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Ultimate Adventure Bolivia Motorcycle Tour

The Amazonia+ tour takes you from the breathtaking highlands into the steaming Amazon basin and to the Jesuit Missions (UNESCO World Heritage site) of the Chiquitania region. This is the combination of an Amazonia with a "The Mission" tour. Photographers get prepared for an unforgettable two-day trip to Amazonia. From a safe longboat or on a hike, you can observe capybaras (species of water pig), thousands of birds, Sweetwater dolphins, anacondas, 3.5-meter-long crocodiles, turtles, and curious groups of monkeys.

Key information

  • Terrain: 30% off-road
  • Bike: rental bike (Kawasaki KLR 650/685, Honda XR 650 R, Honda XR 650 L, or Suzuki DR 650 SE)
  • Mileage: 3,310 kilometers / 2,057 miles
  • Daily rides: 80 - 415 kilometers / 50 - 258 miles
  • Riding gear: not included: helmet, boots, pants, jacket, and gloves
  • Meals: all meals

Meet the instructors

Roland
Read more

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Samaipata
  • Follow the scenic and yet challenging curves of the Rio Mizque valley
  • Ride the typical longboats in the Amazon area and view various wildlife
  • Traverse the famous “Death Road”, once deadly but now with magnificent views
  • Visit San José de Chiquitos, a Chiquitos' Jesuit mission and a World Heritage Site
  • Airport transfers and a support vehicle with spare parts and mechanics provided
  • Swim together with the amazing pink, Sweetwater dolphins
  • 20 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

17 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: French, German
Airport transfer included: Viru Viru International Airport
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Accommodation

During this tour, you will stay in various hotels along the route. Most will be nice and comfortable, some will be less nice. Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures always tries to maintain a standard of clean rooms with private bathrooms that have hot showers, but please understand that this is Bolivia and sometimes there just is no good option.

Program

Be prepared for mud, sand, dust, and lots of river crossings. Many “asphalt” roads consist of stringing together potholes. To avoid them, precise, tiring slalom driving becomes a real challenge. The highest riding peak will be at 4,650 meters.

Daily itinerary

Day 1: Airport pickup at Viru-Viru, Santa Cruz

  • Altitude: 400 meters

You will be picked up at the airport of Santa Cruz, Bolivia from where you will drive to the small town of Samaipata (120 kilometers, three hours). There, you will check into a comfortable hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing and discovering. If your flight arrives late, you need to spend the night in Santa Cruz. In that case, the following day is considered day one.

Day 2: Samaipata

  • Altitude: 1,650 meters

You will with the briefing where you learn more about safe riding, the route, the local traffic rules, and about each other. To get used to your bike, you will go for a ride to the archeological site of “El Fuerte”. Classified World Heritage by UNESCO, it is an old Inca town built around the, much older, largest stone sculpture in the Americas. For some people, it is an ancient Alien landing field!

Day 3: Samaipata - Totora (265 kilometers / 165 miles)

  • Altitude: 2,800 meters
  • Terrain: 40% off-road

You will start easy on decent, but sometimes missing asphalt, trailing scenic mountain road. After a simple lunch, you follow the curves of the Rio Mizque valley. The scenery becomes one of the rough and colorful mountains and the road becomes challenging. Suddenly it changes for an 80 kilometers (roman!) stone road that will let you feel like Ben Hur.

At the end of the afternoon, you will enter Totora, a small colonial village, laid out as a labyrinth of alleyways and bridges, where time stands still for 100 years. A paradise for photographers.

Day 4: Totora - Cochabamba (145 kilometers / 91 miles)

  • Altitude: 2,500 meters
  • Terrain: 0% off-road

The road to Cochabamba is all high-quality asphalt that curves through picturesque valleys filled with farms and fields. You will have lunch on the shores of a large lake where the menu is fresh fish or fresh fish, you choose. The ride into Cochabamba is chaotic, a good practice for the traffic horrors of El Alto tomorrow.

Your hotel is close to the main plaza, where you can have the best known “café cortado." For dinner, you will enjoy the best-known “Pique Macho”, a traditional dish.

Day 5: Cochabamba - La Paz (375 kilometers / 234 miles)

  • Altitude: 3,700 meters
  • Terrain: 5% off-road

Leaving the valley of Cochabamba, you will quickly start to climb to 4,400 meters. Through desolate, but beautiful, mountain scenery, you will reach the altiplano (high planes). By the new build motorway, you will cross the altiplano desert and quickly reach La Paz, the de-facto capital of Bolivia.

If all goes according to plan, you will stop at the La Paz viewpoint and be on time to witness the changing of the guards at the presidential palace. If possible, you will visit the witch's market where you could buy anything ranging from magic potions and amulets to mummified llama embryos.

Day 6: La Paz - Death Road - Caranavi (165 kilometers / 103 miles)

  • Altitude: Caranavi (980 meters); Death Road (4,650 to 1,750 meters)
  • Terrain: 40% off-road

Leaving the crowded streets of La Paz behind you, you climb the “cumbre de Coroico” to a 4,650-meter altitude. Today, you will have to traverse the famous “Death Road”, which was once officially the most dangerous road in the world. Plummeting down into the tropical Yungas region, the views are magnificent and if you keep your speed down, you have a very good chance to arrive safely in Coroico. If you survive this, you get a chance to prove your bravery on a 500-meter zip line, maybe in spider position!

