Touring - Cycletouring in Chile and Uruguay
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Have you ever done some cycling in Chile and Uruguay ... specifically in the areas of Montevideo and Santiago?
If so ...
-- what are the roads like?
-- what are the cities like?
-- are there any "miss" or "don't miss" things in those areas?
If you were going there what would you want to see and do?
04-28-12, 08:42 AM
I biked around Santiago. It's a sprawling, modern city. But I took a bus to get out of town and later back to Santiago. It was easy at that time to put a bike on a long distance bus. Most of my time in Chile was spent cycling in the gorgeous Lake Region in south central Chile, roughly between Puerto Montt and Temuco, as well as adjacent parts of Argentina. In the summer months, the Carretera Austral south of Puerto Montt is a big cycling attraction. I also biked a bit near the coast west of Santiago around Valparaiso.
I haven't biked in Uruguay, but I met a British couple on bikes in Argentina and they began in Montevideo and said they really enjoyed cycling in Uruguay.
What sort of accommodations did you use? Is camping available? Or hostels?
Machka and Rowan, if you havent already, there are a number of crazyguy journals of trips in Chile, Argentina etc. Ive followed a few because of my interest in Latin America, and while its not possible for me to do a trip like that now (time, family stuff, cost) the one thing that I remember from the journals are how the landscapes can be really quite stunning in places. Im sure you will get some responses here, but do check out cgoab for some really good pertinent info on all in the ins and outs of the various areas that people have travelled in.
04-28-12, 11:41 AM
I stayed in hospedajes, which are Bed & Breakfast. They were pretty cheap when I was there, about US$10 in 1995. The Footprint guide was excellent for reliable suggestions on reader-recommended hospedajes. I did not reserve any. My trip was in December. Chileans typically don't go on summer vacation until after New Years Day, so I never had a problem finding a room. I think January would have been a different story in the Lake Region. For the Carretera Austral, I think you'd have to camp. Outside of Santiago, Chile is tends to be sparely populated. There are also a limited number of paved roads in the country. My 2 crossings of the Andes were on dirt roads, though I think one of them has since been paved. I rode a mountain bike on that trip. The passes (and mountains) in the Lake Region are much lower than passes further north. Neither pass was particularly difficult.
04-28-12, 12:47 PM
Arrive in Santiago (looks like Qantas just started flying there non-stop from Sydney), check it out for a couple of days on public transportation (although some neighborhoods now have nice bike infrastructure) and then ride to Viña del Mar/Valparaiso. If you're into wines, there are many vineyards on the way to Viña, but only a few open to tourists. Look for the ones that grow the carménère variety. Follow the coast south from Viña. Remember that Chile is a narrow but very long country so if you're on a schedule you may have to fly to get to various locations to see certain cool natural attractions. If there is one place not to miss is the Carretera Austral (which is also in my plans.) This is in southern Chile. You can detour in several places end up in the Argentinean side and from there catch a flight to Buenos Aires and on to Uruguay. A friend of mine is currently riding in South America on a motorcycle. He's also into cyclotourism. After seeing half of South America he gives the highest marks to Chile for road conditions and scenery. He also speaks highly, believe it or not, about Colombia also for scenery, people and bicycle friendliness. I had heard about other cyclists having a positive experience there, too. CGOAB has a blog about this Australian/Dutch family (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=4438) going around the world on tandems. They seem to have liked that country very much, too.
Thanks for the info guys. Our plans currently are to fly out of Spain to Montevideo, spend about three weeks exploring Uruguay, and then fly from Montevideo to Santiago. We plan to spend also three weeks exploring Chile, and we were thinking of gravitating to the south, so the recommendations have sort of confirmed that we might be on the right track.
The information about Colombia doesn't surprise me as riders from there have been in the top echelons of the big tour races for some time now, and the trickle-down effect of their successes is bound to have some effect on the enthusiasm of administrators to improve infrastructure for cycling.
I've had a desire to visit South America for some time, and our round-the-world trip has presented that opportunity. I am more a temperate climate person, however, so we probably will give those locations north the the Tropic of Capricorn a miss this time around. I am certainly thinking that based on the good things we have read about Uruguay in particular, that this won't be the last time we visit South America.
06-25-12, 06:32 PM
will be in Puerto Varas first week of july any one know of bike rentals available?.....thanks;
07-05-12, 11:26 AM
am in Puerto Varas and have run into to a great shop with bike rentals.....awesome!!.....Gentlemans name is Sebastian; very helpful and the shop is called Salomon right off the main town square 056-065 232020; could not ask for more helpful and nicer people to deal with!, email ahead to email@example.com.......pix to follow when get back to the USA........awesome only words to discribe this area with vocanos covered with snow over the lake!!!! wow, just hate to go back to 100+ in the shade!!
Less than a month till we fly to Uruguay. We're not quite sure how long we'll spend there at this point. I'm hoping to check out a beach or two, and we're hoping for a bit of cycling as well.
09-05-12, 04:06 AM
I used to work with a guy from near Chile and the pictures he showed me of his home town had me constantly asking why he left it behind to come to London. It turned out he'd come to London to work for a few years and go back to Chile as a (locally speaking) very rich man.
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