Grab your gear, pack your bike, and get ready for some serious adrenaline rush as you shred your way through Cusco, the Inca Trails, and the Sacred Valley.

Highlights

  • Pedal along the breathtaking South Valley ridges
  • Ride urban downhill through the Cusco city center 
  • Experience Patacancha, the highest Enduro racecourse in the world
  • Explore the ruins of Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, and Huchuy Qosqo

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City Cusco
Day 3 Shred the Inca Trails Cusco
Day 4 The Secrets of the South Valley Cusco
Day 5 Rest Day Cusco
Day 6 Cusco Urban Riding Cusco
Day 7 Huchuy Qosqo Ollantaytambo
Day 8 Ollantaytambo, Rest Day, or Visit Machu Picchu Ollantaytambo
Day 9 Highest Enduro Racecourse in the World: Patacancha Ollantaytambo
Day 10 Inca Avalanche Downhill/Enduro Racecourse Ollantaytambo
Day 11 Rest Day in the Sacred Valley Ollantaytambo
Day 12 One last ride Cusco
Day 13 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Lima's seaside Miraflores district

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city and central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population. Located at the site of a pre-Columbian indigenous Ychsma settlement, which was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century and later by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima has a fascinating history and a diverse mix of cultures. Amerindian, European, Afro-Peruvian, and Asian—especially Chinese and Japanese—influences make Lima a dynamic and exciting city to explore. 

Lima's breezy location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate make it the perfect city for exploring on foot. Head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of the many award-winning restaurants. 

Suggested activities include: 

  • Explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating Spanish architecture. Start with a scenic tour of the colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square. Stroll over to the 16th-century Cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire.

  • Visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family.

  • Stroll around the Pueblo Libre district to the privately owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts, as well as pieces of erotic art.

  • In the evening, head to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls.  The park is built on the cliffs of Chorrillos and is a perfect place to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Pacific.

  • Enjoy a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood.

Day 2: Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City

Cusco's historic architecture

Head to the Lima airport for your transfer flight to Cusco. This ancient city is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries after conquering the Killke settlement on the same location.    

Remember: you will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Since Cusco was designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it's a perfect place to sit on a balcony and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation. 

Suggested activities include: 

  • Visit the Coricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun."  The temple was built by the Incan Emperor Pachacutec (1438 - 1572), and after the arrival of the Spaniards became the basis for the construction of the Santo Domingo Convent.

  • See the Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the central Plaza de Armas and a repository for Cusco's colonial art. Its construction lasted for almost 100 years, beginning in 1560 and ending in 1654.

  • Walk to Sacsayhuamán and next-door Quenqo, both archaeological complexes used mostly for religious and agricultural rituals, located 2.5 miles (4 km) from the city of Cusco. Built by the Killke people, Sacsayhuamán is a marvel of ancient architecture, a monolithic fortress built from giant blocks of stone, the origins and assembly of which remain a mystery.

  • Discover the elaborate Puca Pucara ruins—an architectural complex of alleged military use with multiple plazas, baths, aqueducts, walls, and towers. It is believed that the entourage of the Incan emperor used it while he stayed at Tambomachay, the elaborate estate and baths nearby.

  • Explore San Blas, an old bohemian quarter famous for its picturesque white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community.

  • Experience the legendary Mercado Central de San Pedro, a large and diverse market famous for its mouth-watering fruit juices, home-style meals, medicinal herb stalls, and rows of various meats, breads, vegetables, and other necessities. 

  • Eat lunch at a local Peruvian restaurant and sample local flavors and cooking techniques—crackling pork, pickled vegetables, seasonal flavors, bread baked in earthen ovens, roasted vegetables, and sweet donuts make for a delicious and filling meal. 

Day 3: Shred the Inca Trails

An epic ride through the Sacred Valley

Load up the bikes and get geared up because today you shred the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Take a private shuttle into the Sacred Valley where your ride to the Valley of Lamay awaits. With steep valley sides littered with small stone pueblos, this valley is sure to impress. And with  8 miles of almost all downhill trails and some burly Inca stairs, your legs are quick to feel the burn. Once in Lamay, it is time to load up again for the phenomenal Lares Scree Field.

At 14,600 feet, take off on a mix of scree and free ride until you hit the ancient Inca Trail.  Don’t forget your GoPro as you are sure to come upon herds of alpacas and llamas. Afterwards, head back to Cusco for the night where a well-earned dinner and drinks await you. 

Day 4: The Secrets of the South Valley

Stunning Views of the South Valley

Your shuttle today brings you to the Radar Trailhead from which you head into a little known hot spot for mountain biking known as the South Valley.  This trail will take you along a ridge over 14,000 feet high and with views that will quite literally take your breath away. From here you drop down into the South Valley on 11 miles of high-speed single track. 

