cordillera blanca to ecuador
huaraz to ecuador border
las lomas to macara (Ecuador)
More of the same from the past 3 days with good roads, gentle climbs and hot hot days. The closer we got to Ecuador, the more fruit was available on the side of the street. Drinking ice cold coconut water straight from the fruit was a great relief from the intense heat. Laura's visa had expired a few days before and we were charged $1/day which is pretty reasonable. No questions about our dog on either the Peruvian or Ecuadorian end. We got to Macara almost in the dark but many hotels to choose from - however, they are very expensive compared to Peru. Average cost $25-30/night!! Laura become ill (Vomiting) here so we had to stop for a few days.
tambogrande to las lomas
A short day in 30 degree heat! There are a number of small villages where we bought cold drinks and food so we carried very little. We past many achres of mango plantations which was great... we even picked a few straight from the tree! Pretty easy cycling on good roads. Stopped in the small town of Las Lomas for dinner and a bed.
piura to tambogrande
Cycling out of Piura was actually pretty pleasant (for a large city). After 10km, we were back in the desert so if you are planning to buy anything, make sure to do it before the end of the 10km as pickings are slim from here on. At 14km, there is a petrol station with NO supplies but across the road is a small restaurant were we had a good lunch and iced drinks. The next place after this was at our turning, a further 8-9km along the road. We didnt stop here but there was another restaurant. Nothing further until the town of Tambogrande. We stayed at a small hotel (30 Soles) and you can find most foods, drinks and supplies here. Good tarmac road the whole way with a hard shoulder for 90% of the route.
trujillo to Piura
After a long stop in Trujillo to sort out Pacha's microchip and vaccinations, we hit the road towards the Ecuadorian border. This initial section of road north of Trujillo, similar to the southern road into Trujillo has become dangerous for cyclists in terms of attacks and muggings. So we hitched a lift to the next town - Piura, in order to get well past the most sketchy region (by about 100km). Piura itself is a hot, vibrant town known for good surfing options close by. We stayed in a very basic hotel for one night before hitting the road the following day.
santa to trujillo
We have heard of many attacks on cyclists on the Panamericana but especially from Chimbote to Piura in northern Peru. A few at gun point, others at knife point and all the cyclists who were attacked lost their bikes and bags! Many documentations on blogs - check out crazyguyonabike.com - The police have also warned us of this, so our plan is to hitch a lift to Trujillo (10 Soles) and then onto Piura (again by hitch-hiking or bus). From Piura, we may cycle to the border or carry on the bus. If you do cycle this route, here is the elevation profile. In addition, there are a few towns over the 120km stretch to Trujillo so food and water shouldn't be a problem.
wild camp to santa
We followed the river all the way to Santa. Our initial plan was to cut across the desert road to Chao but so many locals (and even the police) told us it was a dangerous road for attacks and assaults, so we stayed on the tarmac road to Santa. After the police control (14km from our start) there is not much. A small village but no shops. After 60km from our start, we found the first shop and had some food. In Santa, we stayed in a small hotel on the main road near the plaza de Armas (forget the name) but the owner was Mr Adolfo - a super helpful guy.
huallanca to wild camp
From Huallanca, we had over 2000m of descent which sounds great but the strong headwind made progress arduous. The morning was ok but in the afternoon, the wind picked up and in some ways was as tough as climbing a mountain! We hadn't had a headwind like this for a long long time. There are small villages every 10km but although the river runs beside the road, it is largely inaccessible due to the height of the road. We stopped at a house which was also a restaurant on the road. The food was great and we camped across the road in their field. The following morning, we had breakfast there too.
yungay to huallanca
From Yungay, its mainly downhill to the coast. After Caraz, the road is very quiet which is nice and still good quality. You pass through the Cañon del Pato which is pretty cool. Initially there are many villages but as you enter the canyon, there are few shops/villages. In Huallanca, there seems to be about 5 hostels, but many were closed when we arrived. We stayed in Hoel O'Niel on the main road which was clean and comfortable (30 Soles). As with the hotels, the restaurants were also closed! We ate at a street vender - cheap and tasty.
campsite to yungay
Amazing cycling from the campsite into the valley with beautiful lake on the left. A huge decent all the way to Yungay with mount Huascaran on the left. Villages and shops increase in number the closer you get to Yungay. The road improves on the way down. In Yungay, we stayed at Hotel Oro del Sol (30 Soles). Many options for food. We had left some kit in Huaraz that we knew we wouldn't need on the loop around the mountain and so caught a bus back to Huaraz to pick up our stuff. The folk at Hotel Oro del Sol looked after our bikes for a few days until we returned.
