowcapped mountains in the west. Before arriving to the campsite, we’ll be following different snaking rivers, first the "Nahueve", then "Lileo", to finish camping on "Reñil Leuvú" riverbank.
43km (26.70 miles) - 968 meters (3175 feet) uphill/1077 meters (3533 feet) downhill
Tuesday Day 4: Río Reñil Leuvú - Cajon del Pichachen
After breakfast, we’ll put the campsite down and listen to the daily mini-speech that will give us the accurate information about the general conditions for the day in terms of temperature, highlights, biking distance and elevation gain. Always following the "Reñil Leuvú" River, the landscape will start to vary: The soil will get the dark color of the volcanic rock and this one will be blended by different tones of emerald vegetation.
Today will be an uphill day. After doing 26km, we’ll arrive to "Gendarmeria" border control, where we’ll do the Argentinean migrations and customs paperwork. We’ll seize that period to have lunch. In the afternoon we’ll see the "Moncol" mountain, different valleys and woods of "Lengas", a typical strong tree from Patagonian Andes.
In the end of the day, some downhills will give us a break!
37.5km (23.30 miles) - 960 meters (3150 feet) uphill /390 meters (1280 feet) downhill
Wednesday Day 5: Cajon del Pichachen - Sierra Velluda
The most overwhelming day is awaiting us: The challenging uphills, the fascinating downhills and the stunning scenery, composed by the perfect cone of the "Antuco" volcano and the sharp top of the "Sierra Velluda", will take your breath away!
In the morning we start the last uphill riding definitely over a dark soil, due to an ancient volcanic activity. At this point, after facing strong winds and tough uphills, we’ll be really looking forward to arrive to the top of the mountain, where the milestone will show the exact place where both countries meet.
After riding nine hard kilometers we’ll get to the limit between both countries. There’s not much to be said at this point: the incredible views will hold us not to leave while we stare at the "Antuco" Volcano (2985meters) and the "Sierra Velluda" (3865meters). The "Antuco" Volcano was active until 1853, and its glaciers drag down different sort of sedimentations, giving different green tones to "Laguna Verde" (The green lake) and different rivers that flow into the "Laja" River. The downhill will let us go until arriving to "Carabineros de Chile" where local authorities will do the paperwork for us to enter the country. The campsite will be in a magic place, nearby both volcanoes.
37,5km (23.30 miles) - 890 meters (2920 feet) uphill/1080 meters (3543) downhill
Thursday Day 6: Sierra Velluda - Campamento Río Rucue
In the morning we’ll cycle between the "Antuco" Volcano and "La Laja" lagoon, we’ll find loose sand which makes riding a lot more difficult, but an exhilarating downhill is almost to begin! A fantastic gravel track down that will show us the slight transformation of the environment as far as we go forward. The mountain vegetation will leave space to Cypress, Radales, Lengas, Coihues, Ñires, and all trees of the humid Patagonian forest.
After 31km we loose more than 600 meters (1960 feet) and we find the start of the paved road.
The "Laja" River will escort us while we cycle down, until we arrive to "Antuco" the first Chilean town and first civilization contact. After some few more miles, we’ll arrive to the "Río Rucue" campsite, where we spend the rest of the afternoon and make use of the river to refresh ourselves.
60km (37.28 miles) - 635 meters (2083 feet) uphill/1590 meters (5217) downhill
Friday Day 7: Campamento Río Rucue - Los Ángeles
We start the last stage and start to roll over a slightly downhill paved road. Views changed completely: We left behind the mountain appearance that turned into a very green and humid farm area that receives the weather influence from the Pacific Ocean. As we slowly enter an urban area, we make emphasis in safety and steer our bikes with more self-control. The support team will wait at the hotel with lunch prepared, ready to celebrate the success of our tour with champagne! After loading our bikes, you’ll have time for a relaxing shower, with a free afternoon to enjoy the pool, followed by a group dinner at our hotel.
