Bike-Dreams : The Andes Trail
The Andes Trail

Frequently Asked Questions


Who is the tour aimed at ? 
This event is aimed at individuals who want to challenge themselves, to test their abilities and endurance. But it is also for those who want to contribute and make a little difference in our world. The format thus fits both the accomplished endurance athlete and regular folks with adventurous spirit and in excellent physical condition that have the ability to persevere and who have done some long distance biking. This is not an event within a controlled environment; it is an expedition; participants will not only test their physical and mental stamina, but their ability to overcome the unexpected surprises that inevitably awaits us. The organizers have created the framework and support systems, which will sustain the race, but the ultimate responsibility for this endeavour lies with you. 
Am I capable of doing this ? 
The tough stages, the long-term stay at high altitudes and the extreme weather conditions make "The Andes Trail" to a real challenge. If you are in good health, love adventure and enjoy cycling, you are capable of completing The Andes Trail. We average 100 km per day and you can ride at your own pace. You will be served lunch at the mid-point of each day's ride, and our crew are always available to assist you if you are having difficulties of any kind. On any day when you don't feel up to biking, you can also catch a ride on one of our support vehicles. 
Take into account that only a few succeed to cycle the full distance between Quito and Ushuaia; they need a strong constitution, mental toughness and certainly no set back.

Before you start
Do I need visas ?
Participants of most western countries doesn't need a visa for "The Andes Trail". You'll find more detailed information in the Brochure.

What about insurance ?

You are responsible for obtaining health and travel insurance, including emergency rescue appropriate for South-America. Further information will be given in the Brochure. Individuals without proper insurance will not be allowed to participate. 
On the Tour
Where do cyclists stay and sleep ? 
During "The Andes Trail" the accommodation is a combination of camping and spending the nights in hotels. If available we stay at campsites that provide comforts including toilets, showers, clothes washing facilities, a bar/café/restaurant area, etc. At several of the campsites their will be opportunities to upgrade to a room, however this will be at your own expense. At stages of the tour where proper accommodation is not available the crew will look for a suitable spot to make a bush camp. In a bush camp their will be no facilities, this means no restrooms or showers. 
We stay minimal 60 nights in a hotel, ranging from basic to three stars. Those nights you will mainly find in the first half of the tour in the bigger towns of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. It is impossible to cook in the kitchen of the hotels and these kitchens are not always prepared to cook for a group of hungry cyclists. The participants are responsible to arrange their own dinner, which is normally not too difficult.
What will I eat ? 
We know how important food is on a trip like this. On biking days, our cook will prepare four meals. You will be treated to generous portions of food that will be a combination of regional recipes and meals made from local ingredients as well as some of the cook's specialties. We will also provide energy bars, clean water and an energy boosting beverage.
Everyone is of course free to explore and sample the culinary hot spots along the way. We believe eating local cuisine is part and parcel of the adventure as well as supporting the local economy.
For those with dietary restrictions and/or ferocious appetites, you need not be concerned. We take all this in consideration when preparing your meals. You may go to sleep exhausted, but never hungry.
Who will carry my equipment ?
Special equipped vehicles carry all personal items. In addition, the support vehicles will also carry such items as food, water, kitchen equipment and emergency medical items. While riding, you only have to carry some basic tools, a spare tube, water, and a snack. 

Will I be able to do some sightseeing ?
"The Andes Trail" is definitely not a tourist trip. It's a demanding bicycle expedition with a total distance of 11,000 km where scenic routes and traffic calm roads have been chosen. The rest days give you the possibility to visit interesting sites and some cycling days we finish near touristic spots".

Is it safe in South America ? 
A large majority of the people in South America are warm, welcoming and very protective of foreigners. However like everywhere else in the world, the possibility of threat exists. As in any city you simply have to apply common sense to avoid any potentially risky situations. The biggest threat to the cyclists here as everywhere else in the world - is the automobile.

What about health ? 
Undoubtedly health is a major concern on an expedition of such length. You must therefore take utmost protection to guarantee your well being throughout the race. You will need to be vaccinated against diphtheria, hepatitis A, polio, tetanus and possibly other diseases.
We will provide drinking water for your needs. It is important to note that the likelihood of you coming down with any diseases is minuscule. The most likely problems we will encounter will be sunburn and diarrhea. Additional health information will be sent in the Brochure.


