8 Day Freeride Mountain Bike Adventure in Peru
Highlights: Mountain bikers – this trip is for you ! Our Colorado expat tour leader designed this 8 day trip to combine all the best of Peru – ceviche and an ice cold beer overlooking the surfers on the Pacific Ocean in Lima; a trip to Machu Picchu and several other massive Incan sites; and the best high altitude singletrack, downhill, and free riding in the southern hemisphere. This trip is for intermediate to advanced level riders..
Click here to see pro riders Aaron Chase and Chris Van Dine riding with us
Click here to see pro riders Rob J and MTB legend Rene Wildehaber riding with us
After arriving to Lima either last night or this morning, you will make a short one hour flight across the heart of the Peruvian Andes into the capital Inca city of Cusco. During the flight, those who took our advice and booked a seat on the left side of the plane when they checked in will be treated to unbelievable views.of many mountains over 20,000 feet high. After landing, we will get our luggage and meet our driver outside the airport. Due to the rigors of overnight international travel and the high altitude here in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (over 11,000 feet !) we will leave the airport and make a short driving tour around Cusco before heading to the lower altitude of the Sacred Valley.
Our destination is our home base for this week, KB Tambo Hotel, famed locale of international shredders for many years. After checking in and getting unpacked a bit, we will be the guests at a special rooftop welcome party and happy hour on our deck. This is where we all throw down. Plenty of space to put your bike together as well, if you wish. There is definitely time for a short ride and there is a great trail right out our back door. Later, we will enjoy Pisco Sours, a national cocktail that is sort like a Peruvian margarita. They pack quite the wallop so go easy. If you would like to see pictures of the hotel rooms, just go to the ‘Hotel’ button on the home page.
Today is a freaking fast day of mountain biking in Peru. Lots of sun-baked clay single track, very fast and dry most of the year. (See how it is sunny the side of the Valley that this photo is taken in versus the Mountains of Doom in the background. Today is shuttle-mania, we will start with the famous Salt Mines and Moray ride, including two drops, plus a pump track / half pipe. After lunch, we’ll probably do a “Racchi”, and end up with a ripper secret single track down to the bottom of the Sacred Valley.Today is an awesome day of freeride mountain biking. . Photo credit to Marco Antonio.
Day 3 brings us to some of the best mountain bike rides in Peru. This is the world famous Inca Avalanche race course (formerly the Mega Avalanche. Every May between one hundred and two hundred mountain bikers from all over the world gather in Ollantaytambo to ride this race, on of the highest altitude mountain bike races in the world ! Comprised of old Incan roads and a lot of singletrack, the course is a thriller.
One of the most exciting rides in Peru, this bike trail drops from 14,500 feet at the foot of a glacier all the way down to the valley floor 5,000 feet below. Along the way we will blaze past waterfalls, llamas, Incan ruins, pre-Incan ruins, small stone Andean houses and traditional culture. In fact part of the trail is on an actual Inca road, an ancient Amazon jungle access route that almost certainly pre-dates the Incas and is probably well over fifteen hundred years old.
The ride has a little bit of everything – rock garden, rock chutes, long flowy green grass sections, jumps (all avoidable), drops, clean single track, high alpine riding, you name it. This ride can be enjoyed by anyone with intermediate skills.
As we mentioned, this mountain bike trail is thousands of years old ! The Incas took this very route to escape the invading Spanish conquistadores, and no doubt that literally tons of jungle produce came up and over this pass from the Amazon jungle on its eastern flanks.
There are several Incan archaeological sites along the way that we can check out, many of them just recently been uncovered. In fact, the trail itself goes through a few smaller isolated buildings that predate even the Incas. The main route through an Incan route we no longer use out of respect to the site. Indeed, the road itself goes directly through several Incan sites, no one imagined the whole mountain side was full of them ! Today, restoration continues right where we are shredding..
But as we like to say, don’t let the culture and history of Peru fool you, the riding goes off pretty hard too! There are plenty of places to get your huck on, as well as high speed grading sections and plenty of rock garden. There is even some smooth Colorado-type single track in case that is your thing, though not much of it. The descent is a total blast and when we get to the bottom, we’ll have some cold drinks and fresh choclo con queso, a local treat of fresh corn on the cob with cheese.
And then we’ll hop in the van, drive up 5,000 feet and then do it all again. Yes that is over 10,000 feet of epic descending in two runs in case you are counting. Click HERE to see a video of the route,
Today we ride more ancient Inca roads and single track, starting at the foot of a glacier and descending for what seems like forever, past countless Incan archaeological sites. By now, you will have seen a pattern develop with what the mountain biking is like in Peru:
1. Drive up long, crazy road to 15,000 foot pass in the Andes.
2. Put on full face helmet and rage down ancient Inca trails past ancient Inca ruins to the bottom ! Photo credit to Marco Antonio.
