In the footsteps of the Incas

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Exhilaration in the Peruvian Andes

Our multifaceted bike tour through Peru begins in the magnificent colonial city of Arequipa. We explore the impressive region of the Colca Canyon by mountain bike and cross the highlands. The Indian Andean people live here with their herds of alpacas and llamas. Colorful markets, the endless expanse of the Andean landscape and the deep blue Lake Titicaca are other highlights of this region. We enjoy the great trails and bike routes in the Cordillera Urubamba, lined with snow-capped peaks. After trekking to the colorful “Rainbow Mountain” (Montaña de Colores) Vinicunca we travel on to Cusco. We explore the former capital of the vast Inca Empire. Visiting the surrounding Inca sites – especially the mystical Machu Picchu – is the cultural highlight of this diverse mountain bike trip. Peru offers a great natural and cultural experience.

Highlights

  • Condors in the Colca Canyon
  • Boat trip on Lake Titicaca
  • Bike trails in the Urubamba Valley in the Andes
  • Trekking to «Rainbow Mountain»
  • Legacy of the Incas in Machu Picchu

Travel Program

We fly to Arequipa, located in southern Peru. Depending on the flight schedule, we reach our starting point the same day or the next day.

Overnight: Charming colonial hotel in Arequipa or plane

We stroll through the «White City» Arequipa. The historic center is an architectural highlight from the colonial era – it is full of patrician houses, churches and monasteries, such as the Monasterio Santa Catalina. Arequipa is very lovely, offers good restaurants and small bars, as well as the “Museo del Pisco”, which is dedicated to Peru’s national drink of the same name. An ideal start of the travel adventure in South America.

Overnight: Charming colonial hotel in the old town, Arequipa

Arequipa (2300 m) is surrounded by majestic volcanoes, such as the cone-shaped El Misti (5822 m) or the six-thousander Chachani (6025 m). Our rolling tour shows us the unknown sides of Arequipa and offers a first impression of the scenic beauty and diversity of Peru. In the evening we stroll through the old town, enjoy the exquisite Peruvian cuisine and have a really good time.

Bike route: 47 km, 200 m up, 1250 m down
Overnight stay: Charming colonial hotel in the old town, Arequipa

In our escort bus we overcome the 2500 meters of altitude up to the Patabamba Pass. The higher we get, the sparser the vegetation becomes. At a good 4000 meters there are only a few shepherds with their herds of alpacas and llamas. The shy vicuñas also inhabit this area. The wool of the delicate animals is one of the most valuable natural fibers in the world. The air is getting thinner and we are glad that today’s bike tour knows almost only one direction: down! Every ascent, no matter how short, has to be earned. But it’s beautiful, getting greener and greener again. We dive into the Colca Canyon and follow its course, deeper and deeper.

Bike route: 54 km, 400 m up, 1850 m down
Overnight stay: Simple local accommodation, Cabanaconde

When the thermals begin in the valley, the Andean condors soar with their wingspans of more than 3 meters and glide over the gorge, which is up to 2500 meters deep. They have lived here for over 60 million years and with a bit of luck we will marvel at them and their flying skills. We bike along the edge of the gorge and marvel at the spectacular landscape of the Colca Canyon.

Bike route: 44 km, 650 m up, 750 m down
Overnight: Local accommodation, Chivay

The distance from the Colca Canyon to Lake Titicaca is considerable. It’s a good thing we have the accompanying bus with us, which takes us over passes and wide plateaus to the starting point of today’s bike tour. We cycle through the original hinterland, which has been cultivated since time immemorial. At Lago Umayo we visit the up to 12 meter high tomb towers of Sillustani. These date from the pre-Inca period and are partly a good thousand years old. The Colla people buried their kings in the monumental stone towers. Depending on the time available, we swing back on the bikes and approach Puno. The very authentic Peruvian city is located directly on Lake Titicaca (3812 m).

Bike route: 27/40 km, 200/270 m up, 200/300 m down
Overnight stay: Nice hotel in the old town, Puno

Early in the morning a boat takes us out onto Lake Titicaca. The largest freshwater lake in South America is around fifteen times the size of Lake Constance. The western part belongs to Peru, the eastern part to Bolivia. Our goal is the floating reed islands of the Uros Indians. The Uru use bundles of dried totora reeds to make reed boats and to build the floating islands and houses. Originally, the island settlements served for defense; in the event of a threat, the floating islands could be relocated. In the afternoon we stroll through the old town of Puno, where Peruvian folk groups with drums and panpipes are often on the move. You just have to like them, the charming and lovable Peruvians.

Overnight: Nice hotel in the old town, Puno

Our escort bus drives us up to a small gravel pass (4600 m), somewhere in no man’s land. From here we bike mostly downhill and curve through a grandiose Andean valley, in which primeval giant bromeliads grow. These are up to 12 meters high and transform the valley into a fairytale landscape – uniquely beautiful! What follows is a wonderful bike ride through a gorge with bizarre rock formations.

