Carretera Interoceánica or Estrada do Pacífico, this is how it is called. The route which connects the Pacific to the Atlantic – a project which was on the drawing boards for decades – was finally completed at the end of 2010, for a total cost of 2.8 billion dollars.
I guess initially was aimed at being an alternative to the Panama canal, but if you take into account that a Panamax vessel can carry up to 2,500 containers (the long 40-ft ones) and you imagine 2,500 trucks crawling to 4,700 meters for more than 5,000 km it does not really add up. On the Brazilian side, the intention seems to be to enable shipping of the massive soy production of the states of Rondonia and Mato Grosso (Mato Grosso alone produces some 23 million tons of soy each year).
As it cuts right through the Amazon, there is also a lot of criticism for the route, due to its environmental impact. Hailed as an economic lifeline, it seems that its positive effects on the life of communities it passes remain to be seen (maybe because all of these, the route is lately promoted as a tourist destination). One of my reasons to ride on this route is to observe first-hand the impact the Interoceanic Highway has on nature, communities and economic activities along its course.
During my ride I will cross three major geographical areas: desert, high mountains and jungle. The route is a bit more than 5,500 km long, the highest point is at 4,725 m and the accumulated ascent is more than 20,000 vertical meters. In order to make this more palatable, I broke it down to days.
So this is how my master plan looks like: