Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > South America

South America Topics specific to South America only.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Ride-Chile.com Motorcycle Tours & Rentals

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 3 Days Ago
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2
Planning perils

Hi guys,

I’ve been reading the forums for quite some time and would like to “contribute” with my newbie questions.

My plan is to travel South America next year for approx.. 3 months. Buying a bike locally seems the best solution. This should be happening somewhere between February and June

I do not have a set-in-stone starting point, which I hope you guys could help me out with…

The options that I am considering are Costa Rica (Central America yes) -> Panama -> Colombia – all the way to Ushuaia. Sell my bike somewhere there and then fly back to Europe.

The other plan is to do a round trip from a certain country in SA, do all interesting places and then when the round-trip has finished fly home again..

At this moment, I really would like to set off in February, but perhaps some more experienced SA- travellers would say, go in June..

My questions are;

- How can I find a decent bike locally, my Spanish is for now almost nill and I am with my 2 meters, blond hair and blue eyes a super gringo..
- What would you recommend on starting point?
- Is February a good time to head to Ushuaia?
- Are 3 months enough to cross South America or should I stick with less countries?

Thank you so much for reading this and helping me out.


Reply With Quote
Old 3 Days Ago
maria41's Avatar
The franglais-riders
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: South West London
Posts: 856
Hi Donkey,

for buying a bike locally, I am currently looking into this as well. I am considering Bolivia (there is a thread here on this if you search) or Peru.

Toby can help if you buy in Peru:

Both countries seem th easiest to buy a bike.

For your timing, as you plan to ride to Ushuaia, remember that seasons are reversed. Getting to Ushuaia in the beginning of winter will be cold and possibly snowed in. Unless you get there in february/March and if you are lucky....

We rode to Ushuaia in Xmas/new year (dec 2007) and we still had a bit of snow, and that was mid-summer! it was extremely cold.

Also, if you plan to cross the salar de Uyuni, around Feb. to April it may still be flooded, so not possible to cross on a motorbike.

You could buy your bike in Chile too and ride south before going up north.
There are threads here describing the process of buying a bike in Chile.

I would advise you to learn as much spanish as you can before leaving. Lots of free stuff online. I used lots of online material for russian for example (for my last trip - and used my little russian a lot!)
It will come handy. Don't expect everyone to speak english. They don't!

3 months is a short time to do all of south (and central) America. It can be done but you will spend you life riding....
SA is a very big place! distances are huge.

Would be a shame to rush. Maybe buy a local bike and do by sections, storing your bike in between trips? Javier in Buenos Aires can store your bike. This is what I have in mind if we buy bikes in Peru/Bolivia. So that we can come back and keep riding....


Reply With Quote
Old 3 Days Ago
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2
Dear Maria,

Thank you so much for your reply!

I’ve seen Toby’s post and consider this one of the best solutions..

Like you say, South America is huge.. And I do like to see more then only the roads..

I am trying to speak Spanish with my Argentinian friends here in Holland.. But that’s quite hard!

I am very much considering to go to the salar de Uyuni, would be a waste to miss that!

How did you guys find your sleeping places in 2007? Did you camp along the way or only hostels, etc?

And did you make any changes to the bike regarding the high altitudes?

Sorry for all these questions..

But thank you for your answers!
Reply With Quote
Old 3 Days Ago
maria41's Avatar
The franglais-riders
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: South West London
Posts: 856
Hi Donkey,

we travelled around SA on 2 BMWs, with fuel injection. So we did not need to do anything related to the altitude. At altitude the bikes were slower but that was all.
Also with the cold and thin air, they would be hard to start in the morning... so we started rolling them into the sun in the morning, to heat up, while we packed.

However, with local little bikes, that's different. We just spent few months across central and North Asia on 2 very old Honda XR 125cc. They have carburettors and they did struggle a lot at altitude. We gave up in the end, as at 3600m I was barely doing 15mph! As for my husband's bike, he had by then a Chinese engine (long story) and further problems. SO, yes you may need to carry jets to adjust the fuel intake at altitude. Something to discuss with whoever sell you the bike.

We camped a little in the Andeans countries. Accommodation is very cheap so hardly worth it. not too hard to find usually.
The "footprint of SA" (guidebook) was useful in those days, but on our latest trip, widespread wifi and open source GPS was very useful for navigation and finding hotels or guesthouses.

In Argentina and Chile, campsites are very good and accommodation more expensive, so we camped a lot there.

ffor more info, see my travel blogs, links through my website: www.franglais-riders.com


Reply With Quote

newbie questions

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Planning for tires in the 'Stans - Almaty? Ekke Northern Asia 19 25 Jun 2014 05:35
Planning Ride to Mexico Spring 2015 scharfg Welcome to HU 4 14 Jan 2014 05:41
Planning: is it really necessary? vander Route Planning 10 16 Jan 2013 10:06
Still in the planning initial planning phases, need some help. Cysne 4WD Overland TRAVEL 9 23 Sep 2012 14:21
Planning & Preparation Tools for a South American Motorcycle Adventure 2fortheroad.co.uk South America 1 15 Sep 2012 10:39


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 21:26.