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Cycle Peru: Machu Picchu & Titicaca

from $4,449.00

Ride from Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley to the shores of Lake Titicaca

  • Reviews 4 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate / Challenging
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Cycle Peru: Machu Picchu & Titicaca.

On this tour we cycle between some of the world’s most iconic travel destinations: from the truly spectacular mountain top city of Machu Picchu and the high altitude plains of the Altiplano to Cusco, the buzzing capital of the ancient Inca Empire. Pedalling past impressive Inca ruins like Sacsayhuaman, Pisac and Moray, our route hugs the Urubamba River as we cycle amongst 4000m peaks and learn about the country’s rich and fascinating history whilst staying with local families. Ending our tour on the shores of the vast Lake Titicaca, we visit the floating reed islands of Uros and discover the ‘folklore capital’ of Puno where we can stock up on hand-made souvenirs before flying home.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 2 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout. Groups of normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs.
  • Airport arrival and departure transfers (at designated times)
  • Local bike rental
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Ride between Inca ruins of the Sacred Valley
  • Daywalk offering a rare view of Machu Picchu
  • Cycle along the shores of Lake Titicaca
  • 7 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 70% tarmac, 30% unsurfaced roads
  • 10 nights en suite hotels, 1 night alpaca hacienda and 1 night homestay
  • Amazon Rainforest extension available
  1. Day 1 Start Cusco (3400m); short orientation walk and ‘locals’ guided city tour.

    The tour starts at our hotel in Cusco where we will be met by an Exodus leader. After some time to unpack and settle into the hotel we will head out for a short orientation tour and experience a ‘locals’ tour of the city where we will see the real Cusco and areas not commonly visited by tourists. This walking tour is a great bit of gentle exercise to help get used to the high altitude and thinner air.*Hotel Tupaq Yupanqui (or similar)*

  2. Day 2 Discover the Inca ruins above Cusco by bike on a mainly downhill acclimatisation ride.

    We start today with a short transfer out of Cusco to Corao Pass (3650m). Here we set up the bikes and start our acclimatisation ride back down towards Cusco. After a short while we get to the first Inca ruins of the tour at Tambomachay, otherwise known as the ‘Inca’s Bath’ due to its finely preserved waterfalls which have been carefully diverted through stone channels. From here we head to the delightful small ruin of Puca Pucara which is believed to have been used as a ‘tambo’, a rest house for traveling animals. We then continue down the road to the final and most stunning ruins of the day at Sacsayhuaman. Although the smaller stones were used to build the modern day Cusco many of the larger stones remain in place and are up to 8.5m tall and weighing 360 tonnes! After some time here we continue cycling back to our hotel in Cusco.*Hotel Tupaq Yupanqui (or similar) *

  3. Day 3 Ride beside the Urubamba River to Pisac and explore an Andean market.

    After a short bus transfer out of busy Cusco we get on the bikes and start our cycle along a smooth paved road before turning off onto a very quiet and scenic road which follows the Urubamba River. We will stop for a picnic lunch by the river and take in the spectacular scenery before cycling the rest of the way to Pisac. In Pisac we will have time to explore the artisan Andean market and purchase some souvenirs before heading to our hotel.*Hotel Royal Inka Pisac (or similar)*

  4. Day 4 Visit Pisac ruins; cycle through villages and farming haciendas in the heart of the Sacred Valley to Urubamba.

    Today starts with a short vehicle transfer up to the incredible Inca ruins in the hills above Pisac. We have some time here to explore, before we drive over the river to the village of Taray where our day’s cycling starts. Today’s ride follows a beautiful undulating road that connects several small villages and haciendas where we can see traditional farming methods still being used. We also get to enjoy a stunning backdrop of glaciated mountains and Inca ruins as we make our way through the villages of Qoya, Lamay and Calca before arriving in Urubamba.*Hotel Villa Urubamba (or similar)*

  5. Day 5 Cycle amidst colourful fields and Inca terraces to Ollantaytambo, visiting the salt pans of Maras and the ruins of Moray en route.

