We planned for another mega day today of 588 km on the Pan Americana. It is at least scenic south of Nazca and curves along the seaside and then inland to Arequipa.
There was an amazing amount of truck traffic. The last 50 km into Arequipa took over an hour and then the entry to the city from the south is totally blocked so you have to detour 10 km to the north entry to access the historic center. We were so mentally and physically burnt by the time we arrived we could not remember the name of our hotel. Luckily the traffic police let us park here and we used a nearby hotel’s wifi.
This town has a very nice historic center but does not hold a candle to Cusco. We were beat so we just relaxed and did a bit of walking around the Plaza de Armas. There is a nice bridge near by built by Eiffel.
We went to a great restaurant called ZigZag for a “fancy night out”. You had to wear a bib to protect your clothes from the sizzling meat.
Picking up the bikes at the Cochera we met a large group of riders from Sweden. We are actually FB friends with one of them Thomas and he has been following our blog. They all know our good friend Orvar (king of Sweden).
We decided at the last minute to forgo the apparently very bad road in the back way to Chivay and opted for the paved 180 km.
This is a stunning ride over a pass to almost 4900 m. There are tons of stacks of rocks left by other travellers.
The road down into the valley is switch backs on a sketchy paved road. We decided to stay in the next town at Yanque at 168 km.
There are a few km of pavement past the town and then it’s dirt for about 70 km to Cabanaconde.
It’s a good thing we did go on the paved route into chivay, because the “good” part of the road thru the Colca Canyon was a terrible 60 km of very rough road. So much we had the first real trauma since the Quito failed stator broken/dislocated toe incident. With a combination of the horrible road and Sara not tightening the lid to Dan’s tool tube, we lost Sara’s very good long john top that was padding our very nice thermos and of course the lid to the tube. Dan went back to look for it, but with 70 km of terrain and 1 hour till dark it was futile. That said the Canyon itself is beautiful, but I would not suggest you make a special trip here. There are so many other beautiful places in Peru that are easier to get to and you do not have to pay a 30$ per person park fee. This is great if you plan to spend a week here hiking, but not a day or two. Dan did some off roading down the hiking trails for a better view.
We stopped for lunch in Cabanaconde. There was this crazy building just outside of town.
On the return trip we decided to get off the horror road and went down into the canyon, up the other side and back on the small local road.