Adventures / Remote Rides

Adventure Cycling in Peru

Ride the high passes of the Andes and the Amazon Basin all the way to Machu Picchu

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Trip Ref #10418

Adventures / Remote Rides

Adventure Cycling in Peru

Ride the high passes of the Andes and the Amazon Basin all the way to Machu Picchu

DURATION

7 nights

LOCATION

Peru

ANNUAL LEAVE

1 week off work

SEASON

April-Nov

GROUP SIZE

Up to 13 people

MEETING POINT

Cusco Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Guesthouse · Campsite · Wild camping · Lodge

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

You should be a cyclist but no technical experience is needed - you won’t need to be super fit either as there is an overall downhill bias

Take on the most spectacular of high-altitude descents; roll 2200m downhill past glacial peaks and dense jungle

Visit the ancient Incan ruins and terraces of Pisac, Chinchero and Moray in the mystical Sacred Valley

Bed down in picture-perfect campsites beside the hot mineral springs and dramatic gorges of Lares and Cocalmayo

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

Included

Guides

Local, professional, English-speaking guides and bike mechanics

Accommodation

4 nights in a guesthouse, 2 nights camping and 1 night in a lodge

Meals

Local delicious food throughout

Transfers

Both airport transfers and travel between locations

Equipment

Specialized Camber bikes and all your camping equipment

Permits

All permits and entry fees to the sites

Luggage Transfer

A truck to carry all your overnight kit

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

CUZ (Cusco Airport)

Flexible - arrive any time on Day 1

Ends

CUZ (Cusco Airport)

Flexible - catch any flight home on Day 8

Transfers

Your host will pick you up on arrival on Day 1 and drop you off on departure on Day 8. If you arrive early or extend your stay, your host can arrange a private transfer for you. See Optional Extras for pricing.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Cusco from major international airports in the UK, the US and Europe, as well as from Lima.

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Food is a highlight of any trip to Peru, it is a food-obsessed nation that won the World Travel Award Best Culinary destinations eight years in a row, from 2011 to 2019. In the highlands, the variety of potatoes will astound you. In the jungle you’ll want to try paco - a local fish that tastes like chicken! Other local Amazonian produce like avocados (as big as footballs), coffee, chocolate, yuca and fried plantain will all be sampled throughout. Standout dishes you might like to try include caldo de gallina (a popular soup that includes four kinds of potato and a quarter of a chicken), chicharron (deep-fried pork chunks with lashings of onion and mint), cuy (guinea pig!), locro de zapallo (a sweet and satisfying pumpkin stew) and of course Peru’s flagship dish, ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice).

While cycling your host will make sure you experience the full range of local dishes, from a modish, cutting-edge, Novo-Andino fusion restaurant in Cusco, to a soup stand in a rural market, via the hearty soul food of the roadside quintas. Whilst camping, you’ll be catered to by an amazing team of cooks - the quality and quantity of food they produce is a highlight for many.

While Peru is a heavily meat-eating country, your host has no difficulty catering for any kind of dietary requirement from vegetarian and vegan to gluten-free and anything in between - just let them know on your passenger information form.

What is the accommodation like?

Cusco

You'll spend 3 nights in Cusco at the Llipimpac Guesthouse. Offering rustic lodge-style accommodation in central Cusco, and just 3 blocks from Cusco's main square, the guesthouse is consistently rated as one of the best places to stay in town. The rooms are colourful and all set around a peaceful central garden where breakfast is usually served.

Sacred Valley

You'll spend a night at the El Tambo del Chasqui guesthouse in Lamay. This basic but clean guesthouse offers twin rooms and its own on-site restaurant. It only has 8 rooms so it's likely you'll have the place to yourselves.

Camping

You'll spend two nights camping. The first is at the Lares campsite right next to the hot springs. There are toilets and showers and you'll be there with your cooking crew who will set up a dining tent with tables and stools, all right by the hot pools. The second night will be spent in the jungle in a clearing that is suitable for camping and also home to an abandoned hacienda. There are no showers here but your crew will set up a toilet tent as well as a dining area. All of your camping and sleeping equipment is provided and you will spend the nights in twin-share tents by default.

Santa Teresa

You'll spend your penultimate night at the Eco Quechua Lodge in Santa Teresa. Nestled deep in the jungle the lodge is built with native wood and each room is designed to get you as up and close to nature as possible - expect to fall asleep to the sound of the jungle and the river rushing below. You will stay in twin-share rooms by default.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Welcome to Peru

Touchdown in Cusco and enjoy a wander around the historic centre for spectacular mountain views and colonial buildings a-plenty. Cusco sits at 3300m above sea level so expect to feel the altitude and drink plenty of water to help you acclimatise. Get to know your guide and fellow adventurers over dinner and hear all about the week ahead.