What about altitude sickness ?
During "The Andes Trail" we get to deal with high altitudes. Along the track we will cross a couple of passes over 4.000 meters ( 13.200 feet ) till almost five thousand. At the Altiplano in ( mainly ) Bolivia we are constantly at a minimum altitude of 3.600 meters ( 11.880 feet ) for a period of three weeks.
Bike Dreams has taken into account the altitude carefully during the planning of the stages and the locations to sleep. You don't have to expect serious problems as you take some days to acclimatize in the start point of your journey.
Bike Dreams is recommending you very strongly to arrive in Quito at least three full days before the start of the tour. Quito itself is situated at an altitude of 2.850 meters ( 9.400 feet ), high enough to acclimatize. Make sure your start of the trip is pleasant and give your body the time to get used to the altitude. Quito and its surroundings has loads of interesting attractions which you can visit during the days you acclimatize. 
The first three nights of the Tour in Quito you stay in a hotel and are included in the package.

What kind of weather should I expect ?
In Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia we will ride during the local spring; this means hot conditions in the valleys. Higher up in the mountains, and at the Altiplano the temperatures should be perfect for cycling; but they can drop dramatically at altitudes above 4,000 meters and also during the nights you can expect some temperatures around zero degrees Celsius. 
After the downhill from the Altiplano into Argentina we will hit some temperatures far above 30 degrees Celsius. Till this stage of the trip you will be spoiled with sun (so do not forget your sunblock!) and we don't expect to much rain. However occasional heavy rain in the mountains might make the unpaved sections of the route hard to ride.
In Patagonia the conditions will be different for sure. Although it is getting summer the temperatures will be pleasant around 18 degrees. The flat and open Pampas at the east side of the Andes mountain range has only little annual rainfall but the constant Western wind will be a though factor. The few times we cross the border to the other side of the Andes in Chile the wind will be less an issue, but there we should be prepared for some rain drops. 
Finally the whether at Tierra del Fuego is even in the summer unpredictable, every day of the year snow belongs to the possibilities. But we might be lucky and hit some hot and sunny days. 
On a whole, we expect to have good weather for cycling. Not too hot, and rarely too cool or wet; and in the end it's all part of the adventure. 
Road conditions
What is the terrain like ?
The Andes Trail is all together about 11,000 kilometres covered in 107 cycling days. An average of a bit more than 100 kilometres. In Ecuador and Peru we get a mix of roads following the rivers in wide valleys and long ascents to the top of beautiful mountains and volcanoes. Of course it is tough to reach the top of passes of over 4.000 meters, but the climbs are in general not too steep and after the highest point you will appreciate the pleasant long down hill.
The three weeks from Cuzco till just before Salta we cross the Altiplano and are all the time at an altitude of at least 3.600 meters. Cycling in the flat highlands is pleasant since we only hit a limited couple of serious climbs. In northern Argentina we are almost constantly closely surrounded by snow covered high summits, fortunately the roads follow mainly the wide, wide valleys so the number of meters ascending is limited. The few times you have to climb a mountain you will be richly rewarded with stunning views over the area.
In Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego we cross the Andes mountain range a couple of times. But you will admit that it is hard to call this serious mountain roads after dealing the passes in Peru and Ecuador of over 4.000 meters. But be prepared, not the mountains but the wind will be our challenge in Patagonia; always from the west and often strong, for sure on the open and flat pampas of Argentina. Some days you will be graceful for the support from a north-western, other days a hard wind from the south-west is your enemy. The wind might even cause a delay in our schedule since also the ferries are sensitive for the storms.
The road is paved for about 70 percent. Be prepared for everything during the rest of the stretch. Some of the "ripio" roads are prepared recently with huge machines and will feel like tarmac. But on the older sections we get washboards, loose sand and rocks. And biking the Salar-de-Uyuni is a unique experience itself. The 100 km on this salt lake you can ride wherever you want and you only find some vague tracks.   
What kind of bike should I use ?
The bike is without doubt the most important part of your equipment. The route between Quito and Ushuaia is paved for about 70%. During the unpaved sections you can expect every kind of road conditions. For this reason we recommend you to bring a mountain bike or robust touring bike. A cross bike, road bike or light hybrid bike is NOT suitable for the job since it will not get you over many of the unpaved sections. So please install tyres which can deal all kind of road conditions.

I don't want to cycle, but can I still come ?
Yes, there is a limited room for number of places for people who like to join "The Andes Trail" as a non-cyclist. You can completely voluntary assist the other staff with their daily activities like setting up campsites, providing the meals, visit local markets, etcetera.
What to bring
What do I need to bring along ?
Detailed information will be sent in the brochure.