Argentina/Chile - Andean Territories
Off Road - Guided
13 days / 12 nights / 10 stages / 2 400 km
Argentina / Chile - Off Road
Last updated: 03/12/2021
Why not treat yourself to the Andes?
Leave your daily routine behind and get a different perspective on life! From the very start, the sheer hugeness of the space, the emptiness and stunning beauty of the surroundings fascinate the explorer. Nature at its very purest!
Can you feel the scent of adventure and mystery? Of course you can. You are now in Argentina, a huge country that stretches over an area of 2 780 400 km². An overwhelming 5 121 km separate its northernmost point, la Quiaca, from Usuhaia at the very south! Just too many km to cover in one go!
This trip will therefore focus on the north, where the local inhabitants still remind of us the native people who once inhabited these lands. It is also a region of high plateaus, of mountain ridges and salt flats. These permanent natural sights are sometimes hard to reach and observe, allowing them to remain oblivious to mass tourism. Take a deep breath and get ready for this expedition that unfolds at a height of 3 500 m.
A never-ending sea of mountain peaks, breath-taking panoramic views, a range of colors and hues never seen before, and no one around to break the spell! This is what northern Argentina and Chile have to offer, and so much more!
In this Western-like décor, lonely tracks follow other lonely tracks. A paradise for trail motorbikes, the most practical vehicle to visit and discover these countries!
The difficulty of this trip lies in the altitude where oxygen is scarce. It is important that you get your General Practitioner to confirm that there are no apparent medical objections to you taking part in this adventure. Furthermore, a specialized doctor will give you the information you need to take into consideration, after running some tests.
Arrival in Calama, Chile.
Overnight stay in the hotel.
This itinerary starts with a long 120 km stretch of smooth asphalt to reach the huge expanse of white land, the amazing Atacama Salt Flat.
Today’s itinerary will take us through high Andean plateaus and salt flats, skirting many a volcano. The variety of landscapes is amazing and the immensity of it all unbelievable. Throughout our trip we will be driving through and enjoying the deepest and most isolated places imaginable.
Border crossing from Chile to Argentina.
The trail runs at the very bottom of a narrow gorge skirting huge rocks, fallen from the cliffs around us. Such a tremendous change in scenery can only bring about a true break from routine! This is perhaps the stage with most magic!
All of a sudden and out of nowhere a flock of “ñandues” gallops at top speed right in front of our wheels. Not only have you been transported in space, but now have also been transported back to prehistoric times, where rare animals of all sorts roamed these lands freely.
The sun has almost reached the horizon as our bikes continue to travel forwards and reach the “Polvorilla”, a metal viaduct that glitters under the last rays of sun. This elegant railway bridge was built between 1930 and 1932 and allows the “Tren de las Nubes” to fly over the valley with ease!
Our masterful South American escapade seems to cling onto the steep hills with great skill!
The Abra del Acay Pass lies almost at an altitude of 5 000 m. Patches of snow still linger here and there. A series of closed curves will gracefully takes us back down along the shores of a mountain river. Oblivious to the natural mist generated by a waterfall nearby, a heard to llamas graze on a green open field. Llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas all share this natural habitat. Mudbrick houses spring out of the ground here and there, drying red peppers in every court yard.
Cachi is a cute sleepy little town made of white clay.
The morning’s drive will take us along a ribbon of smooth biker-friendly dirt that seems to float gracefully between a sheer cliff wall on the one side and a river on the other. Later on, the track slaloms between impressive cacti. From here one can observe a series of neat well-kept gardens belonging to a modest clump of mudbrick houses. At the very end of the valley, set in the midst of a remote village, you have reached Hacienda de Molinos: a lovely construction with green shutters where you will be pausing for lunch. A giant pepper tree generously gives shade to the restaurant’s tables. This is also one of our favorite stages, (just like the day before and undoubtedly the day after!). Every stretch of the itinerary has something stunning to offer the traveler!
This lively city surrounded by renowned vineyards is well-worth a whole day's visit!
Although this first stretch is straight, the surrounding views are so exceptional there is no time for boredom. After a pit stop at the petrol station, our bikes will not only be rolling on asphalt but will also be biting the dust as the track climbs towards the heights. The sheer hugeness of the landscape is breath-taking. The colors, surreal. Sands slides off the mountain slopes and lands on the track.
