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Peru - The Andean Dream

Itinerary


Day 1: Arequipa

Fly to Arequipa and spend a day acclimatising in the beautiful southern highland city. Arequipa nestles between spectacular mountains and is dominated by large volcanoes.

Altitude: 2,400m (7,874ft)
Accommodation: Guest House


Day 2: Arequipa

Today's acclimatisation ride will depend on local weather conditions. We will ride into the Yura area north west of Arequipa. This is a small valley on the west slopes of Chachani, popular for its thermal baths.This ride will be used to find out how high altitude affects each individual rider, bearing in mind that fitness level is no gauge to who might suffer.

Cycling Distance: 42km (26 miles)
Altitude: 2,400m (7,874ft), Max 4,600m (15,092ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B)


Day 3: Arequipa - Chivay

After an early breakfast we drive up out of Arequipa over the Altiplano (4800m) where the cycling begins. On our descent to Chivay, we are sure to see Llamas and Alpacas grazing, and we may possibly see the rare Vicauna. Chivay is pretty town full of character situated at the starting point of the breathtaking Colca Canyon. You have the opportunity to soothe your tired legs in thermal hot springs, the waters flow straight from volcanic rock. A wonderful way  to relax before dinner. 

Cycling Distance: 63km (39 miles) or 43 Km (27miles)
Altitude: 3,600m (11,811ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)


Day 4: Chivay

This morning we have a short transfer to view spectacular, majestic condors as they glide on thermals so nearby you can almost touch them.

We then continue by vehicle to the Mirador of Tapay and cycle back to Chivay along the Colca Canyon, arguably the deepest in the world, and Peru's third most popular tourist destination. Our route takes us past stepped terraces of the pre-Incan era, an incredible route through majestic scenery.

Cycling Distance: 78km (48 miles) or 30km (18.5 miles)
Altitude: 3,280m (10,761ft), Max 3,600m (11,811ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)


Day 5: Chivay - Lampa

We start with a drive before we begin cycling through magnificent landscapes on little travelled back roads. Up into the Altiplano we journey through an area of Salinas y Aguada Blanca national park where we will cycle past herds of Alpaca and Llama, only found in these high elevations. Our route continues passing Lake Lagnillas with the backdrop of the Andes at an altitude of 4400m. The lake is a mixture of amazing  blue and green colours;  we may also see flamingos. Cutting across remote dramatic landscape we will spy small farmhouses dotted on the plains as we near Lampa. Lampa is known as 'La Ciudad Rosada' on account of its pink coloured buildings. The town has a stunning cathedral with statues, paintings, domes filled with skulls, and tunnels were revolutionaries once hid. There is also a small museum.

Cycling Distance: 78km (48 miles)  or 30km (18.5 miles)
Altitude: 3,600m (11,811ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D)


Day 6: Lampa - Cusco

We have a short drive to the Sacred Valley and begin a 45km cycle along the valley, with some good climbs and descents. We pass through market towns, and see women working in the fields, some clad in brightly coloured reds and blues, and intricately embroidered clothing and others in plain dark colours wearing both wide and narrow brimmed hats some decorated with lace and flowers.

We may see rows of corn laid out in the sun to dry and ripen. Late afternoon we transfer by bus to Cusco the ancient Inca capital.

Cycling Distance: 45km (28 miles)
Altitude: 3,360m (11,023ft), Max 3600m (11,811ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)


Day 7: Cusco: Rest Day

There is plenty to see and do in Cusco. You can navigate the city on foot amid a bustle of tourists and street hawkers. You could opt to join a small-group walking tour of the town’s markets and Inca ruins starting from San Pedro Market, or explore major Inca sites: Sacsayhuaman and Qenko. Museums in Cusco offer a rich selection of cultural and historic treasures from Inca history to art collections to chocolate.  

Altitude: 3,400m,(11,155ft) Max 4,200m (13,779ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)


Day 8: Cusco - Maras - Cusco

After an early breakfast we cycle to the dramatic salt mines of Las Salinas and the rarely visited circular ruins of Maras. Weather permitting, we will have spectacular views of the snow capped Vilcahamba range before returning to Cusco.

Cycling Distance 65km (40 miles) or 42 km (26 miles)
Altitude 3,400m (11,155ft) Max 3,880m (12,729ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)


Day 9: Cusco - Calca

We cycle up out of Cusco passing the imposing Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman before descending into the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Pisac. One of the highlights of this region is a visit to Pisac on market day. A vibrant colouful event. There are local ruins here which we stop off to visit, before we cycle on to Calca, our stop for the night.

Cycling Distance 50km (31 miles) or 36km (22 miles) - (16km climb, 16km descent, 18km flat)
Altitdue 3,000m (9,842ft) Max 3,880m (12,729ft)
Accommodation: Guest house (B,L,D)


Day 10: Calca - Lares

We are now well acclimatised, ready for the ultimate challenge. Today begins with a classic ride up through the Lares valley. This stretch of the tour is a must for cyclists keen to escape the well-beaten tourist track and discover a part of Peru that has changed little over the last 500 years. With a pass at 4,200 meters the day is sure to test our stamina. If you prefer a more relaxing day, you can have a lie in and transfer by vehicle to the pass to catch up with those who have cycled. After lunch we will commence a two-day descent ending the day at Lares where, hopefully we have time to soak our tired limbs in one of three hot springs.

Cycle Distance: 52km (32 miles) or 30km (18.5 miles) 
Altitude: 2,700m (8,858ft), Max 4,200m (13,779ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D) 


Day 11: Lares - Quebrada

We set off today with another huge descent, leaving the high mountains behind us we enter sub-tropical valley on our way to the jungle. The warmth of the climate here is a sharp contrast to the chilly nights in the Andes. This remote and rarely visited region has a number of small Indian settlements.

Cycling Distance: 74km (46 miles)
Altitude: 1,150m (3,773ft), Max 2,700m (8,858ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D)


Day 12: Quebrada - Quillabamba

We continue our descent deep into the jungle through groves of citrus and banana trees in this tropical fruit growing area. Over the past two days we will have dropped from 4200m to a mere 500m and will have had the chance to see some of the amazing speicies of bird that inhabit this lush part of the Amazon. We finish today's ride in the village of Quillabamba.

Cycling Distance: 100km (62 miles) or 60km (37 miles)
Altitude: 950m (3,117ft), Max 1,150m (3,773ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)


Day 13: Quillabamba - Santa Teresa

After the last few days of down hill riding we are climbing again today. Our ascent starts soon after crossing a bridge which leads us out of town. We continue, 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 we have a welcome descent to the quaint jungle town of Santa Teresa where we end today's ride. (1,900m). There is a 30 minute walk to remote natural hot springs in beautiful mountain surroundings. 

Cycling Distance: 60-65km (37 - 40 miles)
Altitude: 2,900m (9,514ft)
Accommodation: Hut / Teahouse (B,L,D)


Day 14: Santa Teresa -Aguas Callientes- Machu Picchu- Cusco

Our epic journey continues with an early start. After breakfast, we catch a bus to the nearby train station at the planta hidroeléctrica (hydro-electric plant). From there we begin a 2 hour /10 km walk along the train track to Aguas Calientes (2,000m). Our first views of Machu Picchu are one of the highlights of the trip. The Lost City of the Incas was rediscovered in 1911 and is 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. We take a late afternoon train to Ollantaytambo through stunning mountain and jungle scenery. From there we catch a coach to Cusco.

Altitude: 3,400m (11,155ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)


 Day 15: Cusco - Home

Our tour ends with a free transfer to Cusco airport.

Peru Cycling Holidays

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