Day 74: Puerto Maldonado to Cusco – From the Amazon to the Andes

On the way to Cusco

I was looking forward to ride the mountain ranges of the Andes again and after an early start and a small breakfast I was on my way to my destination of the day, Cusco – the gateway to Machu Pichu.

The last few months were all about the sea, beaches, tropical rainforest and wildlife. Not even within a day this should all change again with the Peruvian Andes, the interesting culture of Peru’s gastronomy and absolutely fascinating history of the Incas.

It took me a while to leave the humid and hot region of Madre Dios behind. I  knew the day would be again a long one… Google maps indicated a bit more than 8 hours but of course this was not manageable. I had to include regular stops to stretch my legs (filling up Fury with petrol), to take pictures or to eat something on the way. Luckily, I managed to get up early and was not really in a hurry.

Back in the Andes

I totally forgot how it felt to ride in the cold! I did not have to wait long until the Andes were perfectly reminding me, lol.

Stopping along the road I had to look for my warm lining again after I used them the last time in Patagonia. I had to get used again to not only the cold but also the altitude.

Not very long after changing my clothes, I was crossing my first mountain pass again. I was bridging a height difference of more than 4’500 m within a single day which surprisingly did not affect me very much (Puerto Maldonado 183 m, Abra Pirhuayani 4725 m).

Abre Pirhuayani
Abra Pirhuayani

I enjoyed to be back again in my element and I forgot how much fun it was to ride my motorcycle on a mountain pass road. The road was in good condition, all the way asphalted and with great views on the mountain ranges of Peru.

Meeting Locals

On my way to Cusco I passed several villages and was intrigued to stop to explore the local markets. I was fascinated by the beautiful traditional clothes of the people and took the chance to take a picture of two old ladies who were just walking along the road. While they appeared quite friendly at the beginning they asked me for money after I took the picture of them, lol. Oh well, I thought… there we go.

After I wanted to get on my motorcycle and on the road again, I met two very curious boys who apparently felt in love with Fury. It was nice to interact with the locals and once again it showed that…

motorcycles are building bridges between different cultures.

Locals Peru

Shortly before arriving in Cusco I passed my first archaeological site again. I simply had to stop and explore the witness of time… the so called “Portada de Rumiqolqa”.

About Portada de Rumiqolqa

Rumiqolqa is a Quechua word composed of rumin = stones and qolqa = deposit, which means “deposit of stones”.

La Portada de Rumiqolqa is located in the eastern sector of the pre-Hispanic city of Pikillacta. The site is accessible by the Cusco-Andahuaylillas highway and was one of the main entry points to the city of Cusco.

The archeological site consists of andesite stones which were carved and polished. The structure of the site shows a steps on both sides which are forming three bodies with polished and rectangular rigging.

As for the architectural type, the two covers are constituted by huge parallelepiped stones. They are joined with perfect assembly, the external surface is polished and the stones are placed in horizontal rows which gives it the characteristic of a superimposed wall…

More on Arqueologia del Peru.

Portada de Rumiqolqa
Portada de Rumiqolqa

Where to stay in Cusco

Unfortunately the hotel I was staying the last time (Kamila Lodge) was booked out. Such a shame, I really liked the place since it had safe parking, was cheap and directly located in the city centre.

Well, I had to look for an alternative and found a great hostel (Cuscopackers) located directly on top of a hill, overlooking all of Cusco. It was cheap, had internet and hot showers. The only disadvantage was that I had to park the motorcycle at a nearby petrol station which belonged to the owner. I would definitely recommend the previously mentioned place. However, there are nearby also garages available.

Puerto Maldonado to Cusco