Ruta de Las Tres Cordilleras, Bolivia and Peru

  • Distance

    493 Mi.

    (793 KM)
  • Days


  • % Unpaved


  • % Singletrack


  • Difficulty (1-10)


  • % Rideable (time)


  • Total Ascent


    (17,598 M)
  • High Point


    (5,090 M)
As the name suggests, the Ruta de las Tres Cordilleras is a ride that revolves around three mountain ranges - the Cordillera Real, the Cordillera Apolobamba and the Cordillera Vilcanota. It connects the mountain settlements of Sorata in Bolivia to Pitumarca in Peru, providing a beautiful and incredibly remote, high elevation traverse between the two countries, as well as an assortment of Andean passes, backcountry singletrack, and a few committing hike-a-bikes.
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Note that the original route features an unmanned border that promises beguilingly remote riding, but creates some logistical visa hurdles to overcome. An alternative section that avoids detours around this part of the Apolobamba range makes use of a newly opened immigration office on the Peruvian side, allowing for a more straightforward connection. The current alternative can be found here, if you’re not able to procure a Bolivian exit visa in La Paz to cross via Suches Lake.

Beginning in Sorata, in the Cordillera Real, the Ruta de las Tres Cordilleras picks its way along forgotten footpaths, old Incan trails, jeep tracks, and low traffic tertiary roads, linking together a string of tiny Bolivian villages en route to the Peruvian border. And what a border crossing it is; bereft of a control post, passing from one country to the next involves little more than fording a river and following singletrack across a treeless plateaux, to the backdrop of the mighty Apolobamba range. Hopscotching from mining settlement to mining settlement, the Ruta passes just a stone’s throw from La Rinconada, the largest mine in the area and at 5100m, the highest permanent settlement in the world.

  • Tres Cordilleras Bikepacking Route
  • Tres Cordilleras Bikepacking Route
  • Tres Cordilleras Bikepacking Route
  • Tres Cordilleras Bikepacking Route
  • Tres Cordilleras Bikepacking Route
Andes Traverse

Route Development

The Ruta de las Tres Cordilleras is a part of the greater Andes Traverse, an ongoing project to build a long distance route that runs along the spine of the Andes, between Colombia and Chile. This section of the route is the brainchild of Michael Dammer, Ecuadorian climber and bikepacker extraordinaire. If you’re familiar the Dammer Brothers, you’ll know their bold routes – like the Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Ride (TEMBR) – are never less than challenging, so expect the same. Thanks to Justin Barnes for his valuable updates, insights, and alternates, after a traverse that was completed in late May 2018.

After restocking in Ananea, it’s time for more challenging singletrack and an intense, exposed hike-a-bike to Cuyo Cuyo, a petite spa town rich in tradition, evident in the extensive Incan farming terraces that mottle its hillsides, and its impressive stone dwellings that are still in use today. Past an expansive stone forest near Corani, the highest pass on the route still lies ahead. It’s tackled via a recently hewn dirt road that passes beneath the impressive Quelccaya Ice Cap, the largest glaciated area in the tropics, spanning an area of 44 square kilometres.

As impressive as the views are throughout, the journey just gets better and better, culminating with an almost complete, anti-clockwise loop around the stunning Ausangate massif (6384m), jewel of the Vilnacota range – part of which we’ve posted previously as the Ausangate Traverse.

For the most part, the Ruta de Las Tres Cordilleras follows dirt roads – some are well surfaced, others are cut roughly into the mountainside. The majority of the singletrack is concentrated at the beginning and end of the ride, though there are sections peppered throughout, including several challenging hike-a-bikes. In short, this is a tough journey, with considerable elevation gains each day.

  • Tres Cordilleras Bikepacking Route
  • Tres Cordilleras Bikepacking Route

Note that the ride starts in Sorata (Bolivia) and ends in Pitumarca (Peru). With a few extras days, you could easily extend it on either side to link the popular hubs of La Paz and Cusco. Check out Trail Notes for an idea of how to break up the trip and a low traffic route to Cusco.

Border Shenanigans

To complete this route in its entirety, there’s a paperwork shuffle to negotiate. Given that the Ruta de las Tres Cordilleras links Bolivia and Peru via an unmanned border crossing at Suches Lake, you’ll need to sweet talk La Paz’s Bolivian immigration officials into post-dating an exit stamp in your passport, then take a day off the saddle to negotiate visa formalities in Puno – see the Need to Know section for more details. If your Spanish and powers of persuasion are up to it, the hassle is worth the effort; doing so allows access to a wild, semi-lawless area that is almost completely untravelled by anyone bar adventurous bikepackers and climbers. Alternatively, we’ve also included a more straightforward alternative route that makes use of the recently opened Peruvian immigration office in Tilali, offering a chance to drop down to the beautiful shores of Lake Titicaca. Details can be found here.

The caveat: As beautiful as it is, the Ruta de Las Tres Cordilleras is also a sobering insight into the destruction wreaked upon these mountains (and the water they provide) by what appears to be often unregulated mining; a poignant reminder to consume less and ride more… For more info on La Rinconada, the highest gold mine in the world, watch this informative documentary. Riding through this zone can be deeply disturbing… expect a grey latticework of contaminated moraine lakes and ugly tailings. You may need to micro navigate through these every shifting mining zones, and even hop on the back of a mining truck if need be.

  • Tres Cordilleras Bikepacking Route

Difficulty This route has been awarded a solid 9 and is not to be undertaken lightly. Challenges include sourcing food, prolonged stretches at high elevation, a general sense of remoteness, challenging hike-a-bikes. A grasp of Spanish is useful and being attuned to cultural sensitivity is key, especially when riding through small communities that see few foreigners, some of which often associate those who pass through with mining interests. Micro terrain management and on the cuff decision-making are also required, due to how unconventional this route can be in places; minor reroutes may be needed as the situation changes on the ground, given expanding mining enterprises in the area. Be sure to have good basemaps loaded into your navigation device and be prepared to adapt if need be.

Images by Cass Gilbert and Michael Dammer.