    After breakfast we have a short transfer to the impressive Maras salt pans where we can witness the salt being mined by hand and purchase a small bag of salt to take home. Our ride starts amongst the fields of the of the Chinchero plateau; surrounded by a patchwork of colours from the array of crops being grown and with the snow-capped Urubamba mountain range in the background, this spot is a photographer’s dream! From here we cycle to Moray and visit a fascinating trio of Inca ruins and also stop for lunch. Our route then descends into the Sacred Valley where we can stop at an award winning craft brewery before continuing to our accommodation in the town of Ollantaytambo.*Tunupa Lodge (or similar) *

  6. Day 6 Descend by bike from Abra Malaga, with views of snow-capped Mt. Veronica, into cloud forest surrounding Santa Teresa.

    Getting up early we continue to follow in the footsteps of the last of the Incas, climbing (in the vehicle) to the pass of Abra Malaga (4200m). From here we should have (on a clear day) great views of the snowy Mt. Veronica and the descent into the jungle below. We get on the bikes and start a long descent through cloud forest and past tea and coffee plantations into the Amazon basin, full of banana and other fruit plantations. Once we reach the town of Huyro the road flattens out for the final stretch to St Maria. We get in the vehicle to transfer the remaining distance to the rural sleepy town of Santa Teresa where we can relax in the hot springs to soak away the aches and pains.*Hotel Yacuamu (or similar)*

  7. Day 7 Daywalk along a royal Inca trail to the ruins of Llactapata for a seldom seen view of Machu Picchu; train to Aguas Calientes.

    After a short transfer (20min) we start following a spectacular royal Inca trail up through lush coffee and tropical fruit plantations and into pristine cloud forest. As the path crests the ridge, old Inca walls appear out of the forest and we will step into the recently cleared ruins of Llactapata. The American explorer Hiram Bingham got here too, but the map he drew was so bad that neither he nor anyone else could find the ruins again for 80 years. It wasn’t until the mid-1990’s when an Anglo-American team found them once more, totally covered over by thick jungle vines. From here the view over to Machu Picchu is magnificent, few tourists have ever seen it from this side, and we will spend some time here to take it in and watch the Andean Swifts playing overhead before descending to the train station at the bottom of the valley. From here we have the option to catch the train or take a three hour trek to our hotel in Machu Picchu Pueblo.*Hotel Hatun Inti Classic (or similar)*

  8. Day 8 Guided tour of the Lost City of Machu Picchu; return to Cusco.

    Today we explore Machu Picchu! For years it was lost to the jungle until being re-discovered by Yale professor and world explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911, now it is recognised as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and truly exceeds all expectations.New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; Exodus selects the most comprehensive route. Please note that exploring the ruins involves a reasonable amount of walking, including up and down steep and uneven stone steps. After our visit to the site we head back down and catch the bus back to Machu Picchu Pueblo then take the train that follows the Urubamba River back to Cusco.*Hotel Tupaq Yupanqui (or similar)*

  9. Day 9 Free day in Cusco.

    There are lots of things to see and do in Cusco, including visiting Inca ruins and colonial churches, bargaining and buying from artisan markets or exploring this fascinating city on foot and visiting the local restaurants and cafes.  *Hotel Tupaq Yupanqui (or similar)*

  10. Day 10 Drive onto the Altiplano; cycle from La Raya Pass (4313m) to a working Alpaca hacienda for the night.

    Today we start our adventure towards Lake Titicaca with a transfer out of Cusco and high onto the Altiplano. We stop at La Raya Pass (4313m) and get on the bikes to start our cycle along a good quality tarmac road until we get to a junction where we turn off and head totally off the beaten track to get to our overnight accommodation at an Alpaca hacienda. Here we learn all about these fascinating animals and about rural life as we stay in rustic accommodation.*Pacomarca Alpaca Ranch (or similar)*

  11. Day 11 Drive to the Llachon peninsula, Lake Titicaca and ride along the lakeshore; overnight in a homestay.

    Leaving the alpaca farm, we drive back to the main road and skirt the bustling city of Juliaca, taking a small tarmac road out towards a rarely visited peninsula of Lake Titicaca. Back on our bikes again, we cycle on lovely quiet roads until we reach the lake shore and ride through small villages to the lovely hamlet of Llachon. Here we meet our hosts and are allocated a family homestay for the night. If time permits, we can take a short hike to a lovely view point over Lake Titicaca for an incredible sunset.*Llachon Homestay (or similar)*

  12. Day 12 Boat ride across Lake Titicaca to Puno, visiting the floating reed islands of the Uros en route.

    Saying goodbye to our local families, we head to their dock for a gorgeous boat ride across Lake Titicaca en route to Puno. We will stop to visit the amazing Uros floating reed islands before arriving in the town of Puno and our hotel for the night.*Hotel Qelcetani (or similar)*

  13. Day 13 End Puno.

    Our adventure ends after breakfast in Puno.

