This MTB adventure holiday is a must for riders looking for top mountain biking trails in Peru – and we include the famous Mega Avalanche race route, too.
More classic routes are included as well as many that only select local mountain bike enthusiasts know about.
From Cusco, we cycle into the Inca heartlands to explore superb off road bike tracks in the region.
We start at a relatively low altitude level in the Sacred Valley, to help you acclimatise. As the days progress, the routes get more extreme, and the mountains – and therefore the descents – bigger.
No mountain bike trip to Peru is complete without the Mega Avalanche race route, which sees you swooping down more than 1,500m of track, Inca Trail and road. Try to beat the race times or take it at your own pace on this testing route.
You can take a break from the adrenaline with a visit the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu too – although this has to be on foot.
If you can’t take your own bike, we can provide a range of Konas which ensure you get the most from the jumps, turns and trials which lie ahead.
Take on the famous Mega Avalanche race route.
Ride routes only select local mountain bike enthusiasts know about.
Best downhill mountain bike tour in all Peru.
Optional visit to Machu Picchu - on foot - for a complete Cusco experience.
Guides for the Cusco City tour (Clara) and the Peru mountain biking trip (Carlos) were excellent and both trips were very informative and comprehensive.
L. Power, mountain biking in Peru
On arrival at Cusco airport, meet your guide and transfer straight to our base in Sacred Valley – this way we’ll avoid any potential altitude problems and guarantee ourselves a good night sleep.
The charmingly converted Hacienda Marcabamba is the perfect place to base ourselves for this holiday. Meals are taken in the communal dining room or in the delightful gardens.
After lunch we’ll assemble our bikes and those who want can take a quick trip into the nearby town of Urubamba to stretch the legs and begin to acclimatise to the rarefied air of the Andes.
Our first ride has been described as one of the finest one-day rides in Peru and it certainly is a classic.
Starting near Chinchero at 3,600m/11,811ft, we enjoy a variety of undulating dirt trails with spectacular views along the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the white peaks of mount Veronica, Pitusiray and Chicon. We arrive at the circular Inca ruins of Moray in time for visit and an explanation of this weird and wonderful site and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch.
This afternoon we join a truly fantastic ride down a donkey trail down to the colonial village of Maras, and from there descend a divine single track to the Salt pans. A final zigzagging single track brings us to the Urubamba river and back to our hacienda in time to enjoy hot showers, sundowners on the balcony and a delicious dinner.
Now well acclimatised, we drive high into the Andes to just over 4,000m/13,123ft for two of the world’s best kept mountain biking secrets.
The single track down to Amparaes starts rough but soon turns into one of the most beautiful 16km trails – it’s as if someone has come along and swept away the rocks leaving super smooth path, allowing you to whoop and swoop past local villages, llamas and alpacas down to the small village of Amparaes in time for lunch.
We’ll climb back up now to 4,200m/13,780ft for another truly amazing single track, this time following an ancient Inca trail complete with original Inca stairways and Inca tombs in an incredibly beautiful canyon, before joining the road to Calca with some great short cuts for the more adventurous.
We arrive in Calca Plaza de Armas in time for a quick beer before returning to our hotel for the night.
When the drive to the start of the ride is almost as extreme as the ride itself, you know you are in for a good day out.
This is one of our long time favourites and a true wilderness biking adventure, high in the Andes. We drive to 4,000m/13,123ft and leave the vehicle behind for the entire day. Stocked up on snacks and spares, we follow an Inca trail that winds its way up to an Inca ceremonial platform at nearly 4,200m/13,780ft.
From here, it’s nearly all downhill or cross country as we discover Inca sites and charming Andean hamlets – we even cross an Inca hanging bridge.
There is a short portage through an unrideable but truly gorgeous canyon and then we emerge at a viewpoint high above the Sacred Valley. Next, we cycle along well preserved Inca terraces and into the impressive Inca ruins of Huchuy Quosqo, thought to have been a royal palace.
Our support vehicle meets us here for a quick check-up on energy levels, and, for those who need more adrenaline, we still have another 800m to descend to the Sacred Valley by way of a delightful dirt trail (with the odd bit of walking) all the way back to Calca.
Whilst body armour is not essential for any of this trip, if you’ve got it, today might just be the day to wear it and not take it off at all. The runs today are arguably two of the best single track down hills in the Sacred Valley if not the whole of Peru.
From the delightful market town of Chinchero we traverse a vast set of Inca terraces on a perfectly restored and wide royal Inca trail. A series of ride-able (or walk-able) steps take us down through a Eucalyptus forest and a spectacular view point for more technical single track back down to the small village of Huayllabamba. The local record is about 45 minutes, but we’ve got all morning (and usually need it!)
