The Patagonia region of South America is one of the most beautiful and if you really want to make the most of your time there then you should choose to spend some time exploring by mountain bike. The good news is that there are plenty of trails that you can follow throughout the region and there is something to suit no matter what your level of cycling experience. A cycling holiday in the area is the perfect solution for a break with a relaxed pace. You can stop wherever you want and simply make up the itinerary as you go.
Cycling in Patagonia
A large part of the southern tip of Argentina is classed as Patagonia and this area is a favourite with experienced cyclists who are looking for a challenge. You have the chance to cross the Andes on mountain bike and visit cities such as Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia. Those who prefer not to organise their own trip and schedule can opt for one of the many tour companies that are operating in the region. Some visitors staying at one of the resorts can hire equipment through their accommodation to take a bike tour, too. Some hotels offer regular cycling excursions in the region.
Those who chose the area around Puerto Madryn for their cycling holiday can spend some time enjoying the Chubut landscape. This is a coastal area and there are plenty of winding trails on offer, although some are a little challenging. There are trails which vary in length from 6 to 25 miles, so you are sure to find something to suit you.
Alternatively you could head for the cordillera located around Bariloche in the northern part of the region. This also has the advantage of having trails suitable for every skill level. Why not try the Old Road which heads to Colonia Suiza or the San Pedro Peninsula? The area also boasts the Challhuaco Valley and the Quetrihue Peninsula. The San Pedro Peninsula is particularly popular thanks to the beautiful beaches which make great resting points along the way. Others choose to visit areas such as the Tierra del Fuego, the Los Glaciers National Park and El Calafate as well as the Lake District which divides Chile from Argentina.
Organised Cycling Tours
Organised road cycling tours are becoming very popular in the region. One of the current favourites is the North Patagonia Road Cycling Tour which takes 13 days to complete. The tour begins on the island of Chiloe which is a must for anyone who is interested in the culture of the region. It is filled with pretty towns and beautiful countryside.
Also included on this tour is the Chilean side of the Lake District where you can take in such unique sights as the German towns, the Puyehue Thermal Baths and the Volcanoes. The tour will cross the Andes at the Cardenal Samore Pass which is a fairly challenging ride although worth it for the great scenery and the sight of the Valdivian Rainforest.
One of the most famous roads on the trip is that of the Seven Lakes Route which will take you through not one but two national parks and up to the town of San Martin which is becoming something of an exclusive destination, popular with the well-heeled. From here you go on to Confluencia, experiencing a variety of different terrains including the Patagonian Steppe and the Patagonian desert. You also get to leave the cycling behind for a while for a trip on a catamaran around the Arrayanes Peninsula and on the Nahuel Huapi Lake.
The route takes in the road between Bariloche and El Bolson, a town popular with those who like a more bohemian way of life. The town of Esquel is also included and marks the end of this particular tour although those who are so inclined can move on to other parts of the region such as Trevelin, a town with a Welsh history or Los Alerces National Park.
To undertake a tour such as this you need to be fairly fit as parts of the route can be quite demanding. You can opt to hire equipment or bring your own if this is only going to be a small part of your cycling holiday. Ensure that you have all the relevant safety equipment in place before you leave such as a cycling helmet and make sure that you allow plenty of time to take in all the beautiful views – a camera is an absolute must!