Peru Route Question

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by crashmaster, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Hola amigos. Just a quick question for Peru experts. I'm looking at bypassing Lima and staying in the mountains all the way to Cuzco.

    This is my intended route: Huaraz - Huánuco - Huancayo - Ayacucho - Abancay - Cuzco.

    Huaraz to Huánuco: Looks like it could be hairball. Any intel?

    Huánuco to Huancayo: Looks paved on the map, not sure though.

    Huancayo to Ayacucho: From my map it looks like a lot of dirt with not much in between.

    Ayacucho to Andahuayles: Dirt, not sure how hairball.

    Andahuayles to Cuzco: Paved or dirt?

    I doubt many travelers go this way, but maybe they do. Any one have any insight into this routing?
    #1
  2. Horatio0163

    Horatio0163 Been here awhile

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    Well, I've ridden only ridden the Huancayo-Ayacucho-Andahuaylas-Abancay section, so I can only give you advise on those. Well, and I can tell you that Abancay to Cusco is paved, and at least the first 50ish km were good riding.

    I had a day from La Oroya to Ayacucho. I was up with the sun, and didn't arrive until an hour after dark. The route from La Oroya to Huancayo was a hair over two hours, and easy riding on paved roads. The route is well marked. Huancayo to Ayacucho, well, that's probably the greatest section of riding I have ever done. Starts out pretty easy, but gets into some awesome paved, downhill switchbacks dropping to Izacucho. Buy gas in Izacucho--I don't think I saw any more until Huanta. From Izacucho the road is dirt all the way to Huanta, for something like 150km. It's winding, and often on a cliff edge over looking a river. It's slow (my average was less than 30kph), but beautiful. Huanta to Ayacucho is paved and pretty fast. There are a fair number of moto repair shops in Ayacucho, if you need. 'course they're servicing mostly chinese 125s, but that's what I was riding. I had the nut replaced on my swingarm bolt (lost after the ride between Izacucho and Huanta), a bad exhaust gasket replaced, and my luggage rack welded back together for S/. 17, or about $6. There were some bigger bikes, too.

    Did I note that La Oroya to Ayacucho is the best day of riding I have ever had? Granted my riding life is probably under 6000 miles and 16 months (even less if you take out snowy Minnesota winter when I wasn't riding).

    I'll write more on the next sections later--my hour's almost up at this internet cafe...
    #2
  3. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Excellent info. Keep it coming. I'll have Internet at the end of the day.

