In 1952, a semester before Ernesto "Fuser" Guevara is due to complete his medical degree, he and his older friend Alberto, a biochemist, leave Buenos Aires in order to travel across the South American continent in search of fun and adventures. While there is a goal at the end of their journey, they intend to work in a leper colony in Peru, the main purpose is tourism. They want to see as much of Latin America as they can, more than 8,000 miles in just a few months, and also bed as many Latin American women as will fall for their pick-up lines. Their initial method of transport is Alberto's ancient and leaky but functional Norton 500 motorcycle christened La Poderosa ("The Mighty One").
Their route is ambitious. They head south, aim to cross the Andes, travel along the coast of Chile, across the Atacama Desert and into the Peruvian Amazon and reach Venezuela just in time for Alberto's 30th birthday, April 2nd. Due to La Poderosa's breakdown, they are forced to travel at a much slower pace, and make it to Caracas in July.
Trivia clipped from imdbIn a journey that lasts eight months, the partners travel over 14,000 kilometres, from Argentina through Chile, Peru, and Colombia to Venezuela. Key locations along the journey described in the film include: In Argentina, Buenos Aires, Miramar, Buenos Aires, Villa Gesell, San Martín de los Andes, Lago Frías, Patagonia; in Chile, Temuco, Los Angeles, Valparaiso, Atacama desert, Chuquicamata; in Peru, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Lima; The San Pablo Leper Colony; Leticia, Colombia and Caracas, Venezuela
The motorcycle used by the real life pair was a British-made Norton International, which had a 500cc single cylinder engine. The director revealed that they found, restored and used such Nortons except for the crash scenes where modern Suzukis were made up to look like Nortons and christened "Nortsukis". The director revealed that whereas the old Nortons were unfailingly reliable, the modern Suzukis were forever breaking down.