South America

Jammin thru the Global South

Colombia, Part 1: Cartagena

May 14 – 19, 2010After being scared by everybody about how dangerous Colombia was, even though I knew better from other riders, I found a beautiful country filled with numerous warm and beautiful people. The people of Colombia welcomed me with open arms and I understood why so many previous travelers have raved about this…

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Colombia, Part 2: Medellin

May 19 – 23, 2010From Cartagena, I headed south to Medellin, about 700 kms (440 miles) away. I broke up the trip, spending a night in Caucasia, about halfway there. In Medellin, I met up with friends of Fernando Morales and Sargento who are also on TouringColombia.com, Jaime Andres and Dario Fernando. I planned to…

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Colombia, Part 3: Zona Cafetera

May 24 – 31, 2010After a nice weekend in Medellin, I headed to the coffee producing region, called the Zona Cafetera. Colombia is world famous for its coffee and its citizens are very proud of their product. I’m not really a coffee drinker but it sure did taste good. My contact was Jorge Peto, whom…

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Colombia, Part 4: Cali, Popayan, Pasto

May 31 – June 4, 2010After a week in Armenia and Calarca, it was time to get moving. I dropped down to Cali in the flat plains for two days. From there, I headed up to colonial Popay├ín and then to high-altitude Pasto and its stunning scenery. I was welcomed and hosted by local bikers…

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Ecuador, Part 1: Quito and Quilotoa

June 4 – 10, 2010Ecuador is the smallest of the Andean nations, yet it packs a punch in the sights and sounds it offers. Its namesake comes from the fact that the important Inca and Spanish colonial city of Quito just about straddles the Equator. It’s also the most densely populated South American country, and…

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Ecuador, Part 2: Volcanoes

June 10 – 12, 2010I spent a few days in Ambato, staying with motorcycle friends from HorizonsUnlimited and visited Banos, the active Tungurahua Volcano and the glacier-covered Chimborazo Volcano.Commercial, non-touristy Ambato, near Banos, staying with Xavier Leon from HorizonsUnlimited. In trying to stay with local people as much as I can, I’m not only saving…

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Ecuador, Part 3: Cuenca

June 12 – 16, 2010Heading away from the snow-capped mountains and volcanoes, I spent a few days in colonial Cuenca and visited the Cajas National Park before heading for the Peruvian border.As I was taking a break and warming up back at the Panamericana, Riccardo here pulls up on a 2009 Suzuki DR 650, touring…

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Peru, Part 1: Bagua Grande and Kuelap

June 16 – 22, 2010Comprising the heart of the Inca Empire, Peru has become well known for its archeological sites, such as famous Machu Picchu. However, the varied landscape, ranging from dry deserts to rain forests up to glaciated peaks was the main draw for me. The Andes start much further north, but here is…

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Peru, Part 2: Canon del Pato and Huascaran

June 22 – 28, 2010This next part takes me from Cajamarca, down to the coast to the start of the Canyon del Pato, back up to the snow peaks and a ride through Huascaran National Park.Staying with Adam (right) in Cajamarca for a night, through CouchSurfing. We were walking around the streets and ran into…

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Peru, Part 3: Lima to Nasca

June 28 – July 5, 2010From Huaraz, I took the more scenic mountain route down to Lima, through Huanuco. After taking care of some business in Lima, I headed south along the coast to see the lines at Nazca.Heading south from Huaraz the road climbed up to 4,300 m (14,100 ft) and these snow-peaked mountains…

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Peru, Part 4: Abancay and Cusco

July 5 – 9, 2010From Nasca, I climbed back up the Andes, first to spend some time in Abancay before heading over to Cusco, where I stayed on a farm.Stocking up on some bananas for the road ahead.Distance board at Nasca. I was heading to Abancay today.Climbing up in the shadows of the morning sun.Looking…

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Peru, Part 5: Machu Picchu

July 10 – 13, 2010At the farm I was staying at in Cusco, I became friends with Carlos from Lima and he was looking for someone to head to Machu Picchu with and knew the back route to get there without taking the expensive trains. I was up for it and left the bike at…

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Peru, Part 6: Breakdown in Andahuaylillas

July 14 – July 22, 2010From Cusco, I was heading south to the canyons around Arequipa, but I had a mechanical breakdown with rear wheel bearings failing sooner than they should, but it turned out into a nice experience in the town of Andahuaylillas.I was only about 50 kms (31 mi) south of Cusco when…

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Video from Bolivia: Lago Titicaca

July 22, 2010A taste of riding in Bolivia, around the immense and beautiful Lago Titicaca, the world’s highest, largest lake situated at 3,800 m (12,500 ft). This is from Copacabana, near the Peruvian border, heading to La Paz. The asphalt was perfect and the sun was shining strong with very little traffic. Fun to be…

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Bolivia, Part 3: Yungas and Mud Riding

August 3 – 9, 2010I left La Paz and headed north to more remote regions of Bolivia towards the Brazilian border about a 1,000 km (625 mi) away and most of it was off-road. The road plunges from the heights of the Andes, down to the Yungas and finally onto the savanna leading to the…

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Bolivia, Part 4: Hot and Dusty across the Pampas

August 9 – 13, 2010After being stuck in Rurrenabaque, in northern Bolivia, for a few days waiting on petrol, the ride was on again. North to Brazil.Eager to get back on the trail, I left Rurrenabaque around 3pm after getting petrol and packing up.I didn’t make it far before deciding to find a place to…

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Brazil, Part 1: The start of the TransAmazonica

August 13 – 16, 2010After the preparatory journey across the Bolivian pampas, I was excited to be entering the allure that is Brazil, the largest country in the region and one of the pillars of the new Global South power regime. Apart from being the only Portuguese-speaking country in Latin America (and thus Brazilians not…

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