    Saludos.
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  4. Horatio0163

    Horatio0163 Been here awhile

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    Where were we? Abancay? Oh yes.
    Like I said, I had some repairs done in Abancay, so I got a bit of a late start. I think I left around 11 or so. The road to Abancay (ask for the road to Cusco. I found more people knew where that was) becomes dirt before it even leaves town. When I rode it, on 12 julio 2010, there was a lot of road work going on. I was held up for half an hour before I had even gone 2km out of town. But at least I had a nice conversation with the local dueñas de las tiendas ingeniously constructed at the start of the construction zone. Eventually they figured a moto wouldn't get in the way, and let me through. Of course they had put down a metric-butt-ton of water to keep the dust down, so the road was just a muddy mess. My 125 had serious problems with it. But fortunately this particular section of construction was only about a half a km long. Unfortunately the road work considered off-and-on for the next 40sh km. During this stretch I stopped to employ some dust control measures in the ditch, and managed to drop my bike for the first time--careful with the sandy edges. After a while I came to a poorly marked fork in the road. The left leg goes the direction you want. For the 25 or 30 km (sorry, I really don't remember) the road was fantastic. Hard packed, in great shape. Amazing scenery, and no one else on the road except for one road crew--who asked me for directions. Maybe they should put up signs at forks in the road? Eventually the great hard packed road faded to sand, and I wasn't paying close enough attention. With 1212.1km on the odometer, my bike decided that it had had enough, and needed a nap. First time I've dumped a bike 'at speed'. Of course at speed was only about 30kph, and the only damage done was the loss of a side cover. I picked the bike up and continued. Good thing it wasn't serious--that road is pretty lonely. I eventually came to another fork in the road. This one was even more poorly marked, so I took the path the seemed more likely. Luckily my intuition was right. I think it was the right leg, but I'm afraid I don't remember really clearly. Within a few km of the fork I started into a set of twisting, descending, somewhat sandy switchbacks, with amazing views. Part way down I encountered a group of 3 moto-adventurers headed the other direction. They were on more capable bikes than mine. They advised me that there was no way I would make it to Andahuaylas (my planned backup destination, in the case that I couldn't make it to Abancay--the thought that I could make it to Abancay in one day was absolutely ridiculous to start with) that night, so when I came across the little village of Chumbes around 1645, with the sun setting, I stopped and rented a S/. 15 room in a hostal. The hostal. I'm pretty sure there's only one. The town is pretty small. If she's there, I recommend buying some of the cow parts, potatos and salad that the old lady on the right side of the road is cooking up on a wood fired stove thing. Tasty, and only S/. 1.5 per plate. Eat a couple. The hostal was among the most, um, character building places I have ever stayed. May I suggest stealth camping instead?
    Okay, so I woke up really gost darn early the next morning--one of the ladies in the street had told me that it was 6 hours to Andahuaylas, and another 6 to Abancay, but that on a bike I could probably shave a little bit off of that. I was on the road by 0605, before the sun. Anyway, I'm afraid I don't remember too many details about the road. Just past Chincheros there was a fork in the road, with a hill covered in large crosses on the left. Guess how well signed it is? I started down the left fork, and got about half a km before I saw a couple of old guys walking on the right fork, across a little valley. So I turned around and rode over to consult with them. Right choice. THE RIGHT LEG IS THE CORRECT ONE! A while later I came across a large herd of alpacas on the right side of the road, and (surprise!) road work. There was lots of road work for the next I dunno, lots? of kms. Pretty much all the way to Andahuaylas. At one point there was an 'alternate route to Andahuaylas'. I consulted with the security guy standing there, and he advised me to take the alternate route. Right choice. It was a little rough and winding and mountainous and slow, but if was MUCH shorter. The last few km into Andahuaylas are paved--the last time you'll see this until you're almost to Abancay. I arrived in Andahuaylas a little after noon, I think. So six hours was about right, but there was a good amount of time I was stopped for road work. Buy gas in Andahuaylas. I don't think I saw more until Abancay.
    The road out of town was hard to find--road work and closures, yeah? I asked a ton of locals, and they guided me up the back route to the road to Abancay. It was cool, but you might as well take the real route if you can find it. The road was in pretty good shape, but there was road work going on in sections. There was a sign that said something about the road being closed from 0800 to 1100 and 1300 to 1700 M-F, but luckily I was there right in the middle of those times. Right. So, a fairly boring ride to Abancay. I could see the city off-and-on for about 3 hours before I actually got there. I was racing the setting sun into town. The last 25 or 30 km into Abancay are on a recently paved and fast road. Nice. There are a fir number of lodging options in Abancay. And Marcos at the Honda authorized repair shop did a good job replacing my lost swingarm nut (the second one I'd lost).
    The next day was short for me--I was only riding as far as Cachora to trek to Choquequirao. Do the trek if you have the time. It was amazing. Anyway, the first 50ish km of the road to Cusco are nice. Paved, and fairly recently. The road lines still haven't been painted in some areas. I suspect the rest of the route to Cusco is pretty similar.
    Sorry that my intel stops there. I sold the bike to a policeman in Cachora--I'm leaving the country soon, an I obviously can't take it with me. So if you see a little blue 125 in Cachora, that used to be mine. It has the heart of a real ADV bike.
    Some pictures from my trip are here: http://picasaweb.google.com/c.j.hernick/ViajeEnMoto
    you may find them helpful.
    #4
  5. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Thanks for the detailed directions amigo. :thumb
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  6. SplitLanesLikeMOSES

    SplitLanesLikeMOSES ....................

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    Peru is so much fun!!!!!:ricky
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  7. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    It's posts like these that make me hate my lonely day from Nasca to Cusco.

    :clap

    I can't help it. I'm adding this to the RRLT.
    #7
  8. anja und holger

    anja und holger Adventurer

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    Hola Amigo,
    sitting in hostel estrellana and still have lots of space for your bike in the yard :rofl not to forget the big beers just around the corner so gassit:clap .
    Cheers
    Holger and Anja from Cusco
    #8
  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    I'll be in Cuzco in a few days if all goes well. :D

    The route from Huaraz - Chavin - La Union - Huánuco was an awesome ride.

