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6 best bike routes in Cusco, Peru

Cusco is one of the best places for cycling, with its mountainous geography and variety of ecosystems, making it the perfect place to pedal in different types of cycling. There are routes for XC, enduro, road cycling, downhill, among others.

Within our selection of the 5 best bike routes in Cusco, we highlight their ease of access, landscape diversity, and level of difficulty.

1. Corn Route, XC

If XC or Cross Country is your thing, the Corn Route is perfect for you. It is a road type trail that crosses the Sacred Valley of the Incas from the town of Pisaq (located 45 minutes from the city of Cusco) to the fortress of Ollantaytambo.

With a distance of 60 km between the starting and ending points, running very close to the Vilcanota River among corn, strawberry, and potato crops. To better enhance this route, the corn crops you will pass through are the best in the city of Cusco and Peru.

The terrain is quite firm and there is not much unevenness, in most of the circuit the surface is flat making it a bicycle trail with a "easy" degree of difficulty. Ideal for a family outing or to disconnect from routine surrounded by typical landscapes of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

2. Lares Trail, Enduro

Increasing the degree of difficulty, we move on to enduro mode. The route you can't miss while in Cusco is undoubtedly the Lares Trail. An ancient Inca path extends from 4600 m high, descending to 2900 m high over 12 km. The terrain is quite fluid but also has its technical side, making it more fun if you're looking for a lot of adrenaline discharge.

It is located 2 hours from the city of Cusco, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Its degree of difficulty is intermediate level with little positive unevenness. As an additional feature, there is a sand drop named "freeride" by local riders. This drop has a steep inclination, not very long, but we are sure that if you ride it, it will make your heart reach the top.

3. Huacarpay, Road Cycling

Huacarpay is a wetland located 30 minutes south of the city of Cusco, in this wetland there is a track that surrounds the lagoon extending for approximately 5 km. Yes, it is very little mileage for a road cyclist, but remember that it is at altitude (between 3000 to 4000 masl) which affects performance. However, you can make as many laps as you want, the great thing about this circuit is that there is very little vehicle traffic, we would say almost none, combined with the landscape, it makes a perfect place for road cycling.

As an additional piece of information, near this track is the town of Lucre, where you can find the best roasted duck in the Cusco area, as well as delicious artisanal ice creams. Take advantage of your break and treat yourself to a stop in Lucre.

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Cycling route in Huacarpay

4. Maras Moray, XC

It is the most classic circuit and perhaps the most used by enthusiastic tourists, characterized by having stops at archaeological sites such as Moray and crossing the salt mines, called Salineras. Its distance is approximately 20 km, starting near the town of Chinchero.

You will mostly see potato and cereal crops on your ride, in addition to being able to observe the Urubamba mountain range. The first stop will be the archaeological center of Moray, a place that was formerly used for agricultural experimentation, its circular and terraced terracing allowed to have different temperatures at each of its levels, which allowed the planting of different products.

Then you can visit the famous salt mines in Maras, where you can take the opportunity to buy some salt to taste at home. Finally, you will arrive in the Sacred Valley in Urubamba. The difficulty of this circuit is moderate, it has very simple parts, but at the end, there is a narrow horseshoe path with some tight turns. You can always walk the more complicated parts if your skill does not allow it.

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Salineras de Maras, Cusco

5. Raqchi, Downhill

This circuit will truly make your adrenaline fly, located in the Sacred Valley, on the high side, near Chinchero. It starts at a great viewpoint of the Urubamba snow-capped mountains, then crosses a canyon descending towards the town of Urquillos. The great thing about this circuit is that it has technical parts, sections with stone stairs, technical turns, and some ramps.

Its distance is 8 km, not very long, but fun. There are sections of high speed, which allows you to release that wild spirit that a rider keeps in their day to day. Otherwise, the fun is guaranteed if downhill is your favorite sport.

6. Yuncaypata, XC

The Yucaypata route in Cusco is a favorite among mountain biking enthusiasts. Located just 45 minutes from the city of Cusco, this route offers trails for all tastes and cyclist experience levels.

The route begins at the Ccorao pass, where you can choose the trail you wish to explore. The distance varies depending on the trail chosen, so you can ride for about 8 km, encountering steps, ramps, and even roots typical of the forests surrounding the route.

However, if you're looking for a more relaxed ride, you can cycle approximately 16 km on a trail that doesn't require great skill. You may encounter sections with many holes due to rain and animal traffic, but these do not present a significant obstacle.

Undoubtedly, the versatility that Yucaypata offers is what made it the favorite route for all cyclists visiting the city of Cusco.

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Yuncaypata Trail

Where to Practice Mountain Biking in Cusco?

There are many possibilities for practicing mountain biking in Cusco, the best ones are found in the Sacred Valley of the Incas; however, they are somewhat far, between 2 to 3 hours driving to the starting point of any of these routes. Considering this and knowing that no one likes to spend a lot of time in the car, we recommend going to Yuncaypata. A town where you will find many possibilities to practice cycling, whether you are looking for lines for beginners or lines for experienced riders.

