Were the Inca mountain bikers? Judging by the massive network of trails and roads they built all over Peru (10,000 km by some estimates) at the peak of their empire, modern-day archaeologists could be mistaken for thinking they were.
On this Ride, we’ll explore South America’s best singletrack, get a taste of Inca history in places like Cusco and Ollantaytambo, and revel in the majesty of the world’s 2nd-biggest mountain range. Your local guides are passionate about showing you the beauty of their country, and will give you a rich, fulfilling experience that goes well beyond an amazing mountain bike trip.
Check out these great articles written by past Riders on this trip:
- We Are Riding Our Bikes In Peru!
- The Inca Trail — All Mountain Adventure
- Riding High
- Blog Post — Peru Inca Trail — All Mountain Adventure
This trip is for experienced and technically strong riders only! Be sure to review our Skill and Fitness Rating System for a better understanding of what to expect.
Is This Ride For You?
You can handle very rocky terrain and narrow trails, and have excellent bike handling skills. You’re comfortable and confident riding all-mountain trails (steep climbs and long, technical descents). You don’t mind the odd long day if it gets you to a spectacular and remote place that few other visitors will see. You’re not afraid to get out of your comfort zone and experience a totally different and fascinating culture. You’re up for trying new things, like roasted guinea pig or volunteering at a remote Quechua community. You have a solid, well-maintained do-it-all trail bike (with roughly 130–160mm of travel, dropper post and beefy tires. Rentals also available).
Day 1. Arrive in Cusco, Peru
Welcome to Peru!
We offer an airport pick-up on Day 1 at 11:00 a.m. from the airport in Cusco (Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport CUZ). After collecting your baggage, head out to the main passenger pick-up area of the airport, and look for your shuttle driver with a Sacred Rides sign in their hand. We’ll then transfer you to our hotel in Cusco.
After settling into your hotel in Cusco, we’ll head out for an early lunch near the bustling main plaza of Cusco.
After lunch, we’ll head back to our hotel to build our bikes. We’ll then head out right from our hotel for a short intro ride to the upper part of the city. Once we are on top of the city, we’ll ride down an Inca trail with a few surprises thrown in. We’ll end our ride back at our hotel leaving enough time to explore Cusco or catch up on a few lost Z’s from travel.
Tonight, we’ll head to one of the best restaurants in Cusco. At dinner, we’ll take the time to review in detail our full itinerary for the week and answer any questions you may have. Tonight, we can enjoy some of the nightlife this Imperial city has to offer.
Day 2. Sacred Valley Treasures
Another early morning will be welcomed with a hearty breakfast of local cuisine and coffee.
Today, we’ll shuttle to Chinchero, one of the most important Inca sites near the Sacred Valley. Chinchero is located at a whopping altitude of 3,700 m (12,139 ft.).
From here, it’s possible to see the entire plateau of Maras and the Vilcanota’s Mountain Range with its +5,000 meter glaciers like Chicon and Veronica. We’ll cross agricultural fields, border Lake Huaypo and reach the village of Misminay where we’ll have lunch at a local family’s house.
We’ll continue the ride on an Inca Trail that will take us to the round terraces of Moray, the town of Maras and then descend to Sacred Valley following an incredible ancient trail. Get your cameras ready, as the view of the Sacred Valley below is like no other.
Finally, we’ll end our ride at the Urubamba River, at an altitude of 3,000 m (9,843 ft.).
Tonight, we’ll stay in the Sacred Valley, home for the next 5 nights.
Day 3. Lamay Valley Shuttle Runs
Today is a little more relaxed and super fun.
We’ll ride two different descents from the top of Lamay Valley.
The first trail starts at the top of the valley at an elevation of 4,350 m (14,271ft.). We’ll experience Enduro style riding on the top, followed by an incredible descent down ancient Inca trails to the bottom of the valley at 2,900m (9,514ft.).
After catching our breath and wiping the tears of happiness from our windswept faces, we’ll hop back in our shuttle and head back to the top of the mountain. Our second run will cross mountainside farms where we’ll cross paths with the locals hard at work.
This ride will be a true Inca experience, high atop the mountains of the Sacred Valley.
We’ll enjoy a group dinner and head back to the same hotel as last night.
Day 4. The Origin of The Inca Empire
There are three theories that explain the origin of the Inca Empire, all of which agree that it stemmed from Ollantaytambo, in the Patacancha Valley.
Early this morning, we’ll start with a shuttle from Ollantaytambo and climb towards the Patacancha Valley, a tributary of the Sacred Valley at an elevation of 4,500 m. We’ll descend mostly, with the occasional climb. We’ll cross rivers, pass through mountainside villages and enjoy the stunning views of the Andes.
We’ll stop in the village of Huilloc for lunch, where the local people will show us how they work the land and make their clothing.
In the afternoon, we’ll continue on a dirt road for about 5 km before we start climbing to Pumamarca. The climbing to Pumamarca is around 20 minutes on the bike and 5 minutes of pushing (you can do it!). The singletrack that starts in Pumamarca and ends in Ollantaytambo is one of the best, flowy singletrack trails in the area, with some rocky sections and excellent 360° views.