Bike route: 38 km, 200 m, 800 m down
Overnight stay: Stylish colonial hostel, Checacupe

Today we overcome about 1000 meters of altitude by bus in a beautiful side valley. It is first lush green and then increasingly sparse. We get out on a small high plateau and lace up our hiking boots. Our destination for the day is the “Rainbow Mountain” (Montaña de Colores). It’s an easy hike, but the air is thin and we manage our strength well. Depending on the summit, we crack a height of 5000 m! The view of the multicolored flank of the Sandberg makes you forget the effort. Let yourself be surprised for the design of the afternoon, we have some ideas…

Bike route: 20/32 km, 200/300 m up, 230/330 m down
Trekking: approx. 3 h
Overnight stay: Stylish colonial hostel, Checacupe

In order to protect our somewhat tired legs, we will be shuttled by bus today. We visit Q’eswachaka, the last suspension bridge of the Incas. Every year in June it is artfully braided from grass – a masterpiece of old handicraft tradition. Then we swing into the bike saddle and enjoy the varied tour with the mountain bikes. On narrow tar and gravel roads we bike along four lakes through a postcard landscape.

Bike route: 56 km, 350 m up, 950 m down
Overnight stay: Good hotel in the old town, Cusco

This morning, the group splits up: Those who like it cozy sleep in, have breakfast and stroll through the impressive old town and treat themselves to a coca tea. The tireless bike on the Balcon Inka Trail under the expert guidance of a local bike crack. He shows us one of the most beautiful trails in Cusco. In the afternoon we visit together the most important sights of the former capital of the Inca Empire: The Plaza de Armas, the cathedral, the sun temple and much more let us marvel at the architectural art.

Bike route: 12 km, 100 m up, 450 m down
Overnight stay: Good hotel in the old town, Cusco

The extent of the Inca Empire was once enormous. Everywhere we encounter monuments and sections of their vast network of paths. Especially here in the Urubamba Valley, the “Sacred Valley of the Incas”, there is a lot to see. We let off steam on a first class downhill to the Maras salt mines. We follow the Urubamba River on a leisurely cycle path, partly directly on an old Inca trail.

Bike route: 65 km, 950 m up, 1750 m down
Overnight stay: Comfortable lodge, Ollantaytambo

At the top of the Abra de Malaga (4350 m) we start what is probably the longest downhill in the world. The first 55 kilometers are always downhill without a counter climb. It’s getting warmer, wetter, greener and more tropical – a bike ride from the Andes into the jungle. The second part will be a bit more strenuous. We master a few meters of altitude, but here at just under 1000 meters, we just fly along.

Bike route: 90 km, 430 m up, 3400 m down
Overnight stay: Agriturismo, Maranura

D)

The Rio Urubamba has dug itself very deep into the mountains in some places. Our final stage takes us along the river, then up over a small pass and down to a beautifully situated hot spring. We enjoy the warm water and toast to the eventful day.

Bike route: 35 km, 900 m up, 550 m down
Overnight stay: Cozy ecolodge, Santa Teresa

The cultural highlight of our trip follows today with a visit to Machu Picchu. We can only reach the starting point of Aguas Calientes by train or on foot. From here a bus takes us up to the hidden terrace where the legacy of the Incas was built a good 570 years ago. The stone complex is unique and has a mystical effect. Machu Picchu is framed by the river in a horseshoe shape and placed between two prominent peaks. Under knowledgeable, local guidance, we learn a lot of background knowledge about the Inca culture. You simply have to see this top highlight in South America!

Overnight: Mid-range hotel, Aguas Calientes

A morning train ride takes us to Ollantaytambo. On the side of the town facing the mountain, there is an imposing Inca complex, also called «fortaleza» (fortress) because of its extraordinarily strong walls. In fact, the complex was strategically located to dominate the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After a short bus transfer we return to Cusco. In the evening we celebrate the end of our adventure trip.

Overnight: good hotel in the old town, Cusco

Depending on the flight schedule, there is still free time, for example to visit the market or one of the first-class museums. We finally start our journey home to Europe via Peru’s capital Lima. A varied journey with many highlights is coming to an end. Peru, we will always have fond memories of you!

Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner

What's Included

Services included in the prices:

  • Flight taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Support vehicle and transfers
  • 13/14 nights in hotel in double room
  • 2 nights in simple accommodation
  • Breakfast the whole trip
  • 5 lunch meals
  • 2 dinners
  • Entrance fees and visits according to the programme
  • Bike Adventure Tours guide

Not included:

  • Meals and beverages not listed
  • Tips for our local team
  • Transport your own bike
  • Flight Zurich – Arequipa / Cuzco – Zurich
  • Cancellation cost and assistance insurance
  • Possibly small group surcharge (see AVRB point 3.2)
  • possibly ½ single room surcharge (see AVRB point 3.1)

Prices & Dates

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» Additional dates available upon request
» Rates may vary from July 26th to 31th for the national holidays

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Deposit for reservations: — USD (– EUR) ✓ Full payment 40 days before. No refund if you cancel less than 30 days!

Places: 🟢 *Available
Trip-code: Number ►PER-
Duration: 18 days
Participants: Minimal: 4 Maximal: 12
Members: We don’t have an open group to join – We can open a new group – Contact us!
Country / Location: Peru
Mountain Guide: Juventino Albino Caldua
Other dates / additional info: Contact us!

3% early bird discount when booking 6 months prior to departure 2023

Legend Booking-information:
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Juventino

Juventino Albino Caldua

Expert guide certified by IVBV - UIAGM - IFMGA
Co-Founder, Peru Expeditions

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