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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 14 Jan 2009
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Central and South American Climate Overview

I’m starting more serious route planning for my upcoming trip to South America. I’d always heard that October is a good time to leave the US for Mexico but I started wondering if the weather would allow me to head out earlier. I started doing a little weather research and ending up putting together a Central and South American Climate Overview. Based on this information it looks like October is indeed a good time to head south with the other opportunity being in the March timeframe.
Has anyone ridding through Central America during the raining season (May – October)? Does it rain all the time or only in the afternoons/evenings?
-Jeff
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Last edited by jeff916; 1 Feb 2009 at 02:25.
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  #2  
Old 16 Jan 2009
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hi Jeff,

i don't have anything to contribute, but thanks for your effort to put the data together. i am in san cristobal de las casas now and was sort of contemplating the rest of the trip.

i didn't do any planning except to start in alaska june 1st. and follow the birds south. So far this worked out pretty well ;-) Entered Mexico early october. So far i got a few showers in Creel and a couple of days ago near Tuxla. (pretty windy here too....)

Although it seems that Colombia will get a bit nasty, 3 months from now.

please feel free to ask any questions about routes, roads etc.

cheers
Sander
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  #3  
Old 30 Jan 2009
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I'm looking at leaving in March as well.

My departure has been delayed so I'm looking at the possibility of leving the USA for South America in March as well. I'll follow you post since it looks like we are both interested in the same trip around the same time.

I most interested in knowing if the mountain passes in Peru and Bolivia can be driven during this time period.
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  #4  
Old 30 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Steam Turbine View Post
My departure has been delayed so I'm looking at the possibility of leving the USA for South America in March as well. I'll follow you post since it looks like we are both interested in the same trip around the same time.

I most interested in knowing if the mountain passes in Peru and Bolivia can be driven during this time period.
I rode from Calama chile to Uyuni Bolivia a couple of weeks ago, it was fine
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  #5  
Old 30 Jan 2009
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February until mid-March is rainy season in Bolivia. You will get a few windows of good weather, but will be a hit & miss type thing. However, reportedly this year the area is getting a lower rain fall than usual, a drought in South western Bolivia and northern Argentina along with high temperatures affecting cattle and other animals.

Last year about the same period of time I was riding to Toro-Toro (in the province of Potosi) and we encountered lots of water and mud. Had a hard time on those river bed roads. I hope this helps.

Have fun and ride safe!
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  #6  
Old 31 Jan 2009
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Thanks for all the feedback.

Sander, your trip looks good so far. I’ll mark for blog and start following it. I understand the no planning thing. I rarely do it for the rides I do in the US. Typically I just head out with some destination in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnagel6 View Post
February until mid-March is rainy season in Bolivia.
Good to see that the data I used seems correct. Thanks.

I read one trip report of a guy in Central America that was there during the rainy season. Seems like for that area, you can ride until around noon and then the rain will start.
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  #7  
Old 1 Feb 2009
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Departing in March but arriving later

I'm following this thread with grat interest and thank those who have replied. If I leave the USA in March I'm thinking I will not reach Peru and Bolivia until June and I'm very concerned that the mountain passes will be blocked with snow. Of course, I'm also concerned with the rain and mud in Central America as well.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated since I've never done something like this before. I've bought the bike, saved the money, and I'm ready to go!
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  #8  
Old 1 Feb 2009
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Have fun .... planning is the best part!

Patrick

Last edited by mollydog; 24 Mar 2009 at 21:07.
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  #9  
Old 2 Feb 2009
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After mid-march to June, from Southern Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Northern Chile, you down have to worry much about rain, specially going East, crossing the Andes. From June to early July the winter snows start falling, specially up in higher elevations, the passes. The more south you go, the early the winter season starts.

Bolivia is reporting a draught for this year. Rain fall is very low compared to other years.

I'm in USA, but if anyone requires a helping hand in Bolivia, specially in Cochabamba, please PM.
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  #10  
Old 2 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post

Most times if you start early you can make a 150 to 200 miles before the rain starts up.
Patrick, Thats good to know. One of my thoughts about leaving earlier is to be able to slow down and travel slower. Stopping for a day or so to avoid a downpour would be OK with me.

For some reason, as I get older, I don’t mind getting that early start either


-Jeff
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  #11  
Old 4 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnagel6 View Post
From June to early July the winter snows start falling, specially up in higher elevations, the passes.

Is it impossible to get cross the Andes in the winter?
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  #12  
Old 5 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff916 View Post
Is it impossible to get cross the Andes in the winter?
I'm going to be trying to cross the Andes during this time frame as well. Please share any information you get with me. Thanks
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  #13  
Old 10 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by Mr Steam Turbine View Post
I'm going to be trying to cross the Andes during this time frame as well. Please share any information you get with me. Thanks
I’m not planning to cross the Andes in the winter on my trip. If I leave earlier than October I would just travel slower and see more on the way south. I guess if there was too much snow or ice on the passes the one could always load the bike on a truck. I'm still investigating so I'll let you know what I find.
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  #14  
Old 3 Mar 2009
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Jeff, thank you for that very useful data chart. Exactly what I was looking for in terms of long-range planning. I'm also planning an extended trip through LatAm and beyond.

So, regarding Latin America, to me it seems like the four factors dictating favorable riding weather are
1) Avoid the rainy season in Central Am, May-Oct
2) Avoid riding the Andes' passes in winter, Jun-Jul
3) Avoid the Amazon's rainy season, Feb-May
4) Try to do Ushuaia from Nov-Jan

So, how does this sound:
Depart the US around September, get to Colombia by Jan, head down to Bolivia by April, cross into Brazil, get to Buenos Aires by Aug, slowly work down to TDF by Nov/Dec and end back in BA to ship out by Jan (onwards to Europe and Africa).

Things I'd like to time appropriately: seeing the salt falts not under water, not riding Amazon in rainy season, spending good time in Andes high altitude, favorable TDF trip.

I've adopted the mentality that 'the slower you go, the cheaper it gets'
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  #15  
Old 3 Mar 2009
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Jeff, thanx to you, I spent a productive day at work pouring over climate data
and wanted to share with everyone:

Taking Jeff's idea, I made a Latin America Climate Overview Google Docs Spreadsheet with a few more cities and in a route that I'm contemplating. Enjoy:

>>http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pxDmUzzidN7yywBl85zQ4CA
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