Lake Titicaca: The Bike Tour

The high Andes plateau is impressive, large immense plains become lost in the horizon and melt with the blue lake. Only where the sky meets the earth can you see the profile of the distant mountains.

Day 1. 
The paved road from Puno to Yunguyo, along the Urcusuyu, the western side of the lake, is hostile, with lots of heavy vehicle traffic, and the most dangerous out of all the highways. That is why from Plateria we headed east, closer to the lake’s shores by Pallalla. We saw the hotel Titilaka, which was a surreal experience. We passed Charcas beach and Socca to ride across an area that according with the maps is covered by water, however now is dry and allowed us to get close to flamingo habitats on the shore of the lake. 

A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.The afternoon ride continued along an unpaved road by a nice rural area dotted with pretty villages. In one of them, where death is almost unknown, a 17 year old boy riding his bike was killed by a heavy truck the day before. Something so absurd and difficult to imagine for such a peaceful place.

We past through Ilave, a town sadly famous for events that happened months ago, when it was already dark. We had a nice night ride under moon light and aided with headlights, due to Juli, that was nice, nice fresh and interesting.

Juli, is a nice village located among four hills, very steep streets, four colonial churches and some other interesting details. Here the odometer read 110k. Time to sleep. Those were about 12 hours on the saddle. Ideal for a quick acclimatization.

A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.

Day 2. 
A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.Juli bid us farewell with a brutal steep climb to get up to the highway. We continued the trip to Pomata and Yunguyo. From here to the border pass at Katani to Copacabana in Bolivia the total distance is 8k.  In Copacabana, crowds of gringos were everywhere. It was a nice, clean, active and interesting town. It is a port with many boats, and has a picturesque look.  We spend the night here.

Day 3.
Leaving Copacabana we endured another brutal climb 12k long up to 4,270 meters above sea level. The road running by the top of the peninsula allows spectacular views of the lake on both sides, the Peruvian and the Bolivian. You can see down to the Tiquina strait, where boats transfer vehicles from one side to the other of the strait. The way out from Tiquina is a climb too, until we reached the plain shores at lake level by Huatajata, a sort of extensive beach where the Bolivians go for summer holidays. There are many hotels and restaurants randomly distributed and of diverse size and quality standards.

A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.

Day 4.
We made an early departure because we had a long journey in front of us. For part of our group, all the way down to La Paz; for me, a trip to Ancoraimes. At Huarina, the road forks: southward to La Paz, northward to the Omasuyu, the eastern side of the lake. A couple of last pictures and a goodbye to the Swiss bike tourer, making his way across south America on a bike that started in Lima. The paved road to Ancoraimes is quite nice, not much traffic and the scenery is pretty rural and relaxing. 

A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.

On the horizon, Achacachi soon appears, the last town with modern technology available. Further from Achacachi, an extensive plain is almost endless with strong wind against my face, making pedaling slow and difficult. Finally I reach Ancoraimes and found people celebrating the Day of the Dead with dancing groups and bands playing Bolivian terqueada music. There was no other option but to stay overnight in a unique and very basic local lodge available in the town.

Day 5. 
A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.Again, the way out of Ancoraimes is a strong steep climb, not too long, but difficult. The road follows the plain above Lake Titicaca and offers some superb views.  We are already in the Bolivian Omasuyu region, which includes beautiful landscapes and views impossible to forget. The distant villages of Chaguata, Carabuco and Escoma pass by.

The pavement ends, and the scenery becomes more beautiful, more rural, and the wilderness arises. The Omasuyu, in one word, is amazing! Puerto Acosta appears on the way, an active town with live exchange of merchandise coming and going in the form of smuggling between Peru and Bolivia. The town didn’t seem so friendly to me, the people talked and looked at me in a hostile manner so the best way to react was to disappear from the streets. I stayed in a very rudimentary lodge, and the next morning, I left for Peru, my home country. 

A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.

Day 6.
Once again, the way out of the town is a steep climb, forcing me to push my bike up to the top of the dirt road leading to the border post number 3 on the high plain at 4,100 meters above seal level. The scenic beauty in this area is superb. 

The return to my home country provided me the feeling of peace, safety and relaxation. The Peruvian Omasuyu is really beautiful, right after each turn of the road a prettier view than the previous one appears. The villages pass one after next: Tilali, Conima and Cambria.

Suasi Island and Casa Andina Hotel is another story. It is a matter of sensations of peace, tranquility, environmental beauty, relaxation and disconnection from the rest of the world.  The setting is functional, rustic, and perfect. The gardens, the surrounding woods, the lake, everything is magical, and it is almost like a dream.

A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.

The sunset from the top of the island is indescribably beautiful.  The movements and changes of colors and the reflections on the surface of Lake Titicaca is something I have never seen before. Moreover, arriving here after the last three days without having a shower and not eating well, is like arriving to paradise. It is an extreme experience: a contrast between the very minimum and the maximum, the almost nothing and all the comfort one could expect to have and enjoy. Spent the night here in total peace.

A bike tour of Lake Titicaca in Peru.

Day 7.
I returned to the Cambria shores on the zodiac boat of Casa Andina to continue the last 15k of the trip from Omasuyu to Moho. Here my odometer read 447k. The rest of the trip to Huancané, Juliaca and Puno was made on a bus, due to time limitations and commitments to accomplish with local organizations.

In summary, the Ciclo Tourismo Peru (CTP) bike tour around Lake Titicaca was amazing, mind-boggling.  One of the best we have ever made until now.

The mission behind this bike tour around Lake Titicaca is to promote the development of local communities around Lake Titicaca. By investing in rural community tourism, CTP gives priority to the local communities and their development. If you are interested in participating in the group CTP or are interesting in doing the Lake Titicaca bike tour, click here.

To see more pictures of this incredible event, click here.