    Not many moto travelers go that way, but I highly recommend it. Looking forward the mountain route the rest of the way to Cuzco. :clap
    #9
  10. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Keep telling yourself that you're The Man, The Shit, The Juice, and other cool stuff, and keep riding. :D

    When it ceases to feel like you're giving birth to something neat and special, stop and recharge. Go through another gestation cycle, and pick it up again.
    #10
  11. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Funny as it sounds, that attitude keeps me going sometimes. I like to think that I'm doing something special, but in reality, its not that big of a deal. Its a big deal for me though, and thats what counts.

    I'm getting a little burnt now however. I rode with some Dutch guys for a week and it was very nice to have company. We stayed in some real shit holes. :D It was really good to have company in some of those places. They are good dudes. They were tired of the dirt and the shit holes, shitty food, getting sick, etc, so they left for Lima, and I am continuing south in the mountains. However, it feels good to be solo again.

    I'm going to recharge the batteries in Cusco with the other tourists, maybe speak some more English (which will be very nice) eat at expensive tourist restaurants, and blow some cash on a nice private room with my own shitter, oh yeah, and hot water too. :thumb Gotta get that shit out of my system before I head to Bolivia. :D
    #11
  12. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    OK, since I started this thread I will add some information to it. Pretty much what Horatio0163 said is right on. He was riding an RTM 125 on this route. :thumb My hat is off to you amigo.

    Here is what it is like on the KTM 990. I will outline most of my route through Peru.

    Chachapoyas- Celendin: Very full day of the most scenic riding I have done in Peru. All dirt, very good smooth dirt at that. You will want to stop plenty and take plenty of photos. Minimal traffic. This is a must do route in Peru.


    Celendin - Cajamarca: A half day dirt ride to Cajamarca, a very nice colonial city with nice hotels and good restaurants. This is still on the tourist route through Peru.


    Cajamarca - Huanchaco: I left Cajamarca on pavement to the coast and stayed in Huanchaco (nice beach town). The point being that I wanted to ride the Cañon del Pato back into the mountains.


    Huanchaco - Santa - Cañon del Pato - Huaraz: The canyon is another must do route in Peru. This is a very full day of riding, get an early start. You are still very much on the tourist route.

    Huaraz - Chavin: Here is where you start to get off the gringo trail. Killer ride, all of 3 hours stopping to take pics. Half really crappy pot holed pavement, half dirt road. Chavin is a really neat little town with 2 nice hotels right on the main square. Oh yeah, they have 3000 year old ruin there too. And good restaurants as well.

    Chavin - La Union: Now, you will be fully off the tourist route. Another 3 or 4 hour mixed dirt/pavement ride taking it real easy (without the stops for the mining area.) After you leave Chavin you pass through a little town (San Ignacio) where you climb up scenic dirt switchbacks for a while to around 13,000 feet The kicker is that you have to pass through a big mining area where they close the road for 2 hours, then open an hour, closed 2 hours etc, each day of the week. That will hold you up for a little while. Incredible scenic ride though. After the mining area you get on perfect pavement that will take you through a 15,000+ foot pass, then a really scenic descent through a beautiful canyon before it gives way to dirt again the rest of the way following a river to La Union. La Union is like a garbage dump. But, it is the only option for lodging when you start riding at 1 pm. Camping you say? Forget it, if you camp you will be camping in the middle of the road.

    La Union - Huánuco:
    Starts out with some dirt, but its mostly a one lane wide pavement route through spectacular scenery. Look out for oncoming trucks, busses and cars. They dont give a shit that the road is only one lane wide when a moto is coming at them. A very awesome half day of riding into the friendly city of Huánuco!:thumb

    Huánuco - Junín: Half day. Pavement. Climb up to around a 14,800 ft plateau and freeze your ass off. OK riding. Junín is a very cool little town with a couple hotel options. You wont get hot water, but the people in town are really cool and you wont see any other gringos other than the handful of Peace Corps workers that live there. Really cool little place. Just be prepared for cold weather, and not many amenities.