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Where you stay

Hotels, Hacienda & Homestay

10 nights en suite hotels, 1 night alpaca hacienda (multi-share) and 1 night homestay (multi-share).

The hotels normally used are indicated within the itinerary, however accommodation may differ from those stated depending on your departure date. All hotel rooms have en suite bathrooms. Most hotels have a safety deposit box in the room but if not, there will be one at reception. Please note that central heating is very rare in Peru, even in good standard hotels. Most hotels provide plug in heaters and spare blankets. Additionally while all of the hotels have a hot water supply, it can be temperamental when there is high demand.

Accommodation options in Santa Teresa are limited and although the family run hotel we stay in here has clean rooms and friendly staff, you should expect it to be more basic than elsewhere. A railway line runs straight through the centre of Aguas Calientes and while we try to allocate rooms away from it whenever possible, the trains might be heard from some rooms.

En route from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca we have the unique opportunity to spend a night on a working alpaca hacienda – the rustic accommodation is mostly multi-share with shared bathroom facilities, although there are some double rooms.

On the Llachon Peninsula on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the group will split up overnight to stay with local families. There will be a few of us in each house and we may have to share rooms en masse – single supplements do not apply here. The rooms are basic but clean and your beds will have sheets and plenty of blankets. There are outside toilets and washbasins.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 9 lunches and  2 dinners are included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dish, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably we can not guarantee that wheat/gluten free products will be available for breakfast in all locations – if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food from home.

Where lunch and dinner is not included we’ll visit a variety of cafes and restaurants.

Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavours and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Amongst these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), Alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour.

The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink so please only drink bottled water or the water provided.

This cycling tour is classified Road

Activity level 4 (Moderate/Challenging)

This tour has full vehicle support. The support vehicle follows the group at all times carrying all essential items, water, food and any spare clothes you might need for the day. If at any point you want to sit out a section of cycling you may use the support vehicle but please note that it follows the group slowly and cannot drop you to the end point.

