36 ARR RAW: Tips for Cheap Motorcycle Travel in Mexico, Central & South America

ARR RAW Round Table Discussions With Motorcycle Adventure Travellers - Featuring Grant Johnson, Brian Rix, Shirley Hardy-Rix, Sam Manicom, Graham Field and Jim Martin.

FIND OUT MORE: To find out more about the co-hosts go to the RAW CO-HOST FEATURE PAGES: Shirley Hardy-Rix & Brian Rix, Grant Johnson, Graham Field and Sam Manicom.

Listener Question: Matt Drastal

Especially in Central and South America how do you assess what cheap lodging to use when you roll into a town you have no prior information on?

To help answer that question, the RAW panel talks about traveling to Mexico, Central and South America, popular motorcycle travel destinations. A big concern for a lot of riders is cost. The panel gives advice on how and what to budget for your motorcycle adventure. They discuss fuel, meals, accommodations, activities/activities, internet/phone and hidden costs. Flight not included!

Sam has put together some excellent guidelines for finding budget accommodations in South America.

Wild Camping -  A wonderful option that is as easy to do in South America as it is in developed countries. 

·         Ask for permission to camp if you are in doubt about wild camping. It works fine. 
·         In the wilds of South America and when you are out of sight, it’s fine and free!

Tiffany Coates says – ‘A way of saving money on accommodation whilst enjoying the incredibly diverse natural surroundings in South America. Carrying a tent enables the independent traveller on two wheels to make the most of their freedom; through not being restricted to heading into town every afternoon or evening to find a place to stay. Just keep riding up in the mountains, through the forests, on to the salars (salt flats) or across the deserts. I’ve wild camped in every country I’ve visited and it’s always been a great experience - waking up to amazing views and the peacefulness of the countryside, living life at my own pace.’

Hotels and Hostels can vary in price from country to country. In some countries better hotels are cheap, so treat yourself?

Guide books and on-line hotel booking sites can help you in advance to gauge what you’ll spend.

·         Price in Nicaragua - Managua $10-$20
·         Price in Colombia - Bogota $15-$30
·         In Peru - Lima $20-$25
·         In Chile – Santiago $25-$30

Air BnB’s

If you need to stay in larger cities, do check this out.

·         Air BnB in Bogota from $16 a night https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/Bogot%C3%A1--Colombia
·         In Santiago de Chile from $20

Homestays can be worth looking at and can be a great experience, cheap, and you are putting cash directly into the local economy.

·         Eg Cusco Peru - $125 a week


HU Community

Sometimes free in return for sharing the fun of the road but never take advantage of kindness. http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/connect/contact


In many countries camping options are simply not available (the locals don’t do it! But it is a growing custom) or it’s cheaper to stay in small hotels than to camp. 

Chile is the perfect example of this, large pitches aimed at large families camping.

Chile Campsite Cost: https://www.pitchup.com/tents/chile/ eg. $25 a night!

There are blogs around that list the camping sites they have used with descriptions and costs. Dare to Go is one. http://www.dare2go.com/campingSA.html

Overlander’s Hostels and Camp Sites

There are a significant number of these popping up now, with the same advantages as above. Well worth supporting those who are doing this. 

 *eg. Spencer Conway and Kathy Nel’s MOTOCAMP ECUADOR near Banos - Contact via Facebook

 As more Overlanders fall in love with countries in South and Central America, more head to live there and because they are experienced and know what overlanders really need, there are new places popping up all the time. Not the cheapest options but safe, functional and attractive. There are great places to link up with other overlanders and are superb as ‘Oasis from the road’. The owners usually know their area phenomenally well and are full of top tips for places to see and ride. Worth the extra bucks.

 *Top Tip Do Google searches for Moto Camp for each of the countries you aim to go to.

Listener Question: Robert Finch

With all the days riding on and off road, is there one day or days that stands out as one of your best day(s), when you felt "this is why I go through all the tough stuff to do these rides/trips"?

SAM MANICOM - Grand Trunk Road in India at dawn


GRANT AND SUSAN JOHNSON - Li-Agulhas, South Africa

JIM MARTIN - On the road to Barkerville, British Columbia



This episode of RAW is supported by FRESH TRACKS facilitating adventurous conversations.

We’re proud to announce that we have taken on a sponsor for RAW! We welcome Fresh Tracks from the UK, a company that offers team building activities and programs. A big part of what they do is starting conversations, just like on RAW. Fresh Tracks was founded by Dan Collins back in the ‘90’s when they originally offered 4x4 tuition to individuals and groups and later expanded to quad bike trails. To find out more go to FreshTracks.co.uk.

Music used: A Day In The Sun by Per Kiilstofte https://machinimasound.com/music/a-day-in-the-sun Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)