Yuncaypata is not very far from the city of Cusco, in 45 minutes you can reach the top of the mountain. Now, since there is a variety of lines, you can practice the following cycling modalities:

  • XC (cross-country)
  • Downhill
  • Enduro

If you have time, we recommend traveling to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you will find circuits with more variety in each modality. Consider staying in Urubamba or Calca, places that offer many amenities for tourists, where you'll find hotels and restaurants at comfortable prices.

City Tour by Bicycle in Cusco

It's a bit complicated to do a city tour by bicycle in Cusco, for two basic reasons:

  1. Cusco does not have bike lanes, at least not in the historic center, nor are there bicycle parking spots, which makes this type of tour more complicated.
  2. Cusco has very narrow streets, which makes it difficult to move around on a bicycle because in most cases cars occupy 90% of the road and sometimes the entire street.

Even so, what can be done is to visit the 4 archaeological sites: Saqsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, and Qenqo sites that are part of the classic City Tour in Cusco. Normally, this tour is done on electric bicycles, as the track has a lot of variation in elevation. Electric bicycles will make your experience more comfortable, as they assist almost 80% of your pedaling.

Adding visits to archaeological sites, this tour is truly a gem, as you are outdoors. The degree of difficulty is easy, you do not need much experience to enjoy the tour. It is highly recommended to escape the routine and do something different from the classic tours.

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City bike tour, Cusco

Tour Duration

The city bike tour duration is a maximum of 6 hours, depending on your physical condition.

Recommendations for Bike Riding

Here are some recommendations to consider for your bike ride.

  • Always carry a rain jacket or a windbreaker, the weather can be unpredictable in Cusco, sometimes it may rain, and other times the wind can be a nuisance.
  • Always have your sunscreen and a good pair of sunglasses handy, the radiation is very strong due to the altitude.
  • Wear shoes with good grip, they will ensure you don't slip off the pedals, and if you walk at times, they will provide more comfort.
  • Always wear your helmet, even if the trail seems very easy, remember to always wear your helmet at all times.
  • If you are going to ride alone, remember to inform someone close to you where you are headed, in case of an accident, that person will know where you might be located.
  • Carry a flashlight, in case night falls, the flashlight can save your life.
  • Before undertaking any circuit, take into account one or two days of acclimatization, especially if you come from sea level, as you might suffer from altitude sickness. Adapt progressively and then start practicing the sport.

Exploring Maras-Moray by Bicycle

The Maras-Moray route is the most popular in the Cusco region, offering a great variety in activities, as it involves not only cycling but also visiting the archaeological site of Moray and the salt mines in Maras.

To explore it, you must drive to the town of Chinchero, located 45 minutes from Cusco. This place marks the beginning of your adventure, with 20 km of distance awaiting you on this trail. The terrain is not complicated, although the path becomes narrower towards the end.

Do I need to pay for entry to this bicycle route?

The Maras-Moray bicycle circuit is free; however, entering the archaeological complex of Moray costs 70 soles, and for the salt mines, it is 10 soles.

Tour Duration

The duration of the tour depends on your physical condition, normally lasting 6 hours, but it can take a bit longer.

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Maras Moray on Bicycle

Downhill Riding in Yuncaypata, Cusco

The downhill trail in Yuncaypata is one of the most used by cyclists visiting Cusco, offering adventure for both experts and beginners.

On the route, you can visit archaeological sites such as Inkilltambo, Kallachaka, Hatun Plaza, among others. To undertake this journey, you will have 2 options:

  • Option 1: This is for beginner cyclists or those who want a relaxed circuit because the path is wide with a length of 8 km of pure descent, lasting approximately 1 hour.
  • Option 2: This option is for more experienced cyclists; the trail has a positive elevation of 450m, with an approximate duration of 4 hours.

Exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas by Bicycle

The Sacred Valley of the Incas offers perfect trails for cycling, where you can marvel at the wonderful landscape and even visit several archaeological sites like Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and more.

The route is approximately 58 km long, all along the cycle path of the Sacred Valley. Entry to the archaeological sites requires a ticket, costing 70 soles and includes access to Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, and Moray.

What to Bring?

For any bike ride, it is always advisable to bring:

  • A small backpack containing only the essentials
  • Sunglasses and warm, waterproof clothing
  • Sunscreen and lip cream
  • Protection gear (helmet, gloves, knee pads, elbow pads)
  • Personal medical kit

Tour Duration

The approximate duration of the tour is 6 hours.

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Sacred Valley of the Incas bike path, Inca terracing trail

Cycling to Machu Picchu

Reaching the Machu Picchu citadel by bicycle is an adventure-filled and exciting experience. Additionally, it includes not only cycling but also hiking up to the Inca citadel.

The journey lasts 4 days and 3 nights, starting with a transfer from Cusco to Ollantaytambo where the bike route begins.

  • On day 1, you'll cover approximately 32 km, crossing the Patacancha valley to the Yanamayo pass and descending to Ocobamba.
  • Day 2 starts with another transfer to the Santa Rosa pass, from there you descend to reach Santa Teresa, followed by a transfer to the Cocalmayo hot springs.
  • Day 3 includes hikes, starting with a transfer to Hydroelectric and then a 2-hour walk to Aguas Calientes.
  • Day 4 is the visit to the Inca citadel.

The trail includes sections of the Inca Trail, so at times the path may become too narrow, as these were designed for walkers.