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Chile Summit to Shore MTB - Coquimbo

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Wanderland Expeditionary Learning - Cycling in the Coquimbo Region of Chile

Custom Dates:    April and October; Custom Dates for Small Private Groups

Duration:    8  days, 8 nights

Location:    Coquimbo Region (IV), Chile

Difficulty:  Strenuous; 25 - 60 miles daily; significant climbing on some days.  (Sag wagon option always available!)

Road Conditions:  Hard Packed Dirt Roads and Pavement.  Tertiary Roads when possible -- to avoid traffic..

Price starting at:    $3,175 – Includes all local transportation, guiding, lodging and meals.

Program Type:     Mountain Biking, Experiential, Small Group.

Meals:    Included.


Summit to Shore in the Coquimbo Region

    -- Rolling Chile From the Andes to the Coast

Chile’s Elqui and Limarí Valleys - Peoples, Geography and Agricultural Traditions



Ride from Chile's heights to the surfline, all along 30 Degrees south latitude.  The cross section of Chile we will be studying takes in a Summit to Shore profile from High Andes to Sea Level.

Fertile valleys and ancient lifeways await us as we ride from near the 11,000 foot Agua Negra Pass (as close as conditions allow) to the Pacific Ocean. We will be traveling on excellent mountain and country roads; dirt and paved roads, some traffic.

The 30th Parallel South finds the Coquimbo Region of Chile.  We will be able to examine up close the  Norte Chico Deserts, the matorrales, the secano costero community, grasslands, and farmlands.  The region also contains some of Chile's most well protected archaeological treasures -- important Molle and Incan milestones along the Qapaq Ñan.

The 30th takes you through deep interior valleys transformed by agriculture into oases and into the coastal  barrancas where a rich colonial history is quite intact.  The route delivers you to the unique coastal culture of the region, where posh resorts and fishing caletas admire one another across the broad Tongoy Bay.

Geological, botanical, architectural, historic, archaeological, and agricultural wonders grace the entire route.  The Elqui and Limarí Valleys are famed for their viticulture and some of Chiles most important vintages come from this area of the country, and Pisco!   Bike and Vine.


Edventure Itinerary – Summit to Shore

Features:  This trip will present some of Chile's famed landscapes. Traversing the barren and colorful volcanics of the high Andean Cordillera, the rich and productive agricultural lands of the valley bottoms, and the excellent beaches and shoreline habitats of the region you will experience all of the region's eco zones.

We will get to visit historic sites, national parks, the homes of literary figures like Gabriella Mistral, and resort areas where the desert's warmth meets the sea.  Our route traverses the new Chilean Trail (El Sendero de Chile) and the Ruta Antakari for many kilometers.

To start we draw back the rubber band, depositing you and your crew as close as the season allows to a 16,000 + foot pass at the border of Argentina with Chile. This spectacular pass, Agua Negra,  and the Andean terrain of the Coquimbo region usher you into a delicious slice of Chile from the Summit of the Andes to the Shoreline of the Pacific Ocean far below.

Gravity does some of the work,  for sure, but the challenging terrain and the climbs to interesting sites and new valleys will certainly have your heart pumping and your cycling needs satisfied.

This trip is fully supported so that as your energy flags, the chase vehicle will be there with food, water, and even a lift to the next hilltop!


Typical Day-By-Day, actual itinerary may vary slightly.

Day 1: - PM La Serena Meet and Greet; Transfer to Vicuña, Orientation

Day 2:  - Agua Negra - Pisco Elqui

Day 3:  - Climbing the Alcohuáz and Cochiguáz Valleys

Day 4:  - Pisco Elqui to Rio Hurtado - The Grind.

Day 5:  -  Rolling Ruta Antakari, Rio Hurtado, Limarí River, Ovalle.

Day 6:  -   Ovalle to Limarí

Day 7:  -   Limarí to Tongoy  and the Coast!  Quebradas and Haciendas.  Evening Speaker.

Day 8:  -  Local Mountain Biking and/or Departure.


Activities Featured:  In this itinerary: Mountain biking, hiking, beachwalking, dancing.


Difficulty:  Strenuous --  This route is frequently challenging both in the demands of the riding and in the potential climatic conditions we might face.  Expect to have 5 to 7 hours of activity each day.  This is a trip for experienced riders, and possibly fit advanced beginners.


Cycling:  We will travel a combination of smooth dirt roads, paved backroads, and gentle two-track. You are welcome to bring your own mountain or hybrid bike.  We have rental mountain bikes available with the appropriate tread for on and off-road riding.(See our Equipment Page)


Elevation gain and loss on this trip follows a profile where 5% - 15% downgrades for many miles are interrupted by terrific little climbs at 7% - 12% gradients.  The roads are not heavily traveled and we plan to be at certain locations at certain days of the week to avoid vehicles and crowds, for the most part.  We always provide you with 'rolling-enclosure' so that we have a vanguard vehicle and a rearguard vehicle notifying oncoming traffic of the cyclists.


