The Motorcycle Diaries: motorbiking tips from a revolutionary

In my last post I talked about the joy and wonder of taking a motorbike tour through Cuba. With its tropical climate, classic bikes, amazing music and delicious food, who wouldn’t enjoy it? It’s certainly not the only country in Latin America worth exploring by motorbike and it has a special and direct connection with probably the most famous person to every travel through South America on a motorcycle: Che Guevara.

Before Che Guevara became a revolutionary along with Fidel Castro he was an asthmatic, medical student from Rosaria, Argentina. With only one semester left before he would be allowed to take his examines and qualify as a doctor, the young Che took what nowadays we’d probably call a gap year, to explore South America with his friend on motorcycle.

According to him, motorcycling in Argentina is one of the best ways to get to know the country. Considering how diverse the landscape is, I would have to agree. Argentina has everything from tropical rainforests in the north to glaciers and ice fields in the south and—forgive the cliché—everything in between. In Patagonia one finds the Pampas, a massive steppe terrain, and there are dry deserts in the north and the Andes in the west of the country. It really has some of the most impressive landscapes that one could every wish to see from the back of a motorcycle.

If you’re planning on going, it’s important that you admit to yourself that you’re not going to see it all. Argentina is one of that largest countries on the planet and if you really want to experience it you’re going to need more time than your job will allow you to take off—if you’ll allow me to make that assumption. Remember that when Che travelled round, although he saw most of the country, his trip also took the better part of a year.

Regardless of where in Argentina you go and how long your journey is, you will not be disappointed. It’s truly one of the most interesting countries to visit and if you want a little bit of recommended reading, then there’s only one book that could one go take with one for a motorcycle journey through Argentina. But beware you may try to start a communist revolution after reading!