51km (31.70 miles) - 178 meters (580 feet) uphill/498 meters (1630 feet) downhill
Saturday Day 8:
We’ll leave "Los Angeles" in our minibus, heading towards "Neuquen" back in Argentina through "Paso Pino Hachado" (600km/12 hours). You can choose between being transferred to "Concepción’s" airport, where you can fly home via Santiago de Chile or extend your travels in the amazing country of Chile. From the famous wineries of the Central Valley, to the deserts of the North and the glaciers of the South, Chile offers truly magical destinations. You can also travel back to "Neuquen" the door entrance to Argentinean Patagonia, from where you can extend your travel plan, or fly back to Buenos Aires. The van will arrive to Neuquen in the evening, and we spend the night in a hotel.
Sunday Day 9:
Those planning to fly back to Buenos Aires can choose from daily flights. The van will early leave to Buenos Aires. The arrival is expected at 11p.m. at the same meeting point used for the start of the tour.
if plane is not required, land transportation is about 16 hours.
Difficult level: Advanced.
Total distance: 290km (180 miles).
Type of roads: 170km (105,6 miles) of gravel roads & 120km (74,4 miles) of paved roads.
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Price: 1370u$ dollars
Private tent: 130u$
Transfer from Neuquen airport to Chos Malal: u$ dollars
Transfer from Los Angeles to Concepción airport
The Pyrenees tour
The tour starts in Vielha, North of Spain and finishes in "St. Bertrand de Comminges" in the South of France.
10 days, 9 nights.
Biking in the Pyrenees is an amazing experience for those bikers that fancy travelling on mountain paths and singletracks. This bike trip is developed on gravel roads, lonely trails and singletracks and some few paved roads. Like in a masterpiece they link beautiful valleys and Romanic and medieval towns of the Catalonian and French Pyrenees.
The tour starts in "Vielha", Catalonia, the door entrance to the famous "Val d’Aran" where we find lots of ski resorts nearby and it finishes in Toulouse, capital of Languedoc Province and one of the most important cities in the south of France.
Along the ride we’ll have all sorts of possible weather, which is absolutely normal in the Pyrenees between springtime and summer. The tour combines nice and calm rides and very demanding up hills and down hills.
It’s remarkable that most of the singletracks and trails are extremely lonely, really off the beaten track and we’ll breathe nature every time. The beauty of this trip is not only given by the magnificent mountainous views and pristine fir trees and pine forests, but also for the Romanic towns and churches and old constructions that make us dream about centuries ago. The cuisine of the Pyrenees is inspiring: Mediterranean flavours that really worth to be tasted plus the will of the locals to make us feel comfortably "at home" are a recipe not to resist. This is an unforgettable experience; we look forward to ride together in the next upcoming tour!
We meet in Barcelona’s airport "El Prat" at 1 p.m. Our van will drive us to "Vielha", Catalonia. The transfer takes four hours, so once we arrive to the hotel we’ll introduce the trip to everybody before enjoying a delicious dinner.
Day 2: Vielha’s Tunnel - Gotarta
The meeting will be in Vielha’s main parking from where we’ll take a shuttle of 20 minutes to drive us to the other side of the tunnel of Vielha, a tunnel that has 3.20 miles length and links the "Alta Ribagorza" with "Val d’Aran" and where is not allowed to ride a bike. Our luggage will remain in the hotel to be transported by our organization, so we’ll only carry a small backpack with us, with the most important gear to use during the day.
During the first five days of the tour we’ll cycle bordering the national park "Aigüestortes i estany de Sant Maurici". On the first haul we ride over a gravel road with moderate difficulty, with short technically demanding stretches. This side of the Pyrenees has a Mediterranean weather which means it’s a little bit better than the French side of the mountains. After passing by a water reservoir named "Embassada de Senet" we’ll arrive in "Viñal" and the old small
Romanic "San Martín" church, built in the XI Century.