Day 2

Ancient ruins and rides

Cycling

24km · 140m up · 630m down

Meet the rest of your support crew this morning and get set up with your bikes before heading off on a scenic, easy ride through rolling countryside, past lakes and farms and through rural villages, all set against the insanely scenic backdrop of the dividing ridge of the Andes. You’ll ride to Chinchero to meet local artisans in their outdoor weaving cooperatives, and explore an Inca ruin with extensive terracing and incredible views. Next up, Moray – a mysterious complex of massive amphitheatres said to have been the Incas’ agricultural lab and research centre. Back to Cusco for another night of acclimatisation and perhaps some local music after dinner.

Day 3

Into the Sacred Valley

Cycling

57km · 470m up · 300m down

Today you’ll ride from the South Valley, beginning in the outskirts of Cusco, to the famed Sacred Valley of the Incas. Each town you pass through is famed for a particular speciality – Oropesa is known for its bread, Tipón for ‘cuy’ (guinea pig), Saylla for ‘chicharrones’ (pork with mint) and Lucre for ‘pato’ (duck) - so there’s plenty to keep you fuelled up. You’ll cycle through the famously beautiful Sacred Valley where you’ll ride along the Urubamba River to your overnight spot in Lamay. This sleepy little farming village has one funky tiny bar with local microbrews on tap so well worth a visit for a nightcap or two.

Day 4

Get your friendly haggle on

Cycling

52km · 460m up · 1600m down

This morning you’ll take a quick transfer to the Inca fortress of Pisac and then ride onto Calca, where you can visit the local market and chat with the locals. You’ll next drive up to a high pass and hit the dirt road all the way downhill to the Lares Hot Spring, sitting beside a raging river nestled in a dramatic gorge. The yellow thermal spring complex is filled with rich minerals and is a popular place to soak and restore, ideal after a day in the saddle.

Day 5

From high pass to high jungle

Cycling

100km · 70m up · 2200m down

Today you’ll cross the watershed from the Pacific to the Atlantic side of the Andes – into the steamy Amazon Basin. If you enjoy biking downhill through stunning scenery on perfect dirt road, today will probably be the greatest day of your life. You’ll drive up to a 4425m pass, then sit back on your bike and roll all the way down to the high jungle, losing more than 2000m of altitude along the way! Sit back and watch the scenery change as you pass glacial plains above the treeline, through hardy highland trees, past the tiny towns of Kelcaybamba and Ocobamba, into the high jungle. You’ll end the day riding along a river through dense green jungle, past orchids, bromeliads, and ferns to your overnight jungle campsite.

Day 6

The final descent

Cycling

54km · 680m up · 800m down

Waking up to the hum of the jungle, you’ll have an early start and grab breakfast before setting off on your last ride. You’ll descend to the Yanatile valley floor on undulating dirt roads, through banana, papaya and coffee plantations. Stopping for lunch at a quinta (a breezy outdoor restaurant serving traditional Peruvian meals), you’ll wave goodbye to your trusty steed and drive along a narrow country backroad to Santa Teresa where you’ll spend the night in an eco-lodge. In the evening you’ll visit the Cocalmayo Hot Springs for another restorative soak and an early night to prepare for a big day at Machu Picchu tomorrow.

Day 7

Bucket list bonus

Hiking

4hrs · 4km · 300m up · 300m down

An early start for the one and only Machu Picchu. A spectacular stone city surrounded by incredibly steep, incredibly green mountains, Machu Picchu needs no introduction and is deservedly one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Your guide will give you a tour of the massive site and you’ll have some free time to wander around and soak it all in before you catch the train back to Cusco for your last night as a group - Pisco sours all round to celebrate!