We’ll enjoy a group dinner and head back to the same hotel as last night.
Day 5. Rest Day or Choose Your Own Adventure
Day 5 is a scheduled rest day with no activities planned. For those needing to catch up on some extra Z’s are welcome to take the day at leisure. The following options are available as Add-Ons through the Add-Ons tab. Please visit the Add-Ons tab for pricing.
(Please Note: the Machu Picchu tour is not included in the trip price. Please visit the Add-Ons tabs for pricing. The Machu Picchu tour includes return train ride to Aguas Calientes, bus to Machu Picchu, admission and guide.)
We highly recommend you visit Machu Picchu while in Peru, considered one of the 7 wonders of the world!
The Machu Picchu tour starts with a train ride from Ollantaytambo to the town of Aguas Calientes. From there we’ll take a bus up to the Citadel.
Machu Picchu (like most of the Quechua names of towns and different sites in the region) is a compound word that comes from Machu = old or ancient, and Picchu = peak or mountain; therefore, Machu Picchu is translated as “Old Mountain”.
The famous mountain that appears in most of the classical views of the site is named Wayna Picchu (Young Mountain).
We’ll have the entire day to explore the remarkable Citadel and learn about its well-preserved secrets.
Tonight, we’ll dine in Yanahuara Village and head back to our lodge for a good night of rest.
RIDE HUCHUY CUSCO, THE INCA FORTRESS
(Please Note: the Huchuy Cusco ride is not included in the trip price. Pricing for this ride depends on the # of participants. Please contact us to be added to the “Rider” list and for more information on pricing.)
For those choosing to ride Huchuy Cusco, The Inca Fortress, it won’t disappoint!
We’ll have an early start and head towards the Sacred Valley and the surrounding mountains in Chinchero.
This experience will be a true epic Enduro ride, where we’ll have to first climb until we reach 4,336 m and then descend following an ancient Inca trail down to Sacred Valley.
This Ride will treat us to amazing views of the mountains, small villages and the Inca Fortress of Huchuy Cusco, located strategically high atop the Sacred Valley.
Tonight, we’ll dine in Ollantaytambo and head back to our lodge for a good night of rest.
Day 6. Ollanta to Lares Valley to Hot Springs
Today is a truly epic ride.
We’ll cross the mountains of the Sacred Valley towards the Lares Valley. Our shuttle will drop us at the pass of the Vilcanota Mountain Range at an elevation of 4,350 m (14,272 ft.) and from that point, we’ll ride an amazing ancient trail that descends towards the Lares hot springs. We will go through very remote areas and meet the local people that live in the Andes. As we descend we will pass through different type of terrain and then reach the hot springs at an elevation of 3,200m (10,500ft.). This Inca trail is very impressive and we were the first to ride it! This is sure to be a highlight of your riding experience in Peru!
We’ll reach the hot springs with lunch ready and waiting! We’ll spend the afternoon chilling at the hot springs, perfect for recouping our worked muscles. If you’re eager to keep riding this afternoon, we’ll have the shuttle available for an optional ride through the valley, another amazing trail that ends at the hot springs.
The shuttle ride back to the hotel is about 3 hours, enough time to take a nap and edit a few photos from the day’s adventure!
Day 7. Lares Inca Trail & Back to Cusco
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we’ll shuttle to the top of the Lares mountain pass, located at 4,420 m (14,501 ft.).
From here, we’ll start our ride heading downhill following another impressive Inca trail with rock steps that look like they were made specifically for mountain bikes.
We’ll pass one of the most impressive landscapes throughout the trip, crossing a deep canyon that is only possible to pass by mountain bike.
We’ll pass over a variety of terrain, from the relatively flat plateaus of the mountaintop to the rugged valleys.
We’ll finally end our ride in the town of Calca, where we’ll meet our shuttle and transfer back to the city of Cusco.
There will be an optional afternoon ride once back in Cusco.
Day 8. Cusco Shuttle Runs
This is our last day of riding in Cusco and we have an amazing day planned! We will ride three fun and flowy trails that descend right into to the city.
Shuttles are short and the riding will have you smiling from ear-to-ear! We will descend around 2,000 vertical metres throughout the day and finish this amazing trip in the main plaza of Cusco with Cusqueña beers!
In the afternoon, we will wash and pack up our bikes. Guides will be available to help! Then it’s time to celebrate this week of adventure with delicious food, cold beverages, and your new mountain bike friends! Cheers!
Day 9. Adios Cusco!
We have reached the last day of our amazing trip in Peru and it’s time to say goodbye to Cusco and it’s wonderful Inca Trails.
We’ll arrange for your shuttle to the airport based on your individual flight times.
Please note: we only offer an airport shuttle on Day 9. If you are departing a different day, we can book an airport shuttle for you at an additional cost, please visit the Ride Add-Ons information