  • Highlights


  • Must Know


  • Camping


  • Food/H2O


  • Trail Notes


  • Resources


  • Truly remote riding across a region of Bolivia and Peru that sees almost zero tourists.
  • Finishes with an almost complete loop of Ausangate, one of the bikepacking jewels of Peru.
  • A chance to see a vast complex of working terraced fields and stone structures, just as the Incans built them, completely tourist free.
  • Great views of Quelccaya Ice Cap, the largest glaciated area in the tropics.
  • A very low traffic dirt road route with bouts of challenging singletrack – there’s only 40km of pavement in total.
  • If you want to tackle the original route, here’s how to negotiate the visa shuffle and keep things legal. If coming from Bolivia, you can either visit the immigration office in La Paz (open Monday-Friday, 09:00-17:00(), closed for lunch 12:30-14:30, 1433 Avenida Camacho, between Loyaza and Bueno) and convince them to give you an exit stamp in your passport, as we did (post dated by 5 days ideally). You’ll likely need to furnish them with a letter explaining your names and passport numbers, intentions, the dates required, along with photocopies of anything of relevance – passport, visa entry stamp, immigration docket. Photocopy that letter too. Approval reached, you’re good to go. Upon reaching Ananea, leave bikes at one of the guesthouses in town and bus to Puno to procure your entry visa to Peru. There are regular direct minibuses to Juliaca (20 Sol, 3.5 hours), from where you can hop on a quick shuttle to Puno itself (30 mins, 3.5 Sol). We used the journey as a chance to rest, spending a night in Puno to enjoy some fine dining, before returning to our bikes the next day. Resupply at the same time – the market is vast and has everything. If coming from the other direction, you’ll need to bus to Puno for your exit visa and ideally have it post dated too. Then, to save rushing to La Paz for your entry stamp, your best bet is to drop down to Puerto Acosta once you’ve crossed the border, which is just a short bus/shared taxi ride away from the route – see map. Check locally for updates – and let us know if the situation changes!
  • If you want to make use of a newly opened border crossing in Peru and drop down to Lago Titicaca, follows this alternate route between Tajani and Ananea.
  • If 2-3 hour hike-a-bikes aren’t your style, you may want to find a reroute on dirt roads to avoid the Cuyo Cuyo to Ananea segment. It’s especially challenging heading east. We recommend attempting it if you can, as it reveals a stunning, rarely travelled valley and impressive Incan terraces.
  • Take breaks, even a half day here and there. This is a long and arduous ride.
  • If riding from Cusco, we’d still be tempted to ride Ausangate anti-clockwise.
  • If you’d like to visit the fabled Rainbow Valley en route to Pitumarca, Brian Mulder has these notes from his recent trip there: (1) From marked km 27 in Hanchipachi walk, across the soccer field and you’ll see the trail leading up along the north edge of the valley. You’ll come around a corner and see a small pueblo in the valley to the left.  Walk straight across towards a stone pen on the opposite edge of the valley. This serves as the 10 Sol payment point and where you’ll pick up the main tourist trail. (2) The more frequented tourist trailhead is about 10 km up the road from Hanchipachi. Rather than continuing around the hairpin turn to Chillca, take a left and roughly 2km up the road you’ll see where all the tourist white mini vans are parked.  The trail is very well marked from here.
  • Pack light. Although hike-a-bikes are relatively short, the Ruta de Las Tres Cordilleras is not a ride suited to a traditional 4 pannier setup, unless you trim off the sections out of Sorata and the loop around the Ausangate, and the hike-a-bike to Cuyo Cuyo. Even then, it would be a tough ride.
  • With time to spare, this route would make a fantastic compliment to the epic Peru Divide.
  • Citizens of most countries can travel through Bolivia and Peru with visas procured at the relevant border. US citizens need to apply for a Bolivian visa in advance; expect to be stung for $135.
  • Minibuses to Sorata leave from near La Paz’ cemetery. The journey takes 2.5 hours. Bikes can be tied to the roof.  The cost is 20 Bolivianos, along with whatever you negotiate for your steed.
  • This is a high elevation journey. Allow at least a few days to acclimatise if flying in from a low lying region. Drink lots of water and it take it easy when you arrive in La Paz or Cusco.
  • Plan on 20 days for the ride, allowing time for visa logistics and some downtime.
  • Bring food: Although food is available throughout the ride, for variety, energy and nutrition, we recommend bringing dehydrated meals to supplement local fare. Even a big bag of vegetables to add to quinoa soups will make a big difference.
  • Bikes: Michael rode his Salsa El Mariachi with front suspension and 2.4 Maxxis Ardents. I rode my Tumbleweed Prospector with a rigid fork and 3in Maxxis Chronicle tires. Both setups worked well. Front suspension will be welcome on non-plus/fat bike rigs.
  • This route is best tackled in the dry season, between mid/late May and early September.
  • We used a denatured alcohol stove, as the fuel is easy to find in markets or hardware stores (ask for alcohol pura or ron de quemar). Pressured gas canisters are available in La Paz.
  • There have been some reports of thefts in the area around Ausangate. Make sure you’re belongings are stowed in your tent when sleeping, and your bikes secured. Other than that, we didn’t feel or notice any security issues. People are extremely kind, curious and welcoming.
  • This rides abounds in good camping opportunities. Always aim to camp out of eyeshot of any roads. And if there are communities nearby, check first. People aren’t always used to foreigners passing through and may sometimes be fearful.
  • Larger settlements have basic lodging. Note that these can be noisy so good sleep isn’t always guaranteed, water can be intermittent, and don’t expect luxuries like wifi.
  • Expect to find basic stores in almost every settlement for on-the-go resupplies. Many stores will be able to rustle up a ‘caldo’, a hearty mountain soup. Rice and eggs is an easy request to make and we also asked for boiled potatoes to add to our picnics. Larger villages and towns will have restaurants too; the set menu is the way to go. We camped out on quinoa soups loaded with vegetables we’d already dehydrated – bring a stash of your own dehydrated food if you can to provide a more rounded diet. Lunches were often bread and cheese we picked up en route (with salami we bought in La Paz); we resupplied on basics like porridge oats as we went. Llamai jerky (charki) can sometimes be acquired en route, if you ask round.
  • Water is never an issue; just be aware that the groundwater around mines will likely be contaminated so choose your spot wisely. Two bottles of water should be plenty to carry during the day. Pack a filter too, to make sure you stay healthy.

Here are the trail notes we took during our intial route finding ride in April 2016. Be sure to take into account the altitude, trail conditions and the vagaries of mountain weather. Be aware that conditions change, so take these as a guide rather than gospel.