After this thrilling ride, continue onto a secret trail nearby that takes you past the home of a local family. Get a hearty dose of culture while chatting with the locals in their simple adobe homes, and if you are lucky, grab a quick lunch with one of the local farmers in this organic valley. Return to Cusco this evening for a night you are sure to enjoy. 

Day 5: Rest Day

Cusco city center

Riding at high elevation burns twice the amount of calories. Take the day to relax and explore the ancient city of Cusco. From your accommodations in the city center, you are easily able to walk anywhere.  Feel free to visit a local museum, walk the streets filled with Incan architecture, or visit the ruins of Sacsayhuaman above the city center. Be sure to stay on top of your game, though, and indulge in Peruvian superfoods such as maca, quinoa, and chia. This evening, be sure to take advantage of one of the dozens of delicious restaurants in the city.

Day 6: Cusco Urban Riding

Killer trails just outside Cusco

Today your ride will be short and sweet with killer views of Cusco from above. You will even have a chance to see the ruins of Sacsayhuaman on your way up to the trailhead and pass by the Temple of the Moon on your ride back down. You'll also find that Cusco itself is filled with local trails varying from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. Many are race circuits and sport a variety of berms and jumps. Make sure to ride some urban downhill style through the city center with stairs, people, wild dogs, and llamas before finishing right in the center of the main Plaza de Armas of Cusco. These trails will be sure to have you itching for more. 

Day 7: Huchuy Qosqo

Heading toward Huchuy Qosqo

Pack your bags because tonight you sleep in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Today is a pedal day as you climb from12,600 feet up to 14,100 feet before descending on the sweetest, cleanest Inca Trail in the valley. Filled with crazy Inca stairs and cliff edges,  the trail will take you right down into the ruins of Huchuy Qosqo. This is by far one of the most spectacular rides on the trip.  After visiting the ruins for about 30-40 minutes, it's time to ride the tightest switchback of the valley into the town of Lamay.  It will be a long day so be sure to bring hydration, snacks, and everything you need for the mountains and its crazy weather. 

Day 8: Ollantaytambo, Rest Day, or Visit Machu Picchu

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo, known as the living Inca Town, is made entirely of giant Incan stones and enclosures. You can spend your time here today recovering from the long climb yesterday, relaxing in the hammocks at your accommodations, or stretching your muscles on a hike up to the ruins above the town. Don't forget a little bit of bike maintenance as there are plenty more trails to come. For those of you with loads of energy, you can pedal up to the ruins of Pumamarca and shred the crazy 'Edge of the World' trail.  There is also the option to head up to Machu Picchu for the day via train. 

Day 9: Highest Enduro Race Course in the World: Patacancha

Patacancha

If you thought you were breathless yesterday get ready for today. Today you will ride one of the highest Enduro racecourses in the world, Patacancha. This five-stage race course is filled with freeride lines and cross country type terrain but at a daunting elevation of 14,500 feet. This valley is filled with stunning vistas and as you pass through you will be sure to see many locals dressed in traditional attire. Towards the end, you can re-load up and have the car take you to Pumamarca to finish the day.  Continue on and this 17-mile ride will take you all the way back into Ollantaytambo.

Day 10: Inca Avalanche Downhill/Enduro Racecourse

Inca Avalanche Trail

Every year hundreds of riders come out for the famous Inca Avalanche Race. Similar to the Mega Avalanche in France, this ride takes you close to the Veronica Glacier where you will descend almost 5,000 feet of screaming downhill style terrain. Lucky for you, you'll have the track to yourself today. Today you will shuttle this ride twice before heading back to your accommodations in Ollantaytambo.

Day 11: Rest day in the Sacred Valley

Fields in the Sacred Valley

Enjoy another day at leisure while you rest up for your final ride. Ollantaytambo is a great place to explore with two distinct sets of ruins that can easily be visited. If you prefer to take a hike you can walk four hours to the Sun Gate from which you can spot the Veronica Glacier through an Inca door in the middle of the mountains. Other excursions include a visit to the Salt Mines or nearby Moray Ruins. 

Day 12: One last ride

Trailhead above the Sacred Valley

Today you set off on one final ride through this epic landscape. You can repeat a trail you have already done, or embark on a new adventure. This evening head back to Cusco tonight for one last night of fun.

Day 13: Departure 

Sunset in Cusco

Today is your last day in Peru! You will be met at your hotel for a transfer to the airport, where you will connect to your departure flight. ¡Buen viaje!

Map

Map of Epic Peruvian Mountain Bike Trip - 13 Days
Map of Epic Peruvian Mountain Bike Trip - 13 Days