Category Archives: Argentina

23-01-2013 Puerto Madryn

Planning to be on the road in time, is an every day resolution; today however, I managed to be on my way by 08:15. All ready to do the 600 km to the Atlantic coast, I fired up the XTZ and rode out of town. It was a lot colder than I anticipated and the strong winds were back, but I was too stubborn to stop and put the lining in my jacket. By 10:30 I stopped for the first time to fill up on fuel. Leaving the fuel station, I noticed some blue in the sky and less than half an hour later the sun was out and it was nice.

Also, the landscape changed from no more than scrubbery and rock to green trees, winding streams and impressive rock formations with the signs of ages. It had some resemblance with Grand Canyon in the U.S.  It looked quite amazing!!  I just had to stop to take a few pictures.


What I did not realise, was that there are emu’s in Argentina. Along the side of the road, I must have spotted ay least half a dozen.
The road from Esquel in the mountains to Rawson at the Atlantic coast is named RN25, where RN stands for Route Nacional. You’d expect a highway with a name like that, however it’s a 2 lane road which is at times rather narrow and of poor quality. Intentions to improve seem well on their way however. At 3 quarters of the route eastwards, they re-surfaced the road with smooth asphalt and made it wider. It was a real joy riding on what felt as smooth as a billiard table…….. (I imagine; I’ve never ridden on a billiard table) 😉

Puerto Madryn is a coastal town, not very impressive at first and I wondered why there are plenty of hostels. As it seems, whale watching and diving is a major attraction here.
The first hostel I tried, offered me a room for ARS 400, which comes down to € 60 !!!! Not a hotel but a hoStel !!  The next one I tried wasn’t cheap either, but I talked them down to ARS 200. At least a bed, a private bathroom, WiFi and breakfast the next day will be greatly appreciated. 3 Days behind on mail may not seem like a big deal and normally it isn’t, but I’m still negotiating the return shipping of the motorbike, so it is handy to stay in touch with the shipping co.

Destination for tomorrow is Rio Colorado.

22-01-2013 Esquel

My alarm went off at the usual time and I got up at 06:30.
By 08:30 I was completely packed and ready to go while the amigo’s were still sound asleep.
Carefully I woke them up and explained that I did want to reach Esquel today and really wanted to get going. We said our goodbyes and I thanked them for everything.


I continued the journey further along the lakes and enjoyed the views more than a little  😉




After a while I noticed something weird when leaning in to bends…. my suspicion was that one of the tyres was running out of air… just when I was halfway between towns. Slowly I rode on and when I finally reached Bolsón, I decided to choose a fuel station with a tyre service.

A strange thing I noticed: Every fuels station since I got into Argentina, has long lines of people waiting to be served. Almost all of them have at least 2 pumps out of service.

While riding the bike in the sun, there’s usually enough wind to keep reasonably cool. It’s the waiting for fuel stations that really make you sweat  😦

The tyre service guy at the fuel station checked my tyres and the rear tyre was obviously low in air. He filled it up and I was confident again to keep going at normal speed.

About Bolsón, I have to say that it really is a nice place with an ambiance of hippy, surf and alternative lifestyle. It looked very relaxed. I had some lunch and left for the last stretch to Esquel.

When cruising to the edge of town, I saw the 3rd SuperTeneré like mine since I started this journey in South America. 🙂
At around 16:30 I reached Esquel and found a camping. I put up my tent and then went for the national park. Supposedly they have the tallest pine trees of the country.

The road to the Park was a joy by itself with a few awesome lookouts. Arriving at the entrance of the national park, I inquired after the trees, and they informed me that they were another 35 km further in to the park on 30 km gravel roads. By then it was 19:15, so I decided to turn back and do some groceries.


Tomorrow will be a full riding day eastwards to the Atlantic coast.

21-01-2013 7 Lake District, Villa La Angostura

At around 09:30 I left together with Daniello, Camila and ‘Ale’ (Alejandro) to find the route along the 7 lakes of this area. It was again beautiful weather and the scenery was great.


After the first lake the road went in to the forrest and then turned into gravel for the next 30 km or so.
‘Eat my dust’ was very appropriate this time 😉

I felt more at ease this time and realised that the faster you go the easier it gets. You feel less of the bumps and the holes if you go faster. The only thing I did not master well enough, was rounding corners and bends in the road while keeping the speed……. Need to work on that 😉


Finally the road turned normal again and we passed one lake after the other. At 16:00 we decided to find a camping and the Garmin quickly found one at one of the lakes: Villa La Angostura. We had a late lunch, set up camp and went for a swim later in the evening when most of the day-folk had gone.


