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Machu Picchu - Peru / Bolivia


Peru - Bolivia


Itinerary - Peru & Bolivia

Machu Picchu to La Paz

Cusco - Machu Picchu - Lake Titicaca - La Paz - Road of Death

Day 1: Cusco

You will be met from your flight and transferred to the joining hotel in Cusco. Cusco is a lively town rich in history that attracts large numbers of visitors; the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You will spend the next few days here acclimatising and enjoying the local attractions.

Altitude: 3,326m (10,912ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (D) 

Day 2: 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.

Altitude: 3,326m (10,912ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 3: Cusco

Another important acclimatization day before we begin our adventure. We will stretch our legs with a cycle around the local area to warm up for the coming days. You will also have time to enjoy more of Cusco's many historic attractions. 

Altitude: 3,326m (10,912ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 4 Cusco - Ollantaytambo

We have a short vehicle transfer out of Cusco to Chinchero and set off on our bikes for a spectacular day of cycling into the Inca heartland. The first stretch is uphill on a paved road leading us away from the city into farmland. We continue riding on single track gravel road towards Moray. Just west of the village of Maras, Moray is an archaeological site with 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. We ride though a lush green, pretty valley dominated by incredibly steep mountains. We stop to visit the Maras Salt Flats (entrance 20 soles) and transfer by vehicle for the final stretch to picturesque Ollantaytambo (2,800m). The village is the best surviving example of Inca planning with well-preserved cobbled streets and good drainage channels. It is presided over by a huge Inca citadel that overlooks Ollantaytambo. Known as 'the fortress' this was the site of a famous defeat of the Spanish conquistadors, before they came back shortly after to claim victory. The building also served as a temple and at the top of the terracing you will find a ceremonial area.

Across the Urubamba River and 5 km from Ollantaytambo is Kachiqhata the Inca quarry from where stones were transported to build the citadel and its surrounding impressive structures. If you look back from here in the direction of Ollantaytambo you will see an optical illusion in the form of a pyramid in front of the fortress. It is said that this is the point from which the 4 Inca brothers the founders of the Incas emerged. There is also an interesting museum in Ollantaytambo.

Cycling Distance: 38km (24 miles)
Ascent: 280m (918ft)
Descent: 1,140m (3,740ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 2,800m (9,186ft)

Accommodation: Hotel (B,L) 

Day 5: Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo

With an early start, we take a train to Aguas Calientes in the Urubamba River Valley the closest town to Machu Picchu, from where our journey will continue by bus. Our first views of Machu Picchu are one of the highlights of the trip. The Lost City of the Incas was rediscovered in 1911; today it is one of the world's most fascinating and important archaeological finds. We have 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 back to Ollantaytambo through stunning mountain and jungle scenery.

Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)
Altitude: 2,800m (9,186ft)

 Day 6: Ollantaytambo to Pisac

Back on the bikes this morning, we ride from Ollantaytambo 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 fresh produce, handicrafts and ceramics. In the heart of the central plaza, dominating the 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. 

Cycling Distance: 58km (36 miles)
Ascent: 370m (1,214ft)
Descent: 220m (721ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 2,970m (9,744ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 7: Pisac - Urcos 

We cycle on south east to the small town of Urcos riding into the town along the bank of the River Vilcanota. We can stop en route to visit 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.  

Cycling Distance: 50km (31 miles)
Ascent: 530m (1,738ft)
Descent: 929m (3,047ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 3,154m (10,347ft)  
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 8: Urcos - Pucara- Lampa

This morning we will transfer by vehicle from Urcos (3.30 hours). We pass fields of rice and lupins (the latter are used for stews and soups!) Hummingbirds fly overhead and lilac orchids line the road. We trave 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 an Inca two storey building. The whole site is built on the only (dormant) volcano in the Cusco region. We travel over the Abra de la Raya Pass (4,335m). We are likely to see plenty of livestock grazing by the roadside including llamas and alpacas.  At the top there are incredible views of snow-capped mountains. Our surroundings become barren and icy mountain streams criss-cross the landscape.

We reach the sleepy village of Pucara(3,860m) famous for ceramic bulls displayed on the roofs for good luck. The ancient archaeological site of Pukara, dated as early as 1,800 BC, is located to the west of the town the ruins preside dramatically over the area. Back on the bikes we ride this afternoon 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 where people go about their daily lives, with a tough 4km climb before arriving in Lampa. This is 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.

