Run, Forrest, Run — getting ready for Dakar Rally

One of the most famous (and difficult) rally worldwide seen from a different point of view

Few lines history — The Dakar Rally (once known as the “Paris–Dakar Rally”) is an annual rally raid whose railway — from 1978 to 1995 — drove from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal running through almost every country in the North West Africa — and many others in the South and Centrale Africa. The history behind it, takes us back to 1977 when Thierry Sabine got lost in the Ténéré desert while competing in the Abidjan-Nice rally and decided that the desert would have been a good location for a regular rally — which he designed for the years after, and guess what? Welcome in the world, Dakar Rally!

Since 2008, the Rally has been moved worldwide, due to terrorist attacks, and here we go to the next edition, from the 2nd of January to the 14th of January — it will start from Assunciòn, Paraguay, it will head to La Paz, Bolivia and back south to Buenos Aires, Argentina. More than 400 kilometres 3,000 metre above the sea level for 6 days.

This rally itinerary is such an inspiration — there’s a lot see around! So here’s the plan:

  • if you’re going there to support your idols, take some extra days break to discover the areas
  • if you’re not a fun about rallies and stuff — just follow our steps (and the rally ones) to go after the most beautiful places in South America

Stage 1 : Asuncion, Paraguay — Resistencia, Argentina

Asuncion, Paraguay: ignored by travellers for so long, the country has never built up its tourist infrastructure — that’s why it’s the perfect place for going off the beaten track and experience the local culture.

Safety tip: you’ll need some Spanish basic lessons, for sure. 
Travel tip: try the Tereré — an infusion of yerba mate with cold water. It is drunken from a shared cup called a guampa with a metal straw or bombilla.

Stage 2: Resistencia, Argentina — San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina

Resistencia: is mostly known for its Biennial Sculpture festival and its open-air exhibitions of statuary, culture flourishes in the city’s many museums and performance spaces.

But it’s also a very green city: ecotourism is one of the must here. A lot of parks are in town and many other naturale reserves few km away, to take your sporty side out with some trekking!

Stage 3: San Miguel de Tucuman—San Salvador de Jujuy

San Salvador de Jujuy, few hours away from the Quebrada de Humahuaca, Unesco Site — it follows the line of a major cultural route, the Camino Inca, along the spectacular valley of the Rio Grande, from its source in the cold high desert plateau of the High Andean lands to its confluence with the Rio Leone.

Stage 4: San Salvador de Jujuy — Tupiza, Bolivia

Tupiza, Bolivia: a quiet little town, far away from the big cities crowd. It keeps its colonial origins, built around the main Cathedral.

Surroundings make this place one of a kind. It feels like been lost in some old west movies — there are actually tours which goes exploring the area around that are called “The Voyage of Bandits” — so that you actually feel wanted (LOL!)

Stage 5–6: Tupiza — Oruro, Bolivia

Oruro has been recognized as the Folklore Capital of Bolivia for its majestic Carnival, declared by UNESCO as “Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.

It’s few hours away from Alcaya — the important pre-Columbian citadel.

Stage 7: Oruro — Uyuni, Bolivia

Stop masterpiece: “The Salar de Uyuni” is the world’s largest salt flat, with a saline mirror of stunning biodiversity.

This invaluable natural wonder, is inhabited by living cultures that have adapted the technology of their production systems to the extreme conditions of semi-desert, taken advantage of the quinoa and fine meat fibers of Llama and Alpaca. The combination of nature and culture make this destination a special place, especially when visiting the Protected Area of the Andean Wildlife Reserve Eduardo Abaroa.

Stage 8: Uyuni — Salta, Argentina

Salta, “The very beautiful” in quechua language, is a beautiful active city, of a well preserved colonial style, hosting folk parties, the High Mountain Museum (where tourists are told about the famous expedition that found the mummified Inca children at Llulliallaco volcano) and the new gastronomic circuits for those loving the Creole and Andean cuisine.

Stage 9: Salta — Chilecito , Argentina

Must-see few km away from Chilecito: Tamberías del Inca , the ancient settlement of the advanced civilization that marked the region with its history and the wineries, vineyards and agro industries;

Stage 10: Chilecito — San Juan, Argentina

San Juan was blessed with another nature landmark, Unesco Patrimony, the Ischigualasto Provincial Park (also called Valle de la Luna, “Moon Valley”), one of the most important paleontological fields in the world.

Stage 11: San Juan — Rio Cuarto

Travel tip: try the Alfajor Cordobes (Chocolate coated cookies filled with Milk Jam) or the exquisite cold meats and pork salami.

Stage 12: Rio Cuarto — Buenos Aires

The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires is undoubtfully one of the most cosmopolitan cities in these days. Its financial center, its architecture, its fancy neighborhoods and its contemporaneous atmosphere in constant movement, are some of the characteristics that contribute to outline the essence of being “porteño”