After all this, you get to ride a real death road as it continues from Coroico to Caranavi. This time, there are no tourists on mountain bikes. Instead, it is filled with cars, trucks, and buses that are all in a deadly hurry.

Day 7: Caranavi - Rurrenabaque (250 kilometers / 156 miles)

  • Altitude: 200 meters
  • Terrain: 40% off-road

The narrow mountain road slowly levels out as you reach the edge of the Amazon basin. You continue to your destination, Rurrenabaque the jungle/pampa trekking capital of Bolivia on the shore of Rio Beni. Although it is a native Amazonian town, there seem to be more gringos tourists than Indians on its dusty streets.

Day 8: Rurrenabaque - Amazonia (by a local tour operator) via Santa Rosa de Yucuma (105 kilometers / 66 miles by bus and boat)

  • Altitude: 170 meters

The road to Santa Rosa is rough, dusty, and hot, but just before it all becomes too much, you will have a relaxing touristic lunch. In the afternoon, you will change to the typical longboats to reach your pampa lodge on the shores of the Yacumo river.

Once installed, you will start exploring this amazing natural hub, filled to the brim with wild animals such as crocodiles, capybaras, Sweetwater dolphins, turtles, various sorts of monkeys, and literally thousands of birds.

Day 9: Amazonia (by a local tour operator) - Rurrenabaque

In the morning, go on a sunrise walk to view one of the (in)famous 12-meter killer Anacondas. This will be followed by many people, and the highlight - swimming together with the amazing pink, Sweetwater dolphins.

After lunch, you will leave this little paradise, returning via the same way to Rurrenabaque.

Day 10: Rurrenabaque - San Borja (95 kilometers / 59 miles)

  • Altitude: 200 meters
  • Terrain: 30% off-road

The first part of the road is known, with no problems. The second road part goes 100% straight and gives you a “pure introduction” to what you will have to expect tomorrow: potholes.

Day 11: San Borja - San Ignacio de Moxos (140 kilometers / 87 miles)

  • Altitude: 140 meters
  • Terrain: 50% off-road

Road will be 100% straight and consist of a lot of potholes, and the day will be very hot, nothing more to say! You will be plenty busy avoiding potholes the whole day and quite exhausted when arriving in the sleepy indigenous town of San Ignacio de Moxos, which only offers basic comfort.

Day 12: San Ignacio de Moxos - Trinidad (95 kilometers / 59 miles)

  • Altitude: 130 meters
  • Terrain: 40% off-road

The day starts with breakfast at the local market and continues with… guess?… potholes…

Just before reaching Trinidad, you will pass Rio Mamoré by a small pontoon. Trinidad, the capital of the department Beni, is a large Amazonian town where people ride in the evening with small motorbikes around the main plaza while conversing and having different kinds of milkshakes. No, not a joke!

Special attraction is a Boeing 727, which crashed in the jungle close to town.

Day 13: Trinidad - San Javier (415 kilometers / 258 miles)

  • Altitude: 540 meters
  • Terrain: 0% off-road

Today, you will enjoy asphalt again and… fewer potholes…

At the end of this rather long day, you will reach San Javier, the first of the Jesuit Missions towns of the Chiquitania region. After dinner, you will walk for a photo shoot around the humongous wooden cathedral from the year 1752.

Day 14: San Javier - San Ignacio de Velasco (230 kilometers / 143 miles)

  • Altitude: 410 meters
  • Terrain: 10% off-road

Via Conception, the capital of the missions, where you will visit the cathedral, you ride to San Ignacio de Velasco. There, you will be able to enjoy the swimming pool of your mini resort hotel or a walk to the huge artificial lake to watch the fishermen at work.

Day 15: San Ignacio de Velasco - Santiago de Chiquitos (360 kilometers / 224 miles)

  • Altitude: 620 meters
  • Terrain: 50% off-road

In the morning, you will leave San Ignacio on great motorcycle roads. After lunch at a Mennonite hangout and a short visit to the following Jesuit Mission churches, you arrive on the “Brazilian” highway. On this smooth asphalt, you continue to Roboré, where you turn off to your destination: Santiago de Chiquitos. It will be pleasant to feel the temperature difference at a 620-meter altitude.

Day 16: Day trip to Aguas Calientes and rock formation (80 kilometers / 50 miles)

  • Terrain: 0% off-road

Aguas Calientes is a lake filled with hot springs, so the water is around 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. You spend the morning hanging around, and in, the water, which is supposed to have healing powers, so your “saddle sore” should be completely gone at the end of the morning. In the afternoon, you will climb a mountain with an amazing view and phallus-like, mysterious rock formations.

Day 17: Santiago de Chiquitos - San José de Chiquitos (160 kilometers / 100 miles)

  • Altitude: 300 meters
  • Terrain: 0% off-road

Leaving Santiago de Chiquitos in the morning, you arrive in San José de Chiquitos, the last of the Jesuit Missions towns you will visit, well before noon. Hanging around the plaza and visiting the cathedral with the museum is a must-do.

