Santa Lucia to Bolivian border, Desaguadero.

2.9.21. 162ml over 3 days. Day 1 to Juliaca 40ml. Steady day on the highway to Juliaca. Nicolas has a room booked in town and I go to casa de ciclista, Geovanni welcomes me and I stay a few days to rest as my breathing is shallow and I’m very tired which I put down to the altitude. After resting at Geovannis for 4 days I ride 62ml to Llave then another 60ml to Desaguadero. I find a hotel Cali for a cheap night and the next day armed with my negative PCR test result and my health declaration, I’m upset to find I can’t exit Peru by land. Bolivia is open but Peru will only stamp you out if you have special permission from the consulate or foreign affairs office, like having sick relatives in Bolivia. I try emails and phone calls to the British Embassy and Peru foreign affairs but no joy. I go back to hotel Cali hoping that I get an email reply overnight for permission. In the morning it’s not good news. It’s not possible to cross, so I cycle to Yunguyo, 30ml away to another border. It’s the same story here. The Bolivian side will let me in if I have an exit stamp from Peru immigration. Lots of locals were sneaking around illegally which I could have done, but I didn’t fancy the worry of trying to exit without an entry stamp. Anyway, the Argentina & Chile borders are still closed so my only option would be to go via Paraguay and hope Argentina opens the border soon. After a lot of thought I just decide to accept at this time of uncertainty with covid, I could be waiting a long time for land borders to open in this part of the world. I only have a month left on my visa, So I just make my way to Cusco via Ayaviri, Héctor tejado, El Descanso and Urcos. Go and visit machu Picchu and return to Lima to fly out.

On route to Llave, lake Titicaca in the background
The closed border crossing at Yunguyo
on route to Héctor Tejada
El descanso plaza
Laguna de Languilayo. Route to San Pedro
Route to Urcos
Final leg to Cusco Huaro plaza
Plaza de armas Cusco historic center
Looking down on the historic centre of Cusco from San Christobel.

Arequipa to Santa Lucia.

28.8.21. 5 days 136ml. Day 1, 24ml. I take the road out of Arequipa towards Chiguata. It’s up all the way and the road turns to gravel after the nice little town of Chiguata. After about 7 more miles I find a quiet place to camp off the road among some trees down a track. It’s cold and windy and I don’t sleep much for the cold. 24ml.

Chiguata plaza
Too cold to sleep.

Day 2. 24ml to Tambo de sal. After packing everything up and rejoining the dirt road, it’s up into the Aguada Blanca national reserve. I arrive at Laguna de Salinas, a big salt lake. It’s a great view with pink flamingos and volcan Ubinas in the distance. I reach a small village called Tambo de sal and a kind person let’s me sleep on the floor inside a store room. I don’t sleep again due to the cold.

Into the national reserve
The long dusty climb
Volcun Misti
Laguna de salinas. Volcun Ubinas in the distance
Pink Flamingo

Day 3. 25ml to Pati. it’s a little easier with less climbing and I arrive at a small village called Pati. Struggling with the breathing a little due to elevation of 4,300m and every pedal stroke seems a big effort. It’s only 2.30pm but it’s too far to the next village so I ask again if I can sleep inside and a local points to a house. When I get there it’s a nice lady owner who sets up a bed on some pallets inside and gives me extra blankets to go on my sleeping bag. She makes me a nice evening meal and breakfast and it’s the 1st night of sleep being warm since Arequipa.

Day 4. 32ml to Tincopalca. It’s quite a long climb out of Pati but great views and peaceful. I’m on the Altiplano and it’s 4,750m here. Very desolate but beautiful with more lakes and pink flamingos. I arrive at Tincopalca and I ask at a local store for a room and luckily a family at the next store have a room to rent for 15sol, £3.

Altiplano at 4,750m.
Lots of alpacas
Chilian flamingos
Desolate but beautiful

Day 5, 31ml to Santa Lucia. Better day with less climbing but awful corrugations on parts of the gravel road. Good views of Laguna Chalchura and Saracocha on the way and the local hospedajes are full so I had to pay more for a room at a hotel on the main highway junction. In the evening I met Nicolas again , a cyclist from France, and we rode the 40ml to Juliaca together the next day.