Paracas West side

 
 
The National Reserve of  Paracas apart from the tourism zone, has other places where beauty and the open spaces makes you wonder the nature. This is a route only for experts and share with someone who know the place. The huge size of the desert when you face it should be intimidating.

Years ago with my friend Cae, now living in Brasil, ussually we share the ride with the hobby of photography, one day another friend Diego Alvarado a pro photographer, told us to go and ride in Paracas. We took his word and went to Paracas and scouting an area that none of us knew before. We did a part, but some years later I hike with guards of the park and I knew how to complete it with bikes. Couple of years later we decided to go and ride it, we start from the hotel and point Lagunillas and La Mina, then Mirador de Lobos and finally we met the Kraken, a desert to cross to finally appear at Cequion, at the main highway to San Martin port.
35Km climbing, downhilling sand dunes, a bit of carrying the bikes, super landscapes. Important to bring with you all your equipment and some food and lot of water, if something happens there will be no one for helping you and if you have to walk, hours are waiting for you.

Sibayo Pre Inca Trail

This is the ancient trail at the Colca valley, starts in Sibayo village and connected Cabana and Collaguas people.

This route we explored almost 15 yers ago and have not the chance to go back again, but I´ve seen at google some changes made by local economy, open some roads, but maybe beside the former trail. Anyway, on that ocassion I went with César Ortega and Iñigo Maneiro, in those years Casa Andina hotels wanted to develop adventure routes, so we were in charge to do the scouting, and we contact a local tour operator from Chivay named Pedro Samayani and he hired a local rider, winner of local races, with them we went to explore.
We started from Sibayo village at 3800m. we crossed the bridge to Espinar and we turn right to follow the left side of the Colca river, little define at the begining little by little it starts to show itself as a very regular path even with a carved cliff with stone stairs.
The track goes from 3800+ to 3500+ de altitud but is not exactly a descend, on the way we found many point to climb, not a lot by the way but ar 3500m you can feel the lack of air. As ever the advise is to bring all your mechanical and foo stuff, the trip takes some hours and there is no help to find.
Once the track ends, we continued for a couple of minutes to reach the Hot Springs of La Calera of Chivay ending the day enjoying a warm bath and some cold beers.

Tirol Waterfalls

San Ramón in the gate of Chanchamayo valley. During the end 19th century italian, german, austrian, chineses colons arrived to build their new homes in a land of asháninka tribes and starting the 20th cent. the national roads begin to get builded on times of peruvian railroads end.
Today is a very dynamoc valley that produces a large amount of food traded to the capital and for export, famous for its coffee and ecologicaly because of is amount of climates and altitudes.

In almost seven hours from Lima by ground you had crossed the Andes and arrived to the Jungle known as Selva Central.
San Ramón is the first stop, and from here opens many options to go: Satipo, Bayoz, Pozuzo, Oxapampa, Pampa Hermosa, Villa Rica, Monobamba all of them part of the jungle but with different charateristics.
Near San Ramón is El Tirol. an ancient village locate at the heights, I guess from european origin, but today life is basically in the city and the surroundings serve for agriculture.
In some of these trips we decided to explore and we found a paths that connects straigth from the highlands to the bottom of the waterfall that is not too big, maybe 100+ mt only.
After a cold bath on its waters we went out by the hiking path, so try to go on week days, not on holidays or weekends on a very eary hour to avoid problems with people and ride on a clean path. Don´t forget to pay your ticket on the entrance gate, a couple of coins will help to mantain the trail.

Lake Paca

Paca is an icon at Junin region, arriving to Mantaro valley at its left side you will find Jauja city, the first capital that Spanish found and because logistic issues was left in order to move to the new city of Lima.
Very close to Jauja is located it famous lake, and we use this place as zero point for many trips we did in the central region.

Leaving Lima by ground is per se an adventure, the traffic by the Central Highway is a bit stressed, but today we have the plain, something great because we avoid the 6 hours driving and crossing the highpass of Ticlio at an altitude of 4800m.

Jauja is at 3500 mt of altitude, so as ever coastal people like us, we have to take our time to get acclimatized. This place is our starting point to other adventures and this loop is the easiest one you can do at the surroundings, the track is almost flat, or with some minimum climb crossing near small villages as Jauja, Paca, Molinos with a a few effort and with lot of time to spend there in a loop of 20 to 40 kms.

The basic route starts from Jauja, a slight climb to lake Paca, to surround it and then point to Yauli village, climbing easily to the point you like, and then, start the ridedown to Molinos, locally known for their wood carved handworks and for their local places for eating.
After a moment there you can ride back to Jauja.

Riding Lomas de Asia

Asia is almost 100K from Lima, yes there is a place called Asia in Peru, but name origin is based on ancient local language. Is just a drive for a couple of hours from home to get ready to ride.
The Lomas are a gift to mountain bikers, and they exist only in the Peruvian coast (and a bit in Chile… but that is not important). After Pachacamac this is maybe the second best to ride. Only Lomas de Atiquipa, 600K south compares and surpasses in quality.

You may start from Asia or Bujama, I prefer Bujama.
Starting from there, the first part is a dry land to climb up and best if is very early, in summer is an inferno to climb with the sun burning your brain.
Once reached the pass, the land starts to get wide open, the tip is to get as left as you can, that way you will catch the singletrack and after that just have to follow it “lomeando” a word that means to flow with the side of the mountains. 

Nice climbs, great XCs, some amazing drops, a dry land in summer, a very wet in winter, if the plan is to go in summer, at least 3lt of water and food is a must to carry on to survive the challenge.

Following the coastline in Paracas

The National Reserve of Paracas is one of these places that deserve to be listed on best and wonderful places ro ride on.
The south side is a long line with very small climbs a lot of beaches with amazing landscapes. Remember to start early, wind could be friend or foe .

