This Argentinian couple has been touring Latin America by bike for three years. Passing through Venezuela is a dream come true
Leonervis Hernandez | The pair hopes to complete the tour in Latin America in 2024
María Belen Francesena and Mateo Pinto set off in December 2020 to travel around the world by bicycle, and despite all warnings they decided to go to Venezuela.
Both are from Argentina and met on a trip to Patagonia. She wanted to return to Mar de Plata and he wanted to continue his adventures.
The pandemic allows Maria Belen to pursue a degree in nutrition online, thus traveling thousands of kilometers with her partner Mateo.
From their native Argentina, they passed through Bolivia, where they were at an altitude of more than 4 thousand meters and survived low temperatures.
Weather is not just one of the obstacles these Argentinians face, but so is economic survival.
“We make postcards to sell,” they naturally reply, while they draw more from their pockets to show on their visit. Scoop.
“It’s amazing to travel, to see places, to share the journey with others,” says Mateo. “We have made breads, or we work as waiters when we need to,” concludes Maria Belen.
What did they travel?
From Bolivia they went to Peru to see the largest and highest lake in the world, and of course to Machu Picchu, then they went to Ecuador, where they were impressed by the number of active volcanoes.
Regarding the time spent in each country, they clarified that it depends on the migrant. While in Ecuador they were given 190 days, in Colombia they could only visit their mountain ranges, Cali, the coffee region and the guerrilla zone in 80 days.
Entering Venezuela – where they are allowed to stay for two months – is not easy, they have been warned a lot about the danger they run into as they enter through Maicao, but the Venezuelan cycling community is noble.
“They went looking for us to pick us up, something like this has never happened to us,” said Maria Belen. And thankfully, they recognize that it’s a hostile journey.
However, they indicated that they were treated very well by the National Security Forces during their visit. “This is the first time the armed forces have treated us well,” they reiterated.
In love with Venezuela
Mateo names the cities he’s visited like a proud Venezuelan would say. “We crossed the Maracaibo bridge, then Mérida, we went to Barinas, Valencia, Colonia Dover, La Guerra”; Until they reach their favorite destination: Margarita Island.
The couple did not fulfill their dream because the route was too expensive, but a private shipping company invited them.
From Puerto La Cruz they cycled to Puerto Ortas, where they marveled at La Lovisna and had the pleasure of sharing a close-up with the monkeys, who, as usual, wouldn’t let them leave without taking a trinket from them.
These adventurers were able to see the confluence of the Orinoco and Caroni Rivers and La Navidad Park.
But the journey continues. The next destination is Gran Sabana, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay, until it returns to its birthplace: Argentina in 2024.
After driving all over Latin America, they can assure you that the people of Venezuela are very friendly and there are no beaches like Margarita.
“We love Venezuela more,” they insist.
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