    Junín - Huancayo: Half day, pavement. Killer ride through mountain twisties. Huancayo is a run of the mill larger city. Its OK, I didnt care for it too much other than a place to spend the night. There are nice hotel options and plenty of restaurants to choose from.

    Huancayo - Ayacucho: I did this in about 5 hours, really moving. You should probably plan at least 8 hours for this section just to be safe. 80 miles killer pavement twisties, 80 miles dirt road, equally scenic. I think this was the second most killer day of riding after the Chachapoyas - Celendin route. Ayachuco is the absolute coolest town I have been to in Peru. Touristy, but mostly Peruvian tourists. I like that. Good restaurants and nice comfortable places to stay.

    Ayacucho - Andahuaylas:
    170 miles, dirt road, lots of construction. I hit the construction right. I was only held up for an hour total and it took me 6 hours, riding like some girls father was chasing me. :D I imagine if you rode this at a sane speed it would take you at least 8 or 9 hours with construction stops. Pretty scenic day of riding as well.

    Andahuaylas - Abancay - Cuzco: 205 miles. 85 dirt/120 killer pavement twisties. Getting out of Andahuaylas can be problematic because of road construction. You have to ask people, then follow buses, combis and trucks. Then not too far out of town, there is a construction closure where they close the road from 6 am to 6 pm every day. There is a diversion around this closure which is basically a nice dirt road that goes up a steep hill to your right and rejoins the main road in a few miles. Once again, ask people, or just follow the combis, buses, and trucks that are headed to Abancay/Cuzco. The main road is now well graded, smooth and almost ready for asphalt most of the way to Abancay. After some incredibly scenic descending switchbacks that go down a good 8000 feet or so, you will hit awesome fresh new pavement just outside of Abancay. Then, the ride to Cuzco from Abancay is 120 miles of mindblowing, scenic, perfect asphalt mountain twisties. Good shit.


    OK, some final thoughts on this mountain route. If you dont mind dirt roads and some dust, this is an incredible scenic alternative to the Pan Am, although it will take time. You will get to see the real Peru on this route and not just the tourist areas.

    There are several places where there are unmarked Y's and T's in the road, and each road looks equally well traveled and plausible as the the right way to go. However, there will be no one to ask for directions. Once place is on the Chavin - La Union route after you leave San Ignacio. there are a couple Y's and I think you want the right fork in each case, I think.

    The other (I think) is the route to Ayacucho - Andahuaylas, I'm not sure on this though. Anyway, whatever route it is, you come to a T where you need to go left. Then you come to a Y where you need to go right. I hope I remembered this correctly. They are not marked and you probably wont see anyone come down the road for quite a while.

    Sorry about this but I have ridden so much scenic mountain dirt in the last couple of weeks that it is all running together.

    Some days I was cursing the dust and the oncoming trucks trying to kill me every day, but it was worth it in the end. If you want to do something a little quicker you could head toward Lima when you leave Huánuco, and avoid some long dirt days.

    Hope this info is helpful.
    #12
  13. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    What are you wearing when at those high altitudes?
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  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Dang. Now I'm going to have to put this on the front page along with the alternate way to Cuzco.
    #14
  15. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    I find that I start to get a little chilly at around 12,000 feet, so I put my rain liner in my jacket, thats it. I have a light down jacket and a heated jacket liner as well, but I have yet to use those things.

    However, I have used my heated grips on more than a few occasions. Used them in the Guatemala highlands in the winter, used them in Ecuador, and Peru. Warmer gloves would be nice as well, but I dont have them.
    #15
  16. snohobo

    snohobo Supermoto hippy

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    I hope you remembered correctly, as Mr Jones and I are about to hit this road tomorrow!

    :rofl
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  17. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    Ooooohhhhh, someone else will get a surprise in Andahuaylas. :evil
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  18. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    :lol3 Hope they like steep climbs. :lol3
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  19. Horatio0163

    Horatio0163 Been here awhile

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    Left then right is the way I remember it also.

    They still detouring up the steep back road to get onto the main highway? I thought that was just the locals telling me the shortcut! :wink:
    #19
  20. snohobo

    snohobo Supermoto hippy

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    At least I can help Mr Jones pick his WeeStrom back up:rofl
    #20