In just the last 2 -3 years mountain biking in Peru has really advanced, and there are now some excellent tour operators which operate many different trips, using top quality equipment and guides.
Most of the best mountain biking opportunities exist around Cusco, where the abundance of mountains offer many paved and single track opportunities for all levels of expertise. There are many different types of tours available depending on your level of experience, the tour operator you use and what you want to see. Half and full day trips are common from Cusco, and for the more experienced and daring there are several overnight, and multi-night tours available. Check out the individual websites of each tour operator for a full description of tours available. (See below).
Mountain biking to Machu Picchu
Several tour operators now offer combined mountain biking and hiking tours to Machu Picchu, entering Machu Picchu by the “backdoor” through the small jungle village of Santa Teresa. This is an excellent way to get to Machu Picchu, as you will see some of the Andes best scenery, before descending into high jungle, passing though coffee and fruit plantations. Gravity Downhill Assisted offer an excellent 4 day itinerary using high end twin suspension Kona bikes.
Half and full day tours
The most popular half day tours are based around the gentle slops just outside of Cusco. These tours typically include visits to the Inca sites of Tambomachay, Pucara, Q’enco and Saqsaywaman. Half day tours are ideal for families and those who are looking to enjoy Inca ruins and the Andean scenery, at a more relaxed pace.
The route of Maras, Moray and Las Salineras starting 30 minutes outside of Cusco is probably the most common one day trip available. Combining the beautiful scientific and rarely visited Inca site of Moray, and the Inca salt flats nearby, this exciting day out is perfect for some great downhill fun. Beware there are some uphill’s too!
Single track downhill mountain biking / multi-day
For those looking for more full on biking action, there are also many single track tours to get the adrenaline flowing. It is probably best to talk directly with a tour operator to decide which tour will suit you best. Our favorite one day descent is the part paved, part dirt downhill of the Abra Malaga pass, 2h30m from Cusco. Descending from 4400 to 2800 meters, this fast and exciting route follows the famous international downhill event of ‘The Mega Avalanche’.
Remember that you must take some time to acclimatize to high altitudes before mountain biking at high altitude. 2 – 3 days minimum is recommended.
Comprehensive travel insurance is a good idea, and is often a mandatory requirement for with some tour operators. Mountain biking is by nature a thrill seekers activity, and is often dangerous. Take care to listen to your guides, and remember that you are a long way from a hospital when you are on the edge of a mountain 7 hours from Cusco. Use protective equipment and helmets.
You will find many travel agencies in Cusco that offer mountain biking trips. However, not all are very good and the equipment that they use is often out dated and badly maintained. The guides that they offer have no basic first aid skills, and show little respect for safety. Always choose a good operator, pay the right money for a good service and good equipment. Good mountain biking in Cusco costs money!
Urb. Santa María A1-6, San Sebastián, Cusco.
Telephone: ++ 51 (0) 84 272 862
Toll Free: USA/Canada 1 877 867 9682 – UK 0 800 098 8514
Avenida Collasuyo 910, Miravalle, Cusco
Telephone: ++ 51 (0) 84 252 846
Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking (Cusco)
Santa Catalina Ancha 398
Telephone: ++ 51 (0) 84 228 032