Day 18: San José de Chiquitos - Buena Vista (385 kilometers / 240 miles)

  • Altitude: 400 meters
  • Terrain: 10% off-road

Mostly on busy asphalt, crossing the Rio Grande by a newly built bridge, you ride to the almost hidden center of Buena Vista, a small oasis in the busy Santa Cruz trade center of Bolivia. Your hotel, of course with a pool, is on the plaza where you can sit on the terrace, sipping a cappuccino frio, watching the hustle and bustle of daily town life.

Day 19: Buena Vista - Samaipata (185 kilometers / 115 miles)

  • Terrain: 40% off-road

Today, you will cross the Amboro National Park on narrow roads and curvy trails. Half a dozen river crossings make this a very exciting morning.

After lunch in El Torno, you will enjoy majestic views on a crumbling asphalt road that curves up into the foothills of the Andes towards your final destination, Samaipata. You will leave your bikes behind and hurry to jump into the hotel's pool.

Day 20: To Santa Cruz

Late in the morning, you will set off for Santa Cruz where you can relax, hang around the plaza, and do some souvenir shopping. In the evening, you will have a farewell dinner.

Day 21: Departure

Always a sad moment when one says goodbye. But who knows? You would not be the first to come back for more.

Bikes

Adventure bikes with high HP performance do not bring any advantages in Bolivia and can only be used on good asphalt roads. Instead, lightweight single-cylinder bikes make it easier to ride on bad roads and on dirt-road tracks. In order to ride at high altitudes, however, quite a bit of cubic capacity is needed. 650cc dual sport bikes, in some countries also called trail bikes, are the ideal choice. They have renewed their entire motorcycle fleet to the Suzuki DR650SE. Model 2018/2019/2021.

The bikes are specially prepared for long-distance tours and come with a 20-liter fuel tank, a rear rack, an elevated handlebar, handlebar protectors, and a USB or micro USB plug.

  • Suzuki DR 650 SE

The Suzuki DR650SE is reliable, easy to handle, simple in design, lightweight in its class, not heavily dependent on electronic systems/sensors, has an electric starter and some bikes in our fleet are specially modified for small, tall, or overweight riders. They are very proud of their well-equipped workshop and professionally maintained bikes. They also offer their workshop to world motorbike travelers to repair and maintain their bikes.

Riders are participants that ride a Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures motorcycle (the standard). Passengers are participants that accompany the riders, either as a pillion, in the support vehicle, or with their own bike. Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures will try to give you the bike you like, but if everybody chooses the same bike, they will have to decide who gets which bike. For this, they need to know your gender, experience with motorcycling, height, weight, and age.

Riding gear

Note that you will only be provided with a motorcycle. You need to bring your own bike gear. A helmet is of course obligated, boots, pants, a jacket, and gloves are requisite as well as a daypack for your daily needs.

4x4 assistance vehicle

Each tour is accompanied by a 4x4 assistance vehicle with a motorcycle trailer and for some tours also with a spare bike: luggage, medical material, and technical assistance but also offers riders the opportunity to rest during the tour. Riders drive only with a small daypack, containing a camera, bike gear, snacks, drinks, personal belongings, etc.

Skill level(s) required for this tour: intermediate

Intermediate:

  • can ride for 3-4 hours
  • average riding experience
  • little assistance required
  • comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • steep ascents and descents

Instructors

Roland

Location

This tour will take you to explore exciting destination highlights of Bolivia and more excitingly, the Amazon rainforest or Amazonia.

Food

During this tour, you will be served daily meals according to the itinerary. All meals are included, and generally, it will be nice and tasty, but again, this is Bolivia and sometimes there just is no good restaurant in the area.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 20 nights accommodation
  • 3 daily meals
  • Motorcycle rental
  • Fuel
  • Museum and other entrance and tour fees
  • Road taxes and tolls
  • Ferries
  • Multilingual guide on motorcycle
  • Transfers from and to the airport
  • Support vehicle with spare parts and mechanic

What's not included

  • International flight
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Personal items
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Bike gear

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Viru Viru International Airport (VVI). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures will pick you up from the airport.

After you have a confirmation from Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures that you are in fact booked on the tour, book a flight to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Your arrival date should be the same as the tour start date, not later than 6 p.m. If this is not possible, you should arrive a day earlier.

There are four direct flights to Viru Viru International Airport (VVI), Santa Cruz/ Bolivia, and all offer Piece Concept with 2 x 23kg luggage:

  • From Miami with BOA (Bolivia de Aviación) and American Airlines
  • From Madrid with BOA and Air Europa

When you arrive, you will be picked up from the airport by someone who has a big sign with a logo that says: “Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures”.

Depending on the arrival time, you go directly to your base in Samaipata or spend one night in Santa Cruz. If you spend the night in Santa Cruz the following day will be day one. If you arrive earlier, Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures can make arrangements for you to be picked up or you can simply appear at the arranged hotel. Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures will let you know well in advance.

Airport: Viru Viru International Airport Airport transfer included: Viru Viru International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 10% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

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