La Ruta de las Tres Cordilleras

Day 1

From/To: Sorata (2680m) to Sorejaya woodpile (3520m)
Distance: 36km
Climbing: 1611m
Cumulative climbing: 1611m
Notes: Chejje, Huaycho (school children), river crossing, abandoned road climb, Cuchipata, pre-Incan corridors, traverse to Sorejaya (could have taken road to Combaya and crossed there, but no bridge).
Range: Cordillera Real

Day 2

From/To: Sorejaya (3520m) to Lake Campsite tucked behind road (4330m)
Distance: 47km
Climbing: 1939m
Notes: Steep morning climb and coffee with lady, trail at second river, to semi abandoned road where we fixed BB again with tape, up to lake, then descent into valley where we met Arnaldo, continued down, potatoes and dried alpaca, then dirt road climb to pass, then down valley to junction – big bread and beer – then dirt road towards Timusi. Ignored fork, then lake camp.
Range: Cordillera Real

Day 3

From/To: Lake campsite (3520m) to Tarajani (3828m)
Distance: 68km
Climbing: 828m
Cumulative climbing: 4378m
Notes: Left camp, Poblacion Chuani, left turn, down to river, then back up – views of Illampu – and fast descent to Tarajani
Range: Cordillera Real

Day 4

From/To: Tajani to Vila Cala (4244m) to Peruvian border (4310m)
Distance: 74km
Climbing: 1697m
Cumulative climbing: 6075m
Notes: From Vila Cala, misty and rainy, climbed up, strange light, Pumasani – apacheta – long slow section, little singletracks, abandoned towns with motorbike riders following us, crossed river to Peruvan village. Slept in medical room on floor.
Range: Crossed Munecas – secondary range. Views of Apolobamba.

Day 5

From/To: Peruvian border (4310m) to Viluyo, riverside camp past mine (4551m)
Distance: 69km
Climbing: 926m
Cumulative climbing: 7001m
Notes: Trails across pampa, avoiding Ulla Ulla and main dirt road road, then dropped down, took fork to right, good views of Apolobamba, towards Suches Alto, through mine complex, bought water there, it rained, and we camped by river.
Range: Cordillera Apolobamba

Day 6

From/To: Viluyo, riverside camp past mine (4551m) to Ananea (4700m)
Distance: 24km (half day)
Climbing: 497m
Cumulative climbing: 7498m
Afternoon bus to Juliaca (20 Sol, 3.5 hours) then microbus to Puno (3.5 Sol, 30 mins)
Notes: Climbed a few hundred metres, views of Rinconada (and at night) plus Cerro Ananea (highest in Apolobamba), then descent/traverse to Ananea. Left bikes in cafe yard.
Range: Cordillera Apolobamba

Day 7

Visa paperwork in the morning, rest, then afternoon bus back to Ananea , snow.

Day 8

From/To: Ananea to Patambuco (3508m)
Distance: 75km
Climbing: 1450m
Cumulative climbing: 8945m
Notes: Morning circled back round, then turned off dirt road, followed singletrack along old water canal, then descent to mine, shouted at, scramble across, rocky singletrack descent, into inca road to Kuyo Kuyo (town with rock houses and spring and terraces). Paved climbed 12km, turned off onto loose rocky mtb climb, crested pass and back down to Patambuco – punctures. Arrived late, slept in shared room, invited to tea and tools.
Range: Cordillera Carabaya (subrange)

Day 9

From/To: Patambuco (3508m) to Huasacorral waterfall camp spot (4331m)
Distance: 58km
Climbing: 1745m
Cumulative climbing: 10690m
Notes: Climbed back out valley, long climb, then descent to small settlement where we stopped for lunch – then shortly after, turned off to right on old road to climb to reservoir. Then instead of dropping to Centro Poblado, singletrack across valley, heading towards Valle Hermoso, climbed up to pass, and misty descent on other side with waterfall campsite.
Range: Cordillera Carabaya (subrange)

Day 10

From/To: Huasacorral waterfall campsite (4311m) to lake below pass campsite (4676m)
Distance: 594.5km/42km
Climbing: 1612m
Cumulative climbing: 12302m
Notes: Dropped down to Oscoroche (left hand turn, after talking to family). Breakfast, then continued down valley. Dead end at Tiobamba – trail across valley. Back up. Rain, potatoes with mum and child. Then up pass, turned down a lift, got to the top, camped on the other side.
Range: Cordillera Carabaya (subrange)

Day 11

From/To: Lake below pass campsite (4676m) to Macusani (4303m)
Distance: 688km 93km
Climbing: 833m
Cumulative climbing: 13135m
Notes: Dropped down in morning to Crucero. Then ciclovia trails with alpaca, then corrugated road to paved road, demonstration in village. Lunch outside school, negotiations to get out due to demonstration! Then dirt road to Macusani – overcast. Turned right, views of Allin Capaq, late afternoon light.
Range: Cordillera Carabaya (subrange) – Allin Capaq is the biggest mountain in range.

