52 Days, 8,000 Miles, Eight Fascinating Countries
South America’s reputation as a motorcycle touring paradise is legendary. This single continent encompasses all the ingredients of the motorcycle journey of a lifetime. And we’re not just talking about the roads themselves, as intoxicatingly thrilling and enchanting as they are.
What makes a long-distance journey through this continent of extremes a truly unforgettable experience is every part of the adventure combined. In a few days riding, you’ll discover an incredible richness and diversity of cultures, a friendly and welcoming local people, and landscapes that are both instantly dramatic and thrillingly changeable from day to day – from the world’s longest mountain range to dry desert canyons, wind-swept coastline and lush rainforests, teeming with wildlife
Introducing MotoDreamer’s Trans Amazonian Challenge
Once every few years, around the beginning of summer, an intrepid crew of riders take part in MotoDreamer’s Trans Amazonian Challenge. This expertly guided and fully supported tour takes in eight countries in 52 Days, from the coffee-covered hills of Colombia’s evergreen Andean lowlands to the towering snow peaks of Peru and Ecuador to the mysterious ‘Three Guianas’ on the northern Atlantic Coast to the pink dolphin-inhabited Amazonian waterways of Brazil and the towering tropical falls of Venezuela.
Forty-two of these days will involve riding, almost entirely on some of the most epic motorcycling roads on the planet.
We understand that for most people, a ride like this is a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
We know what you’re thinking. If you’re undertaking a 12,875km (8,000 mile) journey from the northern Andean mountains of Colombia to the Amazon Basin and beyond, you had damn well better be having the time of your life!
It’s not all that often that you get 52 days in a single year to just go out and ride into the wilderness, so we’ve planned a route that packs more diverse and spectacular scenery into 52 days than seems geographically possible.
No two days are ever the same, and we can almost guarantee that every day be full of sights, scenes and moments where one can scarcely believe their own eyes.
Who is MotoDreamer’s Trans Amazonian Challenge For?
First and foremost, we schemed up the Trans Amazonian Challenge with the serious adventure motorcycle rider in mind.
Because this tour is about showing you the absolute very best of the enormously diverse northern region of South America, we regularly leave the comfort of the tarmac and venture on to remote backroads and rarely used mountain trails. As any off-road rider knows, take that turn off and you never know what sort of conditions lie ahead until their staring you in the face.
You’ll reach altitudes of over 5,000m climbing (with two wheels and an engine thankfully!) the freezing cold Andean passes.
When we hit the rainforest (although it is technically the dry season) – it’s a safe bet you’re gonna get rain – so expect all kinds of mud-related mayhem, with high humidity and sweltering summer temperatures thrown into the mix.
If all this sounds like great fun, the Trans Amazonian might just be for you. In order to join this tour, it’s s essential that you are a highly skilled, continuously practiced long-distance rider. Some days can get extremely physical, so it’s important that you’re fit, healthy condition, with plenty of off-road experience under your belt.
This type of ride requires both individual stamina and social and teamwork qualities conducive to teamwork. Only with each other’s support can we make sure any obstacles are navigated around safely and each individual rider is given the help they need.
Do I Need My Own Bike?
Because of the duration of this expedition and the at times highly demanding terrain, many riders prefer to bring their own bikes, either shipping them out to Colombia or riding them from elsewhere in the Americas.
If you wish to bring your own bike, we welcome you as well, as taking on this type of tour with a machine you’re comfortable and familiar with will help you get set up and acclimated to the conditions and riding styles far more easily.
Of course, not everyone can bring their own motorcycle halfway across the road with relative ease, so a variety of late-model hire bikes, fresh out of the MotoDreamer garage are available to rent.
Can Non-Riders Still Come Along for the Journey?
Pillions: Riders, you can take a pillion, provided they’ll put up with nearly two months of some seriously bone-rattling off-road riding, and a considerable amount of dust, mud and general filth.
As a self-proclaimed “professional pillion rider”, my advice to anyone thinking of accompanying their soul mate or best motorcycle-riding buddy on this trip is to make sure you’re super comfortable first with long days of riding pillion on rough and often extremely windy roads. And be prepared to give massages to aching necks, backs and arms at the end of the day.
4X4 Passengers: On this tour, our motorcycle convoy will be escorted from the rear by a 4×4 support vehicle. Pillion riders can join our expert driver over the same roads and trails our riders will be using if they need a rest from the bike.
What Should I Most Look Forward To?
The reason we’ve chosen this part of South America for our 52-day circuit (starting and ending in our homebase of Cali, Colombia) is because it has absolutely everything.
If you want a run-down of the famous attractions, World Heritage archaeological sites, colourful cities and stunning natural landmarks you’ll witness on this expedition, head to our Trans Amazonian Challenge tour page. for a reasonably comprehensive list of “goalposts”.
Remember, this is an anything-can-happen, remote area expedition, and routes and destinations can change on the fly, should weather or road conditions decide to throw a spanner in the works.
Yes, we’ll be visiting the Nazca Lines, Machu Picchu, the Amazon River Basin and Angel Falls and every one of them will absolutely blow your mind.
But you’ll be equally moved by the warmth and friendliness of the South American people, from the villagers allowing a glimpse into their age-old traditions to guests who visit few and far between, to the exhilarating pace and permanently festive atmosphere of the metropolises.
While lots of guests begin their journey most keen on getting to the “bucket list” sites, they end up taking away is much more than a checklist of destinations.
What makes the Trans Amazonian Challenge not just a tour, but a genuine adventure is that this is a rite of passage of sorts. A secret journey shared by a tight-knit band of like-minded travellers, venturing into lands few outsiders have ever looked upon.
It’s the riding itself, the unpredictability the teamwork and the camaraderie that develops over a 52-day journey that’s tough, exciting and full of moments of overwhelming beauty and intensity. It’s sense of both individual accomplishment and shared experiences, that make the Trans Amazonian Challenge what it is.
And what it is, is not just one of the coolest two-wheeled expeditions in all of South America, but the journey of an absolute lifetime.
Other Things to Know
For more practical info – prices, inclusions, accommodation, optional activities, and the start dates , you’ll find most of what you need over at the Trans Amazonian Challenge tour page.
Written by: Fiona Davies (extreme pillion rider and adventure travel writer)