Between desert and volcanoes, road cycling in Peru

from 2 195.00 $

The southern Pacific coast of Peru is where the ocean and desert meet.

This 10-day tour invites you to discover by bike these desert landscapes of southern Peru before returning to the white city of Arequipa.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Short trip - 7 to 12 days
  • Activity Level Easy
  • Group Size Medium Group
    < 12 people
All about the Between desert and volcanoes, road cycling in Peru.

A 10-day cycle tour to discover the desert landscapes of the south coast of Peru.

An extremely rich marine ecosystem due to the current of Humbold, this desert region is of a unique wild beauty, marrying the ocher and yellow colors of the desert with the blue and turquoises of the Pacific Ocean.

An itinerary adapted to all to enjoy this circuit off the beaten track in the best conditions.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Airline tickets mentioned in the program
  • Transportation
  • Cycling guide
  • Assistance car
  • Lunch of the day … and dinner of the days …
  • Hotel night
  1. Lima - Arequipa Day 1

    1h30 domestic flight from Lima to Arequipa with LATAM Airlines.

    Transfer from the airport to your hotel in Arequipa.

    Overnight at La Casa de Melgar Hotel (standard room).

  2. Arequipa - Tacna Day 2

    Visit the Santa Catalina Monastery showcasing four centuries of Arequipa architecture, encroaching chambers, tiny streets, cloisters full of colourful flowers and walls painted in fresh hues. The narrow streets lead to various parts of the convent, passing through picturesque little spots as well as rooms and chambers that still contain the original furniture. It’s like diving into another era.

    The morning continues with a visit to the Plaza de Armas (considered one of the most beautiful in Peru), the Jesuit Church of the Company of Jesus (whose main facade reflects Métis architecture), its cloisters and its dome, the Casa Tristan del Pozo, and finally the neighbourhoods of Carmen Alto and Yanahuara where you’ll find a church and a lookout where you’ll enjoy a magnificent view of the whole city.

    Transfer from your hotel to Arequipa airport.

    Domestic flight from Arequipa to Tacna (45 minutes).

    Arrive in Tacna – a town bordering Chile with a population of 350 000 – and transfer to your hotel where your bike will be waiting for you (it will have made the journey during the day by land with our escort vehicle).

    Tacna is a dynamic commercial city, due largely in part to its free port (tax free) which makes it an entry point for many products from all over the world.

    The region is also the largest producer of olives in Peru, as well as a producer of wines and piscos – three specialties that you will be able to enjoy when you arrive at your hotel, where a small selection of these products will be waiting for you.

    We’ll have dinner in the Plaza de Armas and you’ll have a chance to take a stroll around the city centre.

    Overnight at the DM Gran Hotel (standard room).


    Entrance fees included for: the Cathedral of Arequipa, the Santa Catalina Monastery, the San Ignacio Cupula, and Santa Teresa Convent.

  3. Tacna - Ilo Day 3

    A short transfer by vehicle from Tacna to avoid the traffic of the city and valley.

    Once in the heart of the desert valley, we start the bike ride toward the Pacific coast. From Punta Mar, the road runs along the coast to Ilo, with some excursions inland, but without ever really getting away from the coast. You’ll be soothed by the sound of the waves with several passages along wild and semi-wild beaches.

    Although there are no passes, the road is rarely straight and flat, and the southerly wind along the Peruvian coast coming up from southern Patagonia towards the Galapagos Archipelago in Ecuador will be invaluable throughout the day and for the duration of the trip.

    During the day, the support vehicle will follow at a safe distance and will be there in case its needed.

    Lunch en route to a wild beach on the desert coast.

    Arrive in the afternoon to the small port city of Ilo, population 70 000, with its fleet of fishing boats.

    Check in and get settled in your hotel in the centre of town near the port.

    Overnight at Grand Hotel Ilo (standard room).

  4. Ilo - Moquegua pass - Ilo Day 4

    Departure in the early morning under the Ilo sun via the road that climbs to the desert highlands towards the interior of the continent.

    The climb is very gentle – the first 15 km have a slope of about 4% and reaches the heart of a desert plateau located 600 m above sea level. It is absolute desert but a small ocean breeze offers at least some respite.

    It’s possible from this point to return to the hotel. You’ll have totalled 30 km for the day with a pass of 15 km.

    You can return to the hotel from this point for a ride of about 30km in total. But for those who want more, the road continues on the desert plateaus about 15km before another climb to reach a second pass located at 1000m above sea level. The climb is once again on a gentle slope (3%) and as always you’ll be grateful for the gentle wind against your back.

    Head back to the hotel in Ilo late morning.

    We’ll have a seafood lunch at a beach known as “Little Bolivia”. Indeed, Bolivians – who live in a landlocked country – have made Ilo, and this beach in particular, their access to the sea.

    Many Bolivians, often in traditional clothes, regularly flock to this beach from their mountain homes to discover the sea for the first time in their lives!

    Overnight at Grand Hotel Ilo (standard room).


    • small loop 30km – elevation change
    • big loop 90km – elevation change
    • altitude of the Moquequa Pass: 985m

  5. Ilo - Mollendo Day 5

    Depart from the port of Ilo for a beautiful 100 km bike ride along the edge of the sea, on a newly built road with very little traffic. It’s a wonder that this road exists … It’s probably for cyclists!

    The first 30 kilometres are flat and follow the shoreline before rising about 400 m in altitude to overlook the coast. From this point, the road is rugged and exceptionally beautiful, suspended in the mountains with the sea below. In total, there is a positive elevation gain of just over 1000+ during the day.