Day 12

From/To: Macusani (4303m) to camping before Aymana campsite (4100m)
Distance: 742km 54km
Climbing: 905m
Cumulative climbing: 14040m
Notes: Paved for 25km to bridge turnoff, misty climb to Organic Potato Capital, then descent to Corani through stone forest and Aymana camp.
Range: Macusani River forms border with Cordillera Vilcanota.

Day 13

From/To: Aymana campsite (4100m) camping to Sivina Cocha (4880m)
Distance: 805km 63km
Climbing: 1620m|
Cumulative climbing: 15660m
Notes: Amazing breakfast for 10 sol – soup and snacks – climbed up on new jeep road to highest point. Then road deteriorated, stayed on right side of valley. Views of Ice Cap, long traverse to Phinaya. Trucha for lunch, and up to lake Sibina Cocha to camp.
Range: Cordillera Vilcanota

Day 14

From/To: Sibina Cocha to Ausangate Camp 1 (4850m)
Distance: 874km 69km
Climbing: 1400m
Cumulative climbing: 17056m
Notes: Cold morning, then loop round – ignored potential shortcut to pass (worth investigating) – instead took old, fun road via Marcapata to right, and intersected. Up to Abra Jahuaycate (5070m), then descent on resurfaced dirt road to intersection. Lunch by river, then began climb, grassy, steep but rideable terrain to Kampa Pass (5100m). Descent to campsite.
Range: Cordillera Vilcanota

Day 15

From/To: Ausangate camp 1 (4850m) to Ausangate Camp 2 behind house (4570m)
Distance: 906km 32km
Climbing: 990m
Cumulative climbing: 18042m
Range: Cordillera Vilcanota

Day 16

From/To: Ausangate Camp 2 (4570m) to Acomayo (3220m)
Distance: 996km 90km
Climbing: 833m
Cumulative climbing: 18875m
Range: Cordillera Vilcanota

Notes: The route and gpx file end in Pitmarca, where you can find a place to stay, a market, various eateries, and regular buses to Cusco. We pushed on Acomayo – a very picturesque town – and rode back to Cusco.

(Extra Day 17)

From/To: Acomayo (3220m) to Cusco (3300m)
Distance: 110km
Climbing: 2465m
Cumulative climbing: 21340m
Notes: Backroads, mainly paved. Dirt for the last segment into La Paz. Acomayo— Rondocan (don’t go to Papres at the fork after Corma, stay up high on the right hand road)—San Juan de Quihuares (dirt begins)— After San Juan, take a left up high close to the pass and follow dirt road to Puna Cancha and eventually Cusco

Additional Resources

  • Brian Mulder rode a sizeable portion of the route; check out his words, pics and notes here.
  • A more extensive gallery of Michael’s images can be found here.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.

  • swbackcountry

    Great Route Cass! Glad to see the whole thing up here. By the way, while on my Quelccaya loop, I met a friend/touring partner of yours, Peter, from Tasmania. He was heading south from Phinaya, while I had just dropped north down Chimboya Pass. For anyone contemplating riding this area, I can’t emphasize enough how cool having this .gpx will be as a foundation. As noted, there are few tourists in this area, and speaking Spanish is a good skill.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Could that have been Peter, who I met in Pakistan, like, 17 years ago??! If so, he was the one who talked me into heading to Kyrgyzstan, which went on to become one of my all time favourite countries!

  • swbackcountry

    He DID say you guys met in Pakistan. Kyrgyzstan sounds great.

  • Brian Mulder

    Awesome to see this formalized, Cass. This is a fantastic route and makes for a great combo with the Peru Divide.

  • Brian and I are just emailing back and forth about the route. Good timing Cass.

  • Thanks for organising and sharing the information compadre Cass. Great images and decription of an epic ride.

  • Kat Hardt-Holoch

    Wonderful photos, really amazing. All I can say is Wow!

  • Thanks for sharing this! Love the photos. Can’t wait to get down there and check this route out first hand!