hotel Illariy to campsite
Leaving the hostel early, we headed up the mountain for our last big climb. No villages or shops once past the hostel but many small streams. The top is pretty steep and the road gets worse and worse with big rocks. Views from the top are amazing. The descent is also pretty bumpy on terrible roads. We stopped a the middle campsite as it is close to the road and we were running out of day light. It is pretty basic but has running water and a small shop with beer and drinks. No fee to stay here and it is where you can trek to Laguna 69. The next campsite is about 10km further and looked much nicer - if we had time, we would have gone down to it.
yanama to hotel illariy
More climbing out of Yanama. There are more villages every 5-8km but the last one, Vaqueria is where the Santa Cruz trek starts and so has a hospedaje and resaurants with many tourists either starting or finishing the trek. We had planned to cycle further but 1km after Vaqueria, on the right we saw a beautiful hotel - hotel Illariy. It has large clean rooms, an open fire place for the chilly evenings and lots of well maintained grass areas to relax in the daytime sun - Pacha loved the space to run around in. It was a super hot day and were a little tired so we decided to take the opportunity and rest here for the night. The owner (Amanda) made us dinner and breakfast. There is also a shop with beer - so the decision was not that difficult in the end.
wild camp to yanama
A day of climbing. The road is pretty bad most of the way but the views are incredible. Small villages every 5-7km so water and drinks were not a problem. Yanama has little to offer but there are shops/restaurants. We stayed in Andes Peru Lodge which was expensive (120 Soles for bed and breakfast, 30 Soles each for dinner) but seriously... the bed was incredibly comfortable, the shower was european standard (temperature and pressure) and dinner was spaghetti Bolognase which the owner learnt in Italy... there was even Parmesan from Italy... aahhhhhhh. Needless to say that we didnt mind paying the little extra. If you stay here, please say hi to Esperanza and her husband.
chacas to wild camp
A day of mainly downhill with villages every 10km or so. There are 2 possible routes to Yanama. At the village of Acochaca, it is possible to take the rough road directly to Yanama but we decided to stay on the tarmac road a little longer and so carried on towards the road on the right. However, the tarmac stops after about 15-20km and from there the road is pretty soft in places. At the corner, where we turned left to head towards Yanama, there is a bridge with a small village beside. We camped here, in a farmers field and next to the river. The farmer also run a small shop - which amazingly stocked champagne! We drank champagne that night :)
refugio to chacas
After the long and tough previous day, we decided on a shorter day. A huge downhill to Chacas - a village with Italian influence. We stayed in Hotel Carina (30 Soles). If you are there on a sunday, the pizzeria next to the big central church may be open.
wild camp to refugio
All tarmac until Chacas. A big day of climbing. Up to the park entrance was not too steep. At the park entrance, there is a small cafe which sells corn on the cob and drinks. We paid 10 Soles each for a one day entrance ticket. After the entrance, there is a (approx) 10km section before the many, many switch backs. We did consider camping at the base of the switch backs as its pretty flat with a river but after some time, decided to do the climb. There are small streams every 5km so no need to carry much water. Once at the tunnel, its downhill. There is a further 3km to punta olympica (rough roads) but we were running out of light so took the quicker tunnel. After the tunnel, about 2km down hill, there is a stone/cobbled foot path on the right near a switch back corner. If you follow this path around for 100-150 meters, there is a stone refugio! It was warmer inside that outside by about 10 degrees. There is fire wood inside but no chimney so after about 30 mins of smoke, we put out the fire. In the morning - the views of the snow capped mountains and emerald green lakes were amazing.
huaraz to wild camp
The road leaving Huaraz starts off pretty busy but after 10km, the traffic quietens down. There are still some crazy collectivo drivers but the road is wide with a small hard shoulder so it didnt seem too bad. You can see mount Huascaran most of the way which is cool. Mainly downhill to Carhuaz, where we had lunch before the start of the big climb. There are a few villages up to just past Shilla but not much from there. In Shilla, we were pleasantly surprised by a small cafe on just off the main road, near the bus stop which sold decent pizza slices! Bonus!! We camped not far out of town in a hidden part off the road.