Day 8

All good things must come to an end

After your Peruvian adventure, it's time to head home. Your transfer will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco and take you to the airport in time for your onward journey.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

CYCLE KIT

Pedals and saddle if you would rather use your own (these will be fitted to the bike for you)
Helmet (these are provided but bring your own if you'd rather)

CLOTHES

Padded cycling shorts
Sports top or cycling jersey
Fleece x 2 or similar layers for the evenings
Rain and windproof lightweight jacket
Cycling gloves
Buff or neck scarf
Warm hat Warm gloves T-shirts
Underwear & socks
Sunglasses and sunhat
Something to sleep in
Cycling shoes/trainers (bring your own pedals if using cleats)
Sandals
Casual clothing for the evenings

OTHER

Swimwear (for hot springs)
Headtorch
Bumbag or small rucksack for riding
Quick-dry travel towel
Power bank or solar charger for camping nights
Universal travel adaptor
Passports (and visas)
Travel Insurance documents
Earplugs (optional)
Suncream
Personal first-aid kit
Insect repellant - essential (not available locally)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
Tissues / toilet roll
Alcohol hand-gel
Reusable water bottle x2
Energy bars and snacks

Single Room in Cusco

Payable Before Departure

Single Room in Cusco

Twin/Double Room in Cusco

Payable Before Departure

Twin/Double Room in Cusco

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Airport Transfer One Way

Payable Before Departure

Airport Transfer One Way

Per Person

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 158kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

No technical skill is required, just some strong-ish legs and a sense of adventure! You should be comfortable riding back to back days covering an average of 50km a day. As this whole trip is at altitude, it has been designed to have an overall downhill bias - it's not much fun puffing up hills when your lungs have less oxygen than usual. You will need to be a cyclist and some previous riding on dirt roads, away from tarmac, would be useful but not essential - you'll soon learn that 50km on road vs on gravel and dirt tracks is quite different and a different type of cycling fun. The riding on this trip is on approx 80% dirt roads and 20% paved roads - although you will be riding mountain bikes this is not mountain biking in the standard sense - the bikes are chosen for being robust and comfy so perfect for the terrain covered.

You will be cycling at a relaxed pace with plenty of time to stop and take in the spectacular scenery. Each day is also designed so that some extra riding can be added should the group desire some more km's to get stuck into - your guides are keen cyclists so will take no persuading for some extra leg-work. You will also have a truck with you (away from the group while riding) to transport your overnight stuff and spare bike bits, so if the going gets too tough or too hot, you can always jump in for a bit of respite.

It's no secret that we love cycling and many of us at HQ think it's the best way to see a country, however, we realise that organising your own trip can be a total faff. On our cycling trips, we've found a local guide who has put together a perfect route and will navigate for you all the way. We even send a van that transports your overnight luggage and provide high-quality bikes and delicious snacks to keep you going. Faff eliminated! All you have to do is turn up, pedal and take in the landscape with your fellow tourers. You don't need to be a lycra-clad 'roadie' although everyone is welcome!

You'll be riding double-suspension Specialized Cambers bikes. These are light double suspension aluminum mountain bikes - perfect for a comfortable ride on the tracks and on the paved sections. They all come with standard flat pedals and male/standard saddles. If you would rather pack your own saddle and pedals (including SPD's), please do and these will be fitted for you.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

You will be provided with filtered water throughout so there is no need to purchase any single-use plastic water bottles. Bring 2 x reusable bottles instead, they will be well used.

While in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, you are in the high mountains and plains. As in other alpine areas, you can expect brisk, often sunny conditions in the daytime, perfect for outdoor activities. Expect daytime temperatures in the range of 15 - 25 ̊C, and cold nights – bring a good fleece, or down jacket if you feel the cold. In the lower land, near the end of the trip and at Machu Picchu, daytime temperatures are generally in the range of 20 - 30 ̊C and it can feel hotter due to humidity and strong sun. Nights are cooler but still very mild. The trip runs in the dry season so rain is unlikely but you are in the mountains so of course should be prepared for all weathers.

The Peruvian Andes are high, no denying it. Spectacular but high. Cusco sits at 3399m so you'll be sure to feel the altitude when arriving - your host advises to not drink alcohol immediately and to walk slowly to get used to the change. As you will be spending the first two nights of the trip in Cusco there will be enough time to acclimatise before getting higher. The highest pass you will reach is 4425m but you'll be cycling downhill from here so will gradually enjoy more oxygen in your lungs. Your guides are all used to working with people at altitude so will advise you further when you arrive.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. The number of support staff varies depending on how many cyclists are in your group (5 support staff for a group of 4 cyclists, up to 8 support staff for a group of 13 cyclists), which of course impacts the suggested amount of tips. We suggest that you budget approx $80-$120 in tips for your trip - this will ensure all of the support staff (the team of guides, cooks and drivers) will have a share of tips at the end of the trip regardless of the group size on the trip. Your guide will assist with tips at the end of the trip.

Sure thing - you can leave any extra gear at the host's base in Cusco or at the guesthouse you will be staying at pre and post cycling.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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