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ExpeditionPlus! South America: Patagonia Coast to Coast - Chile to Argentina
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Bicycle Tours in Argentina: ExpeditionPlus! South America: Patagonia Coast to Coast - Chile to Argentina

Are you ready to pedal Coast to Coast across South America? Join us on this expedition from Chiloé, Chile on the Pacific Coast, over the Andes, down the Chubut River valley through Playa Union, Argentina, to the Atlantic Coast. There are plenty of surprises along the way: starting with the unique culture of the Chilote people who are of Spanish and indigenous Mapuche descent; the Welsh settlement and tea houses at Gaiman; and Ruta 40, the main road of Argentine Patagonia but one of the least traveled roads in the country. We'll enjoy oceans, rain forest, mountains, deserts, river valleys and just about every other type of terrain you can imagine on this 700+ mile, 17-day expedition.

Because of the popularity and challenging nature of our ExpeditionPlus! adventures, we ask you submit a quick application for this expedition. Click here to fill out the ExpeditionPlus! application today.

Day 1: Gather in Puerto Montt, Chile, bus transfer to Ancud, Chiloé

View from Puerto Montt airport

Highlights: Chiloe Island

Our trip begins today with a shuttle to Ancud, Chiloé where we fit bicycles and take a warm-up ride to get the travel kinks out of our legs. Founded in 1767, Ancund was a fortified city, a base for seafarers coming north around Cape Horn, and the last Spanish stronghold in Chile. Chiloé is a fascinating island with one of the largest indigenous populations of any place in Chile. Dinner together.

Day 2: Dip your toe in the Pacific Ocean

Punhuil Point

Highlights: Magellan and Humboldt penguins colony, walk on beach

We’re in Ancud again tonight but we'll take an excursion today to be sure our bikes are properly fitted and to walk on the beach at Puñihuil, the only place in Chile where both the Magellan and Humboldt penguins breed. We have a dual purpose with today’s ride: one is to visit the penguin colony and the other is to dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean on this spectacularly remote beach. Tomorrow we'll begin our two-plus week journey east for our dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Our ride from Ancud is 30 km. one- way. We'll take spend some time visitng the Penguins, have lunch and then pedal back. Dinner is on your own. Estimated mileage: 60 km. (37 miles)

Day 3: East Coast of Chiloé Island

Boats in Dalcahue

Highlights: Fishing port, East coast of Chiloé Island

Our route today takes us on the Panamerican Highway for a stretch, then off to the east coast of Chiloé Island. We’ll end our day in Dalcahue, a fishing port north and east of Castro, the capital of the island. Dinner together this evening. Estimated mileage: 90 km (56 miles).

Day 4: Explore fishing community, bicycle to Castro

Wooden church in Castro

Highlights: Market in Castro, wooden churches

We'll hop back on the Panamericana and bicycle to Castro. You'll want to take time to explore the market some time today. Estimated mileage: 80 km. (48 miles).

Day 5: Castro to Chiloe National Park

Highlights: Visit the market morning in Castro, ride to Pacific

We pedal from Castro to Chiloé National Park on the Pacific Coast today to explore its ancient forests and learn about its history. This region was described by Charles Darwin on his famous voyage as rich in its diversity of temperate-zone forest plants. The park was created by the indigenous communities of Chiloé who have fought to protect the environment threatened by intensive deforestation. The national park is also home to rare species of animals endemic to Chile, such as picaflores (hummingbirds), kingfishers, huillines (sea otters), and pudúes (the smallest deer in the world). Tonight we overnight in a unique stilt hotel in the small town of Cucao. Total Mileage 55 km (34 miles).

Lodging: Palafito Cucao

Day 6: Pedal to Castro and Ferry

Highlights: Ferry to Chaiten

Our ferry leaves mid-day today so we'll take a quick morning ride from the ocean back to Castro. We arrive in Chaiten later this evening where we spend the night and explore this town as it is being rebuilt. Chaiten was partially destroyed during a Volcanic Eruoption. 50 km. (31 miles) or a rest day if you prefer.

Day 7: Approaching the Andes, bicycle to Yelcho in Patagonia

Approaching the Andes

Highlights: Bicycle Chaiten - Yelcho en Patagonia

We have a shorter day today as we pedal into the Andes. Our destination is the the lake town of Yelcho en la Patagonia. We will stay on the shores of this beautiful lake tonight. Total mileage 50 km. (31 miles)

Day 8: River Rafting on Futaleufu

Highlights: Chile's best white water river

We jump on a boat across the lake today to experience the views of the mountains from a different point of view. For those who want, we've scheduled a half day of river rafting today on what is widely considered Chile's best white water river. No riding today, just some time on the lake and on the river. Try and take it easy, though, as tomorrow we head over the Andes and into Argentina!