The cycling on this tour is 70% on tarmac roads and 30% on un-surfaced roads. The set itinerary is not technical nor does it feature very long ascents, however please note that the majority of this tour is spent at high altitude and some days the group is cycling above 4000m where the air is noticeably thinner. Because of this we recommend that you have a good level of fitness for this tour.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best part of the jungle extension was the 4:30am start on a boat when we travelled to see the macaws and a beautiful sunrise on the way. Also the boat ride on the lake watching the birds, caymans and catching a piranha which then fell into our boat :) I also shed a tear when we stopped the boat in the middle of the night on the river to take in the most starry sky I have ever seen in my life (cue crying) On the main cycling part I was extremely taken with the Maras ruins, salt pans and of course the Machu Picchu itself. When we laid our eyes on the Uros (floating islands) we were all gobsmacked, too. But you cannot underestimate the assault of colours that is the way the strong Peruvian ladies wear! Realising this is not just a tourist thing in Cuzco but what they actually wear on a daily basis, came as a shock. And when the host lady at the home stay brought out all kinds of clothes and hats and we all dressed up in the full attire, hats and all, for a lovely group photo, was a fantastic experience as well.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    First we had Joel in the jungle who is a real Peruvian Wildlife Jedi and can spot a baby cayman in total darkness across the full width of the river. I swear I thought he had placed them there himself ahead of our night trip... Also his tarantula tracking skills are second to none. And when Jeff tripped and lost his sunglasses about 40min away from our base, unbeknown to us Joel traced back our route to retrieve them and arrived at dinner proudly holding them up (drenched in sweat and flustered). Great guy! We then have Carlos on the cycling trip. He is a mountain biker and struggled understanding my fear of steep descents but he took good care of us on and off the bike. When it was one of the girls' birthday he booked a lovely restaurant with a folk show and organised a cake, too. The driver Elvis should be renames as Evil Kenevil after driving that minibus on the most scary road I have ever witnessed! And Leonardo, the Chef, was the sweetest guy with some serious cooking skills.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I must say THANK YOU to Peter Gomes, whose review I read properly on the day of departure and which made me repack! TEMPERATURE: we went in July which is their winter/dry season. from around 10am to about 4pm it's about 30 degrees Celsius. Nights are very cold and at the Alpaca ranch it was -3 in the morning with ice on the streams. Take many layers, winter gloves and thermals for the descents from 4,300m, warm hats and something to cover your face. We only got rained on once (out of the cloud forest) but badly so waterproofs are a must. The bikes are mountain bikes and have no mudguards and you will go through some streams that run across the road so you will get wet even without rain. In the jungle it's hot and humid but you want to sleep in PJs covering your limbs to prevent insect bites. Some hotels are really nice and warm and have extra heaters but the ranch and home stay despite being lovely get freezing at night so we were wearing hats and ponchos in bed. ALTITUDE: I would recommend getting the Diamox. I had gone to the GP but she refused to give it to me and as a result I suffered badly. First day in Cusco I felt like I was not going to be able to take part. I struggled breathing and was seeing spots. But hecto-litres of coca tea helped somewhat (note: it makes you pee like mad). However, any incline (which thankfully there are not too many of) was a herculean effort. The guys who were on Diamox were absolutely fine. FOOD: amazeballs. In hotels, restaurants and the stuff prepared by the chef. We actually all agreed that there was way too much food for the cycling efforts expected of us. The snack bags were very much appreciated but the massive lunches meant we missed a few dinners. SHOES: the hike the day before Machu Picchu is a serious one and good sturdy shoes and walking sticks (which you can hire through the guide) are a must. I don't do much hiking and after that I struggled to walk up and down the steps for a couple of days... Only bring your pedals and MTB cleats if you are a confident MTB rider otherwise I cycled all the time in the hiking boots. LAUNDRY: there are 2 nights in Cusco in the middle where you can use the hotel service. Other than that you can do handwash but take into consideration that if your room have no additional heaters, the chances of your washing actually drying plummets. And at alpaca farm and home stay it is impossible as no heating is available. You will get lucky if you get a hot shower :) but it's so worth it! FINAL SURPRISE: which I did not appreciate was that when the minibus arrived to our hotel in Puno to take us to Juliaca airport, it contained a guide we did not expect. He talked throughout the ride and we had one stop over right outside the town to see the panorama. We should have been told though. We just wanted to get to the airport on time worrying about the luggage being over the limit (yeah, loads of shopping opportunities :) )
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think Exodus should equip the riders with reflective strips/waistcoats or at least the bikes with some form of reflective items for the descent in the rain forest. It was a great ride but 60km with really bad visibility at times where we were plunged into dense fog completely invisible to the oncoming cars or at times each other. All other bikes we passed had this issue sorted out. It was only for that one day but even the bike pedals had no reflective parts and it must be sorted out.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Great introduction to Peru

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It doesn't get much better than visiting Machu Picchu - its the sort of place you want to breath in and remember for ever. Cuzco was a great place to spend a few nights - full of interesting places to visit, easy to get around and tremendous views.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Carlos and the whole team were enthusiastic, patient and helpful throughout. Carlos had a great sense of humour which helped the group bonding process.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The altitude is a factor to consider - although the effects wear off after a while. The weather conditions can change quickly - so be prepared for hot sunshine, chilly mountain rides and sharp down-pours of rain, often around lunch time. Bring lots of layers and good cycling gloves!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cycling was good – hardly any uphill climbs - which is probably just as well because the altitude would have made it very challenging. Unfortunately we had a change of schedule meaning the day hike was missed with the unique view of Machu Picchu - did not ruin the holiday by any means but was still disappointing. The lunches on the cycling days deserve a special mention - I was not expecting sit down 3 course meals - a bit over-indulgent but a real treat!