Another few miles and we are in "Vilaller" where the downhill is finished. The following challenge will be the "Col de Serreres" a tough uphill of 3,2miles and 400meters elevation gain and once in the top we start an outstanding millenary "Alta Ribagorca" singletrack to "Val de Boi" that will challenge our riding skills and where we’ll find an original Romanic cross.
Another serious uphill is waiting for us and will take us through "Iran" where we’ll have our lunch and "Irgo" where we’ll find the lonely "Chapel of Sant Salvador d’Irgo" from where we’ll get great views of the valley. After achieving the "Coll de Sant Salvador" there will be some few remaining miles to arrive in "Gotarta" a very small town where only thirty seven inhabitants live. Merce, the owner of the house, will be in charge of a lovely and homemade dinner.
Total distance: 27 miles. Elevation gain: 4452 feet
Day 3: Gotarta - Espui
A short downhill will be the start of the day, but it won’t last for long, as after passing by "Malpás" we start a strong uphill of five miles and 1970 feet to gain the "Collado de Peranea".
The tough ride makes up because of the beautiful surrounding views. Along the trip we’ll find drinking fountains, although we advice to cycle with at least two water bottles.
Finally the first ride down starts, crossing old little towns like "Erta" and "Sas", and lunch stop will be in "Les ’Esglesies".
There’s a pending Challenger for the afternoon: The "Coll d’Oli", which is steep and hard, although will give us some short stretches to recover. In the top there are non cycling parts, so we’ll need to push the bike for a while until the "Chapel of Coll". "Astell" we’ll be the last town where to get fantastic views of the valley before arriving in Espui.
Total distance: 31 miles. Elevation gain: 4291 feet.
Day 4: Espui - Espot
Today we start with one of the main attractions of the trip:
The "Coll del Triador" and "Coll de la Portella" the highest Peak in the tour at 7.440 feet.
We won’t have an intermediate spot where to buy our lunch, so the best will be to carry our picnic from the beginning.
The uphill is steady and moderate, that allows us to find our pace while we ride up surrounded by lots of pines and magnificent scenery. As soon as we go up we leave the forest and views open to let us admire the "Val Fosca" and the snowcapped peaks. After riding up and down we start the incredible downhill to Espot and "Vall de Espot", and in the last stretches it will be necessary to take care, as the singletracks of "Super Espot" ski resort have some technical difficulties. Thanks to the accurate signposting plus the support of the "Road book" and the GPS tracks we’ll safely arrive to our hotel.
When entering the town we’ll pass by the "Pont de la Capella", a Romanic styled bridge of medieval times over the "Escrita" river, built between XI and XII centuries.
The town is a framework of very old houses, and it’s easy to get lost while walking the tiny but charming streets.
Total distance: 26,7 miles. Elevation gain: 4220 feet
Day 5: Espot - Montgarri
The day begins with a moderate singletrack parallel to the asphalt road. In the Pyrenees is not easy to find flat land, so little after the start we gradually start going up. From a viewpoint at 4.900 feet we get great views of "La Guingueta d’Aneu" reservoir and the town "Esterri d’Aneu".
Eight miles after we arrive to "Son" a dream town and architectonic Romanic set where the "Sant Just i Sant Pastor" church, built between XI and XII centuries stands up.
Just by the church we leave the asphalt and start a fantastic trail named "Camí del Calvari" bordering the national park "Aigüestortes i Lago de Sant Maurici" prelude of the incredible "Bosque del Gerdar" the biggest fir tree forest in Spain, the place we probably imagined in our childhood when listening to fairy tales.
The forest is so dense that sunrays hardly hit the ground, but the lush green mosses, blueberries and raspberries give the perfect colours to turn the landscape into a perfect palette.
Once we are away from the forest we keep riding over a dramatic downhill until "Sorpe" and "Isil" another medieval rock town, where it’s advised to have lunch after twenty miles. From there and ahead we face a steady uphill, overcoming 1600 feet in more than 13,70 miles, following the narrow "Vall d’Aneu" valley and the "Noguera Pallaresa" river, tributary to the "Ebro" river.
