Robert Munro
/ Rob Munro

Peru

I had the opportunity to live with the Matses in the Peruvian Amazon in late 2008, studying their language. It was an incredible experience, and being there meant that the second most amazing thing I was able to do in Peru was some cycling.

With Paul and Clark, we crossed the Andes and cycled the Pan-American Highway from Dec 2008 to Jan 2009. (some photos mine, others courtesy of Clark)

Day 1 - Chivay, where the morning was dedicated to standing confidently in front of cameras.


Stopped in Tuti for Xmas dinner


The steep climbing begins. We basically spent a day and a half climbing, alpacas sneaking up on us whenever we turned our backs.


The final push to the top - somewhere around 5,000 metres. This turned out to be our highest pass. As we sat up the top an alpaca herder materialized from a side valley and congratulated us on reaching the watershed between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. We weren't fully aclimitized to the height so we didn't rest for too long.


We lost the path a little. For several days it felt like riding on the roof of the world, undulating between 4,000 and 5,000 metres.


Even when several days from nowhere there were herders on the trails - they were always friendly, but their dogs could go either way - one like this chased Paul down and ripped the cover off one of his paniers.


After crossing yet another pass we dropped into this valley and followed it down, coming out at this point where 4 canyons met - one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, and so much more so for it being completely unexpected.


We started entering more populated areas - actual towns with paved roads. The cosmopolitan vibe caused us to start dressing in our best Andes-chic.


Storms coming over - there was no mistaking that it was the rainy season.


Preparing to raise some quick funds. We were back down to around 3,000 metres as we spent a few days approaching Cusco, enjoying the warm weather, sealed roads, markets and full deep breaths.


Party in Cusco! We arrived at the Inca capital for New Year's Eve, catching up with Asha - a friend from home volunteering in the region by bringing the disco to the people.


Starting on a hazy New Year's day, we took a break from cycling and spent 4 days hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu. (More pictures of the trail via Facebook.)


We left the Andes for the pan-American Highway, cycling through the costal deserts, with more hills, sand, and a whole lot of nothingness.


Paracas National Park - sheltering from a sand storms. The head winds were strong enough to keep me in bottom gear even on the flat roads. More exfoliating than scenic, but a fun challange.


The Coast! After making it to the coast we settled at an oasis near Ica for a fews days before heading back.