Day 1: Arrive Lima. You will be met from your international flight and transferred to the joining hotel in Lima, Peru's bustling, lively capital.
Day 2: Cusco. This morning we fly to Cusco, gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Attracting large numbers of travellers, Cusco is a lively town rich with history. You will spend the next few days here acclimatising and enjoying the local attractions. Altitude: 3326 m.
Day 3: Cusco. You may choose to explore independently or join an organised tour of the historic city centre and the surrounding Inca ruins (extra charge). Key sites in Cusco include the cathedral, Plaza de Armes (main square) and Qoricancha (Sun Temple). The four Inca sites closest to Cusco are: Tambomachay with its beautiful ceremonial stone bath, Puka Pukara an ancient fortress, Qenko and its sacrificial rock and the walled fortress of Saqsayhuaman. This evening the local team will give us details of the next few days of cycling. Accommodation: Hotel. Altitude: 3326 m.
Day 4: Cusco - Ollantaytambo. We rejoin our bikes for a spectacular day of cycling into the Inca heartland. The first stretch is uphill on a paved road which leads away from the city into farmland. We continue riding on a single track gravel road towards Moray, an impressive set of circular terracing which looks like an amphitheatre. Each layer has its own micro climate and it is thought that the Incas used this place as an experimental farm to determine the best conditions for growing crops. The remainder of the route is mostly flat apart from the last 20km. It's a pretty valley to ride through - very green and lush dominated by incredibly steep mountains. Our destination is the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo (2,800m), the best surviving example of Inca planning with well preserved cobbled streets and good drainage channels. It is presided over by a huge Inca fortress which is worth a visit. Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 75 km.
Day 5: Ollantaytambo - Santa Maria. Morning transfer to Abra Malaga Pass (4,315 m). From the summit we'll embark on a thrilling 70 km downhill ride to the subtropical town of Santa Maria (1,430 m) - a 3,000m drop! The road snakes from the Andes to the Amazon rainforest through lush valleys with snow-capped mountains on the horizon. We encounter a variety of different climates and numerous ecological zones. Fruit plantations (mango, pineapple, papaya) grow in abundance while coffee, tea and cocoa thrive in this area. The first 40 km or so are on a mainly tarmac road, thereafter it turns into a dirt track. We stop for lunch then continue to Wamanmarka archeological site, another Incan ceremonial place with agricultural terraces that resemble the circular terraces in Moray. A further 2 hours in the saddle and we arrive at Santa Maria to overnight. Accommodation: Guest house. Cycling distance: 70 km.
Day 6: Santa Maria - Santa Teresa. Today's ride is totally different from yesterday's downhill adventure. It is an adrenalin pumping climb from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa. Our ascent starts soon after crossing the bridge which leads out of town and continues, hairpin bend after hairpin bend, up to 2,100m with an average incline of 10%. En-route the views into the surrounding jungle are spectacular. This area is teeming with wildlife. Parrots are likely to be screeching in the skies above while monkeys chatter in the trees. From the 2,100m summit it's a welcome descent to the quaint jungle town of Santa Teresa (1,900m) known for its hot springs. It is here that we bid farewell to our bicycles. Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 20 km.
Day 7: Santa Teresa - Machu Picchu - Cusco. The last day of our epic journey promises to be action-packed. After breakfast, we catch a bus to the nearby train station at the planta hidroeléctrica (hydro electric plant). From there it is a 2 hour/10 km walk along the train track to Aguas Calientes (2,000m). Our first views of Machu Picchu are bound to be one of the highlights of the trip.
The Lost City of the Incas was rediscovered in 1911 and is today one of the world's most fascinating and important archaeological finds. We enjoy a guided tour of the main site and learn more about the history and legends of this magical place. Time permitting it may be possible to ascend Huayna Picchu, the mountain which dominates Machu Picchu, for a panoramic view of the complex. We take a late afternoon train to Ollantaytambo through stunning mountain and jungle scenery. From there we catch a coach to Cusco. Accommodation: Hotel.
