Bicycle Touring Experiences from Chile

Chile

On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who travel to Chile (you can share your experiences here).



Chile

I spent 6 weeks in Chile 18 months ago. I arrived at the airport, grabbed my baggage and boxed bike, put the bike together and attached the luggage (panniers etc.) and rode away. Near the airport is a 4 lane highway with not too heavy traffic and much of it with 8 foot paved shoulders on both sides of both pairs of lanes. When I arrived there in December, there was a holiday and there were hundreds of cyclists riding these same roads. My conclusion, access was easy and safe.

If you have further questions, please email me.

John Yendt, June 03, 2015

Tours in France, Norway, Italy, Austria, Spain, Chile, and the Easter Islands.

Hi,

My name is Dainius Lukosevicius, I am the managing director at Brindisi Biking and Hiking. We provide guided biking and hiking tours in France, Norway and will add Italy (Tuscany in 2003), Austria, Spain, Chile, and the Easter Islands.

You may call me toll free in North America. 1 888 849 9474, 1 514 849 1187 You may view our site at http://www.brindisi.ca

Regards....Dainius

Dainius Lukosevicius, August 19, 2002

Delta + Lan Chile to Uruguay

Took my Bike from US to Montevideo(Uruguay) in a Serfas Bike Armor. Delta said we do not charge you, but Lan Chile charges $ 130 for the oversize box, so I paid that amount and 4 airports later the bikes got home ok.

Botija, February 22, 2002

LANChile, Buenos Aires,Santiago,Easter Island,Tahiti

LANChile. I made 5 flights with LANChile: Buenos Aires-Santiago-Easter Island-Tahiti and return trip Punta Arenas-Mount Pleasant (Falklands) (1997/98). No special preps apart from BsAs-Santiago where they insisted on a plastic bag. They accepted bike + 15kg without argument on all these sectors. Santiago airport is about 22km from city centre. Riding most of it on very busy roads is unavoidable. Once you have gone a short distance south on the ring road, you have a choice of Calle San Pablo and the main dual carriageway. Having tried both, I recommend the latter as it has a hard shoulder much of the way and doesn't have traffic lights and bus stops on every block.
Ivan Viehoff, August 01, 2000

KLM, Birmingham, Guatemala City, Chile, Santiago, Buenos Aires

KLM(1). I flew Gatwick-Buenos Aires via Amsterdam (1997). They told me I would have to box it and a box could be purchased at Gatwick. However at the airport they accepted the bike in a plastic bag. The airline informed me in writing I would be surcharged £33/kg if I exceeded 20kg. So with 10kg excess I tried the Excess Baggage Company (see next entry). Buenos Aires Internatioal Airport (known as Ezeiza but officially called Ministro Pistarini) is about 35km from town centre. If you are changing to a domestic flight, you have to go to the Aeroparque (officially called Jorge Newbery airport) which is in the town centre. You cannot ride on the motorway (prohibido a poder de sangre - blood-power prohibited - it poetically says), which goes all but the last few km to the airport. There are other ways, but they are indirect, not signposted and go through some very dodgy suburbs (BsAs cycling club carries a gun on training rides). You can negotiate something with a taxi or minibus service, though these things are not cheap in BsAs.


Excess Baggage Company (London Gatwick). My experience of sending my excess from Gatwick to Santiago with the Excess Baggage Company was not happy (1997). The basic charge per kg sounds cheap, but they have a minimum charge based on 25kg. Then there are the extras. The company quoted 6-10 days, but the first opportunity to retrieve my package was actually day 13. They assured me they would give me the telephone number of the local agent in Santiago who would handle the paperwork, but actually gave me (without explanation) a phone number in the USA. It took several costly international calls (a) to work out what this telephone number meant (b) to get the actual local number. Handling the paperwork comprised no more than receiving it and handing it to me, for which they charged an extortionate amount. I then had to go to the airport freight terminal to negotiate everything and pay a freight handling fee and a custom clearance fee - it added up to about £40 in extras plus the phone calls and bus trips. It would have been cheaper and much quicker to send it door to door with DHL. And even cheaper to post it to Poste Restante in Santiago - though that is not a something to try in every country.


KLM(2). I flew return trip Birmingham-Guatemala City via Amsterdam (2000) with two friends. This time KLM volunteered that we could check in the bikes uncovered if we signed a release form. On return, Guatemala City Airport was not used to checking in bikes. First they tried to prevent us entering the terminal with the bikes, because there was A Rule - we had to explain that they were baggage. Then they insisted on plastic bags, but did not have any bags of suitable size available. So it was scissors and tape job. Good thing we arrived very early. Guatemala City airport is only 6km from downtown, though you should not go into Zones 1 or 4 on a bike or on foot after dark - book some accom near the airport.

Ivan Viehoff, August 01, 2000

Bike Transport in Latin America

Notes: I've biked in Costa Rica, Chile, and Argentina. I flew to Costa Rica & Chile on United. United had boxes available in both San Jose & Santiago for my return flights for $10. Bikes flew free, and without mishap. However, when I flew home from Santiago, Chile, I ran into problems at the airport.

My tourist card had been stamped "Ingresa con Bicicleta" when I biked back into Chile from Argentina (it wasn't similarly stamped when I arrived by air to Chile). I checked my bike with United, but when I attempted to go through Chilean customs to board my plane, the customs official wanted to know where my bike was. I explained that United had it, because passengers aren't allowed to bring bikes as carry-on luggage. A huge brouhaha ensued, during which, an official kept possession of both my passport & boarding pass. It took half an hour, but eventually they were assured by the United employee who checked me in that I had, in fact, checked a bike on my flight.

I flew on 3 domestic Chilean flights on Ladeco. They were very nice to deal with, the bike flew free unboxed, but on one of the flights they managed to put a fairly large dent into my steel frame's downtube. Fortunately, it doesn't affect the riding ability of the bike.

I put my bike on Chilean buses at least half a dozen times. Each bus company has its own rules, but most seem to accept bicycles for free, without any hassles. The buses are all modern with large baggage compartments. I took my bike to and from Santiago airport on a bus. It wasn't as easy as the inter-city bus companies, and I had to pay extra for the bike, but it was still cheap. It would not be a pleasant bike ride to and from the airport.

In Costa Rica, I put my bike on several buses which went to or from San Jose. They were modern buses with large baggage compartments. On bus routes to remote areas, however, the buses are typically old North American school buses ("Bluebirds") which have no place for baggage. It was not possible to put my bike on those buses.

I was only in Argentina for 3 days. The only public transport I used were two boats in the Bariloche area. Both boats took my bike without any hassles.

Neal Teplitz, May 24, 1999

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