There is no doubt in our mind that Peru has been the highlight of our long distance ride across the Americas. It was the country I feared most, but turned out to be the most incredible experience. Why are there only three highlights if we loved it so much? Well, I think the reasons given will cover everything! Read, see and plan your cycling trip to Peru!
We are people who love the outdoors; the majestic landscapes, the giant white peaked mountains, offroad cycling and the emptiness surrounding us. That being said, keep in mind that the highlights below are a reflection of that. We are happy to inspire you!
The amazing landscapes
Just a couple of months into our ride across the Americas I came upon a blog post by the Pikes on Bikes about cycling Peru’s Great Divide and I knew we just have to cycle it. A little while later we ran into Cass Gilbert on the Carretera Austral and he confirmed what we already knew: go and ride Peru’s Great Divide! Coming from the South we picked up the track near Cuzco and rode all the way to Huaraz on unpaved, single tracks passing tiny villages and climbing huge mountain passes. It’s spectacular! It might have been one of the toughest rides we’ve ever done, but it is so much better than the PanAmerican Highway along Peru’s coast, which must be soooo boring and packed with traffic. Really guys, if you love the backroads, the unpaved tracks, wild camping with jaw dropping views, 6000+ high peaks of the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash, literally breath taking high altitude passes and long drops into valleys.., only to climb back up to another breath taking pass.., then riding Peru’s Great Divide is your thing! Here’s a short photo journey to get you going:
But it doesn’t stop in Huaraz! Keep going to be treated to the ‘cherry on the cake’ and ride the Punta Olympica loop through the Cordillera Blanca. With views on Peru’s highest mountain: Huascaran (6768m/22.205ft) and many more 6000+ meter peaks:
The mysterious places
Machu Picchu is just one of them and yes, it is extremely expensive to visit it and yes many people do visit this site, but oh yes.. you have got to see it for yourself! The location, the view of the surrounding mountains, the mystery.. it just grabs you. We also visited the Sacred Valley and Saksaywaman and there are numerous more sites that deserve a visit; thinking of this we could have stayed many, many more months in Peru. But oh well, we need some reason to return, don’t we?
The lovely people
In the opening of this blog post I talked about my fear for Peru. This originated due to multiple news items about robberies in Peru and even cyclists disappearing. I was afraid to camp in the wild and being robbed. How wrong was I! I’m sure it happens, but we can only say we’ve met the most friendly people in Peru. Inviting us in, letting us camp on their land, bringing us warm popcorn just outside a village and so on and so on. We never ask for food, since I believe we shouldn’t do that being ‘rich’ Westerners and we were so overwhelmed by the warmth of these people, giving us potatoes and inviting us in for breakfast. It was rude to refuse and it made me so humble… The people in the local villages are so incredibly friendly! Ride Peru’s Great Divide and be amazed!
So, are these three reasons enough inspiration for you to visit this gem in South America? Let us know and comment below, but if you ask us, we would immediately return!