Day 8: Cusco. We have a break from our bikes today in order to spend more time discovering Cusco. Overnight Cusco. Accommodation: Hotel
Day 9 Cusco to Urcos. This morning we ride out of Cusco to Pisac. Located in the Sacred Valley on the Urubamba River Pisac is famed for its markets every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Locals travel in from the surrounding area to sell their goods including produce, handicrafts and ceramics. In the heart of the central plaza, dominating its surroundings is a large Pisonay tree. Resting above the entrance to the valley are the Inca Písac ruins which this area is best known for. We cycle on south east to the small town of Urcos riding into the town along bank of the River Vilcanota. We can stop en route to visit the extensive site at Tipon which boasts some impressive Inca terracing and a clever irrigation system. It's a steep 4km climb on a dirt track from the road to the site but well worth the effort. We stay tonight in Urcos. Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 48 km. Altitude: 3180 m.
Day 10: Urcos - Sicuani. Departing from Urcos we pass by fields of rice and Lupins (the latter are used for stews and soups!) Hummingbirds fly overhead and lilac orchids line the road. We ride up out of the Sacred Valley and the terrain becomes less fertile as we head towards Tinta, a small village with a fine colonial church. Soon after this we come to the colonial village of San Pedro and the ruins of Raqchi, one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru. Its Temple of Viracocha is one of the last remaining examples of a two storey building of Inca architecture. The whole site is built on the only (dormant) volcano in the Cusco region. The last few kilometres of cyling bring us into the bustling town of Sicuani where we will stay tonight. Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 95 km.
Day 11: Sicuani - Ayavira. Today we will encounter the highest point of our trip, the Abra de la Raya Pass (4,335 m). We cycle out of Sicuani, on reasonable quality tarmac with little traffic , through a lush valley with views of the colourful patchwork of crops that are tended high up on the mountainside. We are likely to see plenty of livestock grazing by the roadside including llamas and alpacas. As we approach the pass the temperature drops and our surroundings become less fertile.
At the top there are incredible views of snow-capped mountains and a sign showing the altitude - a great photo opportunity! It is a chilly spot so we won't hang around. As we ride on the surroundings are barren with no trees, and icy mountain streams criss-cross the landscape. We descend into the market town of Ayavira (3,920m), the last major settlement on the road from Cusco. It boasts a colonial church and the nearby Pojpojquella hot springs - a perfect place to recover from a hard day in the saddle (extra charge). Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 115 km.
Day 12: Ayavira - Lampa. This morning we ride out of Ayavira towards the sleepy village of Pucará (3,860 m) famous for its ceramic bulls which are often displayed on the roofs for good luck. We stop here to visit the pre-Inca ruins which preside above the town. Back on the bikes we ride on towards Lampa via the village of Caracara; it is an agricultural area where little seems to have changed in centuries. We pass through typical Andean villages and witness people going about their daily lives before arriving in Lampa a beautiful colonial city almost lost in time. Known as La Cuidad Rosada for its pink stone buildings, the Iglesia de Santiago Apostol located in the plaza de Armas is an imposing and eerie church, including a huge domed tomb containing hundreds of skeletons arranged into a skull and cross-bones formation. Accommodation: Guest House. Cycling distance: 75 km.
Day 13: Lampa - Puno. Today we cycle on towards Puno on flat terrain, travelling around the outskirts of Juliaca to avoid the busy commercial centre of this built up area. We cycle on past the town of Paucarcolla and this afternoon there is a steep descent into Puno, the main port �on Lake Titicaca. This is the highest navigable lake in the world at 3800m. It is also the largest lake in South America - it is bigger than Switzerland! Titicaca is in fact two lakes connected by a half-mile wide channel known as the Tiquina Straights. Puno is a small, lively, quirky town and recognised as the most convenient stopping point between Cusco and La Paz. Puno is also recognised as "Capital folklórica del Perú" (folklore capital of Peru) for its numerous artistic and cultural activities, particularly dance. Overnight in Puno. Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 79 km. Altitude: 3830 m.
Day 14: Rest Day Puno. We enjoy a leisurely day in Puno with the option of exploring the town and market or visiting the Floating Islands. Just 5km from Puni, the Floating Islands are Lake Titicaca's main attraction. These man-made floating reed islands are woven from layers of totora reeds which grow on the edge of the lake. The islands are home to several hundred people who are descended from the Uros Indians, a tribe which pre-dates the Incan civilisation. Once back in Puno.
