ANDES CROSS MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR
Cross the Andes from Argentina to Chile through the land of volcanoes
This journey takes you through the fascinating contrast between the magical Patagonian Steppe in Argentina, the mountains and lakes of the Andean Forests, to the volcanoes and rainforests beyond the Andes Range in Chile. We have chosen the most spectacular backroads and trails for cross-country mountain biking, always looking for little-known routes, far from the traditional tourist trail, with great variety in landscapes and terrains.
You will cross the Andes Range on your bike, as we ride over a backroad deep within the Lanin Volcano National Park, over the shores of the impressive Lake Lacar. The crossing includes an enchanting boat ride over the remote and isolated Pirihueico Lake in Chile – its turquoise and emerald waters deep inside magical forests will create lasting memories!
We will also experience the best of the Chilean volcanoes, including an adrenaline-packed descent from the Villarica Volcano, as well as a trip to the glaciers under the Quetrupillan Volcano, crossing native forests of monkey-puzzle tree and southern beech.
We have thought through every detail, and designed a tour that will let you deeply experience our amazing region, becoming not only a great vacation, but maybe the journey of a lifetime.
The Highlights (why choose this tour):
- Let the incredible landscapes of the Patagonian Steppe amaze you, riding over the beautiful Limay River on your mountain bike, until reaching the magical Enchanted Valley, and crossing over the Cordoba Pass, in the transition zone between the Patagonian desert and the Andean forests. There is no better way to experience the remote Patagonia.
- Feel the experience of crossing the Andes Mountains: the Hua-Hum Pass, leaving from San Martin, offers the ideal setting for mountain biking, through beautiful landscapes. The day’s journey ends with a boat ride over the spectacular Pirihueico Lake, in the heart of the Chilean Andes.
- Relax at the Coñaripe Thermal Baths – set deep in the Chilean Valdivian Rainforest, Coñaripe is famous for the properties of its waters, as well as its cozy baths and spa.
- Cross the Transvolcanic Trail. Going up above the pass between the Villarica and Quetrupillan volcanoes, we´ll actually get to touch a glacier under the cone of the Villarica, where few tourists go. Fabulous views and an unforgettable descent, in the heart of the Andes volcano chain.
- From the famous city of Pucon, adventure capital of Southern Chile, you will conquer Villarica Volcano, with an awesome descent over beds of lava and thick forests; and have loads of fun while river rafting or trekking, with the awesome Villarica in the background.
8 days, 7 nights
to be announced
Trip begins in: Bariloche, Argentina
Trip ends in: Pucon, Chile
Flight-in city: Bariloche, Argentina
Flight-out city: Temuco, Chile*
*airfare is not included in trip cost
Please ask us about prices for private groups.
Spaces are reserved in order of arrival. To reserve your place, please complete the contact form; if you'd like to speak with us, please send the contact form, and we will gladly telephone you.
DAY TO DAY ITINERARY
This afternoon we will receive the group with a welcome cocktail, followed by a detailed presentation of the trip, as well as a mini-clinic on mountain biking. We will fit bikes and have a brief test ride, making sure everything is in perfect order. In the evening, we will host a traditional Argentine dinner at the famous Parrilla de Alberto – an authentic asado (grilled steak) accompanied by great Argentine wine. You´ll rest tonight at the Hosteria Santa Rita – set on the shores of the Lake Nahuel Huapi, the views from every room are fantastic. A small, family-run inn, the Santa Rita offers a comfortable, homely feel. And the location is perfect, set just outside central Bariloche, below the foothills of Mount Otto.
Hosteria Santa Rita
Great location, just outside central Bariloche on the shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi, every room with incredible lakeside views, and great nearby dining options.
Today’s activity (optional)
Short ride around town with our guides.
The magical Patagonian Steppe
This first day is the perfect Patagonian introduction. Our journey begins with a short shuttle out of Bariloche, to the mouth of the Limay River. Fed by the snow melt waters of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, the river is a beauty – its turquoise waters wind their way under eroded rocks and jagged peaks, poplar and other native trees hugging its banks throughout. We begin pedaling here, over a dirt road leading us through local farms and ranches – there will be plenty of opportunities for seeing and meeting local farmers. The dirt road becomes an off-road trail at times, taking us to amazing views of the distant Andes range. With a little luck, we might see impressive local fauna, such as the mythical Andean condor, soaring in the skies; the guanaco, a cousin of the llama, its elegant silhouette off in the distance; or even the wild rhea, or choique, as it is called locally.
Upon arrival at Villa Llanquin, a small ranching town over the river’s edge, we will enjoy an outdoors picnic, on the shore of the Limay. For those wanting more biking, the Limay trail continues further. We can also remain at our picnic spot, relaxing while taking in the light sounds of the river, as well as the incredible colors surrounding us here. Our day’s journey continues in our van, en route to the unique Valle Encantado (Enchanted Valley). Its name comes from the countless volcanic rock formations and hills eroded by thousands of years of Patagonian wind and rain. This afternoon, you can view the sunset over this magnificent setting from the terrace of our hosteria; or take a walk down over the Traful River nearby. We will have a group dinner at the hosteria tonight.
