Peru - The Andean Dream
Getting there and away
Our Peru cycling holiday starts in Arequipa on a Sunday. We appreciate that people will join redspokes tours from all over the world and therefore no matter what time you arrive at the airport on the tour start date you and your luggage will be transferred to the joining hotel. Please bear in mind that if you arrive before midday you may have to wait for your room to be made available. If you decide to arrive before this date redspokes can assist you in booking your accommodation and will organise a transfer to your hotel at an additional cost.
The 15-day tour ends on Saturday in Cusco. redspokes includes in the tour price a transfer to Cusco airport on the dpearture day. Please ensure that your international flights from Lima depart after 3pm (local time) in order to allow enough time for transfers. Our holiday price does not include your local or international flights. Please ensure you leave sufficient time to connect to your international flight. If you decide to stay in Peru beyond the last day of the tour redspokes can help you organise extra accommodation and transfers to the airport if needed. If you are intending to stay in Lima before or after the tour please contact us as we can arrange accommodation and airport transfers at a reasonable cost.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is essential when you travel abroad. For U.K residents' visas are not required. All other nationalities should check visa requirements with their nearest Peruvian Embassy.
If you would prefer to pay an agent to get your visa, we would suggest using Travcour (UK) Ltd. They have been in the visa business for 25 years & offer our customers a £5 discount on all visas purchased.
Insurance and vaccinations
It is a condition of joining our trips that you must be adequately insured. All persons are expected to arrange their own insurance. Polices should cover any potential risks involved in a mountain cycling holiday. We ask for details of your policy to be provided when you complete your booking.
Snowcard Insurance Services specialize in all mountain sports holidays including mountain biking. Their policies include emergency medical and repatriation expenses as well as mountain rescue. They are also able to insure personal belongings including equipment as well as travel cover for cancellation, delay and missed departure. Follow the link below to obtain full information and a quote: www.snowcard.co.uk
Plan ahead for your vaccinations, some of them require more than one injection you should seek medical advice at least six weeks before travel. We recommend vaccinations against typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, and a tetanus injection is essential.
Cycling support and grading
All the time you will have the security of a back-up vehicle, either a jeep, bus or truck. The vehicles will carry our entire luggage and you when needed. Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be equipped for all repairs, so you must ensure that your bike is in good working order before the tour. If in doubt, have it fully serviced by a bike shop before you travel.
This trip is designed for the experienced cyclist. The distances and gradient each day are not extreme, but the altitude and terrain make this a tough trip. Although you do not need to be an athlete, it pays to spend some time before the trip getting into the best shape possible. This will ensure you get the most from your holiday. We can send you specific training tips on request.
Equipment and bike stuff
Bikes for this trip need to be:
Tough as bikes can take a battering in Peru and low geared (such as a 22-tooth granny cog on the front crank driving an 11-32/34 block on the back). Comfort is important, as there are some long days, so make sure your saddle and riding position are appropriate.
A mountain bike is a good option. Front suspension will help with the washboard tracks and potholes, but it is not essential. Full-suspension is OK, but may be hard work on the tarmac stretches. If you have flat bars, fitting bar ends will give you a different hand position and help with the climbs. The trip can be done on a traditional touring bikes, but it is important to ensure it has got strong enough wheels, sufficiently wide tyres (37mm is about the minimum) and low enough gearing. It's worth investing in a pair of 36 spoke, hand-built wheels, using a good quality rim (e.g. Sun Rhyno, Mavic or Rigida).
The route is a mixture of poorly maintained tarmac and very rough gravel tracks. The best tyre for the job is probably the Schwalbe Marathon XR. It's very tough and hardwearing and has a decent tread for the gravel without being too knobbly for tarmac.
We would advise the following: a multi-tool, tyre levers, pump, 2 spare inner tube, spare spokes of the correct length to fit your wheels - check with a bike shop, brake pads, a few spare links for your chain, spares for any unique or high-tech items on your bike, e.g. fluid and bleed kit for hydraulic brakes.
Please ensure that your bike is in good working order before you leave on tour. If you are not the most mechanically minded we suggest that you get your bike looked at by a professional bike mechanic. We particularly suggest looking and adjusting all wheel spokes, greasing all your bearings, checking your brakes/gears cable, tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamps, tires and put in new inner tubes and check wheel rims are not worn. In addition make sure the bike is well serviced and ride it with as much care and attention as possible.
Here's our recommended kit list. It's not rigid - feel free to vary it at as necessary to your specific needs:
Good quality waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, warm hat (thick fleece), sun hat, cycle mitts, warm gloves, mountaineering gloves (waterproof outer, fleece inner) are good, mid-weight fleece top, 2 pairs cycling tights (looser, "trackster" fit rather than skin-tight lycra), shorts, long sleeved shirt, travel trousers, 2 wicking t-shirts (synthetic or merino wool), cotton t-shirt for around town, long sleeved thermal top, thermal long johns, 2-3 pairs of underwear, 2-3 pairs of standard socks, 1 pair of warm socks, cycling shoes, e.g. SPD's, trekking shoes, flip-flops, crocs or sandals to wear around camp.
Other suggested items are: a bike helmet, a pair of dark glasses (the sun is very strong), a small day sack or pannier (assuming you have a rack to attach it to) to carry clothing, camera and valuables, a couple of spare passport photos, photocopies of key documents. e.g., passport (data and visa pages), travel insurance policy, airline tickets, camera, photos of your family and postcards of your town to show the locals.
Baggage allowances and your bike
Your bike must be carried as a part of your luggage allowance and, to this end, we do ask that you to make every effort to keep your total check-in baggage to an absolute minimum. The baggage allowance for most airlines for an economy-class ticket is 20kg per person; although a degree of flexibility is usually extended to groups and the check in staff may accept up to 26kg per person without imposing excess baggage charges. Your bike (in its cardboard box) will weigh 15 to 18kg. So, that means you will have a small allowance for clothing, etc. You should carry small heavy items in your day pack / pannier which you can take onto the plane as hand luggage.
What's included and what's not
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. When camping we provide 2 person tents with all the necessary equipment for communal camping and cooking. All you need to bring is your own sleeping bag.
All food is provided on the tour apart from lunches and evening meals in Lima, Arequipa and Cusco.
All transportation and local guides from Arequipa to Cusco are included. Your international flights to and from Peru and internal flights from Lima to Araquipa and from Cusco to Lima are not included.
Entry to Machu Picchu is included in the overall price.
Spending money depends on your taste for souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that £180 will be more than enough to cover the 15 day tour. Locally payable airport tax is around $35 from Lima to London and $6 each for the internal flights within Peru.
The danger of theft cannot be over emphasised. However, a few simple precautions can make life a lot easier. The most important is to keep your ticket, passport, money and travelers schedules on your person at all times. Money belts are a goodidea.
Currency Nuevo sol (PEN)
Population 29,496,000 (2010 est.)
Language Spanish (official), Quechua , Aymara
Religion Roman Catholic 81.3%, Evangelical 12.5%, other 3.3%, unspecified or none 2.9%
Electricity Mostly 220V/60Hz (Type A and C North American and Euro plug)
Calling Code +51
Internet TLD .pe
Time Zone UTC -5
Some suggestions for reading include, The South American Handbook, The Conquest of the Incas (John Hemming), Flight of the Condor (Michael Andrews) and Overthrown by strangers (Ronan Bennett).
Trailblazer Guide: The Inca Trail, Cusco & Machu Picchu
includes Santa Teresa Trek, Choquequirao Trek, Vilcabamba Traila and Lima City Guide
Please take time to listen to or read Noam Chomsky - "South America Rising"