  • Another absolutely incredible route-build Cass; with untraveled roads, river fording border crossings, unrivaled images (as always), this was a great morning read with coffee in hand. It brought me back to the ‘While Out Riding’ days when I eagerly anticipated each new entry of yours. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thank you Ryan, I hope you enjoy it. I look forward to seeing the results!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Until the next adventure, pana!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Cheers for the kind words, Ben. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • DamagedSurfer

    Wow Cass, thanks for sharing! The photos are awesome!

  • Μεσότης

    B e a u t i f u l !

  • WOW!

  • Brian Sullivan

    Planning on doing this route October-November. How do you think the weather will be then?

  • Cass Gilbert

    Traditionally, this might be a little late. But the beginning of the rainy season has been increasingly hard to predict. So you could be fine. Generally speaking, the earlier the better.

  • Brian Sullivan

    I thought Oct-Nov would be mid to late spring? That’s the rainy season?

  • Cass Gilbert

    The rainy season in Peru typically starts from late Oct/Nov and can run until April or so. But as I say, it’s the shoulder season so it’s hard to know for sure. You could be just fine.

  • Diego Br

    What kind of temperatures coul

  • Diego Br

    What kind of temperatures could we expect for this route around July? Thanks!

  • Andres Gadsden

    hi Cass! we are going to make this route in july, what do you can tell us about? there can be problems with snow?

  • Cass Gilbert

    July is well into the dry season, so it should be great!

  • Cass Gilbert

    I’m not sure of exact temps – best to google search a few places along the way. But it doesn’t tend to get super cold at night. A little below freezing at the higher elevations maybe. July is the dry season but it’s the high mountains, so always be prepared!

  • Georgie Rutherford

    Not sure if mentioned yet but the border post at Tiltil on Peruvian side now open. Is about 10-15k on a dirt road from Puerto Acosta. Was open Sunday when went through 😆😆

  • Cass Gilbert

    Great to hear it finally opened! Thanks for the update!

  • Diego Br


  • Andres Gadsden

    hi cass, i am trying to dawnload the gpx files of this route but i have had many problems with it becouse the link doesn´t show any information, you know where can i have the complete gpx files? thanks a lot!

  • Cass Gilbert

    I’m not sure why it isn’t working, but you can always direct the gpx file directly from Ride With GPS if you sign up for a (free) account.

  • Make sure you right click (from a PC) or control+click on a Mac and select ‘Save file…’

  • Gabrielle

    Hi Georgie. We are headed down in the next few days here too! Thanks for sharing this. What route did you take to get back to the main route? Did you just head straight up through Cojata? Thank you so much <3

  • Georgie Rutherford

    Sorry Gabrielle, I didn’t end up joining the route. I had shit weather in Sorata and was planning on joining near La Rinconada. I am riding solo n when I reached nearby Putina was approached in the street and told not to ride up to the mine alone. Although this has happened countless times in Bolivia, I actually believed it this time and the police officer in town also looked at me as though I was stupid. I can give u info if u wanna go that way.. it is a paved road..rolling hills. Nothing very hard until Putina at least.. Sorry to not help

  • Gabrielle

    Hi Georgie. This is all helpful. Thank you! So, was your intention to use the border post in Tilali and then ride back up one of the major roads to La Riconada? The info for your plan would be great! We are currently in Sorata deliberating our options. Thank you so much for any information.

  • Gabrielle

    Hi Cass! We are now in Sorata and getting ready to start the ride. We are realizing that we overestimated the resources in Sorata. Woops, but no big deal. What are some of the larger stops along the route and how often could we expect to be able to buy food? Thanks for any information. We will share some info here too when we get home.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Hi there, you’ll see there’s some food options marked on the map – not of them, but the main ones. Eg, the next main one is at the junction just south of Hualpacayo, then more options at larger settlement of Villa Rosario.. There’s a few smaller village stores in between that may have food too, if you ask locally. Otherwise, local people will always be able to sell you some boiled potatoes and maybe some llama meat. This section has some challenging but fun and rarely ridden singletrack! Enjoy!

  • Georgie Rutherford

    Hey, yea was planning riding through Putina and joining the route just after la Rinconada. The road to Putina was good, paved, reasonably quiet and am pretty sure it had a shoulder.. as I said b4 was approached in the street n told not to ride that way alone. The night before in Moho both the hostel owner and the elderly man in the room next door had repeatedly been making advances.. some pretty bloody rude so was not feeling super confident in riding alone at that time 😑.

  • Diego Brockmann

    Hi Cass! We’re currently tackling this route and it has been tough and great so far! Writing from Ananea right now. Cheers!

  • Carlos Costa

    Hi Cass! Do you think this route or parts of the route can be tackled on a trail motorbike?? Thanks!

  • Cass Gilbert

    I’ve not ridden a trail motorbike so I’m probably not the best person to ask… But judging by what people ride locally, I’d say all the dirt roads would be just fine. The singletrack sections have too much hike-a-bike for anything but a bike… or a mule!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Wonderful to hear, thanks Diego. South to North? Look forward to your updates.

  • Diego Brockmann

    Yep, south to north. Finished a couple of days ago and are now in Cusco. The whole route was amazing! Really fun and more challenging than we expected haha. Unfortunately I got really sick during the last few days so had to skip the Ausangate loop which was very disappointing, but overall it was an unbelievable experience. Hope someday I can come back and complete that loop. Thank you so much for putting the effort of making this route public, it’s an unforgettable ride!

  • Cass Gilbert

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it, despite the challenges! Ausangate will be there for another day! If you can suggest any updates/changes to the info provided in this post, given your recent experiences, I’d love to hear them. I’m working on an alternate route for anyone heading south, to avoid the in the Cuyo Cuyo area, which I expect would be especially challenging in the opposite direction.

    How did the border logistics go? With the new Peruvian border crossing at TilTil, there’s an option to cross at Lake Titicaca, and avoid the informal crossing near La Rinconada, then return to the route.

  • Carlos Costa

    Thanks Cass!! I’ll atempt it with a trail motorbike in about two weeks and let you know how it goes! Will probably have to stick to the dirt roads and keep off the single track! I’m super keen on the Ausangate loop tho, but I’m guessing thats all single track and not ridable on a bike?

  • Cass Gilbert

    Ausangate is predominantly challenging singletrack and hike-a-bike, with river crossings etc… Definitely not motorbike terrain. Same goes with most of the other singletrack sections, in particular the areas around Sorata and one lengthy hike-a-bike too before Cuyo Cuyo. I’d keep to dirt roads – I expect it will be fun!

  • Carlos Costa

    Ok that’s great!! I’ll be doing the route in reverse from Peru to Bolivia but the only single track that seems to be unavoidable is from Phinaya to Aymana (where the highest pass of the route is) do you think that’s also not doable on a motorbike??

  • Cass Gilbert

    Honestly, it’s hard for me to comment in much depth as I don’t have any motorbike experience, and I always look at terrain from the point of view of a mountain bike – and that’s how the route was put together.

    From what I remember, the road from Phinaya to Aymana is badly maintained dirt. We navigated across some open fields at one point and had to push our bikes up a steep bank. But that’s because we were a bit lost – I’m sure there’s a way round this if you ask around. Just don’t follow the gpx track too closely, as we often took shortcuts where possible.

  • Carlos Costa

    Ok gotcha!! Thanks for all your help, I’m more excited to tackle the route now! I’ll see how we go with the motorbikes :)

  • Kevin Machtelinckx

    That is an absolutely fantastic gallery Cass. I love the engagement with the local culture that is balanced with shots of stunning scenery. I spent a month working in the little hostel “Las Piedras” in Sorata, and climbed Ancohuma as well. Bolivia is such a unique, adventurous and beautiful place. Welcoming people with enough nuances to remind you how different you are to them, and them to you. And yet the same desires to share a conversation, a meal, a handshake. Really beautiful work.

  • Mark Bostleman

    I’m leaving in a few weeks to do this route and had a couple of questions on the visa stuff. There are a couple of references to a new Peruvian border post in a town called “TilTil”, but I can’t find a place on Google Maps or Google Earth by that name. I do see a town just over the border from Puerto Acosta that Google calls Tilali. I am assuming this is the place, just want to be sure?

    Also, there’s a couple of mentions of getting an exit stamp from Bolivia. I am not familiar with this – I’ve only visited immigration on the way in to countries, not the way out. Is this stamp required when leaving Bolivia so that when I get to Peru they won’t give me the entry visa unless I have the exist stamp from Bolivia? Trying to get the process straight.