A short drive back up the hill to Cerro Sacro (this is where some folk paraglide from) where we’ll have a lunch with 360º view before another truly classic trail. Super smooth and ridiculously fast, if you dare, we swoop back down to Urubamba.
There are a variety of routes to choose from, from the sublime to the ridiculous and those with any adrenaline can cool off with a quick blast back to the hotel – or pottery shopping anyone? If your adrenaline levels are already depleted from the past days of riding, we can suggest a series of lovely road rides, a bit of retail therapy at a local artisan market or a total chill out at the hacienda – there’s a great spa/bar nearby too.
Steve Peat won it in once in 24 minutes, most racers take 30 – 40 minutes and we’ve got all day to enjoy this truly amazing trail, which hosts the annual “Mega Avalanche” downhill race.
A short drive to 4,300m/14,108ft and we are off. Your guides will help to point out the best lines, with regular stops to regroup. There are some huge jumps that are easily avoidable (or we’ll talk you through them) as we blast down 1,550m/5,085ft of descent on a mix of tight single track, divine Inca trail and even a bit of tarmac.
After lunch, those who are up for it can go back up and do it again; or you can enjoy a lovely and mostly flat ride back to the town of Ollantaytambo for strawberry milkshakes and banoffee pie.
Today you have a tour to the spectacular lost city of the Incas – Machu Picchu.
An hour and a half by train down the Urubamba gorge brings you to Aguas Calientes where you are met by your expert guide and taken by bus to the ruins for a full guided tour. You have time to explore by yourself before catching the afternoon train back up the Urubamba valley and a short bus transfer back to Cusco.
Once back in Cusco there are penty of fabulous resturants, bars, cafes and even night clubs so you can head out to enjoy a bit of Cusco nightlife.
By now you’ll be fully acclimatised and totally sensitised to the delights of Peruvian single track so we’ve saved the best for last.
The hills that surround Cusco are our guide’s local playground and they have a treat in store for you. Dubbed ‘Three Downhills in Three hours’ we start with ‘Salkantay’ – 750m vertical descent on sweet single track, Inca ruins en route then eucalyptus forest and all ending back in Cusco. This first ride could be a contestant for best ride of the trip – and we still have two more to go.
Back up the hill, we follow an ancient Inca trail past more Inca ruins as we join ‘Antisuyo’, which is a a recently restored Inca trail leading to the jungle. This is a perfect set of steps – not to narrow to ride, but steep enough so that if you haven’t learnt to step jump, you will have by the end. We head all the way down to San Blas and the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
We’re not finished yet. We have a choice of rides from Yuncaypata, which is the locals’ favourite downhill biking area. You can choose from the ‘Red Bull course’ (pretty steep but doable) or the ‘Birthday route’ (ask your guide). Both are sweet single track with Incas ruins en route and a few steps if you want.
Biking over, it’s time for a shower and a chance to experience the culinary delights of Cusco (guinea pig is a local speciality) and/or the busy nightlife where you can salsa till dawn – if you’ve got the energy.
A nice late start, we’ll help you pack up your bikes and take you back to Cusco airport, bus or train station for your flight home or onward travel.
Prices From $3,686 / £3,126 per person
Enquire about booking
Bi-lingual guide/mechanic, support vehicle and transfers to and from Cusco, first aid kit, all meals and accommodation as listed. Machu Picchu extension and tour.
International or internal flights (we can look into these for you), mountain bike (can be hired), personal cycling equipment (can be hired), personal belongings, sleeping bag, travel insurance, personal expenses and tips.
Hotels and hosterias in the area, 2-3* with private bathrooms.
Our guides are true mountain bike fans who love biking in and around the area. Most of them enter regular races in the area, and know all the best routes.
Support staff have worked with us from many years and provide great food, mechanical support and help along the way.
Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please ask us for more information.
Breakfasts at hotels will feature teas, coffees and juices to drink, plus cereals, fruit, eggs, toast and jams etc.
While out riding, we either supply a packed lunch of sandwiches, snacks, soup, fruit etc, or we eat at a local restaurant. These are often buffet style with soups, rice, pasta, potatoes and then puddings/fruit.
Evenings are free for you to choose to eat in a local restaurant.
This is a trip that requires high fitness and technical skills.
This trip is aimed at serious and experienced mountain bikers who are used to long, technical descents on a variety of terrains.
You need to be confident on steep descents with some jumps, steep steps and large rocks/boulders.
Assuming you have these skills, you also need to be fit as much of this tour is at high altitude. Most sections are down hill, but you will need to be able to climb on certain stretches – hard work at high altitude.
Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.
The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.
The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.
Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.
The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.
The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.
Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.
The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.
The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.
Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.
You can also read about the weather of Peru in our blog.
Peru is located in the southern tropics (latitudes 0º to 18º), but climate varies significantly according to season, altitude and region.
Lima & the coast
From May to October, Lima is often overcast, but with minimal precipitation. There are sunny spells, and it’s a fresh to pleasant 13-20ºC.
At the same time, inland areas and the north coast mid to high 20’s ºC.
November to April is generally warm and sunny and Lima enjoys warm temperature of 19-25ºC, with the coast averaging 22-30ºC.
Climate depends largely on altitude. As a rule of thumb, below 2,000m climate is mild and above 2,000m warm clothing is required for evenings, nights and early mornings.
The Andean sun is very strong.
May to Oct (dry season in The Andes)
Cusco (3,300m): Average max/min temps: 22ºC /2ºC. Average 3 or 4 wet days per month.
Arequipa (2,380m): Average max/min temps: 26ºC /9ºC. Sunny more than 340 days/year with minimal precipitation.
On highland treks: Conditions are generally dry. However, at this time of year, expect a range of conditions within a single day: cold/freezing nights at camps above 4,000m, where pre-dawn temperatures can be -5ºC; warm, spring-like mornings and afternoons; and cold evenings.
Note that mountain weather can be fickle and localised, and that precipitation is not unknown in the dry season. Expect temperatures to swing between sun and shade, sheltered and exposed ground and with altitude gain and loss. A quick-setting sun means temperatures drop fast.
In the cloud forest, e.g. around Machu Picchu, daytime conditions are generally warm or hot, and evenings cool.
Nov to March/April (wet season in The Andes)
Cusco: Average max/min temps: 23ºC /6ºC. Average 13 wet days per month.
Arequipa: Average max/min temps: 25ºC /14ºC.
On highland treks: Wetter conditions, with cooler days and milder nights than dry season. Jan-Mar usually the wettest months.
The Amazon rainforest
Year-round, weather conditions are hot and humid and there is always the risk of rain
There is a ‘dry season’ in Tambopata and Manu between May and October. The average daytime high temperature is between 25°C and 34°C and the average nighttime low is between 16°C and 22°C. Heavy downpours typically occur every few days.
Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season Nov-April.
On rare occasions, between May and September, cold fronts from Argentina – ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
We provide everything except a bike, personal equipment and clothing. Bikes can be hired, please ask for details.
If you are taking your own bike it should preferably be a mountain bike, quality 24+ gears, front/double-suspension, cross-country bike.
Please contact us if you are unsure whether your bike will be suitable.
During the day hopefully it will be generally sunny enough for shorts and T-shirts though having a fleece and rain gear handy is advisable. It can and will get cold, especially in the evenings so bring a warm fleece jacket, a good waterproof and some warm clothes including thermal underwear, gloves, scarf and woolly hat as well as one set of smarter clothes for cities.
Below is a more detailed guide.
Detailed kit list – clothing
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
Peru boasts in its Amazonian region a vast swathe of world-class tropical wilderness with several rain forest and cloud forest reserves which are home to an immense diversity of wildlife.
Accessible from Lima, Iquitos or Cusco, the Amazon jungle is just a short flight away.
In Peru’s southeast lies the extraordinary region comprising the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene and Manu National Parks, with the greatest animal and plant diversity anywhere in the world.
Whether you choose to base yourself at a comfortable lodge or enjoy a more demanding camping trip, you can be sure of a unique, exhilarating and unforgettable experience.
The beautiful colonial city of Arequipa is replete with history and culture, and is the gateway to the condors of Colca Canyon.
Nestled at 2,325m/7,627ft, the ‘white city’ sits at the foot of three tremendous volcanoes: El Misti (5,821m/19,098ft), Chachani (6,075m/19,930ft) and Pichu Pichu (5,542m/18,182ft).
Arequipa’s attractions include the Cathedral, Compañía de Jesús Church, Santa Catalina Convent and the Dama de Ampato (Juanita Mummy) Museum.
With a year-round spring climate and sunshine guaranteed for 300 days of the year, it is the perfect place to begin acclimatising before continuing upwards.
Nearby is the famous Colca Canyon. At hundred kilometres long, this incredible gorge is said to reach a maximum depth of 3,400m/11,155ft – twice that of the Grand Canyon.
An overnight tour to Colca gives you the chance to see the iconic, soaring condors of the canyon.
Cusco is the archaeological and cultural capital of South America.
The one-time centre of the vast Inca Empire is a bustling highland city with bags of character.
