One of my favorite activities while traveling is exploring - picking an area that looks interesting and heading there, keeping eyes open with no fixed plan and following where my heart leads me.
In so many places around the world, I think a motorcycle is the best way to do that. On a motorcycle, you have so much more freedom than you ever could with an organized tour, you can go places where cars can’t, and cover much more ground than you could on foot, bicycle, or horseback.
It’s even better if you can bring a buddy along - so I was happy that my friend Brian was down to join me in exploring the mountains near Cusco, Peru on motorcycles.
We decided to ride northeast to Pisac - the road there from Cusco has great views and fun twisties, and the mountains above the town looked like they’d be great fun to explore.
The road to Pisac was indeed fun, traffic was light, and we had some great views of Cusco as well as the Urubamba River valley.
There are some Inca ruins just above Pisac… but, having just finished hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Brian and I decided to just ride around the small villages scattered through the hills.
The locals were always curious to see us and happy to chat. We saw many herding flocks of sheep to and from pastures on the mountainsides.
After exploring the villages, we decided to head up to the pass between this valley and the one just to the northeast. We gunned it up the dirt road, up and up into ever less hospitable terrain as it got steadily colder. The pass is around 13,500 feet (4,100 m) above sea level.
While taking in the sights, we spotted a local slowly making the trek straight up the steep mountainside and across the pass. He was headed to a village on the other side. He makes it regularly, he said, and claimed that it only takes him about an hour and a half. Brian gave him a ride, and based on the distance covered I remain skeptical about how long it would have taken him to walk. Either way, we made his day:
Back just above the town of Pisac we stopped to take in the sight of the archelogical park above Pisac, which we skipped in lieu of more riding time:
Shoutout to the folks at Peru Moto Tours in Cusco. There’s a bunch of places around town where you can rent a motorcycle, but Peru Moto Tours was the only place where you can rent a big bike like an Africa Twin - and I’ve really wanted to ride one of those ever since my great experience riding another Honda around Thailand.
The Africa Twin did great - the only problem is that I don’t have one back home… yet :)
It was a great day - honestly just as fun as the days hiking the Inca Trail. I really loved exploring the countryside and tiny villages in the rugged Andean landscape.