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Peru

Sacred Valley of the Incas

Guided Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

12 days

Prices from

£1,945 P.P.
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If you've ever dreamt of visiting Peru and the Land of the Incas and enjoy riding a bike and walking, this trip is for you. You'll get to visit all the "must see" sites of Cusco and the Sacred Valley, hike into Machu Picchu on the Royal Inca Trail and, on top of all this, enjoy some amazing biking in between.
In Cusco, we'll cycle between the Inca ruins of Tambo Machay and Sacsayhuaman as we acclimatise to the altitude. In the Sacred Valley, we'll cycle between Pisac, Chinchero, Maras, Moray and Ollantaytambo, plus get to sample a traditional Peruvian Pachamanca "pit roast" banquet beside the beautiful Lake Huaypo.
Swapping bikes for walking boots for the day, we'll hike the Royal Inca Trail into Machu Picchu and explore these ruins in the quiet of the afternoon (when most people have departed) before catching the train back to Ollantaytambo.
Saving the best for last, our final day of riding takes us well off the beaten track as we explore the trails and back roads of the rarely visited Lares Valley where we end the day with a dip in their delightful and therapeutic hot springs.
Suitable for reasonably fit cyclists, we ride a mix of tarmac and rarely used dirt roads to explore by day, staying at charming locally run hotels at night. Our state of the art full-suspension mountain bikes make navigating the trails an absolute pleasure and our expert guides, mechanics, chefs and back-up vehicles are always on hand to keep you safe, informed, rolling smoothly and fuelled with healthy local dishes.
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Holiday Highlights

  • Amazing biking and a day of classic hiking
  • The imposing Inca ruins of the Sacred Valley
  • Shopping for bargains at Pisac’s artisan market
  • Machu Picchu – One of the Wonders of the World
  • The world’s best pisco sours and ceviche!
  • Colourful Cusco and the unspoiled Lares Valley

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Itinerary

Day 1
Overnight flights to Peru

Leaving from home, your overnight flight will arrive into Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) situated in Lima (the capital of Peru) or Cusco, bright and early the following morning.

Day 2
Arrive in Cusco - City Tour / Acclimatisation
Non Cycling Day

If flying via Lima you’ll have time for a coffee and snack at the airport, before taking a spectacular early morning flight over the Andes to Cusco Airport (CUZ). Alternatively you may fly direct to Cusco today. On arrival we take a short transfer (20 minutes approx.) to our hotel in Cusco (3 star) and start acclimatising to the rarefied air of this beautiful city (3326m).

Mid-afternoon, we’ll take a short walking tour of the city to get our bearings and also help us get used to the altitude. The beautiful historic centre was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 with Inca and colonial architecture evident all around.

In the evening we’ll head out to the centre of Cusco, where we’ll take our evening meal at one of the many superb restaurants, and your guide will give a full briefing for the adventure ahead.

Day 3
Inca Ruins By Bike
11 Miles / 17 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

A day of sightseeing and cycling that showcases the rich Inca heritage of Peru combined with a great acclimatisation ride.

Leaving Cusco we’ll transfer to its most stunning ruin – Sacsayhuaman. Although the smaller stones here were used to build modern day Cusco, the remaining ones are up to 8.5m high and weigh over 360 tons. This major centre obviously had many functions with storehouses, administration buildings, a reservoir and a play area. It was also site of a crucial battle between the Incas and the Spanish.

Next is Kenko, a huge rock outcrop with interesting zig zag channels carved into it. We’ll also spend time at Puca Pucara, a delightful ruin that is believed to be a ‘tambo’, a rest house for travelling animals, goods and travellers.

Finally we’ll visit Tambomachay, this is popularly called the Inca’s Bath due to its finely preserved waterfalls, carefully diverted through fine stone channels. The Incas acknowledged water as one of the principal elements of life and revered it accordingly.

Tambomachay is also where we’ll start our biking part of the day. In order to get used to the altitude (we’ll be at between 3,250–3,650m today) its a mainly downhill affair as we wind our way back to Cusco and enjoy spectacular views of the valley and city itself along the way.

Our evening meal will once again be taken at one of the excellent restaurants close to the Plaza de Armas (Main Square) of central Cusco.

Day 4
Cusco to Pisac
31 Miles / 50 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Following a short bus ride so as to avoid a busy traffic section in Cusco we are soon on our bikes and heading to Huambutio on a decent tarmac road. Once here we’ll turn off the main road and take a beautiful and rarely used smaller road beside the Rio Urubamba.

From here on in we can choose to stick on the tarmac or explore the dirt trails of this mainly flat and gently undulating ride. Following a picnic lunch we’ll continue on to today’s goal, the town of Pisac, situated on the Vilcanota River

We plan to arrive in time to explore its artisan market, perfect for picking up souvenirs or photographing a typical Andean market before continuing on to our nearby hotel.

