The TAMARBIKES Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego adventure was even more so this year. The tour ended, as scheduled, smack on the Longest day of the year, December 21st, the first day of summer here, in the southern hemisphere, however, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, reminded us, how harsh the elements can be here no matter what time of year. A reminder that if you really want to ride these remote beautiful parts of the world in safety you better be doing it with professionals, support and local contacts to help you through the challenges.Vivianne and Mackenzie with TAMARBIKES tour leader on this amazing adventure.
On the TAMARBIKES adventures the magic usually happens on the second or third day. People warm up to each other, find their place in the group and in the riding, and have already had a night cap of 2 together. This time things came much earlier. A great bunch from USA, Canada, GB, Chile, with guides from Israel and Germany all came together to create a balanced funny and great riding groups. Besides having 2 couples on tour, which always makes for abetter mood of the tour, we had a serious adventurer that came down solo on a BMW R100GS from the US had done a major part of south America and decided to join our group after arriving in Chile. We also had a Pillion join solo, a first for us but a gamble that panned out very well, as this local Chilean helped light up the already great atmosphere and fitted right in with the gang.
Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego are shared geographical areas in the most southern part of South America and, actually, are the most southern parts of inhabited land in the world. Tierra del Fuego although an archipelago of island separated by the notorious Magellan straits, is still part of the south American plate so considered part of the continent. These 2 territories are shared by 2 countries Chile and Argentina.
The ‘Horns of the bull’ in the Torres del Paine national park Chile
Patagonia is severed down the middle by the Andes mountain range which also, for the most part, marks the border between Chile and Argentina. On the TAMARBIKES Patagonia adventure we Criss Cross between these 2countries no less than 6 times making the most of both these very different terrains. As we are riding the western part of the continent the more dominant of the 2 oceans for much of the ride is the Pacific Ocean. Clouds come in from the west making the western valleys and slopes of the Andes (The Chilean side)lush, green, rich in fauna and flora, some indigenous to these parts. It also makes for great agriculture and our tour begins in Osorno a hub of agriculture and meat and dairy farms.
This area is also a part of the pacific fire ring so beside this amazing green back drop you also get snow caped volcanoes decorating the landscape for extra beauty and a stronger effect.
Last but not least, Snow falls on the tops of the Andes 365days a year. This constant fall of layer upon layer for millions of years creates the largest glacier field outside of the poles. Another amazing natural phenomenon to add to the appeal and attraction of this harsh land.A place of peace and quiet on the shores f ‘General Carerra’ lake.
Patagonia was inhabited in the past by local tribes, but these did not survive the invasion of the Spanish and Portuguese in the 16thand 17th centuries. Today it is very scarcely populated with small villages towns and maybe 2 or 3 medium sized cities which could develop on the hilean side after the Carretera Austral, the famous road opened by Pinochet,was opened in the 70s of the 20thcentury. The Argentinian side is called the Pampas the endless wilderness of flat dry low grass lands with vast sheep farms Estancias and hundreds of miles of the famous Argentinian highway 40. On Tierra del Fuego it’s the Argentinian side that is better populated including the ‘crown jewel, the city of Ushuaia the most southern city on earth perched on the Begal Channel. This city is also a major exit point for excursions to Antarctica.
This 4300 Km Adventure takes us from the heart of civilization in the north Osorno and Bariloche right down to the End of the World – ‘Fin-del-Mundo’ – as the locals call it. Roads begin as excellent asphalt but quickly turn to relatively good gravel while riding the Carretera Austral, which is only partly paved. Once we are out on highway 40 there are parts that are still unpaved there it is loose gravel which ca be challenging at times. Once south of El Calafate we are mostly on paved road with the exception of the Torres del Paine park. The challenge becomes when the winds pickup and boy do they blow. With gusts of 90Km/h it calls for technique and poise to ride through these winds. We stopped and took a very long 4 hour lunch break on our second day on Tierra del Fuego to let the winds calm down before we continued to Ushuaia.
This ride is a moment to live for. The sense of achievement together with a group you now call your friends is second to little hi points of tours around the world. People dream of this moment plan it a life time just to be able to tick it off their respective bucket lists. But this high point does not belittle the rest of the ride or any of the world known attractions on the way; The Perito Moreno glacier is certainly up there, as well as the Torres del Paine national park one of the best in the world, just to name a few. The TAMARBIKES team strives to give the most rich, enjoyable and safe way possible while employing professionals using welcoming and warm accommodations handing you a pleasant surprise day after day.
As usual we promise each ride of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego will be “A ride of a Life”.
For more about this tour and our next departure go to our Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Adventure tour page .