Cycling Distance: 43km (27 miles)
Ascent: 290m (951ft)
Descent: 300m (984ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 3,871m (12,700ft)  

Accommodation: Guest House (B,L)

Day 9: Lampa - Puno

Today we will have a 90 minute transfer by vehicle towards Puno to avoid riding on busy congested road. Puno is the main port on Lake Titicaca. This is the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,800m. It is also the largest lake in South America and covers a larger area than the whole of 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 the most convenient stopping point between Cusco and La Paz. Puno is also recognised as "Capital folklórica del Peru" (folklore capital of Peru) for its numerous artistic and cultural activities, particularly dance.

We will have time this afternoon to take a boat trip to the Uros floating islands.  Just 5km from Puni, these man made floating reed islands are Lake Titicaca's main attraction. 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.

Sleeping Altitude: 3,846m (12,618ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 10: Puno - Juli- Copacabana

We transfer out of Puno along a road that hugs the shoreline of Lake Titicaca, passing through Chimu village where the main industry is production from totora reeds. There are usually several reed boats in various stages of construction lining the route. As we head towards Chucuito and Juli, the road curves away from the lake via the town of Ilave. 

We begin cycling from the small town of Juli, is known as pequena Roma (little Rome) because of its four colonial churches dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. This afternoon we ride out of rural Peru continuing on relatively flat terrain with only one notable descent 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. Copacabana sits on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca, between Mount Calvario and Mount Niño Calvario. With cobbled streets, old stone buildings and a huge white cathedral the pretty town is an historic centre for religious pilgrimage. Today local and visiting Peruvian pilgrims still congregate here for the town's festivals. You can take a boat trip out on the lake to Isla del Sol the sacred Inca island and one of the main attractions on the Bolivian side of the lake.

Cycling Distance: 59km (37 miles)
Ascent: 702m (2,303ft)
Descent: 610m (2,001ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 3,948m (12,952ft)  

Accommodation: Guest House (B,L)

Day 11: 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. We transfer by vehicle away from the shores of the lake continuing from the Huata Peninsula through the villages of Vichi and Santiago de Huata as the road climbs and descends along the way into La Paz.

Cycling Distance: 40km (25 miles)
Ascent: 611m (2,004ft)
Descent: 640m (2,100ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 2,970m (9,744ft)  

Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

Day 12: La Paz - Coroico

A spectacular 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 opened in 2006 and the re-routing of most traffic to the highway means the old road is now safer than ever before. For adventurous mountain bikers it presents an incomparable and exhilarating challenge.

You can cycle or choose a transfer from La Paz to La Cumbre, a 4,750m pass over the icebound peaks of the Cordillera Real. For those who wish to cycle from La Paz (19km) there will be an early start. we transfer to the outskirts of the city to avoid heavy traffic. From La Cumbre we begin 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 cling to 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, other bikes, and oncoming traffic. However, the rewards are immense. This route is one of Bolivia's top tourist attractions and the dramatic scenery makes it one of the world's most beautiful roads. We stay tonight in Coroico (1,525m) where the lush, tropical surroundings are a welcome contrast to the rugged altiplano.

Cycling Distance: 64km (40 miles)
Ascent: 625m (2,050ft)
Descent: 3,525m (11,546ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 1,525m (5,003ft)  

Accommodation: Guest House (B,L)

Day 13: La Paz

After a transfer back to La Paz this morning you have a day to relax and explore 'the city that touches the sky'. Located high above sea level (ranging from 3,000m to 4,100m), La Paz 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. Before 1904, this building housed a convent, a jail, and a university. There will also be time to wander along the narrow, cobbled-stoned Jaen Street, with its fascinating colonial architecture. Museo Nacional de Arqueología houses items from Tiwanaku, Bolivia's premiere archaeological site. The energetic can climb to Mirador Laikakota lookout which offers panoramic views of La Paz and is a great place to photograph snow-capped Illimani.

Sleeping Altitude: 2,970m (9,744ft)  
Accommodation: Hotel (B,D)

Day 14: Tour Ends

This morning we bid you farewell. You will be transferred to the airport, for your international flight home.

If you are looking to book a place on our Peru & Bolivia cycling holiday in Peru, then please call us on +44 (0) 1463 417707.

Alternatively, you can email us on for more information on this adventure holiday.