Day 5
Pisac to Urubamba
28 Miles / 46 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

This great ride is very versatile so it can easily be adapted to suit every group and the individual riders. It’s an incredibly scenic ride, combining Andean mountain passes, gentle descents and a lovely section through the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

We’ll begin with a short drive above Pisac where we’ll visit its amazing ruins, perched high above the town on a spectacular promontory.

We’ll start riding today at the small village of Tarayand on a lovely dirt track that undulates between small villages and haciendas, where we can witness traditional farming methods against the beautiful backdrop of glaciated mountains and Inca ruins.

Following our picnic lunch the afternoon ride will take us through the villages of Qoya, Lamay and Calca. If we’ve a few miles left in our legs we can continue to Urubamba or head to our hotel here via the support vehicle. Set in tranquil grounds it’s a great place to base ourselves for the next few days.

Day 6
Lake Piuray - Chinchero - Urubamba
22 Miles / 35 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Today we’ll start with a short transfer from Urubamba to the far side of Lake Piuray, where we’ll set-off on a gently undulating and rarely used dirt road that borders this emerald green lake which serves as the main water supply for Cusco city.

We’ll join a tarmac road briefly into the Inca town of Chinchero, which boasts a colourful Sunday market and is famous for its traditional weavings. If time permits we can visit one of the weaving cooperatives and an interesting colonial church. Hopping back on our bikes, we’ll follow a good undulating dirt road across the plains before a gentle downhill to our lunch spot on the shores of the beautiful Lake Huaypo.

Time to enjoy a Pachmanca, a traditional way of preparing food in the Andes. In the absence of a stove an oven is built out of stones, which are then heated with a wood fire and brought to a very high temperature. The meat and vegetables are then carefully covered with the rocks. Herbs are added next before the whole mound is covered by wet sheets and finally earth. After around thirty minutes the Pachmanca is ready and we’ve the pleasure of digging up our delicious potatoes, yams, corn, fava beans and meat. For those interested we can enjoy some or all of the mainly downhill road to our hotel in Urubamba.

Day 7
Lake Huaypo - Sacred Valley - Pacchar
25 Miles / 40 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Our ride today will take us along the shores of Lake Huaypo (famous for its UFO sightings!) on a lovely and rarely used trail across the awesome Anta Plains to the town of Huarocondo.

Built on top of Inca terraces it boasts an impressive colonial church (built from stolen Inca carved rocks) and a lovely Plaza de Armas where we’ll be able to sample the local delicacy Chicharonnes de Chancho (deep fried pork).

From Huarocondo, we’ll follow a freshly surfaced tarmac road down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, mirroring the train tracks and ending at Pacchar. For those with the energy, there’s a lovely afternoon ride back up the Urubamba.

Day 8
Maras Salt Pans - Moray - Pacchar
12 Miles / 20 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

A short drive will take us to Maras and the impressive salt pans. Still mined by hand it’s an interesting place to spend some time and check out this ancient process.

We’ll start today’s bike ride amongst the fields of the Chinchero plateau. Potatoes, beans, corn, kiwicha and quinoa combine their colours to lend a patchwork effect to this very traditional agricultural area. With a constant backdrop of the snow-capped Urubamba range it makes for a photographer’s dream.

The riding starts gently on mainly flat trails with a few small uphills punctuating the route to Moray. Here we’ll jump off the bikes and visit these unique Inca ruins. Very different to anything else you will see, the concentric circle terracing is thought to have been used as an early agricultural laboratory. The different depths and aspects allowed by the circular terracing helped the Incas predict what crops might grow where.

After lunch here, we’ll take a quiet dirt road down into the Sacred Valley at Pacchar – where there just happens to be an award winning craft brewery… Cheeky half anyone?? Suitably refreshed we continue along the beautiful Sacred Valley, passing Inca terraces and all the way to our hotel in Ollantaytambo where we’ll stay for the next two nights.

Day 9
Machu Picchu
7 Miles / 11 Kms - Hiking Day
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

No cycling today, so time to grab your daypack and walking footwear. Starting early in the morning we’ll transfer to the train station in Ollantaytambo for the beautiful journey towards Machu Picchu.

At Km104 we’ll alight, pass through the control and start our walk past the interesting ruins at Chachabamba. Following the ancient Inca trail, we’ll then ascend through tropical cloud forest and climb high above the roaring Urubamba River.

An initially challenging ascent is rewarded by satisfaction as we reach Wiñay Wayna, a lovely Inca ruin bursting with swallows and orchids. Here we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and, time-permitting, visit these impressive ruins before joining what is generally considered to be the most spectacular part of the Inca Trail. Our contouring path leads through the fascinating cloud forest to Inti Puncu, ‘the Gateway of the Sun’ and our first glimpse of Machu Picchu.

Savouring the moment and photos taken we are soon in the ruins where your guide will give you an extensive walking tour of Inti Puncu and explain the fascinating history of the Incas. If time permits you may wish to explore further to the Inca Bridge. Others may prefer to just relax and take in the stunning location.

In the afternoon we take the bus down to Machu Picchu Town and then transfer to the train station, from where we’ll catch a late train back to Ollantaytambo.

