<10 Dec ’10: there is more updated info here: https://www.seasurfdirt.com/2009/11/18/maps-for-south-america-cycle-touring/ >
It’s been a while since I wrote something genuinely useful on here (!) so this evening I thought I mention something about the maps I have with a long Andean journey in mind. I’ve already written about the maps I used in Colombia and Ecuador, you can see that post here so for this post I’ll concentrate on the remaining Andean countries… Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina…. I’ve had various road maps for a while now but the options got a lot better recently when Rough Guides started producing a range of country maps. My first acquaintance with the range was my map of Southern India… they show a really excellent level of detail and are a scale that is genuinely useful to the cycle tourist, generally around 1:1,500 000. Add to that a very detailed index with grid refs, points of interest marked and that they are printed on a tough, waterproof plastic ‘paper’ then they really are ideal. For the Andean countries the range doesn’t yet include Bolivia but I hav Peru, Chile and Argentina covered. For revisiting Ecuador and Colombia I’ll re-use the maps I already own but Ecuador at least I think is in the Rough Guides range.
Good road maps of Bolivia are harder to find, the best one I have is a 1:1 750 000 map by Berndtson & Berndtson. It shows a reasonable level of detail but I have no idea what the accuracy is like, accurate maps of Bolivia are probably only available to the military of that country… but a bit like Morocco, there are so few roads in remote areas that aside from maybe errors of 100km in any direction with regard to geographic location it would be hard to go wrong… well, that’s my theory anyway… besides you can always ask a passing alpaca… I did have a map of Bolivia that was essentially just a series of satellite photos stitched together with roads and towns super-imposed but for the minute I haven’t got a clue what I’ve done with it…..
So there you go, if your destination is in the range then I reckon the Rough Guides maps are the way to go. Otherwise for Europe and N Africa the Michelin maps are very good. For India Lonely Planet has a very comprehensive road atlas (a copy of which is in my bookshelf) and for anywhere else go and have a look and see what Stanfords in London have got, they’re pretty useful.