Its whitewashed streets and plazas feature a fascinating blend of Inca and Spanish colonial stonework and offer endless possibilities for exploration.
You don’t have to venture far to find outstanding examples of high quality Inca architecture, including the monumental temple fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
There is also the fertile farming land of the Sacred Valley on the doorstep, with many Inca terraces, temples and fortresses, plus colourful local markets and small villages.
At night, Cusco offers an excellent array or restaurants and bars plus the continent’s best Andean folk music scene.
In the northeast of Peru lies Kuelap – the jewel in the massive archaeological crown of the Chachapoyas Cloud People.
The mystical structure of Kuelap – dubbed the Peru’s second Machu Picchu by locals – is 1,200 years old.
It features massive limestone walls towering 60 feet, pottery, bones and hundreds of mysterious round stone structures, and away from the crowds of other sites.
This is a remote area of sub-tropical valleys, half way down the eastern slopes of the Andes. The jungle is impenetrable, dense with low trees, bromeliads, bamboos, orchids and mosses.
Lake Titicaca, at around 4,000m/13,123ft above sea level, is a vast shimmering body of water on the Peru/Bolivia border.
It is the world’s highest navigable lake, set against a breathtaking background of towering ice-covered Andean mountain peaks.
The islands and shoreline of Lake Titicaca support many Indian communities, including the well known floating islands of Uros and the more remote islands of Taquile and Amantani. Here, traditions are strong and it appears time really does stand.
Agriculture, fishing, knitting and weaving are important to the islanders and by staying a day or two you gain just a small insights into this traditional way of life.
Islanders welcome tourists into their homes and this is a wonderful opportunity to experience island life.
Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant bustling place with a wide variety of things to do.
Stroll or bike around the historic centre, visiting the many museums or just chilling out in a café or restaurant in Miraflores.
In Parque Kennedy you can sit outside in Parisian fashion and watch the world go by in cafes and restaurants, or walk to the shore and the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
There are a number of artisan shops & market stalls, plus a big silver jewellery trade, and a burgeoning number of top end restaurants with delicious food.
The centre of Lima is home to impressive Colonial architecture – Plaza de Armas has the Palace, official residence of the president, on one side, and on another is the Cathedral.
San Francisco Church, home of the Catacombs, is well worth a visit, as is the Inquisition museum.
Nothing says Peru quite the way Machu Picchu does.
The Lost City of the Incas, perches dramatically on a ridge-top 400 metres above the Urubamba river. The extensive site, with its many terraces, temples and palaces, is set amid a beautiful landscape of deep gorges and thickly forested mountains.
When Machu Picchu was rediscovered early in the 20th century and cleared of forest, it was found to be very well preserved. It has since presented archaeologists with many unanswered questions regarding the role it played in Inca times.
The sense of grandeur, whether you arrive on the Inca Trail or not, is impressive.
Try to arrive early at the site to enjoy it at its best – and late afternoon can often see you almost alone in the ruins.
North east of Lima, the Cordillera Blanca offers fantastic mountain scenery and some of the best trekking and climbing in the Andes.
The Cordillera Blanca boasts dozens of peaks over 6,000 metres, including Peru’s highest Huascaran at 6,768m/22,205ft above sea level.
The Blanca range also contains the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers.
This is an ideal destination for treks, from just a few to 12 days or so and also an ideal starting place for learning or improving mountaineering skills.
The nearby Huayhuash mountain range contains a dazzling array of snow peaks including seven summits above 6,000 metres.
This is a trekking paradise with breathtaking majestic panoramas and stunningly remote and picturesque camping spots. There is no better place to visit to get away from it all.
01st Apr 2024 - From $3686 / £3125.728
Select an available date to view pricing and information for that particular trip.
2024 price per person
Private trip based on 4 people
USD 4,975 per person if two travelling together.
Price reduces with more people
Single supplement applies
$3,686 / £3,126
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What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $1,317 / £1,117 per person
Capacity: 16 people
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Prices From $1,742 / £1,477 per person
What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
Prices From $4,851 / £4,114 per person
Prices From $4,430 / £3,757 per person
Dates: From March 2023 to January 2024
Students Study Food Insecurity & Climate Change in Peru University of Edinburgh students and teachers report back from Peru, where they learned how traditional farming techniques could help prevent climate change and reduce food insecurity. The team visited coastal Lima, the Cusco Highlands, and the cloud forest. For Andean Trails and our local team, it was a chance to showcase a side of Peru that many visitors may not see when passing through. It went so well that the University has already signed up its team to another Food Security tour in the spring of 2024. Learning About …
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