Chile, Bolivia & Peru: A truly exhilarating motorcycle road trip following the Incas across the Andes
This ride, starting on the Pacific coastline, takes in the wonderful desert landscapes of the Atacama Desert visiting adobe villages such as the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama.
The ride shall visit Bolivia the highest and most isolated country in Latin America. Bolivia is a kaleidoscope of landscapes and experiences as we visit the absolutely stunning Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats along with the epic vistas as we cross the Andes. We visit the world’s highest city of Potosi before descending to La Paz, Bolivia’s unofficial capital. We then cross into Peru a land of world-renowned antiquities and awesome landscapes. We will visit the world’s highest navigable lake, Titicaca, before arriving at the Incan heartland of Cusco, a fabled city built upon Incan ruins and the stepping off point for the stunning sacred valley and the 7th wonder of the world Machu Picchu among other Incan ruins. We have the opportunity to see the giant condors at the world’s deepest canyon of Colca before riding to the beautiful white city of Arequipa. We cross back into Chile for a return flight to Santiago. Join us for this experience packed 21-day motorbike adventure across the rooftop of South America.
Dates & Prices
At a Glance
- San Pedro de Atacama
- Valle de la Luna
- High Andean scenery
- Salar De Uyuni
- Floating Uros Islands
- Riding the Sacred Valley
- Machu Picchu
- Colca Canyon
- Andean Condors
- Chivay Hot Springs
- South America's finest Plaza De Armas in Arequipa
- Airport Transfers
- Motorcycle rental as per your selection
- Support vehicle with passenger carrying ability
- 22 nights accommodation in excellent small hotels
- 22 Breakfasts
- 14 Lunches
- 8 Dinners
- Services of ride leader and support vehicle driver
- Pre-departure material and route maps
- Access to a satellite phone, pay per minute
- Compass Expeditions tour shirt
- Entrances to all national Parks mentioned in the itinerary
- Train and entrance to Machu Picchu
- Lake Titicaca excursion
- La Paz city tour
- Salar de Uyuni 4 x 4 tour
- Two internal flights in Chile: Santiago to Iquique and return at end of the tour
- International flights
- Visas (if required)
- Personal items
- Personal Health/Travel Insurance
- Tips and gratuities
If you require a lower bike option we have a lowered suspension or lowered seat BMW F700 GS available: Free of charge
All accommodation is twin or double share, if you would like a single room there will be a single supplement: US$ 1,150.00
(Please note, you may be required to share a bathroom at least once on this trip).
Our motorcycles are insured and have a damage excess of US$ 4000, you can reduce the excess by taking advantage of our Excess Reduction Policy: US$ 25 per day
Joining Day: Your Santiago airport transfer will take you directly to our joining hotel, ready for an early start tomorrow. Today you will meet your crew for your tour briefing and welcome dinner.
Day 1: A morning flight takes us to northern Chile and the seaside resort town of Iquique.
Day 2 & 3: A fantastic ride day as we travel into the Atacama Desert, known as the driest desert in the world. San Pedro de Atacama is recognised as the archaeological capital of Chile as it has many beautiful natural and cultural attractions. We spend two nights here in this wonderful adobe village where it hasn’t rained for over 400 years. We visit the Valle de la Luna for a spectacular sunset over the Atacama.
Day 4: Today we leave San Pedro on well-paved roads through the desert to the town of Calama. From Calama we remain on paved roads then onto good gravel roads towards the high mountain town of Ollague, passing the stunning Volcano Ollague along the way. We will overnight here in basic accommodation in this remote, unique town. Today's ride offers us spectacular views of the Atacama Desert, a dramatic landscape that incorporates desert, salt flats, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs with an enjoyable mix of paved and dirt roads.
Day 5 & 6:Today’s ride will see us cross a remote border into Bolivia and descend across the open, rugged landscape until we reach the edge of the Salar de Uyuni. Most of the ride today is on dirt, is remote and is absolutely stunning, this is a ride you won’t forget. Upon arriving into Uyuni an enjoyable evening will be spent at the Tonito Hotel, which has the best pizza restaurant in Bolivia and possibly the most amazing star-laden sky on earth. Two nights are spent here allowing us to visit what must be some of the most remarkable scenery on earth, the 11,000 sq km / 4000 sq mi landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands of the Salar de Uyuni. The drive across here can be hallucinogenic; being out on the vast expanse of the Salar, everything is a reflection of everything else, it’s impossible to define where the horizon is. We take a 4x4 across the Salar to Fish Island where we view the giant cacti and enjoy a picnic lunch. We eventually return to Uyuni at sunset to visit the train cemetery. A wonderful collection of old steam trains simply driven into the desert and left to rust. It is said that one of the abandoned locomotives was the last train that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid robbed, just that no one knows which one!
Day 7 & 8 : The scenery today is similar to that of the Wild West with canyon lands, rocky outcrops and the ever-present mountains all around, it’s absolutely wonderful. An occasional oasis dots the landscape and brings with it poplar and willow trees. Today we will be visiting a small Bolivian school that we have sponsored for over 10 years now, so if you would like to donate some gifts it would be much appreciated. Fresh fruit and veggies, sporting supplies (basket, volley and soccer balls are great gifts along with general schooling supplies). The school is located in Chaquilla some 50 km / 31 mi from Potosi. The best place to purchase any donations will be in Uyuni. The following day is yours to relax and wander this fascinating UNESCO listed city, which was once one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world due to the abundance of silver, and still is the highest city on earth. It was Potosi that bankrolled the Spanish Conquistadors as they plundered the South American continent. Visit La Casa del la Moneda (the mint) museum or the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas. However, the highlight of today is a visit to a working mine at Cerro Rico, a tour you will never forget (optional). You get the chance to witness the incredibly harsh conditions the miners still work under and learn some of the 500 years of mining history, where else can you offer dynamite and 95% proof alcohol to miners as gifts?
Day 9 & 10 : Riding west from Potosi through the mountains of the Cordilleras de Azanaques and de Los Frailes, the roads reach heights of 5,200 metres / 17,160 feet. There is not a lot of traffic on this road and we pass through a few small villages that remind us that people actually live out here. After this high-altitude ride, we reach El Alto where we leave our bikes and take a transfer down into La Paz, you will soon see why we don’t ride into La Paz. A full day in La Paz allows us time to explore the city including a city tour visiting the witches market, government house, Plaza Murillo residential area and Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley). La Paz has one of the most dramatic settings of any city in the world, made all that more imposing with the towering snow-capped Mt. Illimani looming above. For the more adventurous, or slightly mad, riders can experience the Death Road motorcycle trip (optional). This is an amazing ride down what is regarded as the world’s most dangerous road a short distance out of La Paz.
Day 11 & 12: An early morning transfer will have us reunited with our bikes before riding out toward the Bolivia/Peru border. We take a rickety ferry across an inlet of Lake Titicaca where it is advisable for riders to literally hang onto their bikes to save them going overboard. Riding along the shores of Lake Titicaca we shall have great views of the snow-capped Andes far off in the distance. We arrive at the Peruvian city of Puno spectacularly set on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The following day we take a boat excursion to the amazing “Uros”, the floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca. The floating reed islands have to be seen to be believed, they actually float and support entire communities, one island even has a school, just don’t stand in the one spot for too long as you will eventually begin to sink! The views across the lake are astounding, ringed by snow-capped peaks and Bolivia in the distance. You will return to the hotel by lunchtime and you have an afternoon to explore Puno or relax in the hotel.
Day 13 & 14: Traveling northwest the ride will take us through the town of Juliaca and high into the Andes crossing the 4,319 m / 14,252 ft pass at La Raya, before reaching the wonderful city and Incan capital, Cusco. Today’s ride is spectacular with the towering snow-capped peaks of the Andes all around dotted with centuries-old Andean villages. We arrive at what the Incans call the “Naval of the universe” Cusco. We spend a full day in Cusco to explore this amazing city built on the still visible ruins of Incan fortresses. Cusco is a fantastic mix of Incan and Spanish cultures and is South America’s oldest continually inhabited city. Cusco is home to narrow cobblestoned streets, ornate cathedrals, and colourfully dressed indigenous Quechan peoples walking their llamas to market past high-end restaurants or McDonalds! Our hotel is located close to the impressive Plaza de Armas (main plaza) where we can enjoy a drink or meal at the legendary biker’s bar, Norton’s Rats overlooking the Plaza.
Day 15: Leaving Cusco we ride the world-renowned Sacred Valley, dissected by the silt-laden Urubamba River and dotted with enormous Incan ruins dating back millennia before parking the bikes in Ollantaytambo in the shadows of an enormous Incan fortress. It’s the end of the road, literally, forcing us to catch a train to Aguas Calientes, which is the base for the legendary Machu Picchu. There is time in the late afternoon to visit the local hot springs before dinner. We overnight in the town of Aguas Calientes.