Towards the end of the day, the itinerary will take you through narrow and deep gorges, zigzagging between black jade rocks. And there, a volcano seems to jut out of the earth! It is magical, grandiose, so stunning!
A family of silver common cranes obverse the lake shores. A number of houses indicate we are close to civilization: welcome to the small town of Antofagasta de la Sierra.
Our track continues without wasting a second as it winds towards never-ending horizons! Whether you are driving on gravel, dirt, sand, ashes or basalt, you will be doing so throughout 400 km!
The surrounding landscape is powerful in its harshness! Here and there, salt flats or black mountains, clad in golden savannas. Yet another salt flat announces our arrival at the village of Tolar Grande, which regardless of its name, is one of the tiniest and remotest places ever!
Each day brings with it, its very own wonders!
A salmon colored track weaves its way through a violet narrow pass, sculpted into the mountain of red earth!
This is a stage to remember as you wind your way around a seemingly infinite helix!
A palette of colors ranging from pink ochres and burnt umber to delicate vanillas delights the traveler as the track continues to weaver its way over and around the High Plateaus. Mineral landscapes offer a variety of unexpected and original views!
Border crossing from Argentina back to Chile.
Taking a stretch of road you already know from the start of the tour and making the most the beautiful surrounding landscapes, you will be heading back to Calama.
Trip back to your home country.
Departures for groups formed on request
- Calama (Chile)
- The distances traveled are long but the roads and tracks taken are not particularly technical, except maybe the odd stream crossing or sand covered stretches. It is important to stay focused at all times as the roads can switch from rough asphalt to gravel without warning, surprising the pilot! This is the ideal trip for a motivated biker with some biking experience.
TWO UP? It could of course be considered, provided both rider and passenger are in good physical shape and have the adequate two-up off-road experience.
- A TrailRando guide will supervise the team on board their own vehicle.
At the same time, logistical support on four wheels will transport your luggage between stages every day. They will travel by road with regular meeting points along the route.
They can also pick up a rider and vehicle in the event of breakdown or exhaustion. The team also have a basic first aid kit, tools, some spare parts and are able to lend a hand if required.
- PROGRESS ALONG THE ROUTE
There's a definite feeling of freedom about this trip. And to preserve the spirit of exploration and discovery that we wanted to create, we've put you in control. For this reason, and so that everyone truly plays a part in their own journey, we provide the traveler with an uploadable detailed GPS itinerary for the entire trip.
This technology allows you to be totally independent.
With the wonderful tool that is GPS, everyone has the freedom to go on ahead, to be carried along by their artistic inspirations, or to stay with their friends, knowing that as a general rule the Trail Rando motorcycle guide will be looking out for the team at the rear.
What a pleasure it is to follow your own course!
“Free people in a structured group” is the motto that accurately reflects the reality of a Trail Rando trip.
A GPS IS MANDATORY
The route is safely stored stage by stage on the GPS...
At the start of the trip, Trail Rando provides everyone with the detailed uploadable GPS itinerary. The entire route and its main points such as sites of interest, petrol stations, lunch meeting points and accommodation are programmed into the GPS.
If you do not own a GPS device, Trail Rando can rent you one.
- Single room supplement : 1100€
- GPS rental (with handlebar support and uploaded itinerary) : 60€
- Supplement for the rental of a 200 Super Ténéré : 620€
- • Lodgingo hotels, in twin rooms,o from the evening of the first day to the morning of the last day,
• Food:o Breakfast, lunch, dinnero from the morning of the first day to the morning of the last day,• The complete and detailed itinerary,• Tour leaders:o A tour leader on his motorcycle,o Support vehicle for luggage transport• A rented motorcycle and its documentation to cross borders.
- • Trasportationo Passenger transportation to and from tour starting point:- Air fares to and from tour start ,- transfers from the airport to the hotel and back,• Beverages,• Fuel for the motorcycles
- Motorcycles provided
Maxitrail motorcycles, between 600cc and 1200cc; having said that, 600cc and 800cc bikes are perfectly suited to this trip and 1200cc bikes should only be driven by highly experienced bikers. To know precisely the available makes and models, please refer to our online booking form.