Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 40
  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Best option for two young women cycling in south america

    Hi,
    My sister and I hope to embark on a 6 week bike tour late may and June. We're looking for advice on the best region to provide the optimal combination of
    -safety (good roads, good drivers, low chance of getting harassed or assaulted)
    - reasonable terrain (not too many mountains and not too much in the way of gravel)
    -low price (we're students)

    I have basic spanish and have cycle toured in Canada, but have never travelled south of florida and am thus no expert.

    We initially set our sights on central america (nicaragua, panama, costa rica) but were advised that these were not good destinations for young women camping in rural areas. We've been told Chile is a good option, though I understand that our timeframe won't give us the optimal climate... What are good routes in Chile that offer beautiful scenery and decent roads? Other destinations in the americas that might fit the bill and have decent weather in june? I've heard Uruguay might be an option...
    Any advice is immensely appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5,481
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by musicalyam View Post
    Hi,
    My sister and I hope to embark on a 6 week bike tour late may and June. We're looking for advice on the best region to provide the optimal combination of
    -safety (good roads, good drivers, low chance of getting harassed or assaulted)
    - reasonable terrain (not too many mountains and not too much in the way of gravel)
    -low price (we're students)

    I have basic spanish and have cycle toured in Canada, but have never travelled south of florida and am thus no expert.

    We initially set our sights on central america (nicaragua, panama, costa rica) but were advised that these were not good destinations for young women camping in rural areas. We've been told Chile is a good option, though I understand that our timeframe won't give us the optimal climate... What are good routes in Chile that offer beautiful scenery and decent roads? Other destinations in the americas that might fit the bill and have decent weather in june? I've heard Uruguay might be an option...
    Any advice is immensely appreciated!
    I would be concerned about two women travelling alone south of the border, not only from the standpoint of personal safety but also traffic and road conditions are fair at best. AAA has issued travel warnings for people traveling alone. Some people have never had issues and some never come back so it just depends.

    See this for more detail; http://www.kevincoffey.com/travel/th..._in_mexico.htm But these are the fear stories, there are stories of successful travels, most dangers involve women though since most bad guys won't bother men, though I personally knew two brothers who were both shot and killed in Baja Mexico so men are not free from problems.

    The maps in this site may or may not be of any help but here they are;
    http://www.bumsonwheels.com/2007/05/all-route-maps.html

    Hopefully someone who had done this area on bike can give you better info.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Diego
    My Bikes
    IF steel deluxe 29er tourer
    Posts
    1,417
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sure you might make it.

    Maybe instead you should try to form a larger group to ride togther, perhaps through the companions wanted section of the ACA website.

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/mag/companions.cfm

  4. #4
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
    My Bikes
    LoGo P-38, Bacchetta Giro ATT 20, Look 555, Giant XTC 2, Surly Long Haul Trucker
    Posts
    880
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For route ideas etc I suggest you take a read of the BicycleNomad blog.

    Andrew

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,320
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Chapala, Mexico
    My Bikes
    Habanero Titanium
    Posts
    263
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I would be concerned about two women travelling alone south of the border, not only from the standpoint of personal safety but also traffic and road conditions are fair at best. AAA has issued travel warnings for people traveling alone. Some people have never had issues and some never come back so it just depends.

    See this for more detail; http://www.kevincoffey.com/travel/th..._in_mexico.htm But these are the fear stories, there are stories of successful travels, most dangers involve women though since most bad guys won't bother men, though I personally knew two brothers who were both shot and killed in Baja Mexico so men are not free from problems.

    The maps in this site may or may not be of any help but here they are;
    http://www.bumsonwheels.com/2007/05/all-route-maps.html

    Hopefully someone who had done this area on bike can give you better info.
    OK, I have to say this as someone who actually LIVES in Mexico. That Coffey article was written in 1998. But putting that aside, because problems do exist here, would someone like to balance that with an article skewed to show how dangerous America is? Want to mention how many tourists are murdered in NYC or Miami?

