5 Top Places To Go Mountain Biking In Chile by:Josh Downing
If you are planning to visit Chile soon and want to show yourself around without much trouble, just get yourself a mountain bike and I bet you'll have a great time. If you are not very experienced though, it may be better to contact a tour operator to help you transport your gear (tents, food, liquids and others) and to provide you with lodging. In this case, you can plan both short day-trips or longer several-days journeys, with constant assistance and pretty safe circuits. If you are fit enough and know how to deal with the gear weight, repairs, difficult routes, map reading, and are good at camping, you still have the chance to go on your own. A bit more risky, but with the proper information about weather and terrain you should do pretty well.
The best places to start with are usually up north, basically because of the weather, nice and sunny all year round. But the beauty of the south makes it imperative to give it a shot in spite of the rain. Here is a list of 5 top places where to find nice and interesting routes, some challenge to your physical condition and wonderful, varied places to see and never forget.
North of Chile
-San Pedro de Atacama: Caracoles Street (centre of attractions and activities of San Pedro de Atacama). Less than 5 kilometres away from the Valley of the Moon and Valley of Death, Pucar de Quitor, the fantastic Pozo 3 (a small water oasis) and Tulor Village.
South of Chile
-Pucn: Start in La Poza, head to Playa Grande and then Ansorena Street and the monastery for a complete view of the city. On the road to the airport find your way to Lake Caburgua and then Trancura River. Another fantastic route: Start at the city center and head southeast, find Los Calabozos, Los Guindos and marvelous Salto del Claro.
-Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine: Start 30 kilometres north of Puerto Natales, Route 9, soon you'll find Mount Prat, the Tenerife Point, Mount Almirante Nieto and the impressive Torres del Paine massif. Up the hills, the Sofia Valley, the Ultima Esperanza Inlet, the Eberhard fyord and from the distance, the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers. At the bottom, the Mylodon Cave.
-Del Plomo Hot Springs: Ideal for bikes, low traffic. Cross the mountains and along El Yeso Reservoir.
-Seven Cups Radal Reserve: 100 kms away from Talca, seven waterfalls with their corresponding "cups". Trails along the forests and the possibility to see Salto de la Leona and Velo de la Novia Cascades.
Of course once in Chile you'll find many more places to see and probably you'll be willing to create your own daily routes. From the dry dessert and nitrate towns in the north to the rainy ancient forests and magnificent volcanoes in the south, this long, long country offers you a wide variety of breath-taking landscapes that will fill your spirit with a sense of freedom and energy you have never met before.
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