Day 9: Into the Foothills of the Andes

Highlights: River views, views of Patagonia Express narrow gauge steam train

We head up the river this morning and climb about 2,000 feet by the time we arrive in Esquel, a small ski resort in the foothills of the Argentine Andes. Esquel is famous as the terminus of the Old Patagonian Express, one of the oldest continuously operating steam railways in the world. The train now operates primarily as a tourist attraction. We should be able to get some good photographs. Estimated mileage: 78 km (48 miles)

Day 10: Climb to Tecka

219 km past Esquel

Highlights: Bicycle Ruta 40, the Andes

Today's ride continues to climb as we leave Esquel for Tecka. After about 10 km. you intersect the famous "Ruta 40" which we’ll follow to Tecka where we spend the night. Continue south on the Ruta 40 and you’ll go to southern Patagonia (after about 4 weeks on your bike!) Estimated mileage: 93 km (58 miles).

Day 11: Tecka to Paso de Indios

Highlights: Tea and barbecue, pampas

Today is your opportunity to ride a century, from Tecka to Paso de Indios on Ruta 25 rather than Ruta 40. We'll go over our last mountain range and head down to the beginning of the Chubut River Valley Tonight we'll stay in a newly built hostel and we'll visit the new Mapuche cultural center where we'll have dinner. 165 kms (102 miles).

Day 12: Down into the Valle de Los Altares

Highlights: Bicycle the Rio Chubut

Continuing east from Paso de Indios we encounter the Rio Chubut and the landscape changes dramatically as we enter the Valle de Los Altares. This green river valley contrasts starkly with the eroded sedimentary cliffs on either side. Our destination tonight is a small hotel in the village of Los Altares. Estimated mileage: 56 km (35 miles).

Day 13: Bicycle down Rio Chubut

Highlights: Cycling the Pampas

Our route continues down the Rio Chubut today. We leave the Los Altares but continue following the river to Las Plumas. Dinner tonight is family style "asador" as you’ll find only on the pampas in Argentina. Estimated mileage: 104 km (65 miles).

Day 14: Dique Florentino Almeghino

Dique Florentino Almeghino

Highlights: Rio Chubut, Ride another century today!

The Rio Chubut was dammed in 1963 to provide irrigation, hydroelectric power, and flood control for communities down the river. We'll have the winds at our back (hopefully!) and ride down the valley. The village that grew up around the dam’s construction has remained. We spend the night here near the lake formed behind the dam, Dique Florentino Almeghino Estimated mileage: 86 km (53 miles).

Day 15: Bicycle to Gaiman and find the Welsh

Highlights: Welsh tea house

As we follow the Rio Chubut further eastward, the last thing you might expect to find is a Welsh tea house and a city of 6,000 people speaking both Spanish and Welsh, but that is precisely what Gaiman has to offer. Settled by Welsh immigrants in the 1860s and 70s, the entire region is a miniature Welsh enclave. Estimated mileage: 109 km (68 miles).

Day 16: Bicycle to Trelew and Puerto Madryn

Highlights: Playa Union and the Atlantic Ocean

We continue pedaling through this unlikely Welsh culture region, through Trelew, and Rawson, capital of the Chubut region. We then head on to Puerto Madryn on the Atlantic coast to end this expedition. Estimated mileage: approx: 100 km (62 miles)

Day 17: Farewell and enjoy Argentina or Patagonia

Highlights: Fly out to Buenos Aires or down to Tierra del Fuego

Our tour ends this morning on the Atlantic Beach of Playa Union. You understand Patagonia and the Pampas a little better now. Keep pedaling, if you wish. Buenos Aires is only 1500 km to the north. But if you are staying on, buen viaje!
  • Highlights
    Chiloé Island, The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Penguin Colony, Market in Castro, Old Patagonian Express, Gaiman, Rafting
  • Includes
    17 days, 16 nights accommodation, 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches, most dinners, quality hybrid or road bicycle,
  • Countries
    Chile, Argentina
  • Begin/End
    Puerto Montt, Chile/Rawson, Argentina
  • Arrive/Depart
    Puerto Montt, Chile (via Santiago, Chile) /Trelew, Argentina, (via Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • Total Distance
    Approx 1200 km (728 miles)
  • Daily Distance
    30-164km (19-102 miles)
  • What to Expect
    *Due to the remote nature of the tour single supplements may not be available on every night of the trip. Solo travelers who are willing to share a room and cannot be matched with a roommate will be charged 50% of the single supplement rate.
  • Rating
    501
    Long days and varied terrain with some days including up to 4000+ feet of climbing.
  • Notes
  • Terms
Dates Price Single
Supplement*
Next
Step
Jan 12 - 28, 2015 TBA TBA Book It
*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.

Map Key

Green pinStart
Yellow pinCity (on route)
Red pinEnd
Other city dotCity (not part of route, provided for reference)
"I felt very comfortable with the family business because they all made me feel like 'one of the family!'"
Mary G. Sarasota, FL
"All in all this was a very nice trip, well organized, nice people, interesting location, excellent staff, a lot of fun, a lot of hard work and exercise,(that's a good thing)good equipment."
John D. Madison, CT
"I felt very comfortable with the family business because they all made me feel like 'one of the family!'"
Mary G. Sarasota, FL
"All in all this was a very nice trip, well organized, nice people, interesting location, excellent staff, a lot of fun, a lot of hard work and exercise,(that's a good thing)good equipment."
John D. Madison, CT