    Arrive in the village of Punta Bonbon and have lunch in a small seafood restaurant located near the fishing port (there the option of an alternative meal for those who do not eat fish).

    Swimming is possible at the famed Punta Bonbon Beach which, on New Year’s Day, is filled with more than 50 000 people, mostly young, creating the biggest party of the year in the region.

    Once satiated, there is a 50km transfer by vehicle towards Mollendo, passing through tranquil little villages. Stop en route to sample alfajores, small sweet biscuits that are a specialty of the region and a favourite among Peruvians.

    At the end of the day, we arrive at the port city of Mollendo (30 000 inhabitants), a town full of legend and history, also known as the “City of Wood”.

    Overnight at La Villa Mollendo Hotel (standard room).


    • positive elevation: + 1000m
  6. Mollendo - Matarani pass - Mollendo Day 6

    A day off for those who wish, with a free day to explore the small town of Mollendo at your own pace.

    For others, we’ll depart from the hotel by bike along the coast for 10 km before attacking the Matarani Pass, a nice climb of 22km in the heart of chalk mountains. As is usual for the area, the climb is gently sloped with an average of 4.5% along a road that follows the outline of the mountain with an open view of a wide valley.

    As the path is round trip, it’s possible to do half of the climb and then return to the hotel, or climb for half of the ride and do the other half by vehicle, to do the full descent from the highlands to the gradually opening arms of the sea.

    Given the fact that this day is round trip, several options are available:

    1. Do only half of the climb and come back to the hotel,
    2. do half of the climb by bike and the other half by vehicle to do the full descent from the highlands to the coast.
    3. for the bravest, do the whole route

    Lunch in a restaurant overlooking the small bay of Catamarindo facing the sea.

    Have a swim then return to the hotel in the afternoon.

    Overnight at La Villa Mollendo Hotel (standard room).


    • small loop 30km – elevation change
    • big loop 90km – elevation change
    • altitude of Matarani Pass: 1090m
  7. Mollendo - Camana Day 7

    Depart the hotel by bike to continue along the coast towards the Camana Delta. The 120 km road has no passes but has a rugged topography with several small hills to climb, always downwind.

    The road is new, finished in 2015. So far, it has been hardly used which makes it a little paradise for cyclists.

    Lunch break on a wild beach before heading back to the Camana Delta. The small town of Camana has 15 000 inhabitants, but the total population of the delta, formed by the Majes River, is about 50 000 people. Their livelihood is dependent mainly on the rice paddies of the delta, with Camana rice recognized throughout the country.

    Arrive at the hotel, refresh with a dip in the pool and a cold drink. And for those who wish, sample the ”cremoladas”, a local ice-based dessert and the other specialty of the region.

    Overnight at the Turistas Camana Hotel (standard room).

  8. Camana - Ocoña pass - Camana Day 8

    Camana Beach is well known all over Peru. It stretches for more than 50 km with a great variety of simple and affordable local restaurants – the famed picanterias – offering a tasty selection of seafood that can be ordered at the counter and eaten directly on the beach, under an umbrella with your feet in the sand (the restaurants provide chairs and a table).

    Optional for those who wish, an opportunity to depart in the early morning (as the heat in Camana can be quite intense from 11:00 am) towards the Ocona Valley, located 45 km from Camana.

    The road passes rice fields and watermelon plantations (another local specialty), climbing a small 8 km pass to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire region. Head down the other side to the Ocona Valley where rice is also produced as well as exotic fruits like maracuya (passion fruit) and tumbo.

    Return to Camana for lunch.

    You’re free for the afternoon and evening.

    Overnight at the Turistas Camana Hotel (standard room).

  9. Camana - Arequipa Day 9

    Last day of cycling!

    Leave at dawn (to avoid the hot weather) for the main course – the Majes Pass. The road starts at the level of the Camana Delta to climb the high volcanic plateau of Arequipa, an ascent of 22 km with an average slope of 5%.

    Arrive at the pass for a well deserved break to enjoy the scenery: to the left, the majestic Coropuno Volcano, its summit reaching an altitude of 6377 m above sea level, and in the distance, the tip of El Misti which marks the way to Arequipa. Between Coropuna and El Misti appears the shadow of Sabacay, an active volcano with its permanent column of smoke.

    From the pass, the road continues with the crossing of the La Joya Desert with its overwhelming sun, sand dunes and changing colours. The day ends in the small village of El Cruce after 90 km traveled by bike.

    For those who wish, enjoy a late morning and join the group by vehicle later in the day (departure around 9:00am).

    Arrive in Arequipa around 16:00.

    Free time before a celebratory dinner to end the adventure.

    Overnight at La Casa de Melgar Hotel (standard room).


    • Dinner included
    • altitude of Majes Pass: 992m
  10. Arequipa - Lima Day 10

    Transfer from your hotel to Arequipa airport.

    1h30 domestic flight from Lima to Arequipa with LATAM Airlines.

La casa de Melgar

La casa de Melgar casa is a remarkable example of 18th-century Arequipa architecture. The hotel is located in the heart of Arequipa’s historic district, four blocks from Plaza de Armas and the commercial area, and two blocks from Santa Catalina Monastery. Guests can relax in the garden or in the central courtyard with a stone fountain.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
La casa de MelgarPatio

Hotel la casa melgar

La casa de MelgarRoom

Hotel la casa melgar