As motorcyclists, we yearn for that extra bit of excitement, to go just a bit faster, to corner just a bit better, to wheelie just a little farther…and to facilitate these activities, we seek out environments that are favorable to achieving these goals.
And some, well some are just better than others.
We talked with our fellow two-wheeled travelers and tour companies to come up with just a few of the places you should ride before you die and we’ve presented them here.
This certainly isn’t the definitive list of “best places” and this list only represents a bit of Central and South America, so stay tuned for many more installments in this series - but these are a damn good start if you crave a lot more seat time than just a casual afternoon ride.
Costa Rica is a small Central American country located full of incredible scenery and natural terrain such as volcanoes, jungles and beaches…and unlike in the USA and EU - most of it can be explored on two wheels.
The country features awesome single track everywhere, miles of wide open sand across the incredible beaches...you can spend years in Costa Rica and never hit the same trails twice.
Ride from sea level to 10,000 feet, stare at mountains begging to be climbed, cross rivers, hold it wide open down a stretch of coastline, and experience first-gear single track through the tropical rain forests. If you like wildlife, you’ll be amazed by the monkeys, birds and crocodiles sunning near the riverbeds…
Want to climb a volcano, do a loooooong wheelie down a beachfront and master some high altitude single track all in the same day? Then Costa Rica is for you.
One of the bigger players in the Costa Rica off-road tour scene is Costa Rica Unlimited and they offer quite an enticing array of tours. They offer bikes ranging from 2015 Yamaha WR250/450F to 2015 KTM250/450XC-F’s. Riders can use the CRU private MX tracks and stable of 2012 YZ250Fs before riding back to the race shop (outdoor showers, open air lockers, gear cleaning service) and resting up with a cold beer overlooking the ocean in luxurious accommodations.
Choose from unlimited non-moto adventure options when not in the saddle, including zip-lining, river rafting, and surfing the local breaks and much more. Located in the hills of the surfing community Playa Hermosa, you’ll be a short 10 minute ride from Jaco, the main tourist town known for its active nightlife, casinos, restaurants and bars.
CRU representatives say: “Tours range from $2,100-$2,500 and include bikes, accommodations, fuel and guides…just bring your gear, a couple of T-shirts and shorts, and we’ll have you taken care of for the week. Make your next adventure your best adventure; we hope to see you with Costa Rica Unlimited soon!”
Patagonia is the country that occupies the southernmost tip of South America and it is amazing in its depth, beauty and natural terrain. Bordered by two oceans and graced by the Andes, Patagonia is a “go-to” country for enthusiasts of many adventure disciplines, not just off road riders.
We spoke to Eric at RIDE Adventures, the folks that have been doing some of the most exciting Patagonia and Peru/Bolivia motorcycle tours we’ve encountered.
Riders can cross the Andes Mountains and Argentine border multiple times on their journey. The combination of open plains or "pampas" regions with intimate rainforest canopy is only complimented further by having such a wide range of weather conditions. Seeping into Patagonia’s endless display of bright blue lakes and rivers, year-round snow-capped mountains, awe-inspiring glaciers, and bright green rainforests, it might seem like a motorcycle rider's paradise.
Sites like Torres del Paine, The Perito Moreno Glacier, The Carretera Austral, and Mount Fitz Roy are all typically included in the routes they ride through, and if your goal is to reach Ushuaia at what is referred to as “The End of the World,” that can be the ultimate moment in your Patagonia adventure.
Eric said: "Perhaps the most fun guided group tours we've led are the ones where things don't go as smoothly as planned. There have been instances of rock slides that block off key routes we use, or unexpected rain in otherwise arid regions that can make for terrain that is a real challenge for heavy adventure bikes to be ridden through.”
Eric continued: “Whether we're guiding a private group of friends who all knew each other before the trip, or individuals from around the world who just met each other, it's so much fun to see riders overcome challenges together. Perhaps that's the charm of Patagonia: It's a seemingly endless collection of incredible scenery, full of topographical changes, varied terrain, micro climates, and therefore inevitable challenges. Riders need an adventurous spirit to ride in Patagonia."
RIDE Adventures tours typically run $400-$800 per day depending on motorcycle used, tour type, level of accommodations, etc. Typically included are the motorcycle of your choice (Kawasaki KLR 650, BMW G650GS, F650GS, F800GS, R1200GS, or R1200GS Adventure), bi-lingual tour guide if guided tour chosen, 3 to 5 star hotels, cabins, and ranch accommodations and meals (including traditional barbeque).
Also typically included are a support vehicle, satellite phone service for emergencies, 3rd party motorcycle insurance, paperwork and insurance for crossing international borders and some tours will include special “side” tours like flights, boat tours, etc.
RIDE Adventures has one of the most informative websites we’ve seen in this market – it’s certainly worth a visit so take a minute and check it out.
SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: MOTOMISSION PERU
ThumperTalk member and contributor Scott Englund runs MotoMission in Peru, which is a socially conscious motorcycle adventure tour business that donates its profits to help build a facility for The Altivas Canas Children’s Project.
Scott has 20 years of riding experience which includes a 6th place finish in the 2007 Baja 1000! (Open Pro Class 22). Scott enjoys pushing other riders to improve and stretch their comfort zones a bit. Scott can take you and/or your private group to the limit by way of tight trails, ridges, hill climbs, and any other terrain that is available.
MotoMission has partnered with Quintina and the Altivas Canas Children’s Project to positively impact the lives of these amazing children. The mission is currently reaching 25-30 kids daily in the afternoon program and another 10 younger kids during a morning program. At the end of the day, the kids have their homework done, have been fed a nutritious meal, and have had some social interaction and physical activity. They return home each evening where they can spend quality time with their mothers who have been working hard all day.
A typical MotoMission Base tour is all inclusive at $350-$500 per day and airport/hotel pickup, food/drinks, hotel, fuel, bike rental of a Honda CRF450X, riding gear, guide, helmet cameras, and a fully equipped support vehicle(depending on the route) and the options are limitless with MotoMission’s custom/private tours.
In conclusion, if your riding lifestyle is looking to add an experience that's completely different then what you've been doing, this may be your ticket to two-wheeled freedom and adventure.
Been to a bucketlist location? Tell us about it in the comments section below. We'd love to hear about your experience!
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