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Hi Matt, you are in for some great riding. We exited EC at Zumba, south of Vilcabamba. If it is raining this road is horrible, and it only gets worse on the Peru side. Slippery mud and road construction. Check the Border Info page on this site, I think I did a report for it. If it is dry, it will be wonderul. If you want to avoid that nasty Panamericana, stay your first night in Peru in San Ignacio (3 hours from the border), then hang a left at Jaen, and continue to Pedro Ruiz (second night), then say bye to the pavement as you go to Chachapoyas. We loved this place and all the vacant ruins that were available to scrable around. And the ruins at Kuelap, a must. Head south to Leimibamba, stay the night and the next day drop from a 4700m pass to 900m at Balsas (staying here for a sweaty night), and the next day wind your way up to another 4600m then to Celendin, either staying here or continuing to the big city of Cajamarca. From here, if your bike is still holding together you can keep going south or jump out to the Panamericana road. Your next stop of course would be the Cord Blanca, and there are tons of great roads there. Most of these dirt roads are not great. We were on 2 loaded F650s, but went slow and had a great time.
If it rains too bad, you can cross the border via Loja and ride pavement into Piura. After Piura, avoid the Panamericana using the Vieja (old) Panamericana. It hugs the mountains and squirms by little lost towns. There's a detour to the jungle near Olmos (the lowest pass on the peruvian andes, 2500 mts.) And you can reach Chachapoyas (about 6 hrs)from there. Stay on the Pana. if the rains keep like now. I live in Cord. Blanca, own a bar, write me andI'll give you more tips. Keep on!!
in august we rode through the "ica desert" in peru's central coastal area. it's kind of a pocket-sahara and very beautiful, adventurous and lonely.
we did two routes, just following instinct and some satellite pictures, as there is no accurate maps + neither any route descriptions available.
these tracks (as long as there are any!) are sometimes the tough stuff, but that's where the fun starts for us...
a gps is essential, and you should "never walk alone".
a great experience - unique in south america. next year "i'll be back" to cover some more of this area.
if anyone would like to try, i could mail you gps-coordinates, but be prepared!
you can see some pictures and a map here.
If you are on the coast, 10km after Chao Chao there leads a prived road which is in excellent condition (for the first 40km) up into the mountains to Caraz, you also can enter via Santa. Its a great ride and the scienery is excellent, the road conditions a little less. Than stay in the mountains till Abancay and go via Huancavellica and Santa Ines. Right on the pass before Santa Ines go to the left for 3km, should be the highest driveable pass 5059m Perus they say, than go back down direction Santa Ines!
Thanks for the great info. Hopefully it is not raining too hard yet.
I should hopefully take the mountain road down to Cajamarca if the rains have not hit hard yet (Here in Cuenca has been good for a week so I am not ruling it out yet). Past Trujillo I plan to head inland through the Cañon del Pato and then over to Haurez - would like to visit your bar Vagamundo.
I don't have a GPS so I guess the desert ride is out. But thanks for the info Desert Soul.
Maybe catch up with you guys on the road for a .
[This message has been edited by mattpope (edited 18 November 2004).]
We did the ride heading from the Pan Am upto Cajamarca, on to Celedine, then to Keulap (a whole day to do about 100 miles from Celedine to Kuelap). That was back in 2000 and it was utterly fab. Don´t know how much it has changed,but the "main" road going past Kuelap was awesome.
looks like you made it all the way to the cuzco area. it would be interesting to know: which way through peru did you choose? was it worth the effort? are there any suggestions for other travellers?
maybe you could give a short overview!
Hi everyone following this thread. I was waiting until I left Peru to add my final impressions. But anyway, here goes.....
I left Ecuador and crossed the border at Macara (border point La Tina). The border was pretty simple with nothing to pay. I changed some money with the taxi drivers - no official office there. The recommended route from Vilcabamba looked a bad option given 3 days of rain. Shame.
Route south took me to Chiclayo - Panamericana was maybe not so interesting for anyone coming from the south but from the north, the appearance of desert made a change from the mountains.
Chiclayo to Cajamarca. Nice ride on paved roads into the mountains but the town was a bit of a let down. At present they are installing a new water main in the historic centre and it looks like a building site.
Next stop Huanchaca on the coast next to Trujillo. Nice place to hang out for a couple of days. Hostal Naylamp had a nice garage.
Up to this point riding had been good but was about to get much better. Rode up to Huaraz via the Cañon Del Pato. This includes a 100km unpaved stretch through the very impressive canyon where there are numerous narrow tunnels carved out of the cliffs overlooking a long drop to the canyon. This is a strongly recommended route for anyone with a little off-road capability.
In Huaraz, pay a visit to Marcello at the Vagamundo bar.
From Huaraz, I continued down to Lima using the standard paved route back to the Panamericana. Up in the Cordillera Blanca this is marvellous scenery. The type that makes your yaw drop and your tongue hang out. Nice descent to the Panamericana but after that pretty boring to Lima.
From Lima, I took the Callatera Central over the pass at 4800m and descended to the jungle in La Merced. The diversity of scenery on this route is tremendous for just one day on the bike.
Next day rode to Huencavelica via Tarma and Huancayo. There are some great paved and unpaved bits. This was true rural Andes scenery and my best riding up to this stage in Peru.
Next day returned to the coast at Pisco via a particularly rough but incredibly beautiful road. Had a bit of snow as I summited the pass before Santa Ines but the views as much as the altitude took my breath away. Further on there was a section of 50kms riding next to a canyon with a drop of more than 1000m to the river below. Were it not getting dark I would have stopped and taken more photos. Would say this was the highlight of my riding in Peru. I have no idea what the name of this canyon was. 10/10
Next riding has been along the Panamericana from Pisco to Huachina near Ica and then to Nazcar. Getting a bit tired of the desert now.
Currently in Arequipa after coming down teh Panamericana. Would have preferred to go to Cusco first via teh Abancay road but that is the way my trip has worked out.
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