Day 16,: Today we catch the early bus for a 20-minute ride to the global icon that is the Incan fortress of Machu Picchu. We have a guided tour of this world heritage site to explain the significance of this breathtaking place. After taking time to explore and soak in Machu Picchu we return to Aguas Calientes and have some lunch before taking an afternoon train to Ollantaytambo, where we collect the bikes and take a wonderful “shortcut” via a high plateau that offers superb views of the ever-present snow-capped peaks of the Andes, to Cusco.
Day 17: We ride toward the world’s deepest canyon of Colca Canyon staying at Chivay, home of the giant Condors. The ride is magnificent as we get off the “Gringo Trail”. It is in these very mountains that the mighty Amazon River begins its journey. The hot springs of Chivay are a perfect way to relax and unwind after a hard day’s ride.
Day 18: An early start to the lookout ‘Cruz del Condor’ where we can get up close and personal with the amazing condors. Returning to Arequipa we will have some time to explore what is considered to be the finest “Plaza de Armas” in all of South America
Day 19: Departing Arequipa we ride south along the spine of the Andes as the road winds its way through seemingly endless valleys and small Peruvian villages to the southern Peruvian city of Tacna, formerly a part of Chile.
Day 20: We cross into Chile today and into a stark yet beautiful Atacama Desert landscape. We eventually descend from the desert into Iquique spectacularly set on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Iquique is known for its superb beaches, casino and laid-back lifestyle.
Day 21: A morning flight takes us to Santiago and our final night of the tour.
Departure day: Spend some time in Santiago or fly home, the choice is yours.
Tour End: Santiago, Chile
Highs: Mid 20’s Celsius / Mid 70’s Fahrenheit
Lows: Early morning on the Altiplano can get close to freezing: 0 Celsius / 32 Fahrenheit
- 22 nights of accommodation.
- Our accommodations range from small family run hotels through to 4 star hotels.
- A flexible attitude is needed as standards are not always what we are accustomed to.
- All accommodation is on a twin share basis. If you are traveling alone we will pair you up with another solo traveler. However, if you prefer single accommodation a single supplement is available: US$ 1,150.00 (please note that you may be required to share a bathroom at least once on this trip)
- On every day of the tour we include breakfast: 22 Breakfasts
- On mentioned ride days we provide a picnic lunch that we prepare ourselves from our mobile kitchen: 14 Lunches
- We include mentioned dinners in reliable restaurants we have used many times before: 8 Dinners
- You will need to be in Santiago one day prior to start of expedition, for your joining day (a bonus nights accommodation is included)
- All riders must have a valid motorcycle license and at least two years riding experience.
- It is a requirement that all clients have appropriate insurance for this type of expedition.
TRIP EXTENSIONS – SOUTH AMERICA
It may be hard for a rider to believe, but there are wonderful places to see and experience around South America that we are not able to visit by motorcycle.
Have no fear with our many years of touring experience we are able to offer great destinations and tours to extend your stay either before your Compass Expeditions tour or after.
Simply let us know if you are interested in extending your trip when you book. Then give us an idea of the time you have and type of destination you prefer and we can suggest an itinerary, book tours with our trusted partners and organise additional transfers and accommodation for your entire South American experience.
Perhaps you would like to spend a few days before or after your tour getting to know the city, acclimatise to altitude or get over your jetlag? We are able to book accommodation for you in our tour hotels, where you will be staying for the joining and departing nights, avoiding the inconvenience of changing hotel
Our Patagonia Explorer Motorcycle tour takes you right to the Southern most tip of South America, any further south and you are in Antarctica. Antarctic cruises run from November to March and often take in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). There are many itineraries and ships to choose from including expedition style and luxury options.
|Galapagos and Easter Island Cruises
Remote and wonderfully intriguing for different reasons, both of these destinations have plenty to offer the curious and adventurous traveller. It is the amazing diversity of the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands that captivated Charles Darwin and inspired his “Origin Of The Species”. With world class diving and island excursions you will see the likes of the Galapagos tortoise, sea lions, amphibious iguanas and many bird species that are unique to this chain of islands.
|Easter Island is fascinating for other reasons. It is the massive stone figures and puzzling human history of this remote place that are an irresistible attraction for traveler.|
|Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
High in the Peruvian Andes lies the lost city of the Incas. Machu Picchu is referred to as the 7th wonder of the world and with good reason. There is much speculation over the origins and demise of this impressive abandoned citadel, but the mysteries will have to wait as you witness the sunrise over this hauntingly beautiful and spectacular scene. Machu Picchu can only be visited on an organised tour either by train from nearby Aguas Callentes or by hiking the equally spectacular and strenuous Inca Trail over four days.
|Amazon Jungle Excursion
Iquitos, deep in the Peruvian jungle is the starting point for exploring the rainforest of the Amazon River.
