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Map of Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries

a historical event
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In January of 1952 Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Alberto Granado set out on a nine month motorcycle trek through a large part of western South America. In total, the journey took Guevara through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and to Miami, before returning home to Buenos Aires. By trip's end, he came to view Latin America not as collection of separate nations, but as a single entity requiring a continent-wide liberation strategy.

 28 places   |  11,722 miles (18.865 km)   |  visibility: public   |  created 53 months ago   |  81,285 views   |  19 followers   |  3 copies

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  •  Tuesday, January 1, 1952
    Lat/Lng: -33.599998 , -62.133331

    San Francisco, Santa Fe Province

    San Francisco, Santa Fe Province, Argentina
    In January 1952 Erensto Guevara's older friend, Alberto Granado, a biochemist, and Guevara, decided to take a year off from their medical studies to embark on a trip they had spoken of making for years: traversing South America on an motorcycle.
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      Lat/Lng: -34.608418 , -58.373161

      Buenos Aires, Capital Federal

      Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, Argentina
      Guevara and the 29-year-old Granado soon set off from Buenos Aires, Argentina, astride a 1939 Norton 500 cc motorcycle they named La Poderosa II (The Mighty One) with the idea of eventually spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo Leper colony in Peru on the banks of the Amazon River.
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        Lat/Lng: -38.265381 , -57.851261

        Miramar, Buenos Aires Province

        Miramar, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
        he first stop: Miramar, Argentina, a small resort where Guevara's girlfriend, Chichina, was spending the summer with her upper-class family. Two days stretched into eight, and upon leaving, Chichina gave Guevara a gold bracelet.
        •  Thursday, February 14, 1952
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          Lat/Lng: -40.584756547013 , -73.157958984375
          The two men crossed into Chile on February 14. At one point they introduced themselves as internationally renowned leprosy experts to a local newspaper, which wrote a glowing story about them. The travelers later used the press clipping as a way to score meals and other favors with locals along the way.
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            Lat/Lng: -39.824288 , -73.213339
            • [MAP IMAGE]
              Lat/Lng: -38.75 , -72.666667
              • [MAP IMAGE]
                Lat/Lng: -33.46912 , -70.641997

                Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region

                Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
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                  Lat/Lng: -33.132404 , -71.548656

                  Valparaiso, Valparaíso, Valparaíso Region

                  Valparaiso, Valparaíso, Valparaíso Region, Chile
                  Unable to get a boat to Easter Island as they intended, they headed north, where Guevara's political consciousness began to stir as he and Granado moved into mining country.
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                    Lat/Lng: -23.65 , -70.4
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                      Lat/Lng: -22.3167 , -68.9333

                      Chuquicamata, Calama, Antofagasta Region

                      Chuquicamata, Calama, Antofagasta Region, Chile
                      They visited Chuquicamata copper mine, the world's largest open-pit mine and the primary source of Chile's wealth. While getting a tour of the mine he asked how many men died in its creation. At the time it was run by U.S. mining monopolies of Anaconda and Kennecott and thus was viewed by many as a symbol of 'imperialist gringo domination'. A meeting with a homeless communist couple in search of mining work made a particularly strong impression on Guevara, who wrote: By the light of the single candle ... the contracted features of the worker gave off a mysterious and tragic air ... the couple, frozen stiff in the desert night, hugging one another, were a live representation of the proletariat of any part of the world,
                      •  Saturday, March 1, 1952
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                        Lat/Lng: -18.01757 , -70.250969
                        In March 1952 they both arrived at the Peruvian Tacna. They hitchhiked on trucks filled with local Aymara Indians as they headed up into the Andes toward Lake Titicaca.
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                          Lat/Lng: -17.079109 , -70.841454
                          In the hard scrabble town of Torata Ernesto wrote 'A beaten race that watches us pass through the streets of their town. Their stares are tame, almost fearful, and almost completely indifferent to the outside world. Some give the impression that they live because it is a habit they can't shake.'
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                            Lat/Lng: -15.49918 , -70.135223
                            • [MAP IMAGE]
                              Lat/Lng: -13.525 , -71.9722222
                              Cuzco made an impression on the young doctors as they spent time studying the architecture and wandering the cities museums and libraries. In Cuzco a local doctor provided them a Land Rover to take them to the Valley of the Incas.
                              • [MAP IMAGE]
                                Lat/Lng: -13.1639567 , -72.545993
                                From the Valley they procured tickets on the train to Machu Picchu. It was along this ride that Ernesto began to show his disdain for the 'Yankee' tourist who he thought were the cause of much of the misery he was seeing in the local populations.
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                                  Lat/Lng: -13.6333333 , -72.8833333
                                  After leaving Cuzco, the two men stayed at the hospital in Abancay were they gave some lectures in return for room and board. During their stay Ernesto had a very serious asthma attach that required adrenalin shots.
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                                    Lat/Lng: -13.65459 , -73.08551
                                    They traveled on to Huancarama a small town near the Huambo leprosarium. It was here that they learned about the founder Dr. Hugo Pesce, director of Peru's leper treatment program and prominent communist. They stayed for a couple days but due to Ernesto's aggravated asthma they decided to move on in search of proper treatment.
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                                      Lat/Lng: -13.6575 , -73.383333
                                      Ernesto spent two days at the hospital recovering from his asthma attacks. Once he had recovered they jumped a truck bound for Lima. It would be ten days before they reached the capital.
                                      •  Thursday, May 1, 1952
                                      • [MAP IMAGE]
                                        Lat/Lng: -12.0433333 , -77.0283333
                                        On May 1st they arrived in Lima, Peru and during this time Guevara met doctor Hugo Pesce, a Peruvian scientist, director of the national leprosy program, and an important local Marxist. They discuss several nights until the early morning and years later Che identified these conversations as being very important for his evolution in attitude towards life and society. In May, Guevara and Granado leave for the leper colony of San Pablo in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, arriving there in June.
                                        • [MAP IMAGE]
                                          Lat/Lng: -8.3833333 , -74.55
                                          From Lima they took a week long bus ride to reach Pucallpa and the Rio Ucayali where they boarded the boat La Cenepa for the seven day journey to Iquitos.
                                          •  Sunday, June 1, 1952
                                          • The pair arrived in Iquitos on June 1st. For six days Ernesto battled recurrent bouts of asthma. After recovering they set out on a two day river journey to San Pablo on the river boat El Cisne.
                                            •  Sunday, June 8, 1952
                                            • [MAP IMAGE]
                                              Lat/Lng: -4.022998 , -71.10623
                                              Ernesto and Alberto spent the next two weeks helping at the facility. During his stay Guevara complains about the miserable way the people and sick of that region have to live. Guevara also swam once from the side of the Amazon River where the doctors stayed, to the other side of the river where the leper patients lived, a considerable distance of two and a half miles. He describes how there were no clothes, almost no food, and no medication. June 14, 1952, Guevara turned twenty-four, and the entire leper colony put on a celebration that he described in a letter to his mother Celia:

