- 11 days
About the challenge
The Andes and the Amazon Rainforest are the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in South America. Our exciting and demanding cycle challenge takes in both, as we start our epic journey from the famed Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu.
We cycle through the renowned Sacred Valley, with its ruins and small villages, providing us with a great warm-up to the tough mountain passes ahead. With some tough climbs at altitude, reaching 4700m, the mountain views are magnificent and the sense of journey unforgettable. There are plenty of long descents too, as we descend almost 4000m from the heights of the Andes to the Amazon Rainforest and the end of our journey.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|25 Apr 2015||11||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£3850||Or||£1700||Book now|
|26 Sep 2015||11||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£3850||£1700||Book now|
|30 Apr 2016||11||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4100||£1800||Book now|
|24 Sep 2016||11||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4100||£1800||Book now|
Day 1: Fly London to Lima
Transfer to hotel in Lima or connect directly to Cuzco, depending on flight schedule. Night hotel / in flight.
Day 2: Arrive Cuzco
Morning arrival in Cuzco (3400m); transfer to our downtown hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the sites of this historic city, or simply adjust to the altitude by watching the world go by in one of the numerous cafés on the Plaza de Armas. Night hotel.
Day 3: Cuzco – Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo
We start early for the beautiful train ride to the famous and mysterious site of Machu Picchu. The train journey is a highlight in itself, with wonderful views as it winds its way up through the Andean valleys. We have plenty of time to explore Machu Picchu and soak up the atmosphere and the views of the forested mountains surrounding it. We take the train back to Ollantaytambo, a busy small town re-built by the Incas; an evening wander is a great way to discover the Inca buildings and streets. Night hotel.
Day 4: Ollantaytambo – Pisac
Cycle approx 80km
We hit the bikes and set off on our beautiful acclimatisation ride, passing through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Today's route is relatively flat, albeit gradually gaining in height as we ride through the Valley - with a few notable hills to test our legs a little. Staying well below Cuzco's elevation, our bodies should be feeling good - today's route allows us to focus on the cycling and gain confidence before tomorrow's mountains! We pass small colourful villages and towns and there's always something to see - it's a great introduction to the local way of life here in this beautiful and historic area. Our day ends at Pisac (3100m), known for its colourful artesan market. Night hotel.
Day 5: Pisac – Ccatca
Cycle approx 80km
Leaving Pisac, we enjoy a fairly flat and gentle ride along the banks of the Urubamba River - there are lots of great photo opportunities! Just as it’s starting to feel easy, we reach the small town of Urcos and start our first climb ‘proper’ up into the mountains, a fairly steady 20km ascent with the scenery around us becoming more impressive as we climb. We reach the top of the pass (4200m) and drop steeply down into the valley, passing the town of Ccatca (3600m) and continuing along the valley floor until we reach camp. Night camp.
Day 6: Ccatca – Mallma
Cycle approx 55km
Waking up to wonderful mountain views, we enjoy a hearty breakfast and set off again. Our day starts with a gentle warm-up ride along the valley floor, before the road starts to climb towards Abra Cuyme. The gradient is fairly gentle to start with but becomes steeper as we near the top (4100m), where we are rewarded by magnificent views of Ausangate mountain. A great descent follows, to the town of Occongate, before a gentle 20km ascent to the village of Mallma. We are not in touristed areas now, and the communities we pass give us a real insight into the everyday lives of the local people. We camp just before the village at 4000m. Night camp.
Day 7: Mallma – Quincemil
Cycle approx 105km
Today is one of our toughest days, and we cross our highest point in the Andes - an achievement to be very proud of. It also marks our transition from mountains to jungle, so it’s a day to remember and celebrate! We set off on a long, steady climb to the top of Hualla Hualla Pass (4700m), where we have time to soak up the views and enjoy being at the highest point of our amazing Andean ride. We then head down to the valley below with a thrilling descent, losing a jaw-dropping 3900m in altitude. The landscapes change from fairly dry mountain slopes to lush, green vegetation. Passing through the town of Marcapata, we continue downhill to our camp on the outskirts of Quincemil. We are out of the mountains! Night camp (800m).
