Me standing on a big rock

Juliaca to Imata

Print Share: EmailShare on Google+Share on FacebookTwitter

My plan from Juliaca is to follow Pike's route which goes to Chivay and avoids busy roads. In theory, this seems a very nice route. In practice it turns out to be a challenge above challenge as I still fight the worst enemy as of yet -- a big stomach trouble.

June 24

One would think that after two days of stomach trouble, the third day should be okay-ish. Well, at least I though. In practice it doesn't seem to work as yesterday's relief was probably caused only by a completely empty stomach. Nevertheless I decide that one stupid stomach bug shouldn't stop me (plus after sending my encomienda yesterday I don't exactly have much time to waste if I want to pick it up on time). So I set out.

Going out of Juliaca is a tricky task. The main road is super-busy and trying to navigate through the maze of Juliaca's less important streets isn't fun as well. Fortunately, I can quickly get off the main road onto an unpaved backroads.

The terrain is mostly flat golden altiplano so it should be an easy ride. Unfortunately, having bad stomach doesn't exactly make this easy. In fact I can feel the exertion even on slight climbs and obviously I am not enjoying the ride at all.

Road from Juliaca is really flat

Given the state of my stomach, I decide to skip Silvestrani ruins which are just a few kilometers off the route. Instead, I continue further with a hope of reaching Mañazo quickly.

To protect the houses people put little angels over them
Except that these "angels" look like something between a devil and a pig

As if having bad stomach is not enough I manage to start another bad-mood creator. As the afternoon Sun climbs and finally heats the air I put down my jacket. Unfortunately, I don't secure it very well to the bike and so after a dozen of kilometers my jacket is nowhere to be seen. Not really wanting to backtrack my steps (and not sure if I would make it then today to Mañazo) I have no other option just to leave it as it is and continue with a hope of securing some replacement sooner or later.

I pass by a system of water canals
Around this place I realize that my jacket is nowhere to be seen

Finally in Vilque I hit the paved road again and quickly finish the ride to Mañazo. There I am trying to get a room in a hospedaje but the owner is definitely not around. So I wait in the main square and retry maybe a hour later. This time an old grandma opens. Unfortunately, her accent is so thick that I can barely understand basic things. In the end I get the room though (although by this point in time I am much more happy about an access to the toilet). After I resolve my basic needs I tent to my bike -- it is now a good time to replace the worn out chain by a new one.

Hills around Mañazo are telling me that tomorrow won't be this easy

Evening means strolling around the main plaza and smelling all the foods. Unfortunately, mostly only smelling -- I don't really want to eat much so that I don't unsettle my stomach even more. Fortunately for me, I also hit a jackpot -- Mañazo has a small tienda selling clothes as well and I am quickly replacing my lost jacket.

June 25

Opposite to yesterday's flat altiplano route, today is full of climbing. I need to get from the altiplano (cca 3900m) up to 4500m. The route begins flattish with nice views over the golden-grass altiplano and hills around. Following a flat start the road slowly starts to steepen.

I am slowly getting closer to the mountains
When I get to the climb my speed instantly goes down

As if sensitive to the grade, my stomach starts to complain more and more. After I make an n-th break ditching the bike and running for some place not completely on a display from the road I need to make a decision. Should I continue or return back? What if the stomach problem's won't go? But I don't really want to go back to Juliaca. Should I continue for two more days and in the bad case just detour to Arequipa? In the end I decide to continue, leaving tomorrow an escape route to Juliaca.

The climb, while not very steep, is super-exhausting in my current condition
Getting higher and higner
Being a shepherd around here must be an enjoyable job

My goal is thus to reach the pass today. In the end I manage to do it with about 40 minutes left for the downhill. I quickly pass around nice Laguna Calzada and start finding some camping spot.

Top of a pass reveals beautiful Laguna Calzada
Camping on a nice cushiony grass? No, camping on a tough and spiky grass which always finds some way to get back at you.

June 26

The morning comes with a lots of frost. When I finally dry my tent and set off I am greeted by lots of geese, alpacas, sheeps and flamingoes. After a junction around Laguna Maquera the road quality quicky deteriorates and I am forced to push a few times. Fortunately, it is not far until a junction to the main Juliaca-Arequipa road.