The trail down to Calca from the pass above is one of our all time favorites so we will do it twice – another 10,000 feet of descending that will include some epic scree runs starting out at over 15,000 feet above sea level.
On the drive back to Ollantaytambo, after a large lunch and some cold drinks in the sunny plaza of Calca village, we will have the opportunity to score one more downhill drop. We will have the choice of either the very steep, chalky soil foot trails DHing from Racchi down to the valley floor, or else one of our favorites: the Moab-ish red soil clay luge run from the Incan site of Moray down to the bottom that we call “Paucarbamba”.
You can see a video of that ride by clicking HERE.
Today there are several options and the group may temporarily break into two smaller groups for a day, depending on what everyone decides to do. Most of the group will be doing a crazy, two day adventure to arrive at Machu Picchu. For more details on that, see the information below. For those who want a rest, or want to do some hiking, rafting, or shopping today is a good day to do that, and then take the train the next day to join us in Aguas Calientes and we will all visit Machu Picchu together the next day.
For those biking the back way in to Machu Picchu, (which is most or all of the group) we will first drive up to Abra Malaga, which we know so well by now. Only this time we will drop off the back side, towards the Amazon jungle. This is the Continental Divide of Peru and one of the steepest drops in altitude in a short distance to be found anywhere. It is not a mountain bike ride, but it is incredibly fun. The road is brand new and smoothly paved ,and drops from the base of an icy glacier down to the jungle and right past coffee, banana, and orange trees. Yummy. It also passes by several interesting and beautiful Inca archaeological sites that are just now being uncovered for the first time.
At the jungle town of St. Maria we will load up the bikes and send them back to Ollantaytambo – we will be using other forms of transportation to complete our long journey back. First we will start by taking a local combi from St. Maria to St. Theresa. This can be a rather extreme drive – the road is on the side of a fairly sheer cliff face and there are frequent landslides. If you have a fear of heights and automobiles this might be a trip to avoid. However, accidents are nearly unheard of, and the drivers really know what they are doing. We arrive to St. Theresa and spend the night in our jungle lodge. Today’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all included.
Next day it is time to get up early and do the longest zipline in South America. This zipline involves a short but steep climb up to the highest cable, then descending over the jungle canopy and river below, a total of six different times before arriving back at camp. Awesome ! Please note that we do not own the zipline and they are an independent third party provider, and there is a separate charge of $45.
After the zip line, its time to head towards Machu Picchu. We will take a short drive to the Hydro Electric station, which is where the road ends. We will grab our packs and load up on hot, local food served up by the charming village ladies who make their living off people like us. It all feels right, and we will head out on the 3 hour walk along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. (Note that you will have to carry your gear for this section. Please bring a suitable day backpack). The walk is very flat and right alongside the Urubamba river. We think it is a gorgeous walk, in lots of tropical foliage, and as of very recently there are now sizable parts of Machu Picchu visible – both the construction of Huayna Picchu far, far above us or else the newly discovered building just across the river from us at eye level. We arrive to Aguas Calientes and meet up with any of the group that stayed behind in Ollantaytambo yesterday. Group dinner and an early night in. Today’s breakfast, lunch are included.
Today you will visit one of the 7 Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu, and then take the evening trail to Ollantaytambo. Breakfast included.
Today marks the end of the tour, trip ends this morning after breakfast (included).
Trip Cost is $1995 per person.
Hotel in Ollantaytambo Day 1 through Day 4, Hotel in St. Theresa Day 5, Hotel in Aguas Calientes Day 6, Hotel in Ollantaytambo Day 7;
Airport transfer Day 1 (must be in Cusco in time for the 11am departure from City Center), plus all transportation of all types, (daily mountain bike shuttles n private vehicle) beginning at 11am Day 1 and ending with your arrival to the Ollantaytambo the evening of Day 7,
Train Ticket on Day 7 from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo; Basic Entrance ticket for Machu Picchu, Roundtrip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu;
Breakfast Day 2 through and including Day 8
Lunch Day 5 and Day 6
Dinner Day 5
Transportation back to Cusco on Day 8 (too many different schedules to try to accomodate one shuttle – but we can help you book a private taxi for just $40 for the two hour drive back to Cusco, at the hour of your choice)
Dinners (except Day 5)
Lunches (except Day 5 and Day 6)
Alcoholic beverages or drinking water
Tips (strictly optional)
Guide to Machu Picchu (optional)
Bike Rental (inquire).
For more details on what you need to know for this trip just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Additionally, there is a lot of other information you will need, for that click here.