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low altitude routes in south america?

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low altitude routes in south america?

We are a couple and tour by tandem. My husband's cardiologist says he should not exert himself at high altitudes. Does anyone know of good route thru Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uraguay that avoids the Andes? Thanks.

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Hi there, reading your

Hi there,

reading your message on the forum puts a few wrinkles on my forehead. The local name for the countries you are naming is 'los paises andinos', or 'the andean countries'. The Andes is their backbone and part of their essence.
Then instantly I realise I'm being a nay sayer, 'one of those' I got so frustrated with during our trip.
I guess that doesn't help you, and you want to find out how you can cross them without getting up to higher ground.
Could you give some more information about what you actually want to do? As in, do you want to make a continuous crossing, north to south and west to east or is it ok to do bits with public transport? From where to where exactly do you want to ride?
For example, both Ecuador and Peru have coastal roads. We know of a few people that have ridden the Peruvian coast. That's a long stretch of desert, most cyclists found it a hard route for its heat and monotony/desert, but some are positive. That coastal route continues into Chile.
I think Ecuador has a possible route on the eastern side of the andes. You need to be there right time of year because it will be muddy in wet season.

There is a relatively low cross over point to the east of the Andes in Northern Peru, to Tarapoto. I don't think there are any crossings below 3000 meters anywhere else in Ecuador, Bolivia or Peru. Much further south in Chile there are, in the Lakes district and further south.
Realise that if you are on lower grounds in northern south america that you are in the tropics, which makes for hard riding incl lots of sweating/ fluidloss, and lots of short steep climbs, often on unpaved roads, which might also be pretty hard on the heart.
Sometimes the high routes, even though the oxygen levels are lower, are much easier than the low routes. You would really have to see this per section.
Once you are in Argentina on the eastern side of the Andes you can negotiate your route without doing high passes.
I'd be happy to give more specific info about smaller sections, or respond to questions, just email awittert@gmail.com
There are a few cyclists/ websites I could get you in touch with, but maybe it's better if you'd email me on my own mail for that
Good luck, enjoy the planning!
cheers
anna
www.thefuegoproject.com

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Anna has loads and loads of

Anna has loads and loads of information, so I'll just give my perspective.

Nancy and I did a lot of high stuff in Peru, and it was some of the very best of our trip... and it also exhausted us. Nancy felt affected by the altitude; probably we should have taken the coastal route in Peru. However, we have such great memories.

You will probably have to figure out how high is too high. We didn't think much about the altitude until Peru and Bolivia.

We do know lots of people who came down the coastal route in Peru, and I think that's a clear option for you. And I think you could do the desert route in Chile. But neither of those are what you really want to do in South America.

I think you should really consider another location for your big trip if health circumstances force you to take the least interesting route. There's a *lot* of South America or other places in the world you can do without the challenge of altitude. A huge ride in Brazil? Seeing everything there is to see in Argentina?

Nancy and I are happy to help with your planning as well. You can get us through the hobobiker website or randyAndNancy@hobobiker.com. But we took the high road, and will treasure it forever. And probably wouldn't do that elevation again :-)

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hi there!

I recommend you this site:
http://www.ensemble-en-selle.laeti-et-seb.fr/

Leticia & Sebastian still in route, and they started from Lima in past August.

Sincerely,

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when and how long

hello
in south america, the weather is very rude, so the weather would tell you where one can go. the weather is more a problem that altitude, actually. that minds by the dates of your travel you would to choose a destination, a road.
then the distances are very large, so you have to determine how long you would travel, and if you think to make some parts by bus or plane.
and also comes the problem of the language, in brazil people would only speak portugues, eventualy japones, but no english. in other countries, you would have to speak spanish, as only a few speak other languages. remember they mostly didnt have the opportunity to go to college either.

in south america, there are a lot of nice tours to do in the low parts. and i did rather a lot. argentine lakes, carretera austral till ushuaia, chilean coast, uruguay coast, brazil paraguay argentine jesuit missions, bolivian east jesuit missions and pantanal, south brazil, estrada real in brazil, ecuador coast.

i wont recommand the panamerican road, nowhere, dangerous and boring.

well waiting for more datas about your journey, you can have a glance at the jeff kruys site in english, and mine in spanish and portugues.

regards pierre

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more on our trip plans

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. What a great thing to get the benefit of all this experience. We've got 3-4 months starting in December. I'm a high school drop out myself, and though I did get to university later, my geography is very poor so I am having some trouble figuring out how to string these route suggestions together. I speak Spanish so at least we can always ask for directions. Mostly I just need to keep us from high altitude and very steep climbs since my husband is down to half the heart function of a regular person. His cardiologist says we can go but I need to be very careful about the elevation issue. Also we want to have fun and are not really into the grim struggle kind of cycling. Every day can't be a happy day on an extended trip but I'd like it if most of them were, since this could be our last trip. We don't have any problem walking the bike for short steep sections or taking a bus to avoid a climb, bad weather, or a long boring section, but we have a tandem and that could be an issue. it sounds like we'd have to box it up to go on buses in chile and argentina. If anyone has experience taking the bus with a tandem, links to gps routes or even a googlemap with some of these routes on it, that would be of great help. Bless you all for your generosity and don't forget to stop at our house if you are ever in northern California.

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one map

hi!
you can check Matt website also: www.aflyonmybackpack.com
He was also in Lima around last August. Nice friend.
There's a map of this route (google map) also.
Still on the way.

Y que disfruten el viaje!!..

Christian

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another one

And how could I forget my "colocho" folk?!!... Fernando!
He's a website also (in spanish, para que vayas practicando :P )
http://viajandoenbici.webs.com/

There's a map of his route also.

have a nice trip!.. & don't hesitate to visit me in Lima!

WS Member WS Member's picture
no high mountains

hello
well i propose you 2 travels.
or you go north, starting in Buenos aires, then Uruguay coast and then south brazil, finishing in iguazu. then you can take a bus to see the jesuit missions in argentina, not far,and then for example conbtinue in argentina in cordoba mountains.

http://mandolpierre.multiply.com/journal/item/140/URUGUAY_LA_COSTA_Y_EL_NOR-ESTE
http://mandolpierre.multiply.com/journal/item/126/ARGENTINA_SIERRA_DE_CORDOBA_900_KM
http://mandolpierre.multiply.com/journal/item/120/NA_BICI_PELO_SUL_DO_BRASIL_3500_KM

other trip would be in the south. starting in san martin de los andes, argentina lakes, then crossing to chile when you have enough, chilean coast way north, and in santiago take a plane to montevideo uruguay.

http://mandolpierre.multiply.com/journal/item/142/ARGENTINA_LOS_LAGOS_DEL_SUR
http://mandolpierre.multiply.com/journal/item/138/CHILE_LA_COSTA_DESDE_CONSTITUCION_HASTA_LA_SERENA...
http://mandolpierre.multiply.com/journal/item/141/CHILE_LA_COSTA_DESDE_FUTALEFU_HASTA_CONSTITUCION

in argentina you can sleep in backpakers or camping or little hotels. in uruguay and brazil go to little hotels. in chile ask in the street or shops the family who make pension,and take a room with half pension, it is nicer than an hotel, camping are very expensive.

for the tandem,it is up to the bus driver for short distances. for long distances, you would have to put of the wheels and pak it in a plastic and pay an extra, about 10$. you may have to send it by encomiendas, that means it wont go in your bus, but by truck, so perhaps it would have a short delay and a bit more expensive.

enjoy pierre