Maintenance:  We have a mechanic along on all of our trips and our guides are also well-versed in bike repair,  but we also encourage you to learn how do basic adjustments and repairs on you bicycle.


Bringing Your Bike:  Many riders prefer having their own wheels -- and we can assist where necessary in facilitating your bike's safe arrival.  If you bring a bike, the most mechanically simple bike is the best.  What kind of bike is best?  A geared bike.  A front shock is absolutely necessary;  full suspension bikes are excellent, but only if you have lockouts shocks.    A seatpost rack is great to have for your daily gear.


Rental Bikes:  Good quality front and full suspension bikes are available for pre-arranged rental for $30 to $60 per day.  Groups can pre-arrange and include rental cost in their packet value.


Lodging:  We travel from point to point on the bikes on this trip with our luggage following in the support craft.  This is a lodge-based trip.  Each night we will be sharing comfortable multi-room cabins or cool little hotels.  All of the accommodations are at least three star, and some nights four star.


Meals:  All meals are included in the price of the trip.  We have arrangements with fine restaurants along the route to provide us with great dinners.

We recognize the need for cyclists to have plenty of calories stored up before the day's ride so look forward to complete meals all day every day.  Chile abounds in excellent little eateries wherever you might wander.  We know you will like the many varieties of empanadas and other local provender.

Chile is a breadbasket and there are many delicious and unusual fruits and vegetables to sample.  Snacks and plenty of electrolytes and water will available every day.  The typical foods of this region are quite familiar to you, chicken, beef, goat, eggs, beans and grains provide the proteins.  All your familiar garden vegetables and fruits are grown locally in the rich soils of the river valleys.  The Pacific provides a wealth of great fish and shellfish.  Some unexpected foods, too, might grace your menu:  rumpas luma, lucuma,  figs, fresh prickly pear, chirimoya, papaya, and cochallullo seaweed are plant foods the locals savor -- along with excellent beef, goat,  lamb, terrific cheeses, and out of this world blood sausage.  Don't knock it till you try it, with potatoes.












Available During:  March, April, September, October and November,  contact us for custom group reservations.

Small Groups:  5-10 people only


The Education

The Andes in this region show their bones.  The geology is striking and instructive.  Summit to Shore, the land will show you it's ruggedness and its bounty.  It is a scientifically relevant region for its geology, archaeology, colonial agripastoralism, modern astronomy, and intriguing extra-terrestrial influences!  In this course you will explore the production of many of the unique and delicious products of this extremely productive region of the country: fresh produce, goat cheese, a variety of native fruits, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices,wine and pisco, and, of course, seafood.  The Chilean sub-cultures of the mountains, the valleys, and the coast region  in Coquimbo are a blend of modern and ancient influences.  This is a very diverse and lovely part of Chile, and a region rife with learning potential.

CURRICULUM –  Summit to Shore in the 4th Region -- The Elqui Valley and the Limarí Valley: Premier Grape Producing and Agricultural Regions of Chile; Central Valley Geography;  Chile’s Agricultural Prowess; Irrigation Engineering past and Present;  Chilean Gastronomy; Oenology and Viticulture in Chile;  Spanish Language:  Travel Tips and Survival Skills; Coquimbo Region Toponymy; Pre-Historic Perspectives of Chile; Native Plants and Invasives; Chilean Cordilleran Pastoral Culture; La Serena, Elqui, Ovalle, Tongoy - Coquimbo Communities Past and Present;  In the Footsteps of Darwin.

We will be exploring the drainages of the Elqui and Limarí Rivers. Marvelous landscapes await: Andean volcanoes, productive papaya, avocado, and chirimoya fields, vineyards for raisins, wine, and pisco, Archaeological Sites along the Qapaq Ñan (the Inca Road), lush coastal deserts, and deep pastoral divides.  Your field course will deliver you beaming right onto the Pacific coast of Chile.  Gravity and pedal power carry you through a perfect slice along the 30th Parallel of Chile from Summit to Shore.





Professional, bi-lingual guide-educator
Lodging each night
Private transportation
4x4 support vehicle
Full board (meals designed for active itinerary)
Entrance fees (Except Chilean airport tax)
All activities in the itinerary except those noted as 'Optional Asides'

•    International and local flights
•    Bicycle repair parts (some parts available for sale)
•    Alcoholic beverages (aside from dinner wines)

•    Guide Tips
•    Bike rental (Available upon request or with custom itineraries).


Extended Itineraries:  We have excellent contacts for pre- and post- activities in Chile.  A City Tour in Santiago by cruiser bike? A round of Golf?  Santiago's best restaurants?  Let us know and we can add those to your custom itinerary or steer you to our trusted partners in edventure.  As well,  Wanderland has programs in other parts of Chile that range from three to sixteen days in length. Your Coquimbo trek can be combined with an exciting three-day to week-long add-on to another seasonally appropriate select destination in the country or the region (seasonally appropriate means good weather!).  One suggestion for this program is to combine with the Colchagua Cycling Programs for more wine country frollicking.


Copyright© All Text and Images -- Stewart W. Lasseter 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2104

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