The road to Cusco

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July 4th 2011
Published: July 4th 2011
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After leaving Copacabana we crossed the border into Peru and into the Puno region, famous of late for it's protests against foreign mining contracts in the area. The main highway in this region is mostly closed to traffic because of roadblocks made by the locals but we thought we'd try our luck on our bikes. Most of the roadblocks are just rocks and mud with a bit of broken glass scattered along the road so we could weave through ok on our bikes, but some blocked the road entirely and had locals sitting on them! We managed to get through them by lifting our bikes over and smiling, pretending we were just stupid gringos, which seemed to work pretty well as the peruvians were really friendly! After cycling about 60km from the border the blocks cleared and the road semed to be operating as normal so we though we'd got past them. We stayed the night in a town called Juliaca and realised we definately hadn't got past them when it kicked off that night, we heard lots of noise but luckily were tucked up in our hotel room. When we left in the morning we were greeted by burning tyres and a lot of broken glass which made leaving the city a bit nerve wracking. After leaving the city though, the road was mostly clear so we could cycle no problem to the next town.

The next day we had one of our best days of riding of the trip so far. The scenery was unbelievable, with snow capped mountains and green valleys around us as we climbed a mountain pass up to 4338m. We stopped for lunch at the top, after chatting to some guys on motorbikes from Argentina, before having the 40km descent down to the town of Sicuani. From here to Cusco the road weaved between the mountains, following a river so we had nice green valleys and farming communities to look at. We arrived in Cusco early on the sixth day and booked the Jungle trail to Machu Picchu, which is a 4 day combination of trekking, downhill mountain biking and rafting to get to the Incan ruins.

Cusco itself is one of the nicest cities we've been to so far, the central historic part is full of old buildings and squares with shops and restaurants dotted everywhere. On the day before we left for the Jungle trail we walked up to the Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman which overlook the city which were pretty cool.

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Inca ruins overlooking Cusco

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