Hostería Gruta de las Vírgenes
Set in a magical location, in the heart of the Enchanted Valley, the views from the Hosteria are superb, inviting you to relax near its cozy chimney, while watching the sun set behind the nearby mountains.
26 km (16 miles) of cycling over dirt and gravel backroads, with some steep hills., but mostly rolling hills or flat. Some sectors are of medium technical difficulty (they can be skipped by walking).
Approx. 20 km (12 miles) over the Limay River path, with some steep hills.
The Cordoba Pass and the heart of the Seven Lakes Route
Today we will take on another great cross-country journey, going into the Lanin Volcano National Park, through truly marvelous landscapes. The challenge begins from the heights of the Cordoba Pass (Paso del Córdoba), which we will comfortably reach in our van. The descent is incredible, snaking over magical vistas towards the Andes, crossing the transition zone between Patagonian Steppe and the Andean forests, very similar to the Far West landscapes of the USA. After having a picnic lunch on the Meliquina River, in a pretty little corner of the forest, we’ll have the option of continuing in the vehicle or on bike. The arrival into San Martin de los Andes couldn’t be better – 10 km of descent over a paved road, with incredible views over Lake Lacar.
San Martin is an enchanting and very exclusive mountain town, and it is the port of entry to the Lakes Region. We recommend getting to know the town, strolling its pretty streets and exquisite shops, and of course visiting one of its many renowned restaurants or cafés.
Hostería La Raclette
Great location, at the feet of the Chapelco Mountain, on a quiet street just blocks from Lake Lacar and the main boulevard. Ample rooms, a homely fireplace lounge, swimming pool, and a pretty garden area, this inn provides a great base for our night here.
36 km (21 miles) over dirt roads, from atop the Cordoba Pass to Meliquina.
We´ll ride on the van from Confluencia (740 ms / 2427 ft) to the top of the Pass (1300 ms / 4264 ft). San Martin lies at 680 ms (2230 ft).
Pedal 40 km (24 miles) from Meliquina to San Martin, with one long uphil, followed by almost 20 km of downhill over pavement.
The Crossing of the Andes over the Hua-Hum Pass
The day you have been waiting for! Crossing the Andes is an experience of a lifetime, and an unparalleled sensation will abound you. We have chosen this mountain pass not only as a great mountain biking backroad, but also for its beautiful natural setting. We begin pedaling at our hotel in San Martin de los Andes, quickly entering the dirt road to Chile, where we will take on a very tough, but short, climb. The view from above towards San Martin is superb. Here we begin a journey through magical forests, under countless mountains, deep within the Lanin Volcano National Park. Soon after entering Chile, we are awaited by a special excursion – we will get on a ship that crosses Lake Pirihueico, a remote and lovely lake, set deep within green towering mountains in the Chilean Andes. In the afternoon, we will arrive in Port Fuy, a small town over the Lake’s shore, and continue our journey in our van, getting deeper into the lush rainforests of this region of Chile. We will explore the Huilo-Huilo Reserve, and hike to the impressive Huilo-Huilo Falls, under the shadows of the Choshuenco Volcano. We will arrive early at Conaripe Thermal Baths and Hotel, where we are awaited by its pools fed by natural hot springs – the ideal place to relax and recuperate energies. Tonight we will have a group dinner.
Hotel Termas de Coñaripe
You will live an unforgettable night at the Conaripe Thermal Baths and hotel, enjoying its comfortable and ample rooms, the thermal waters, covered and open swimming pools, massages and spa, as well as the delicious food at the restaurant.
58 kms (36 miles), over dirt and gravel trails, with a steep but short ascent at the beginning, low technical difficulty.
We´ll begin at 680 ms (2230 ft) at San Martin. The Hua-Hum Pass lies at 659 ms (2161 ft).
Conaripe Thermal Baths, rafting and rest in Pucon
This morning, you can wake up early for another soak in the thermal baths. Or, why not sleep in a bit? After an abundant breakfast, we’ll leave Conaripe in our vehicle, crossing thick green forests, eventually coming under the shadow of the Villarica Volcano. After time for free lunch in Pucon, you can choose from various activities for you rest day: the famous Trancura River rafting – plenty of adrenaline and incredible views of the Villarica; a canopy tour in nearby forests; or even a tour of the exclusive thermal baths surrounding Pucon. In the afternoon, you will want to get to know the lively town of Pucon. On the edge of Lake Villarica, this small city has become the adventure capital of the Chilean Lakes Region. Pucon is a great base for our last days of adventure together. Dinner is on your own tonight – you will have three nights in Pucon to try the great regional cuisine, including the famous Chilean salmon.
Hotel (3 nights)
A family-run inn, we’ll feel plenty of the famous Chilean hospitality here. Very homely and cozy, ample rooms, and a great location in central Pucon, always under the shadow of the great Villarica Volcano.