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Peru cycling

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the Inca ruins leading up to, and including, Machu Picchu. The lunches : )
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader was fab. Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic imparting it. Great sense of humour - even in a 2nd language! In the latter days would have liked more accurate estimates of time / distances when psyching myself up to the long flat rides. Missed seeing Machu Picchu from opposite mountain - due to change in schedule. I was sorry about this - thought we could have done bus transfer to next hotel the evening of 45km descent to keep us on schedule...
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take polyprops. Buy a plastic emergency poncho.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thoroughly recommend the trip. Do some altitude training prior to going.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Impressions of first run of the new Cycle Peru: Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca trip

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Where do I start ? Machu Picchu was busy with tourists as you would expect and a tad cloudy weather-wise but majestic and inspiring nonetheless. First sight of it from the clearing on the trek from Llactapata was one of those moments where you just stop and slowly mouth "Wow". Lake Titicaca was beautiful (loved the short sunset hike on the first evening) and I could easily have spent more time there than the itinerary allowed. However, beyond these famous two, I was particularly struck by the other Inca sites - Sacsaywaman, Ollytantambo, Moray, Maras and especially Pisac which covered a greater area than Machu Picchu and was all but deserted on the morning we arrived there. When you see the truly immense scale of the engineering involved you can only marvel at what the Inca achieved. Cuzco itself was a great starting point for the trip with everything within strolling distance from Plaza de Armas, in turn barely a five minute walk from our hotel. Even some of the transfers (usually my least favourite part of the trip) provided some memorable moments- in particular the climbs to each of Abra Malaga and Abra La Raya (would love to ride both) and the section from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa. And yet what arguably touched me most were two episodes in Llacon - the ruddy cheeked (courtesy of their high red blood cells) kindergarten class singing Happy Birthday in Quecha, Spanish & English and the women (in full local dress no less) thrashing the track-suited men at volleyball on the court in front of the local church at sunset. I can hear the laughter now.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Carlos was super in the time honoured fashion of Exodus leaders. Organised ,diligent, committed, amusing and keen to show us the best of Peru. He was ably backed up by his team of Diego (mechanic), Ronny (minibus driver) as well as Jorge, David, Alex and the legend that was Leonardo.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Don't underestimate the cold (as we did). The trip is almost entirely above 3,000m and sometimes over 4,000m. This means it gets cold (rather than cool) overnight so you need several layers each morning and from the moment the sun dips behind the hills in late afternoon. I envied the chap in our group who had the sense to bring a woolly hat, and at Abra La Raya a well placed road-side stall sold four long scarves to our group with stunning ease. This advice applies to both regular as well as cycle clothing. Bring the thermals and long fingered gloves. On the descent from Abra Malaga, we even stopped to add a layer or two. 2. In contrast, in the middle of the day, it does get hot with intense sun at altitude so you need both a hat and plentiful sunscreen. 3. Mosquitos are an inevitable hazard on both the Amazon extension and the weekend at Llactapata / Machu Picchu so long sleeved tops and long trousers are recommended as are long socks so you can tuck your trousers in. Mosquitos appeared to very effective at attacking the space immediately above the top of our (short) socks. 4. You don't need walking boots for the trek - study shoes will suffice but trainers probably won't as you ascent 1,000m and descent slightly more. 5. Altitude takes a day or two to become accustomed to and you do notice the difference in oxygen levels but everyone seemed to cope ok, and, with next to no climbing whilst cycling it wasn't really an issue on the bike. 6. Finally invest in a pair of ear plugs as one of the disadvantages of centrally located hotels in Cuzco and Puno is noise including fireworks at any time of the night. 7. Big meals and altitude. We ate very well indeed on this trip. Carlos' recommendations in Cuzco - Greens, Fallen Angel and Uchu were all excellent and we can also recommend Greenpoint Café in the Las Blas quarter. Along the Sacred Valley the meals were good too particularly Indio Feliz in Aguas Calientes. Allied to a decent breakfast and hearty lunches, this added up to hefty food consumption which didn't sit all too comfortably with trying to sleep at altitude. But this didn't stop us indulging in cerviche, alpaca, trout, and even the odd guinea pig washed down with a Pisco Sour or two.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Overall, a terrific way to see the many highlights of Peru. Personally, I would compress the transit from Cuzco to Puno from two days to one and spend more time at and around Lake Titicaca, but otherwise, its a very good trip and one I am happy to recommend.

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