    Having said that (whew, got it out of my system), I wish I could recommend a route, but Iīm unfamiliar with those particular countries. Go to http://www.crazyguyonabike.com and see what others have posted. Google and check, etc, etc. My little "gems" of advice are: 1) travel together 2) use common sense and stay on well-traveled roads 3) if you donīt already know/speak some Spanish, learn. Any effort could make the difference between an OK vacation and a real adventure.

    Have fun and take lots of pictures!

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,219
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In my opinion, the problem is less that you're 2 women hoping to tour somewhere in Latin America, than you're hoping to do it during the wrong time of the year. Unlike the naysayers who I suspect have never biked in Latin America, I have. While there are plenty of places in Latin America I wouldn't bike in myself, there are two places where I toured where I felt safer than anywhere else I've toured in the world. Those two places were Chile and the Yucatan of Mexico. However, neither would be a good destination in June. The region of lakes and volcanoes in south-central Chile and Argentina is gorgeous. The climate and latitude there is similar to coastal BC, Washington, & Oregon. It wouldn't make any sense to tour in coastal BC or Washington in December, and June is the equivalent in the southern hemisphere.

    In Central America and much of Mexico, winter is the dry season and temperatures are less hot. I toured in the Yucatan in February. It was warm and dry with virtually no bugs. A friend toured there in the summer when it's relentlessly hot and humid, and he said the region had the worst bugs he has ever encountered anywhere in the world. I advised two women who contacted me that I thought they would feel very secure there in the Mayan culture. They went there in the winter, had a great tour, and reported back that they did indeed feel very secure.

    Most of Latin America is mountainous. Central America is mountainous AND it is wet in June. I don't think there's any place in Latin America which fits your criteria if you want to go in June. Tropical places in South America which would have decent weather in June either wouldn't qualify due to terrain and/or safety.
    Last edited by axolotl; 10-14-12 at 07:58 AM.

  8. #8
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,397
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by musicalyam View Post
    Hi,
    My sister and I hope to embark on a 6 week bike tour late may and June. We're looking for advice on the best region to provide the optimal combination of
    -safety (good roads, good drivers, low chance of getting harassed or assaulted)
    - reasonable terrain (not too many mountains and not too much in the way of gravel)
    -low price (we're students)

    I have basic spanish and have cycle toured in Canada, but have never travelled south of florida and am thus no expert.

    We initially set our sights on central america (nicaragua, panama, costa rica) but were advised that these were not good destinations for young women camping in rural areas. We've been told Chile is a good option, though I understand that our timeframe won't give us the optimal climate... What are good routes in Chile that offer beautiful scenery and decent roads? Other destinations in the americas that might fit the bill and have decent weather in june? I've heard Uruguay might be an option...
    Any advice is immensely appreciated!
    Are there any other parts of the world that you could get inspired about?

    You might have a look at world cyclists' favorite countries/regions. Travelingtwo is one you could check.

    Dennis Coello cycled around the world until he realized all the advantages of the American West. He describes how and why in 'Touring on Two Wheels' -- an excellent book that you can find for a song at amazon.com.

    (After being around the world more than once, I agree with him.)

    Heinz Stucke also has high praise for Western North America.

    If you want exotic cultures or people (or history, or landscapes), you can find them here too. Spending some time with the Hopi, or other nations, and getting to know them, can be more of a departure than Argentina, Chile, or Europe, for one example. There are also plenty of subcultural and philosophical adventure possibilities.

    That said, Turkey is another place you might check out. Google and CGOAB would give some tour accounts and pictures.

    The American West has a lot to offer, though, and a lot of beauty and diversity on a variety of levels. You might also see Coello's series of guidebooks.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,697
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    As far as climate goes, Europe would be lovely at that time of year.

