Cycling in South America

Thanks to its captivating scenery and varied terrain, South America is an excellent place to explore by bike.

Cycling is a perfect way to discover South America; no less challenging than hiking but equally rewarding. Reach dizzying heights impossible to get to in a vehicle and reward yourself at the end of the day with a thermal bath or perhaps a glass of ruby-red Argentinian Malbec as the sun sets. Whizz through the streets of bike-friendly Santiago, meander over the cobbles of the colonial town of Paraty in Brazil or race down the steep slopes of Ecuador’s volcanoes. Cycling in South America is quite the ride!

South America could have been made for cycling. With numerous routes weaving across the continent, whether you decide to hop on a bike and spend the day touring the vineyards of the Mendoza region or conduct your whole tour of South America on the back of a bike over a period of weeks, your options are limitless. The Salta region in Argentina’s northwest is a great place to enjoy some time in the saddle, with Los Cardones National Park and the ruins of Quilmes being particular highlights. Elsewhere, try tackling the Inca Trail by bike; while in the area, look out for the Inca Avalanche Course, home to one of the most extreme mountain bike races in the world. Or, for a smoother ride, how about Bolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flats? Whether you are in South America for the archaeology, the mountains or the colourful cultures, there is nothing quite like experiencing it on two wheels.

Perhaps one of the most famous or rather, infamous, bike rides in South America is the Yungas Road between La Paz and Coroico. A growing number of thrill-seekers are now choosing to tackle this tricky track on a mountain bike; guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping, this cliff-edge route is not for the faint-hearted. If that doesn’t appeal, perhaps seeing one of the natural wonders of the world will. Make your way to Iguazu National Park and ride through jungle, marvelling at the exotic flora and fauna as you go, before reaching the mighty waterfall after which the park is named – an amazing way to round off your adventure. Alternatively head to the coast – Uruguay has some of the most stunning, unspoilt landscapes in South America and is ideal for cycling enthusiasts. Discover colonial towns, fine foods and best of all – beautiful beaches. What better way to finish off your day than dipping your toes in the crystal-clear waters that lap the shores of José Ignacio and Punta del Diablo?

Cycling in South America Highlights:
  • Biking down ‘Death Road’ – the Yungas Road in Bolivia
  • Cutting through the picturesque countryside of the Sacred Valley, Peru
  • Discovering the hidden corners of Iguazu National Park, Argentina
  • Cycling through the city streets of Santiago, Chile
  • Marvelling at the endless white salt flats on two wheels in Uyuni, Bolivia
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