The views of the pristine mountains covered by green and Black pines, on the way to "Refugio de Montgarri" are again overwhelming. This refuge is the recycled building used by the priests when the "Santuario de Montgarri" was built in the 1.117 year.
Total distance: 33 miles. Elevation gain: 4190 feet
Day 6: Montgarri - Vielha
After breakfast we start a short but beautiful uphill to "Baqueira - Pla de Beret" one of the ski resorts of the "Val d’Aran" and the source of the "Garona" river. After crossing the parking of the ski resort we’ll find the Menhir "Peira roia" a giant standing rock, probably showing any sort of sacred place from the Stone Age.
From 6.000 feet over the sea level we start a fantastic way down to Vielha, using different trails and singletracks with several difficulty levels while we passing by "Unha", "Arties" and "Garos". We’ll have a free afternoon to rest and walk in the town.
Total distance: 15 miles. Elevation gain: 1000 feet
Day 7: Vielha - Les
We leave riding a slow uphill, achieving 1.000 feet elevation gain in three miles through a demanding trail, and immediately we loose the same altitude in more than a mile! After crossing International road N-230 we start riding a beautiful gravel road surrounded by lush vegetation, which means we are leaving the Mediterranean weather influence to dive into the Atlantic one.
We’ll pass through "Arròs", "Vilamos" and "Arres Dessus", we’ll get great views of the valley and then rush into the desired downhill to "Bossost" in the border with France.
From "Bossost" to "Les" is only a couple of miles to get there, following the Garona’s river course. We’ll have a second free afternoon to rest and enjoy the roman thermal baths of Les that rise at 37° degrees.
Total distance: 20,19 miles. Elevation gain: 3000 feet
Day 8: Les - Aspet (France)
After breakfast we leave France to enter in France. In the first miles we’ll follow an easy gravel road parallel to the main road. Then in "Saint-Béat" we leave the gravel to start a hard uphill road that will lead us to the "Col de Menté" gaining 2600 feet in six miles.
In "Col de Menté" we’ll enjoy a soft drink and a snack and match a fantastic downhill gravel road with lots of viewpoints of the rural farms of this side of France. The trail is surrounded by green deep forests until arriving in "Juzet d’Izaut". We finish the ride in "Aspet" the first French town of this tour.
Total distance: 31 miles. Elevation gain: 4200 feet.
Day 9: Aspet - St. Bertrand de Comminges
After breakfast we leave "Le Bois Perché" towards "St. Bertrand de Comminges" on a paved road. Shortly after we match a trail, and if there’s any rain, we’ll probably have to deal with mud. The surroundings are pretty attractive, little coloured sown fields, carefully preserved farms, cattle of the mountains always carrying a bell from its necks and the Pyrenees in the horizon.
The first town will be "Izaut de l’hôtel" and after six miles we’ll ride up to gain 1300 feet in four miles at "Col des Ares" and then one of the last great way downs of the trip to arrive in "St. Pe d’Ardet". The rest of the day will be undulated while crossing "Barbazan" and "Loures-Barousse" rural towns of the "Haute Garonne". Almost getting there, we’ll be able to sight the incredibly fortified "St. Bertrand de Comminges" and its fabulous cathedral. Originally named by Romans "Lugdunum Convenarum" in the year 72 b.c., it changed its name in the year 1.100 a.c. after bishop Bertran de l’Isle-Jourdain had lived there improving the quality of life of the inhabitants by helping the town to develop.
The city preserves the old medieval style, it keeps the walls and the "doors" that allow communication, and hosts the immense gothic Cathedral "Santa Maria".
Total distance: 21 miles. Elevation gain: 2500 feet
Day 10: Transfer to "Toulouse-Blagnac" airport, from where you can connect flights to Madrid, Barcelona or other European cities.
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Price: 1950 euros