Nazca to Cusco Part 3- Chalhuanca to Cusco

Here’s the elevation profile:elevation_profile-3

And here’s the route notes for anybody who plans on doing this route.

Yep– there are few up and downs, especially from Abancay to Cuzco where we would have to go UUUPPP and DOOOOWN a few times– 2 times of gaiting 2000m to get to the top :/. Ew.

From Chalhuanca to Abancay we followed the river down in a very green beautiful canyon



The road was smooth and the riding was easy in the morning as we were going downhill– we still need to pedal since the gradient was not that steep. Towards the afternoon (1PM or so), the headwind picked up significantly, making riding unpleasant.



thumb_IMG_3789_1024Lots or  river, valley and mountain views along the way. The best thing is that we were following the gurgling sound of the river, very calming.


We found a campsite in Yaca, right along the river rather early in the day. It’s a big green area owned by a lady who sells chicharron (crackling pig skin) in her restaurant. Because it was a Sunday, lots of people from Abancay (1 hour away by car) were hanging out with their family, picnicking, bbqing and washing blankets in the river (?).

thumb_IMG_3764_1024Where we ended up camping. I love being surrounded by the river and the red cliffs.

thumb_IMG_2190_1024We played along the river for a few hours. Crappy wake up call: our worst enemies– the SANDFLIES are BACK!! in hordes!

thumb_G0540251_1024I did not kill Brady– he’s just “showering”. The water was freezing cold.

The next day we got to Abancay where we met a few motorcyclists staying at the same hotel. There are the, a couple from around Shasta area with their 13 year old kid who have been traveling from California by motorcycle, through central Mexico and heading down South to Chile. It’s really inspiring to see people who believe in the world education for their kids.  They ride amazing BMW motorcycles and are sponsored by several companies.  We also met an Alaskan guy on a motorcycle – Josh from We compared our trip notes and shared stories. It was nice hanging out with other people who are on similar journey.



From Abancay- the climb starts back up. Brady’s left knee is acting up and he can only bike for a few hours before it starts hurting. He was on an Advil diet for a bit (taking lots of Advil every four hours) while we were riding. I do hope it gets better.

thumb_IMG_2219_1024At the top of the first pass from Abancay to Cusco– we hung out at a Mirador (viewpoint) that overlooks what we just climbed. Not a bad spot for lunch.

thumb_IMG_3794_1024Cute kid at a restaurant at Limatambo– look at those cheeks and the hand knitted vest! We named him Pablo. I almost kidnapped him.

thumb_IMG_2207_1024Close to the top of the second pass- lots of switchbacks, but the road was nice.

thumb_IMG_2223_1024Done with the climbs!

From the top of the second pass, it was easy peasy- flat is but at high elevation. I think this is the beginning of a long stretch of Altiplano cycling (flatish pampas at high elevation) that will continue down to the Bolivia border.

thumb_IMG_2199_1024At Anta– a butterfly decided to follow me for a few KM.

The road from Anta to Cuzco sucked. For one, the freeway converged and the traffic considerably picked up. To add, there are major construction efforts on the really bad potholey road, so there were hundreds of worker on the shitty street and lots of construction equipment.

BUT! WE GOT TO CUSCO! It was amazing, considering that this is one of the major milestones on this trip since we will be meeting with Brady’s parents here. Because we altered our route, changing from the Great Divide route to a hybrid of everything, we got to Cusco a week and a half early.

thumb_IMG_2234_1024View from the road entering Cusco

thumb_IMG_2235_1024And we are here after a huge day riding for 7.5 hours (riding time) to make it to Cusco.


There are lots of things to do in Cusco. First order of business– finding a good beer. The Sacred Valley Brewery makes amazing IPA. We also had really goooood pizza.




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