  10. #10
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
    In my opinion, the problem is less that you're 2 women hoping to tour somewhere in Latin America, than you're hoping to do it during the wrong time of the year. Unlike the naysayers who I suspect have never biked in Latin America, I have. While there are plenty of places in Latin America I wouldn't bike in myself, there are two places where I toured where I felt safer than anywhere else I've toured in the world. Those two places were Chile and the Yucatan of Mexico. However, neither would be a good destination in June. The region of lakes and volcanoes in south-central Chile and Argentina is gorgeous. The climate and latitude there is similar to coastal BC, Washington, & Oregon. It wouldn't make any sense to tour in coastal BC or Washington in December, and June is the equivalent in the southern hemisphere.

    In Central America and much of Mexico, winter is the dry season and temperatures are less hot. I toured in the Yucatan in February. It was warm and dry with virtually no bugs. A friend toured there in the summer when it's relentlessly hot and humid, and he said the region had the worst bugs he has ever encountered anywhere in the world. I advised two women who contacted me that I thought they would feel very secure there in the Mayan culture. They went there in the winter, had a great tour, and reported back that they did indeed feel very secure.

    Most of Latin America is mountainous. Central America is mountainous AND it is wet in June. I don't think there's any place in Latin America which fits your criteria if you want to go in June. Tropical places in South America which would have decent weather in June either wouldn't qualify due to terrain and/or safety.
    Thanks for the detailed reply. hmmm... we're pretty comitted to our time frame as it's a trip to celebrate my sister's university graduation. Looking at weather for Chile, I think you're right in that it would be just too cold/unpleasant. So would your perspective be that nicaraugua, costa rica, panama region just wouldn't be worth it in June? I hadn't really thought about bugs, but they do make everything worse. Does the rain in the wet season make the road conditions perpetually unsafe? I've found highly contradicting information about roads and touring in general in that region and its very difficult to know who to trust... Central America would be our preference from a cost perspective...
    Thanks for the advice!

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,697
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    What about Cuba? I've never been but it is a popular destination choice for many of my friends and coworkers.

  12. #12
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I really appreciate your advice and I know that there are regions closer to home that can offer amazing experiences. The problem is they are not very feasible for us from a cost perspective. A train or flight from Ottawa to Vancouver for instance is more expensive than a flight to San Jose and obiviously the cost of food and accomodation is much more as well... I would LOVE to go to Turkey. Some day. when I'm not a student.

  13. #13
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    What about Cuba? I've never been but it is a popular destination choice for many of my friends and coworkers.
    Yes Cuba has crossed my mind. I'm Canadian so its easy for me to go there. From what I read, accomodation would be more expensive as there are few camping opportunities. We like the idea of central america for the opportunity to visit multiple countries... But I heard that, from a road perspective, Cuba was very safe. do you know what the weather would be like in June?

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    36,697
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by musicalyam View Post
    Yes Cuba has crossed my mind. I'm Canadian so its easy for me to go there. From what I read, accomodation would be more expensive as there are few camping opportunities. We like the idea of central america for the opportunity to visit multiple countries... But I heard that, from a road perspective, Cuba was very safe. do you know what the weather would be like in June?
    Cuba climate:
    http://www.cubaweather.org/cuba_climate.php


    Here's another suggestion ... Hokkaido, Japan. That's the north island. We were there in June and it is lovely. We could easily spend 6 weeks there.

  15. #15
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,397
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In some of Central America, the men can be difficult to deal with. Cindiie Travis (downtheroad.org) was normally very reserved and polite in her comments, but couldn't help her exasperation there with some of the men.

    Jin Jeong, a young woman from Korea who has been traveling through the Americas, mostly on her own, has a journal at CGOAB that might be of interest.

  16. #16
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,397
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Brazil is huge and diverse -- and parts of it are dry and nice in June. Great music, great place. Celebratory. You might check it out.

    A sample of music that doesn't often get played here (will find some links later -- I' on a Kindle in the forest riht now, and it doesn't do everything a computer will do).