Day 8: Quincemil – St Rosa
Cycle approx 105km
Today’s ride is very different to what we’ve become used to, with no real hills, but hot, humid conditions which provide a different challenge to overcome! We ride through Quincemil, once a sleepy jungle town but now bustling with miners hoping to find gold, and continue gently downhill, passing more mining towns. Our roads are lined with trees and dense vegetation now, and you may see colourful birds overhead. The road levels out and we ride on flat, hot roads to our camp on the outskirts of Santa Maria (270m). Night camp.
Day 9: St Rosa – Puerto Maldonado
Cycle approx 120km
Our final day’s riding is again hot and flat, but we stop for plenty of cold drinks and there’s no hurry! This area is very different to that around Cuzco, and we pass plenty of small communities, giving you plenty of opportunities to see the everyday lives of the people who live in such close proximity to the Amazon. We arrive in Puerto Maldonado, a bustling jungle town which acts as gateway to some of the most pristine primary rainforests in the world. We ride to our hotel, where cold beers and a soft bed await! We mark our incredible Andes to Amazon journey with an evening of very well-deserved celebrations. Night hotel. (Dinner not included).
Day 10: Puerto Maldonado - Lima
Free to explore or relax until it’s time to transfer to the airport for our flight to Lima and connection on to the UK. (Lunch not included)
Day 11: Arrive UK
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
is relatively flat, with a few gentle inclines, allowing us to focus on the cycling and gain confidence before tomorrow’s mountains! We pass small colourful villages and towns and there’s always something to see – it’s a great introduction to
The tour cost includes flights, all accommodation, transport, internal air tax, camping equipment (except sleeping bag), entrance to Machu Picchu, and food other than 3 meals as specified in itinerary. A bike is also included. It also includes full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders/mechanics, as well as local guides, drivers and cooks.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement charged by the airline (capped by Discover Adventure), meals as specified, entry visa, tip for local support crew, and entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Iberia and LAN airlines, however, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We camp when cycling as we are in remote areas without hotel facilities. Our bush-camps will be fairly simple, though there will be showers some nights. In towns and cities we stay in hotels with good facilities on a twin-share basis.
All meals are included other than 3 meals as detailed. The food is good, will give you plenty of energy, and there is plenty of it.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are.
Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Peru would be led by two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, porters, drivers and cooks. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters do not always speak English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! See ‘Costs in Peru’ above for a guideline amount; your leader will let you know if there is any change to this guideline. All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. All luggage, food, water and camping equipment is carried by porters. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. We will provide you with sturdy bags to carry your luggage on trail (the weight limit is 6kg). You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
This is a very challenging trip through the Andes; the terrain is mountainous for much of the ride, with some long climbs and descents. Our highest point is 4700m and the altitude adds to an already-demanding challenge. This terrain is not suitable for anyone who has not trained hard. The trip is designed so that there is plenty of time to acclimatise to the altitude but you may still feel effects such as headaches and shortness of breath. At lower elevations the terrain is predominantly flat and it is likely to be hot and humid. Cycling is on good tarmac roads. Traffic is usually light and we will cycle at our own pace, but we may re-group at times for busy sections. We are travelling through remote areas and weather may have an impact on road conditions. We will be riding 21-speed mountain bikes with semi-slick tyres. It is imperative that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with straps done up.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through remote mountains where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for quickly changing conditions and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
The climate in Cuzco and the Andean regions is affected more by altitude than latitude, and is hot and sunny during the day but chilly at night – a few degrees above freezing. There may be cold winds in the mountains, where it can be quite exposed. In the Amazon Basin it is hot - and it rains in rainforests!
This ride is designed to be challenging for those of good health and fitness, and is achievable for most people provided they train well in advance. We will supply you with a thorough training guide when you have registered. Training for the challenge is all part of the preparation and requires commitment! Without it, you will find the ride less enjoyable – and we want you to have the time of your life!
Passport & Visa
A ten-year passport is essential and must be valid for at least 6 months after entry.
You must have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and we highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. A Yellow Fever certificate is necessary in the rainforest regions, as is protection against malaria.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. We actively support several community projects in the areas local to our trips which you can visit on your free day. In Cuzco itself, we have links with a regional hospital and a ‘Children’s House’ project. The latter provides a safe place for young children from poor families, who spend most of their time on the roadside while their mothers eke out a living selling wares on the streets. It also offers support to older children, who spend much of their time when not at school caring for younger siblings. The programme gives these children access to toys, books and crafts, and also teaches them how to cook nutritious meals.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.
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