Day 15: Puno - Copacabana. The route out of Puno hugs the shoreline of Lake Titicaca, passing through the village of Chimu where the main industry centres on totora reeds. There are usually several reed boats in various stages of construction lining the route. Heading towards Chucuito and Juli, the road curves away from the lake via the town of Ilave. This stretch of the route is an almost flat 80km. The small town of Juli where we stop for lunch. It is known as pequena Roma (little Rome) due to its four colonial churches which date from the 16th and 17th centuries.
This afternoon we ride out of rural Peru continuing on relatively flat terrain with only one descent of consequence up to passing numerous small farms and settlements and cross the border into Bolivia, journeying on a further 12 km to Copacabana. The road stays close to the coastline with spectacular views over the pristine waters of Lake Titicaca. Nestled between two hills and perched on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, Copacabana (Copa), is an attractive town with cobbled streets, old stone buildings and a huge white cathedral. For centuries it was the the site of religious pilgrimages, and today local and visiting Peruvian pilgrims flock to its fiestas. (Bolivia is one hour ahead of Peru). Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 142 km.
Day 16: Copacabana - La Paz. This morning there is a tough ascent up out of Copacabana followed by undulating terrain before a plunging descent to the shores of Lake Titicaca. We board a ferry to the village of San Pablo Tiquina. Riding away from the shores of the lake we arrive at Estancia Jankho Amaya continuing on from the Huata Peninsula through the villages of Vichi and Santiago de Huata as the road descends and climbs along the way. Our journey continues to Achacachi, located 80 km north east of La Paz. From here we will transfer into La Paz. Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 50km.
Day 17: La Paz - Coroico. A spectacular first day of cycling along the infamous "Road of Death", often described as the world's most dangerous road. For many years, this narrow, winding track with its sharp peaks and sheer drops was the only way of travelling between La Paz and the village of Coroico. However, a new bypass around the most perilous stretch was opened in 2006 and the re-routing of most traffic to the highway means the old road is now safer than it has ever been. For adventurous mountain bikers it presents an incomparable and exhilarating challenge.
You can cycle or we can transfer you from La Paz to the starting point at La Cumbre, a 4,750m pass over the icebound peaks of the Cordillera Real. We saddle up for a thrilling descent of more than 3,500m in just 64 km. The route winds through the clouds into the humid valleys of the Yungas, a densely forested area which separates the altiplano and the Amazonian rainforests of northern Bolivia. The route seems to hang off the edge of sheer cliffs which plunge into deep narrow gorges. A high level of concentration is required - cyclists must dodge rocks, pot holes, puddles, each other and oncoming traffic. However, the rewards are immense. The dramatic scenery makes this cycle route one of Bolivia's top tourist attractions and one of the world's most beautiful roads. Overnight in Coroico (1,525m) where the lush, tropical surroundings will be a welcome contrast to the rugged altiplano. Accommodation: Guest house. Cycling distance: 64 km.
Day 18: La Paz. La Paz is known as the city that touches the sky. Located high above sea level (ranging from 3,000m to 4,100m) it sits in a bowl surrounded by the high altiplano. Today you have time discover the key sights and the language, culture and customs of the most Indian country in South America. Native religions, dialects, clothes, music and medicine all form part daily life. The city centre is dominated by lively Plaza Murillo which is bordered by some of the city's most important buildings including the cathedral, Government Palace (Palacio Quemado) and the Congress Building that before 1904 housed a convent, a jail, and a university. There will also be chance to wander along narrow, cobbled-stoned Jaen Street, with its fascinating colonial architecture. Museo Nacional de Arqueología is a must-see as it houses items from Tiwanaku, Bolivia's premiere archaeological site. Those feeling energetic can climb to Mirador Laikakota lookout which offers panoramic views of La Paz and is a great place to photograph snow-capped Illimani. Accommodation: Hotel.
Day 19: Tour Ends. This morning we bid farewell to taking your airport transfer for the international flight home.
- All accommodation will be in hotels or guesthouses. We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room; single rooms are sometimes available at an extra cost. In the central highlands we will be traveling in very remote areas with limited accommodation, often without private toilets or electricity. Having said this they are clean, safe, friendly, owned and operated by local families.
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South America Peru Bolivia Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring
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