    But f you go to youtube.com and enter in the search box:

    (1) Jorge Ben Mas Que Nada

    (2) Marjorie Estiano Wave

    (3) Jobim Waters of March Montreal
    [this has been voted as a national monument/favorite]

    (4) Astrud Gilberto Jobim Aqua de Beber

    (5) Borzeguim Montreal
    [an English transation can be found at Borzeguim.mov, at youtube.com]

    (7) Gal Costa Jobim Dindi Los Angeles
    [Gal Costa is from Bahia inBrazil, and was well known there]

    The Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport near Rio de Janeiro is named after this composer.

    He can be seen on guitar here, (8) Sinatra Jobim Ipanema

    For a much more poetic and faithful English translation, see (9) Garota de Ipanema [letras]
    The third rendition by Eliane Elias is well sung.

    I love these people. Almost married a Brazilian woman. Probably should just move there....
    Last edited by Niles H.; 10-14-12 at 11:57 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,320
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    What about Cuba? I've never been but it is a popular destination choice for many of my friends and coworkers.
    http://www.galfromdownunder.com/cuba/

    and her book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Handsomest-Man...tellafriend-20

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,219
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by musicalyam View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply. hmmm... we're pretty comitted to our time frame as it's a trip to celebrate my sister's university graduation. Looking at weather for Chile, I think you're right in that it would be just too cold/unpleasant. So would your perspective be that nicaraugua, costa rica, panama region just wouldn't be worth it in June? I hadn't really thought about bugs, but they do make everything worse. Does the rain in the wet season make the road conditions perpetually unsafe? I've found highly contradicting information about roads and touring in general in that region and its very difficult to know who to trust... Central America would be our preference from a cost perspective...
    Thanks for the advice!
    Both times I was in Costa Rica were during the winter, i.e. the dry season. Most of Central America has the same weather pattern. Central highlands and the Pacific coast have a wet season (roughly during the northern hemisphere summer) and a dry season during the winter. The Caribbean coast has a more even year-round rainfall pattern and more rain overall, I believe. There was some unusual out-of-season wet weather the 2nd time I was in Costa Rica. It rained hard for days. Eventually it stopped and I biked down to the Caribbean coast. It was pouring again as I neared the coast. I believe that in the highlands and on the Pacific coast, it typically doesn't rain all day during the rainy season. Places in the tropics often have fairly predictable times of day when it's sunny and when it's likely to rain. But when it rains in the tropics, it often is torrential.

    Costa Rica is a very mountainous country. The roads there are surprisingly bad, too. The only area which is fairly flat is the Pacific coast. They've extended the coastal road further south from when I toured there. But when you're near sea level, it is very hot.

    Lynette Chang (who was cited above for her fine book, The Handsomest Man in Cuba) toured in Nicaragua and liked it a lot. I haven't been, so I can't comment. To be honest, I don't think I'd consider touring in Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala, all because of security concerns. I would love to visit the highlands of Guatemala, however.

    Since you're able to visit Cuba easily, I would look into that. I think the winter would still probably be a much better time than June, however. The sun will be directly overhead in June in Cuba.

  19. #19
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,397
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You mentioned the expense of travelling to the West Coast. One possible solution would be to find alternative transportation. Bulletin boards at universities are one way to find cheap rides, especially after graduation when students are leaving.

    There are other ways too, including online resources. Google would probably turn up some additional ideas for you.

    There are good, cheap hiker-biker sites along the Pacific Coast Route, and wildcamping possibilities. It also has pleasantly cool weather, and great scenery, and is one of world's premier bike routes. There is usually less rain south of Oregon, along the coast.

    It is generally warmer inland, during June, especially if mountain riding is out.

    There are many possible variations and side trips.

    There is a picture and a description of Eastern Oregon, for example, which is far drier than the coast, here: www.travellingtwo.com/resources/top10

    Hwy 395 and more or less parallel side roads can make for an interesting route down into California.

    You can also eat cheaply along the coastal route and elewhere in the West if you learn some strategies.

    There are lots of wildcamping possibilities in these inland areas. Easy.

    The main expenses are usually transportation, sleeping accommodations, and food -- so if these are covered, you should be good. (As long as you would like to ride there, or could find a way to like it.)