  • Mark Bostleman

    And then one other question: regardless of whether or not I get an exit stamp in Peurto Acosta, I’m then going to go to TilTil / Tilali to get the visa in to Peru. Once I have that, can I backtrack through Puerto Acosta and back to the route where I left it in Bolivia? Or do I have to stay in Peru all the way until I rejoin the route. If it’s the latter it looks like I would be cutting out and replacing about a third of the route. That seems like quite a bit so I thought maybe I was missing something there.

  • Gabrielle

    Hey Mark! Yea, you will want to get your exit stamp in Puerto Acosta, then ride to Tiltil (Pronouneced Til- la-lee there. This pronunciation will make a huge difference in asking for directions). You will get an entrance stamp in Tiltil. If you are on the right track you will see a road sign to Tiltil. It will be the first sign you see on your ride! Also, make sure that your visa is pretty. We got hassled pretty hard in Puerto Acosta for a sloppy made at 3am in the Airport Visa. Also, give yourself time to ride from Puerto Acosta to Tiltil, meanings stamp your exit in the morning so you can get an entrance in the afternoon. We were given some grief for doing them on separate days, but luckily they let us come in anyway. They said this was not ok though. As for pre stamping in Lapaz….. I think this was only possible both because of Cass Gilbert’s speed and charm. I don’t think I could have talked immigration into this and also, the ride to Puerto Acosta took WAYyyy longer than I anticipated, between taking a wrong turn and by realizing I was acclimating to the altitude change. That said, I’m sure it’s not impossible…. but I don’t think I could have pulled it off.

  • Gabrielle

    So we re routed ourselves from Tiltil along Lake Titicaca and it was extremely pleasant and beautiful, though more pavement. However, once you’ve exit stamped your Visa from Bolivia, you might have trouble getting back over and into Bolivia again. What country are you from? We are from the US and needed a Visa in Bolivia but not Peru.

  • Mark Bostleman

    Thanks for the clarification Gabrielle! We are from the US also. I have my visa application and all the other materials in to the embassy in Los Angeles now. Hoping to get it back stamped this week or next. And yes, from everyone I’ve talked to there is no need to do anything ahead of time for Peru. Good to know that we need an exit stamp in the same day as the Peru entry stamp when leaving Bolivia. I’d like to follow the original route as much as possible and not miss so much of Bolivia by crossing at Tiltil. Seems like the postdated exit from LaPaz is the key to doing that if you can get it. I guess we’ll try to figure this out as we go. I’ll try my charm in LaPaz but not so confident in my abilities there :)

  • Cass Gilbert

    Hi Mark, did you manage to get that visa exit stamp in La Paz? I’m curious about your experiences. Thanks!

  • Cass Gilbert

    This might come too late, but it’s not possible to get your entry stamp for Peru then backtrack to Puerto Acosta in Bolivia. You’ll have to miss that section. I don’t think it means forgoing a third of the entire route though… more like about 130km, by my estimations. Although it means skipping a very unique section, there’s lots of great riding on either side… I’ll be updating this route shortly to include both options.

  • Toni Anton Meiners

    Hi guys, im from germany and want to do this route starting in the middle of june. Is it possible to get the exit stamp in puerto acosto, then go back onto the route and cross the unmanned border on the original route or will i then be seen as an illegal immigrant once im in peru? (germans dont require visas for neither bolivia nor peru)

  • Cass Gilbert

    Hi Toni,

    I’m in the middle of updating this route, should be finished for next week. It will have the new border crossing. However, once you stamp out of Puerto Acosta, won’t be able to (legally) rejoin the track – you’ll have to use a connector to Ananea, which I’ll post too. It’s a great ride. Tough in places for sure. Pack light and bring some dehydrated food for variety (local food is limited). The area is changing rapidly due to all the mining activity, so be sure to have good maps downloaded in case you ned to micro navigate around them.

  • Toni Anton Meiners

    Hi Cass, thank you for your reply and as always, great work. I just had a look at the updated information. I think it might be a bit too hard core for my first bikepacking trip alone! I will try and do the peru canyon route. I hope I can do that route despite the mining activity!

  • Cass Gilbert

    There’s lots of great riding in Peru. None of it is ‘mellow’ but certainly easier than this route. The Peru Divide is a personal favourite, and the Cones and Canyons route is really nice too.