intro | Yucay–Quillabamba->

Mon:

Fly to Lima, staying overnight.

Cathedral

Tues:

Fly on to Cusco, arriving late morning in cloud. Check in to the Hotel Incatambo. Unpack bikes and ride down to Cusco and back to test the effect of altitude. Survive.

Sacsahuaymán

Puca Pucara

Weds: around Cusco

We visited Sacsahuaymán on foot (it is close to our hotel) and rode up to Puca Pucara and Tambo Machay, then back to Qenco and Cusco.

Route: Leave the Plaza de Armas along Plateros which becomes Saphi; follow the hairpin right and climb to Sacsahuaymán and the Incatambo. Soon afterwards the road reaches a junction: this is the so-called ‘X-zone’, 20 on our Lakes map. Turning right here takes you to Qenco and then Cusco by an unpleasant road. Left takes you to Corao and eventually to Pisac.

Thurs: Cusco – Yucay (62 km, 820 m of ascent)

Tower

The road

VerĂ³nica seen
from Yucay

The adventure begins. We leave Cusco along Siete Cuadrones, a steep cobbled road which is the hardest part of the ride. As we make our way through the suburbs a boy cries ¡Mira este! The climb to Chinchero is pleasant, and when we reach the plateau there are superb views of the mountains ahead, unfortunately largely hidden by cloud. We pass Chinchero by. (In fact we never got round to visiting it, though people say it’s nice.) We had planned to have lunch at Chinchero, but we’re too early, so we drop down to Urubamba where we eat at the Buen Gusto. After lunch we ride the 3 remaining km to Yucay where we stay at the Posada del Inca, a beautiful converted monastery.

Urubamba is a useful town but lacking in charm. The main square of Yucay though is elegant. It is fronted by the Posada del Inca and by its Casona, the former Posada del Libertador; by the Hostal Y’Llary, and by a curious Inca ruin undergoing renovation which is unmentioned by the Footprint.

   

Cash machine

Cusi

Posada del Inca

Route: Siete Cuadrones joins Plateros at the point at which it becomes Saphi. The square at the junction is Sta Teresa. Map: We are on 27-r (Urubamba) after the first few km.

Fri: Moray/Maras ride (52 km, 1000 m)

This has been described as the best off-road cycling in Peru, which means the best cycling, though we doubt the claim. The circular terraces at Moray are evocative and attractive, and the salt pans below Maras are striking. Best of all is the bridlepath connecting them. See the attached map for a description of the route.

There are no supplies along the way, so you must either take a packed lunch or (as we did) complete the ride in the morning and eat at Urubamba. An early start helps.

   

The bridleway
to Moray

Down from
Salineras

N. Verónica
from near Maras

intro | Yucay–Quillabamba->