The camp site was very dusty (like the gravel road) and Daniello explained that this was all vulcano  ash that had covered the whole area about a year ago after an eruption of a Chilean volcano close to the border. What I had thought to be snow topped mountain tops were actually ash topped pikes.


I realised that we had only done approximately 170 km that day because of the gravel road and the frequently stopping for photos.

This was 1 day extra than I foresaw in my planning, but it was a great day in good company.
Tomorrow the amigo’s head for Bolsón while I plan to travel another 160 km further to Esquel

20-01-2013 Junin de los Andes

After having had breakfast in Zapala, I put myself to work. Using Garmin Basecamp, I planned the routes that would take me to Buenos Aires and still see a little of Argentina with a few days margin.

The itinerary would take me a little further south still along the 7 Lake district to Esquel, from where I plan to head east to the Atlantic coast. From there I will head north and then inland again towards Cordoba then back to the coast, approaching Buenos Aires from the East.

It was almost noon when I left Zapala with still cool and cloudy weather. Not long after however it cleared up and I enjoyed a sunny rest of the day.
There was again very very strong winds riding over the highlands, but the scenery was beautiful, if not breathtaking at times.


A few hours later I reached my destination for the day: Junin de los Andes, a nice quiet town along a beautiful river. Coming up to the camping I had found in the Lonely Planet guide, the owner informed me that the bathrooms were stuffed and not expected to be fixed that day. Across the street was another camping that would serve just as well, though not so full of character. Just when I was heading there, 2 other motorbikes with 3 Argentineans arrived and they got the same story. With the 4 of us we made camp on the other side. Although only the girl spoke a little English, we seemed to have fun and my efforts to speak Spanish were greatly appreciated.


We went fishing in the unbelievably clear water of the river that ran along side the campgrounds and later on cooked quite a bit of lamb and beef on a BBQ fire.

And drank plenty of Matte (herbal tea).


19-01-2013 In to Argentina

It was still cloudy and quite cool when I left Concepción this morning. That did not last very long. After approximately 45 minutes, the sky turned blue and the sun was warm.
For an hour or so it was highway and toll roads, then the route went east. The 2 lane road was still fine quality and slowly rose in to the mountains. The landscape gradually changed to Alpine like with lush green meadows and trees and the occasional snow top in the background. What a scenery !!!! I loved it. Many campings were advertised along the roads; almost all with pool 🙂
The houses were a mixture of classic farmhouse (hacienda) style and more contemporary straightforward style. Slightly winding roads make this also a favourite motorcycle area. Some campings offered a lot of outdoors activity, like abseiling, rock climbing and cycling. In winter this must be a popular ski heaven too.


When I reached the border just before the pass Paso Pino Hachado, the custom formalities at the Chilean side needed to be dealt with. That didn’t take long: in less than 30 minutes I was on my way across the pass to Argentina, 22 km further up the road.


The border line between Chile and Argentina was instantly noticeable: the markings disappeared, the road deteriorated and there was even a part gravel road. On top of that, dark clouds were gathering above me but it was still dry when I reached the Argentinean border control. It took slightly longer but here too, I was done within the hour although the customs officer found it a little complicated to deal with a foreign motorcycle and the appropriate form. Nonetheless, there was no checking of luggage or anything; just the passport control and the temporary vehicle import: that was all. Yeah !!

When I left customs, the rain started. Fortunately it didn’t last, but the wind and the dark clouds did.


Two more gravel bits, without warning, almost took me by surprise, but I slowed down in time. 112 km later I arrived in a town called Zapala. Looking for a fuel station I noticed long cues for both the fuel stations I found within the first kilometer …..
Would there be a shortage of fuel? Decent as I am, I waited my turn but there was no maximum quantity or anything, so I just filled up.
Next on the list, was finding accommodation. I asked around a few times, then decided to look in my Garmin. There it was: Points Of Interest -> Accommodation. A list of hotels hostals and campings. The hostal I chose was affordable, had WiFi and had parking space in a closed lot. The Lonely Planet will be my guide to decide where to go tomorrow.