                                              'On the 14th, they gave me a party with lots of pisco, a kind of gin which makes you beautifully tipsy. The medical director toasted us, and I, inspired by the booze, replied with a very Panamerican speech, which earned great applause from the eminent, and eminently drunk, audience. The scene was one of the most interesting of our trip. An accordion player with no fingers on his right hand used little sticks tied to his wrist, the singer was blind and almost all the others were hideously deformed, due to the nervous form of the disease which is very common in this area. With the light from lamps and lanterns reflected in the river, it was like a scene from a horror film.'

                                              Guevara paraphrased his recollection of the 'very Panamerican speech' as follows:
                                              'Although we’re too insignificant to be spokesmen for such a noble cause, we believe, and this journey has only served to confirm this belief, that the division of America into unstable and illusory nations is a complete fiction. We are one single mestizo race with remarkable ethnographical similarities, from Mexico down to the Magellan Straits. And so, in an attempt to break free from all narrow-minded provincialism, propose a toast to Peru and to a United America.'
                                              • [MAP IMAGE]
                                                Lat/Lng: -4.205429 , -69.932808
                                                After giving consultations and treating patients for a few weeks, Guevara and Granado leave aboard the Mambo-Tango raft (a gift from the staff) for Leticia, Colombia via the Amazon River. They entertained the idea of traveling all the way to Manaus but after floating past the town of Leticia and losing their fishing gear they made landfall and convinced some locals to row them back up river in exchange for the raft.
                                                •  Wednesday, July 2, 1952
                                                • [MAP IMAGE]
                                                  Lat/Lng: 4.598056 , -74.075833
                                                  On July 2, Ernesto and Alberto caught a Catalina flying boat to the capital. While visiting Bogotá, Colombia, he wrote a letter to his mother on July 6, 1952. In the letter he describes the conditions under the right-wing government of Conservative Laureano Gómez as the following: There is more repression of individual freedom here than in any country we've been to, the police patrol the streets carrying rifles and demand your papers every few minutes.' He also goes on to describe the atmosphere as 'tense' and 'suffocating' even hypothesizing that 'a revolution may be brewing.'
                                                  • [MAP IMAGE]
                                                    Lat/Lng: 10.491016 , -66.902061
                                                    Later that month the two men set out for the long bus ride to Caracas, Venezuela and from there Ernesto and Alberto decided to part ways. Ernesto would catch a ride on a cargo planed owned by his uncle that would pass through Miami and then head back to Buenos Aires and Alberto would stay on in Caracas and work at the leprosarium. On July 26th the friends parted ways.
                                                    • [MAP IMAGE]
                                                      Lat/Lng: 25.788969 , -80.226439
                                                      However, prior to his return, he travels by cargo-plane to Miami, where the airplane's technical problems delay him one month. To survive, he works as a waiter and washes dishes in a Miami bar.
                                                      •  Friday, September 26, 1952
                                                      • [MAP IMAGE]
                                                        Lat/Lng: -34.608418 , -58.373161

                                                        Buenos Aires, Capital Federal

                                                        Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, Argentina
                                                        Ernesto arrived back in Buenos Aires at the end of August after spending a month in Miami. He returned to medical school by October.
                                                        •  total distance: 11,722 miles (18.865 km)



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