Hosted by

Trip Summary:
Biking Latin America
February 17 - June 14, 2000

Detailed stories and reports from this trip can be found in the Stories and Reports sections.


This leg of my trip involved biking, busing, and driving myself from San Francisco, California, to Uyuni, Bolivia over the course of four months. I caught a ride with some friends to La Paz, Baja CA Mexico, and after a week of play, set out on my own. My travel style usually involved biking for a week or so, taking a few days rest, throwing my bike on a bus for an overnight trip, then repeating. Overall, I biked approximately 2300 miles, and bused substantially more. My journey took me through the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, and Bolivia. The route I took was almost entirely through the mountains, following the Sierra Madres in Mexico, the Cuchumatanes in Guatemala, and the Andes in South America.

In keeping with my desire to travel by ground, most of the trip was done on bicycle or bus. However, I did take a few flights. One was from Panama City to Cartegena, Colombia; there are no roads from Panama into Colombia. I also flew from Cartegena into Medellín, Colombia, in order to avoid "risky" bus travel through Guerrilla territory. Finally, I flew from Piura, northern Perú, to Lima, Perú, in order to save time and focus on southern Perú.

Biking Statistics:

Total miles/kilometers biked 2300/3700
Total days biking 50
Average distance per day (mi/km) 46/74
Average speed (mph/kph) 14/22
Total flats (incl. blowouts) 20
Total blowouts 15
Broken spokes 8
Times chain broke 7
Tires replaced 3
Broken shifter cables 4
Lost/broken pairs of glasses 9
Lost/broken helmets 2
Total weight of laden bike (lb/kg) 100/45

NOTE: all numbers are approximate. One of the pages I was keeping statistics on ripped out mid-trip.

Country Ratings:

Favorite countries Guatemala, Colombia, Perú
Least favorite countries Nicaragua, Panama
Best food Mexico (hon. mention: Ometepe)
Worst food Nicaragua (except Ometepe)
Nicest people Colombia (hon. mention: Perú)
Worst roads Perú (hon. mention: Guatemala)
Best roads Colombia
Hardest biking Perú
Cheapest country Ecuador
Most expensive country Costa Rica

Memorable Moments:

Best experiences:

Worst experiences:

Copyright © 2000 Peter Birch All Rights Reserved.