Cycling above the Clouds

Riding the Andes by Bicycle

What we need is…

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Wild camping in Llocllora

After all the excitement of the fiesta in Huaro, we had a very quiet day’s cycling in the sun with the wind at our backs, as we continued our way up the Sacred Valley. Having now passed the main tourist towns, villages started to become further apart and we decided to find a spot to wild camp.

Stopping in a sleepy village called Llocllora, we walked up behind the few rows of earthen cottages, to find a perfectly flat and well hidden camping ground…or so we thought.

After a successful cook (hearty pasta & fresh veg sauce dish) and a pretty good night’s sleep, we woke around 7am as the sun started to burn the ice off the tent. The serene idyl we thought we’d found started to come to life as a steady stream of sheep, goats, shepherds and corn farmers started to wind their way up the hillside alongside us.

As we tucked into our morning porridge, the occasional farmer came over to inspect our kit. With approving nods, the odd incredulous enquiry as to ‘where are your husbands??!!’, they’d then wish us a cheery ‘buen probecho’ before continuing up the hillside.

We readied ourselves for the off, but not before our oft uttered phrase of ‘What we need is another cup of tea’.

A secluded wild camping spot?

Our steady stream of morning visitors

Aguas Calientes and the Abra La Raya Pass 

After a gorgeous few days of riding under clear blue skies we took a rest day in a town called Sicuani before heading up out of the Sacred Valley via the Abra La Raya pass. With a 1,000m climb coming that would take us up to 4385m altitude, we decided to break up the ride and stop off mid-way to make sure we didn’t push our luck with acclimatisation. Our legs were extremely happy with this choice as we pulled off the road and into the Aguas Calientes hot springs.

Twenty minutes later we were steaming away in the hot pools, warming ourselves to the core whilst surrounded by 360 degree views of the the stunning mountain range.

It turned out the springs had a basic hospedaje (hostal) on site. We parked ourselves up for the night and after finding the cafe closed, made ourselves some more trusty avocado, cheese and tomato sandwiches for dinner (some of which ended up in the mouths of a couple of very cheeky local kiddies), followed by another ‘What we need is a good brew of earl grey tea’.

Setting off in the morning, we had a short climb to the top of the Abra La Raya pass and up out of the Sacred Valley. Pleased that neither of us were feeling the effects of the altitude thanks to our stop over the night before, we climbed easily and steadily and were rewarded with yet more stunning views before descending to the stunnning altiplano below.

Rewarded by a warm soak in the stunning surroundings of Aguas Calientes

Smiles at the top of Abra La Raya pass

The pass opens out into wide views of the altiplano as we descend

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