The Transvolcanic Trail
Today´s ride takes us to a sector of the Villarica National Park that few tourists venture into. In our vehicle, we will take a dirt road up to the pass between the Villarica and Quetrupillan Volcanoes, approaching the edge of the park. Here, we’ll begin pedaling uphill, over a dirt road that eventually becomes an off-road track. Once over 1000 ms (3300 ft), we enter an incredible forest of monkey-puzzle trees and southern beech. We will leave our bikes for a while, commencing a hike to the Pichillancahue Glacier. The path eventually takes us over the tree line, crossing high-mountain prairies, ravines and beds of volcanic rock, with incredible views of the volcanoes and the Andes Range all around us. The descent on our mountain bikes seems to go on forever! Dinner is on your own in Pucon tonight.
7 kms (8 miles) of steep ascent over dirt and gravel road and trail, and a 25 km (15 miles) descent of medium technical difficulty. The hike is approx. 3 hrs long.
Elevation: We’ll begin cycling at 860 ms (2820 ft), reaching 1280 ms (4198 ft) at the top of the pass. The hike takes us to 1800 ms (5900 ft).
Villarica Volcano descent
Undoubtedly, today’s program is the best way to close the trip! Our van will take us to the Volcano’s ski base, right under the cone of the Villarica, with majestic views of the region. Our local mountain bike guides, very experienced downhill riders, will give us a detailed talk on descent technique. From here, we will take little-used singletrack trails. The ride is one of a kind, with some technical stretches that can be walked. There are plenty of long, windy stretches, crossing over amazing lava beds and through thick forests. Each one is free to ride down at their own pace, with the support from our guides, who will always be nearby. After a ride down a dirt backroad, we’ll reach Lake Villarica where we’ll have a picnic lunch together. Another day that you will surely remember for years to come!
Tonight we will have a farewell group dinner in Pucon, celebrating this fantastic journey together.
16 km (10 miles) of descent over trails and singletrack, of medium to very high technical difficulty (which can be skipped by walking with the bike at the side).
Elevation: we’ll drive to 1150 ms (3772 ft), riding down to 250 ms (820 ft) at the Lake.
End of journey and adiós in Pucon
After breakfast at the Hostal, we will shuttle you to the airport at Temuco (approx. 2 hours over paved highway). If you prefer to stay in Chile longer, or return to Argentina, we will gladly help you with your travel plans.
approx 168 km (100 miles) of cycling, with options for an additional 60 km
We begin at 800 m (2640 ft), in Bariloche, reaching a maximum altitude of 1800 m (5900 ft), and minimum of 200 mts (660 ft). On the day of the Transvolcanic Route, we’ll experience an altitude change of over 800 m (2640 ft) – this altitude difference rarely presents problems with our guests.
Difficulty level of activities
This tour is designed for all levels of experience. The cycling is entirely over trails and dirt or gravel roads – without significant technical difficulty. The support of our vehicle, and the possibility of traveling at your own pace, make this trip accessible to riders with little mountain bike experience – you can skip the stretches that do not interest you. Our guides will also offer additional cycling options, everyday, for those that are interested, as well as some optional hikes. You can also opt for more challenging technical stretches on some days.
This tour can be both easygoing and challenging – you decide how you want to approach it.
If you want to travel through these same destinations, but with singletrack and trail riding, ask us about our North Patagonia Singletrack Tour. If you like mountain biking, but are looking for a shorter vacation, ask us about our Bariloche Mountain Bike – a special week of mtb in our spectacular city and its surroundings.
We were treated with perfect professionalism, everything was delivered exactly as promised.
“What an incredible itinerary, one day better than the next, beautiful places and delicious food. Congratulations on the organization and logistics to the entire Dirty Bikes team. Best of all was the privilege of meeting Silvina and Pablo, our Tour Leaders – they were both sensational, always attentive, and very patient in teaching us how to ride our mountain bikes. They were sensible to our personal needs and did everything possible to make each one of us happy. All of this with constant merry, energy, humor and warmness. More than customers, we feel like we´ve become great friends, and words cannot express our gratitude”
Many thanks to Javier and Pablo, our excellent tour leader and ride guide.
“Our ride through such beautiful forests and lakes was enhanced with our guides’ friendly, polite and relaxed manner. All accommodations were first class and the camp at Lake Falkner provided a personal and memorable barbecue in a quiet location. All lunches were gourmet affairs. Javier provided intelligent, fair and detailed knowledge of the surrounding nature, environment and the people of Argentina. Very enjoyable and memorable for me. Thanks to all at Dirty Bikes.”
Damiano (Tour Leader) was wonderful!
“The biking was great and it was superb to have the van support as our children learned to mountain bike. Damiano was spectacular with the children, they were very comfortable with him. The trip was well organized and supplied. The kayaking was lovely. All around, a great 3 days in Patagonia. Thank you so much”
I loved the trails and circuits
“And especially the last 3.5 km uphill, excellent! And everything else was brilliant! Pepe was great, as was Nicholas the chef. Kisses!”
I want to congratulate Anibal and his team for the excellent organization of our adventure
“The human touch and magnificent disposition in everything, and in every moment”
Thank you for the great bike trip.
“Although I found it quite difficult at times and found it a challenge , I absolutely loved it! Thanks so much for helping me to overcome my fear of biking downhill!!
The scenery was amazing and it was so good to see it all in the open air and not by car or bus! A great trip, well worth it”
Michelle Wallace (England)