Today’s walking distance is 11 Kms / 7 Miles and takes between 4 to 6 hours. We will then spend around 1.5 Hours at the main site of Machu Picchu.

Day 10
Ollantaytambo - Lares Valley - Calca
28 Miles / 46 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

We end our riding in Peru with an absolutely spellbinding day on the bike. A real adventure well off the beaten track!

Today’s route will take us from Ollantaytambo up into the valley of Huilloc and Patacancha, (where many of the colorfully dressed porters come from). Using a brand new road (that gets virtually no traffic), we climb by vehicle to a height of around 4000 metres before setting off on our bikes into the beautiful and remote Lares Valley.

Passing the village of Huaca Huasi, we’ll descend on a good dirt road to the hot spring town of Lares, where at lunchtime we can enjoy a quick dip in these medicinal waters. Lares is famous for its weaving and local traditions and it’s also here that our local operator works closely with several local communities in a native reforestation project. Since 2007 this has resulted in the planting of over 800,000 trees.

Another short transfer from Lares brings us to Abra Lares at 4100m for a 1300 metre vertical descent “downhill of a lifetime” on a well-surfaced tarmac road that sees very little traffic.

On reaching the central plaza in Calca, we will have completed an epic day of adventure cycling through stunning scenery and beautiful villages and all untouched by mass tourism.

Day 11
Calca - Cusco
Non Cycling Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

Following the transfer back to Cusco you’ve a day here for some rest and recuperation.

Whether your interest is exploring Inca ruins, visiting colonial churches, bargain hunting for souvenirs in artisan markets, museums or just relaxing over a coffee whilst overlooking the Plaza de Armas and taking it all in, Cusco has lots of options.

Day 12
Cusco - Departure
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today we’ll take you back to Cusco airport for the one hour flight back to Lima.

If there’s time you can store your baggage and head downtown for some of the best seafood in the world, a bit of culture and maybe a bit of shopping too – check-in to international is 3 hours before so do make sure you‘re back in time!

Next day arrival back to the UK / Europe.

Please Note – This itinerary is a guide to our Sacred Valley of the Incas tour, with the actual events of each day varying depending on progress of the group. It is important to note that it may be subject to change in relation to trail, road and weather conditions.

We always do our best to stick to this itinerary as closely as possible but please be aware that we can’t guarantee to follow this schedule exactly.

Very occasionally events that are out of our control mean we have to make some changes. Needless to say we’ll ensure you still have an amazing time in this incredible country!

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The Cycling

Terrain

The majority of the biking takes place on dirt roads and 4-wheel drive tracks with some singletrack sections along the way. Although you should be familiar with off road biking it is not necessary to have a high skill level to enjoy this holiday.

The Inca Trail day hike is made up of Incan steps connected by gravelly sections and well-trodden footpaths. The steps make the route quite physically demanding in places and it is advisable to do some pre-trip training.

Do contact us if you wish to check your level of biking and hiking fitness.

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Cycling Adventures Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs

Possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.

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Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
21/08/2021
Return Date
01/09/2021
Duration
12 days
Price
£1,945.00
Start Date
25/09/2021
Return Date
06/10/2021
Duration
12 days
Price
£1,945.00
Start Date
11/06/2022
Return Date
22/06/2022
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,045.00
Start Date
20/08/2022
Return Date
31/08/2022
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,045.00
Start Date
24/09/2022
Return Date
05/10/2022
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,045.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Bi-lingual mountain bike guide/mechanic (incl. emergency repair kit)

D) At least 1 leader qualified in first aid (with emergency first-aid kit inc. oxygen)

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) Qualified bi-lingual guide for Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

G) Entrance fees, permits, train travel, guided tour of Machu Picchu (Day 9)

H) Entrance to all sites as per Trip Notes

I) Airport transfers on scheduled arrival/departure days from Cusco airport (CUZ)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (tips, souvenirs, bar bills etc.)

H) Entrance fees to historical sites/museums not mentioned in the Trip Notes

I) Visas (if applicable)

J) Medical check up and inoculations

K) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

To join the included transfer you’ll need to arrive into and depart from Cusco (CUZ). We can accommodate arrivals and departures throughout the day. Most flights from North America require a stop in Lima and are available with LATAM airlines, among others. Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules available for your trip and check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your trip. Please note – If you make arrangements that fall outside of the above windows there may be charges for additional transfers.

Accommodation

As with all of our trips we aim to use accommodation which showcases the style and hospitality of the area you are visiting. We always have comfort and convenience in mind when selecting such places.

We have specifically designed the tour to eliminate as far as possible the need for lengthy transfers and decided it was preferable to stay in most places for more than one night at a time allowing you to unpack and ‘settle-in’ rather than be on the move each day.

With this in mind we have four nights in Cusco (two at the start of the trip and two at the end), one in Pisac, three in Urubamba and two in Ollantaytambo.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire.

These bikes are typically Specialized Stumpjumpers. Great 27.5er mountain bikes featuring full suspension, disc brakes and good quality components.

We also have Haribike S-Duro e-bikes available to hire should you prefer.

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