Paracas is 3 to 4 hours south from Lima. You can get there by car or bus and the key of a succesful ride is to start early, at 6am is better, wind and sun may be a torture if you are still riding after 1pm.

This route as any other starts from Paracas bay, and you must point south to Cathedral viewpoint, then, have to follow all the coastline, reaching Playa Mendieta is not a big issue, only need to know a shortcut to ride down to Playon beach. Once at Mendieta you will enjoy the beach (if is not windy)

After Mendieta you may continue to Laguna Grande following the main road, you will not get lost, but you have to be prepared for a 100km day ride.

The return must get planned after noon to be helped by the strong winds that push us back to our starting point, that´s a good relief, anyway is not for free, so pedal is a must.

Caral on bikes

Caral is the main site of archaeological investigations, the begining of the andean life, the pyramids have 5,000 years old, anyway our goal is not the archaeology but the environment that had not too much changes, except for the human behaviour, since centuries.

In the valley the villages are at one side of the road, so we choose that side for riding.
The route is clearly and typical like any coastal one, with a dry mountain at one side and a very green land at the other side.
The ride is about 30K of smooth climb starting at the highway crossroad, passing near some other ancient buildings and an Inca citadel, surey built during the conquest of Pachacutec army.

Very important, leave the city very early, from our meeting point we have to cross the whole city, and it take 3 hours or a bit more to reach the start point, A very good breakfast and carry enough water, the sun if appears is a devil itself.

Paracas short route for starters

The National Reserve of Paracas is one of these places that deserve to be listed on best and wonderful places ro ride on.
Is not a technical place, but pedaling on the desert, dry, sandy but rideable, surrounded by a great quietness and open spaces following an amazing coastline is simply a must do.

Paracas is 3 to 4 hours south from Lima. You can get there by car or bus and the key of a succesful ride is to start early, at 6am is better, wind and sun may be a torture if you are still riding after 1pm.

This is the shortest loop at the Reserve. starting from your hotel at El Chaco have to cross the Control Access Point of the Park, then split in two ways, anyone can be chosen, personally I prefer to go first to Playa Roja, so following the main road climbing to the Interpretation Center, then taking the left small road you will go downhilling to Playa Roja. Once there and after stay some minutes to enjoy the place, you take left and start a climb to surround the cliffs to continue your ride south straight to Catedral.

Once there and after a time to enjoy the landscape, you will start your way back to El Chaco, if you are new or slow pace, that loop will take you around three hours, so if you depart at 7 you´ll be back around 10, and don´t forget to pay your entrance fee! Is cheap 3USD and it helps to protect the area.

Patapampa riding down to Colca

You can enjoy it on the way from Arequipa to Colca, or once arrived to Chivay and better acclimatized at 3500m.

Ride starts at 4900mt height. Nearly 15,000 ft. Once at the highest point: Patapampa the downhill trail by the singletracks or down by the road begins, both ways takes you to Chivay.
The thing is that we prefer the tough way, so the road is not an option. The singletrack is quite easy, not too angled and is mostly fluid even with a hardtail.  The Patapampa trail to Chivay is like 1 to 2 hours depending what trail you choose, so is always better to hire a local guide, find Pedro Samayani and he will help you with all stuff you need.
Once at the valley you may choose to continue or by the main road to Yanque village or by the gravel road by the other side of the Colca river, crossing Chivay to add a loop if you will stay at Chivay or end in some of the points on the road if you will not stay at Chivay village.

Four Lakes of Cusco

This biking ride is surrounded with beautiful landscapes in a quiet land at 3800m height, historically the place where the most important Andean revolution against Spain crown began and ended.

We can make it both ways, South to North or N2S, if we begin south you must start at Sangarará, a historical place, the village where Tupac Amaru native forces began the revolution against Spain in 1771.
From Sangarará you have to go following the right side of the lakes. so first you must point Pomacanchis village to follow Lake Pomacanchis, then Lake Acopia, it has no straight connection with Lake Asnacocha so you have to guess, otherwise must get back to main road, cross the mountain that divides both lakes and then get as fast as is possible to the right hand to continue to Tungasuca, the last of four lakes. If you adventure a you will must try to find the wa to cross the mountain, maybe carrying your bike by some shepherds trail.
This land is the connection center of many others, from here you may go to Surimana village at Apurimac Canyon, or go to Qeswachaka, the ancient Inca hanging bridge, or continue by road to Yanaoca where the options are to ride down to Sicuani city, or maybe climbing for an hour to pass and downhill to Tinta village at the main highway.

Tambillo on the way to the jungle

Tambillo is a forgotten small town in the jungle of Jauja, the province best well known as an Andean place.

After many visits we found that the adventorous way we were looking to reach the Central Jungle without riding by the main highway was by a gravel road with very low transit, almost none.
So to get to this place, you can go by car to Ricran village, then taking the detour to the highpass of Tambillo and start the ride down to the Jungle.
We started from 4600m at Tambillo distrit, straight down to Monobamba at 2000m approx. riding down crossing many altitudes and climates. And as usual in these places weather is always an enigma. You can get cold, web, rainy, misty at the top and you can continue wet  all the way down or reach a sunny and very hot day.
After Monobamba, the downhill turns not as fast, from this village we must ride and pedal to reach Vitoc, the entrance to San Ramon city, the main city at the entrance of Chanchamayo valley, known in the country as the Selva Central.
For your records the ride takes around 6 hours dropping nearly than 4000m by gravel road, anyway if you are tough a brave you can can start pedaling from Ricran and climb a 1,000 mt for a couple or three hours before the downhill ride.