Soak up the atmosphere of river life; it’s people and the wildlife. Biologically speaking. You are in one of the most rich and diverse regions on the planet. A multitude of birdlife aquatic and jungle animals still abound in this remote area and our local guides will have pleasure showing you all there is to see and introducing you to the local people and their customs.
|Rio De Janeiro
The vibrant and lively city of Rio de Janeiro has a lot to offer and we can help you experience it all. Our Rio City Tour showcases all of the highlights and unique sites of the city from the beaches to Christ The Redeemer high on the peak overlooking the city.
The Favela tour will show you the colourful and notorious hillside suburbs of Rio, but don’t worry you are with a local.
We also offer an amazing Rio Carnival package that will have you partying Brazilian style.
Rio De Janeiro Favela Tour The vibrant and lively city of Rio de Janeiro has a lot to offer and we can help you experience it all.
Our Favela tour will show you the colourful and notorious hillside suburbs of Rio, but don’t worry you are with a local.
|Ride The Death Road
The Death Road in Bolivia is one of our most popular tour options. What biker could resist riding a Suzuki DR650 or Honda XR400 from La Paz at over 4,000 meters above sea level down to the jungle town of Coroico at 1,700 meters.
The views from The Death Road are spectacular and this is a ride that you will never forget.
|Rio De Janeiro Favela Tour
The vibrant and lively city of Rio de Janeiro has a lot to offer and we can help you experience it all.
Our Favela tour will show you the colourful and notorious hillside suburbs of Rio, but don’t worry you are with a local.
|La Sebastiana Apartment Hotel is located in the heart of the exclusive district El Golf, San Sebastian 2727. This famous area invites you to discover and enjoy the city, surrounded by excellent restaurants, beautiful parks and squares, aromatic coffees, design stores just two blocks from the main Chile’s shopping center Costanera Center, nearby Tobalaba Subway Station.
In La Sebastiana Suites we want to combine a quality service with a warmth and trendy design. Regardless the reason for you trip, business or tourism, La Sebastiana Suites offers you a privileged location, a great infrastructure made it to your satisfaction, and a special attention to make of your stay an unforgettable experience.
La Sebastiana Apartment Hotel is our joining or final night hotel for all of our tours that start or conclude in Santiago Chile.
|Welcome to El Conquistador Hotel, we offer to our guests, a resting space, located in Retiro, Buenos Aires downtown, excellent service quality, very convenient for pleasure and business travel.
The Conquistador is our tour hotel for all of our tours that begin, conclude or pass through Buenos Aires.
TOUR AND EXPEDITION TRAVEL INSURANCE
|At Compass Expeditions we work hard to make sure that your motorcycle tour runs smoothly and safely. Your welfare is of primary concern to us and we know that we cannot control every situation on the road or while you are traveling.
Accidents happen, luggage is lost and tour or flight cancellations can occur, so it is our policy that all participants of Compass Expeditions tours have an appropriate level of travel insurance to cover the unforeseen. This is not only compulsory when joining a Compass Expeditions motorcycle tour, but it makes sense.
|We have sourced a number of companies that will provide you coverage in the event of an accident and/or other losses, depending on the policy selected and better still will give all Compass Expeditions customers a 10% discount off the advertised rates when purchasing through the our website, (this offer is not available over the phone). Compass Expeditions does not endorse, recommend or guarantee payment in the event of a claim from any of the insurers mentioned. We do know that they will offer a policy for clients riding a motorcycle OVER 250cc (including our bikes). This is a critical point to ensure when purchasing a policy. Compass Expeditions are offering this information as a service only to ensure all our clients are properly protected.|
Travel Cover for Australians:
Jerry. I had a fantastic time on the tour and I can't say enough about Hans and Thomas as a team. I've done some guiding and rescue work myself in the paddling and climbing fields and I was really impressed with their ability to manage safety, schedule and personalities without seeming to be managing. That's really a trick as I am sure you know.
You guys put on a helluva tour, Jerry, all the way around. I'll be paying the piper here at work for quite a while before I can do another trip that long, but in the interim I will certainly recommend Compass to my friends, and you may feel free to use me as a reference any time. All the best,
We had an absolute cracker of a trip and really appreciated the effort your team over there put in. The whole operation worked really well and the tour was everything promised and more.
Hello Jerry and Craig,
Back in Oz now from the South American trip.
It was a great trip with good people and a very professional and competent crew.