Hey, I found sloth Sid from Ice Age
Flamingoes on Laguna Maquera
"Water art" on Laguna Maquera

At the junction I have two options -- either go right to Santa Lucia (e.g., towards Juliaca) or left towards distant Arequipa. As my stomach feels much better today (although still not perfect), I decide to risk it and go towards Arequipa through a few passes in a hope that the stomach will just get better.

Laguna Chacchura

After I finish a reasonable climb I end up speeding down towards Tincopalca village. When I eat my lunch (e.g., a bit of wafers though not too much) and fetch water, I set off to start another climb. As usual there are lots of alpacas around.

Descent to Tincopalca
I always love winding roads

In the evening it gets quite windy. I am almost resorting to some random-spot wild-camping when my salvation occurs. I pass by a few houses which seem to be abandoned. I don't wait for any ghosts of a people to appear and quickly camp behind one of the houses. The windbreak it provides is enough to stop the pesky wind.

Alpaca occupation of the sides of the road continues
Climb from Tincopalca is subtle

June 27

Quite (un)expectedly the whole night is windy. As wind and condensation usually do not make it into cooperating on making my life miserable I find my tent dry in the morning. Needless to say I take this opportunity and after a very easy breakfast I quickly start the rest of the climb to 4750m.

Similarly to yesterday, the views are full of alpacas and alpacas. And also two little foxes that my rattling bike manages to scare.

I continue the climb from Tincopalca
Fox I managed to scare
Smooth hills are interspersed with rocky cliffs
Suddenly the tops of mountains get bare
Where there is a lot of grass you can expect a lot of alpacas

But the best is only yet to come -- I finally get near the little rabitty vischocas. One spot is just full of them and they are a bit less shy than usual (which means I can approach them up to maybe 15 meters). A long break occurs after which I have my camera full of these little creatures.

I stop by friendly viscochas ...
... which basically look like a rabbit ...
... except that they have curly tail.
I spend the next half of an hour just photo-hunting

Getting to the pass reveals another marvels. I can now see some interesting volcanoes. As I continue further on I don't even know when but the type of the landscape changes into deserty. And the road starts turning sandy.

The pass brings views of nice volcanoes
I enjoy the scenery of a little descent ...
... when I spot vicuñas.

I make a small lunch break to replenish at least a bit of the energy I lost. The scenery around is quite nice because I stop just next to big rocks. As many times before, I wonder how the heck such rocks appeared on a desert.

I stop for a lunch near big rocks ...
... so I naturally want to climb them
Suddenly the scenery gets deserty

After the lunch I continue on the deserty altiplano. The road isn't particularly good. But at least it isn't completely sandy (just remembering Bolivia's sandy altiplano route makes me cringe).

I pedal towards Arequipa ...
... until I reach the point of the descent ...
... and turn north through the altiplano

When the main road starts steeper descent I leave it and turn to the north towards Imata. Altiplano continues as well as bad state of the road. But it is worth it. Just before Imata I am coming across another you-should-take-a-photo spot. There are some big rock formations just next to the road. Very nice. And then it is just a quick finish to Imata where I am finding a hospedaje with an unexpected bonus of a hot shower.

I say goodbye to the volcano views ...
... and instead enjoy more of vicuñas.
The last highlight of the day ...
... are interesting rock formations.


Loading map...

Download simplified GPX of a route here

Stats by activity:

Activity Distance
Pedal rotations
bike 208 1.8 43
Stats by day:
Date Distance
Avg. temp
(moving, C)
June 24, 2017 56.4 0.21 16.8
June 25, 2017 40.4 0.61 15.5
June 26, 2017 49.6 0.50 13.8
June 27, 2017 61.6 0.47 14.1

Elevation data

Loading graph...
(drag over a region to zoom in, right-click reset)

The next table is only for cycling activity.

Grade(%)Ascent (km)Descent(km)
< 2 116.2
< 4 24.5 16.9
< 6 8.1 6.4
< 8 1.0 0.2
< 10 0.2 0.0
≥ 10 0.3 0.1

Print Share: EmailShare on Google+Share on FacebookTwitter

There are no comments. Be the first one!
Add your comment: