The peruvian altiplano, Peru

Km 10 646

We continue our journey in Peru where we left off in Bolivia: on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It would have been so much easier to cross one of the many borders at the lake, but as the land borders are still closed, we had to take a plane from La Paz to Lima and then another one from Lima to Juliaca. Once in Juliaca, we took the first bus to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Settled in the main square to reassemble our bikes, we were tired from the journey but happy to have arrived on Peruvian soil without much trouble.

We reserved the first day to visit Puno. In the morning, we took a boat to visit the famous floating islands of the Urcos, an Amerindian people who took refuge from the Incas on islands built of straw. We listened to interesting explanations of their way of life before trying on their traditional clothes for photos. The family we visited on the island was super friendly (each boat docks on a different island), you could tell they were having fun hosting us. Back on land, we had our first Ceviche (a typical Peruvian dish made of raw fish marinated with lemon juice and spices). In the afternoon we visited the centre of Puno and did some shopping to get ready to go back on our bikes.

It had been a long time since we had really cycled, we were more than ready for our first pedal strokes in Peru. The environment of the Peruvian altiplano doesn’t change much compared to the Bolivian altiplano, but it was slightly warmer. We cycled for miles and days towards Cusco. After 3 days of cycling, we were lucky enough to end our day in Aguas Calientes, a thermal bath resort. We slept there and enjoyed an evening in a private jacuzzi. Such happiness after a day of effort! But the hardest part of the trip was still ahead of us. We had discovered on the map that the famous coloured mountains are only one step away from the road to Cusco. As there were no buses to get there (apart from booking a full tour with an agency), we decided to go by bike. But we underestimated the distance and the difference in altitude, and to get there by bike at 4800m of altitude, we suffered. But the splendid landscape rewarded us. We were alone with the alpacas roaming the coloured mountains and we saw the Ausangate massif and its glacier in the background. Back in the valley, we spent the night in Checacupe where we visited the colonial bridge and the Inca bridge which lie side by side over a small river. To reach Cusco, there was one last 100km stage left. Another tough day, but breaks at the Lago de Urcos, in Andahuaylillas to visit the church known as the Sixtine Chapel of South America and at the Laguna de Huacarpay interspersed the journey with short stops. Arriving in Cusco, we were welcomed by Luis, our Couchsurfing host for the night. After a hot shower, a beer, some good discussions and a good meal, we collapsed in bed and slept like babies.

To see all photos, please click here:
The peruvian altiplano

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