  20. #20
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,397
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Parts of Argentina can also be nice in June.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5,481
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dengidog View Post
    OK, I have to say this as someone who actually LIVES in Mexico. That Coffey article was written in 1998. But putting that aside, because problems do exist here, would someone like to balance that with an article skewed to show how dangerous America is? Want to mention how many tourists are murdered in NYC or Miami?

    Having said that (whew, got it out of my system), I wish I could recommend a route, but Iīm unfamiliar with those particular countries. Go to http://www.crazyguyonabike.com and see what others have posted. Google and check, etc, etc. My little "gems" of advice are: 1) travel together 2) use common sense and stay on well-traveled roads 3) if you donīt already know/speak some Spanish, learn. Any effort could make the difference between an OK vacation and a real adventure.

    Have fun and take lots of pictures!
    I did mention there are stories of successful travels south of the border. I did a little bit of searching, and I mean a little due to time constraints, but I could not find any mention of a cyclist ever being raped or murdered here in the US while touring. Maybe you can dig up some.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Philly
    My Bikes
    IF SCJ SE, Surly LHT, BikeFriday NWT, Cannondale M300, Raleigh 700
    Posts
    3,429
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I would be concerned about two women travelling alone south of the border, not only from the standpoint of personal safety but also traffic and road conditions are fair at best. AAA has issued travel warnings for people traveling alone. Some people have never had issues and some never come back so it just depends.

    See this for more detail; http://www.kevincoffey.com/travel/th..._in_mexico.htm
    I realize that borders and names change, but I don't think we have gotten to the point where Mexico is now part of South America. Just sayin'.

  23. #23
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5,481
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    I realize that borders and names change, but I don't think we have gotten to the point where Mexico is now part of South America. Just sayin'.
    I know that, but I was referring to entire land mass south of our USA border.

  24. #24
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,219
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I know that, but I was referring to entire land mass south of our USA border.
    You lumped together everything in the western hemisphere that is south of the USA/Mexico border. Have you visited every country in the western hemisphere? Have you visited any? Have you biked in any? I wrote in my own posts in this thread that there are countries I wouldn't bike in personally, but there are others that I have, and others that I would. There are parts of Mexico I have visited by bike or by bus, and there are other parts of Mexico I would absolutely avoid. What you wrote is analogous to telling someone that they should avoid visiting the USA because Detroit and South Central L.A. are dangerous.

  25. #25
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5,481
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
    You lumped together everything in the western hemisphere that is south of the USA/Mexico border. Have you visited every country in the western hemisphere? Have you visited any? Have you biked in any? I wrote in my own posts in this thread that there are countries I wouldn't bike in personally, but there are others that I have, and others that I would. There are parts of Mexico I have visited by bike or by bus, and there are other parts of Mexico I would absolutely avoid. What you wrote is analogous to telling someone that they should avoid visiting the USA because Detroit and South Central L.A. are dangerous.
    I did mention in my first post I had not ridden in those areas. And there are areas in South Central LA and Detroit where I, being a male, would not ride in, those areas I know because I've been in both those areas.

    Look, before you get upset with me, the question was asking an opinion, it's been known for quite some time that a lot of the area south of the border is not safe for Americans to be wondering about in general. Obviously I have no way to know which route their going to take and how safe would any square mile of that route would be and neither would you. But travel warnings put out by various travel agencies say not to stray off the beaten tourist trail, there must be some sort of reason for that. Is the risk high? I think the risk is higher then traveling some bike route across America. Does that mean someone could run into a problem? I don't know, but it is a gamble and more so when women are involved, if their group consisted of a 6 or so women I wouldn't even bother mentioning it, but there's only 2, though that's better then 1.

    You mentioned parts you would avoid, unless you know exactly where they want to go, and you know exactly which routes to take to keep them safe in their entire journey, then you really can't guarantee their safety can you? I may be overly protective, I have two daughters so that kind of is my blood.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •