Achacachi to Juliaca

Achacachi – Puerto Acosta – Ninantaya – Moho – Huancane – Juliaca


This road goes round the east and north shores of Lake Titicaca, avoiding the busy roads from La Paz to Juliaca via Desaguadero or Copacabana. There are no immigration facilities on either the Bolivian or Peruvian sides of the border if you cross by this route, which means it is a bit of effort getting the necessary stamps in your passport.

Before leaving Bolivia you need to go to the immigration office – open Monday-Friday, 09:00-17:00(?), closed for lunch 12:30-14:30 – on Av. Camacho in La Paz for your exit stamp. We were given 48hrs to leave Bolivia after getting our stamp, which was fine as our bikes were in Achacachi. 48hrs is not really enough though if you have to cycle from La Paz to the border, and it may be possible to plead for an extra day, though it shouldn’t really matter as there are no Bolivian officials at the border to check when you leave. In Ninantaya (Peru) the friendly police took our details and told us we had to go to Puno for our entry stamp – no time restrictions so we cycled to Juliaca then took the 45 minute minibus to Puno. The immigration office in Puno is just off the Plaza de Armas – it took 5 minutes and no hassle for us to get our entry stamp. (See update comments for changes and other possibilities in regard to this.)

Going in the opposite direction from Peru to Bolivia, it is necessary to get your exit stamp in Puno, then cross into Bolivia and obtain your entry stamp in La Paz. See Tom and Sarah’s excellent Bicycle Nomad site for details.

The scenery on this route is pleasant enough, though the way described below which we took rarely has views of Lake Titicaca or any snowy mountains. There are a few options though, so it is possible to cycle nearer the lake at a few points (see update comments). The ripio part of the route is nice and quiet, but the road from Huancane to Juliaca is busy with no real hard shoulder.

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The east shore of Titicaca
Big cairn near the east shore of Titicaca
On the way to Patacayle
The tiny border village of Patacayle
Abandoned Peruvian petrol station
Llama llama llama
On the road to Moho
Alto Apachita (4,192m)
The pleasant town of Moho
Rare view of the lake on the road round the east shore of Titicaca
Peruvian fields

Total dist. Stage dist. Description
0km Achacachi (3,837m). Large town with accommodation, shops, restaurants, internet, but no ATM.
76.1km Leave Achacachi on the paved road to Sorata. At junction after 1.1kms go L/straight for Ancoraimes (R to Sorata). Flat for 35.6kms to Ancoraimes. Then small climbs and descents to Escoma.
76.1km Escoma (3,845m). Town with accommodation, shops, restaurants and busy market on Sundays.
36.8km Leave town from the plaza on a ripio road, crossing a bridge just outside town. 24.5kms on ok ripio to a junction just before Puerto Acosta. From here there are route options. One turns L at the junction, goes through town (where there is a police post on the main square – we spoke to them but as we had our exit stamp they didn’t need us to do anything there), then climbs the hill above town. This route goes closest to Lake Titicaca. We however went straight at the junction, coming to another junction (3,880m – GPS01) on a bend after 4.9kms. At this new junction we went straight on a small road to Patacayle as we were told it was more direct. The surface was terrible however and the going to the border very slow. Staying on the main road (i.e. L at this second junction) is probably quicker as the surface is presumably better. Going the direct way it is 7.4kms from the second junction to Patacayle.
112.9km Patacayle (3,870m). Tiny border village with a small shop.
26.0km 3.6kms to Ninantaya. Speak to the police by the church and register your entry to Peru. However it is necessary to go to Puno for your passport entry stamp. Gentle climb to Alto Apachita (4,192m – GPS02) 13.5kms from Ninantaya. Descend 8.9kms to Moho. Surface all fine.
138.9km Moho (3,920m). Town with accommodation on the main square, restaurants, shops. Didn’t see an ATM – best to buy a few Soles in La Paz beforehand.
98.7km (Two options when leaving Moho. One is to take a smaller road nearer Lake Titicaca; we went on the main road.) Climb, on this main road which is still ripio, to a high point (4,120m), 8.0kms from Moho. Tarmac begins 5.5kms later. Fast descent, then flat to turn-off to Vilquechico, 16.2kms from the start of the tarmac. 10.1kms from the Vilquechico junction is the large town of Huancane (facilities). Then 58.9 flat kms on a busy road to Juliaca.
237.6km Juliaca (3,842m). City with facilities (except immigration for which you have to go to Puno) but little else to recommend it.
Details
Time taken – 3 days and amount
climbed – 1,900m
6 hours (headwind): Achacachi – Escoma (620m climb).
4 hours: Escoma – Border (350m climb).
3 hours: Border – Moho (430m climb).
6 hours: Moho – Juliaca (500m climb).
Traffic Plenty on paved road from Achacachi to Escoma.
Little from Escoma to Moho.
Some traffic from Moho to Huancane, then busy from Huancane to Juliaca.
When we cycled Early October 2010.
Difficulty 2
How much we had to push on this route Less than 0.5kms (bad surface)

GPS Point Description Lat/Long/Altitude
GPS01 Junction after Puerto Acosta 15.4973 S, 69.2596 W, 3,879m.
GPS02 Alto Apachita 15.3888 S, 69.4259 W, 4,192m.


View Achacachi – Juliaca in a larger map

Nearby routes:        North Yungas                 Juliaca to Chivay

12 Responses to “Achacachi to Juliaca”

  1. James & Sarah 10/10/2013 at 17:40 # Reply

    We rode this route from Peru to Bolivia at the end of September 2013. A few updates and comments:

    – Lampa (35km NW of Juliaca on the secondary routes to and from Cusco) is undoubtedly a more pleasant base than Juliaca for the immigration trip to Puno. It’s 1½ hours each way in combi from Lampa – Puno with a change in Juliaca.

    – Peruvian immigration: In Puno we were given our Peru exit stamp dated for that day. According to the immigration agreements between Peru and Bolivia, we were told that we had to present ourselves to Bolivian immigration within 7 days. This was plenty of time to get to Puerto Acosta, even with a 3 day detour to the Capachica Peninsula.

    – Coastal road from Moho: We found this detour (mentioned above), and highly recommend it – it’s paved, winds along the cliffs and has great lake views. In Moho, ask for road to Tilani via Conima (38km total Moho-Tilali). Leaving Tilali, you pass through a final police checkpoint, and then climb up to the border line by the smugglers’ market. From here it’s a rough climb and descent (a few short pushes on the rockiest sections for us) into P.Acosta (18km total Tilali-P.Acosta).

    – Bolivian Immigration: Things seem to have changed, as we were given an official 30 day stamp at the immigration post in P. Acosta. We tried to get this extended to 90 days (apparently this is easy at more major crossings), but were told we had to go to La Paz to do this – which we did, free of charge and with no hassle. If 30 days is enough, then there’s no longer any need to go to La Paz if you take this route.

    – Capachica Peninsula: We took a 3 day detour to the Capachica Peninsula from Juliaca. Recommended if you want to spend more time around the lake away from the crowds in Puno etc. The roads are paved/good dirt and there are plenty of homestays in Llachón in particular. The sunrise from the end of the Llachón Peninsula was spectacular. To access Capachica, ask in Juliaca for the road to Coata. The most spectacular section of the loop was the cliff-top ride from Chillora to Escallani on the eastern side – from here you can join the main Juliaca-Huancané road at Taraco and pick up the directions above.

    – Distances: Our total distance from Lampa-La Paz was 502km (it would have been 386km without the Capachica detour), and took us 6 days riding.

  2. Dominic 16/10/2014 at 18:10 # Reply

    I took this route with a friend in the middle of October 2014, leaving the casa de ciclistas in La Paz.
    1. We took the autopista, which was empty as it was election day. Daniel, in the casa de ciclistas likes to recommend an alternate route (climb from his place to the bus terminal and turn left and wind up there) as it supposedly has better views.
    2. Our first night we stayed in Achacachi where the police had no problem with us sleeping on our mats in a spare room that they had.
    3. The pavement still stops in Escoma, but the ride from there to Puerto Acosta was compact, fast and flat dirt nearly the whole way.
    4. We arrived late in Puerto Acosta and spoke to the police, but they weren’t so friendly. We probably could have found a place to camp, but my friend was tired so we just stayed at the Hospedaje which is 2 blocks from the main square. It was 30Bs for the room, and there was a hot shower.
    5. We did immigration the next morning. It is recently opened and we didn’t get the best treatment. There were 3 officers there and they each took it in turns to thumb through our passports trying to point out problems that weren’t there. We stood firm and got our stamps.
    6. The immigration antics didn’t surprise me as we’d met a Canadian and German pair the night before who had stamped out in Puno, taken 3 days to get to immigration (obviously, it’s 200km) and were told in Puerto Acosta that they should have arrived on the same day. The 3 officers then asked how many soles they had left to resolve the problem. They only had a 50 sol note so paid that and got their stamps. After getting my stamp, I asked the head immigration official to explain this and he stuck to his story that we should arrive the same day. When I pointed out that it was impossible, and mentioned the 7 days that I read on this page, he tried changing his story but still obviously not apologising. I asked him to please stop asking for bribes as it sets a very bad first impression in his country and it’s quite clearly illegal and then left. He started shouting and told me to run away. Oh well. I’m sharing it because I think it’s better to be prepared to stick to your guns. You clearly can’t arrive on the same day as you leave Puno without taking a bus.
    7. In the main square there are a few businesses who exchanged Bolivianos for Soles, but had a very limited amount.
    8. We took the route along the coast, and to find it we went to the main square and headed west at the corner with the police station. The path is pretty rocky. There were a couple of forks, but it looked like they all converged later on.
    9. The pavement starts again once you descend into the first Peruvian small town.
    10. I went to Juliaca International Airport to see if it was possible to stamp in there, but they told me that when they have international passengers scheduled to arrive an immigration official comes from Puno to stamp them in, and then goes back to Puno. It’s not a big airport, and I guess they have very little need. A shame, because it would save having to detour down to Puno for those of us that are heading north instead. The immigration in Puno on the other hand said that it’s not really international as airplanes don’t arrive directly from other countries and so they’d get their stamps before hand. When I mentioned the above incident, the guy said that the Peruvian law grants 5 days.

    • Neil 17/10/2014 at 07:56 # Reply

      Cheers for the update Dominic – interesting hearing about immigration officials asking for small bribes in Bolivia. I’d heard that happened a lot a while ok, but hadn’t heard of many occasions recently.
      thanks
      Neil

      • Alberto and Lucy 20/10/2014 at 17:07 # Reply

        Just another quick update, after we crossed from Tilali (Perú) to Puerto Acosta (Bolivia) on Oct 17th. Locals in Tilali warned us about dodgy police trying to charge to cross the (non-existing) border. The guy in the aduanas next to the police hut in Tilali also seemed surprised with our “delayed” exit stamp from Puno, and wished us luck when crossing into Bolivia, after assuring us that no charges should be involved when entering/exiting Perú or Bolivia.

        Same problem once in Puerto Acosta (migración officer takes his extended lunch break from 12:30 to 14:30 so best to get there earlier). The officer asked why we hadn´t got an stamp for the same day we were trying to enter Bolivia, to which I explained the whole Puno thing and that we were on bikes. He then phoned the boss who informed him that we must have been cyclists. Officially, you now have 5 days from when you get the exit stamp in Puno, not 7 as stated earlier on this thread…Got the entry stamp without much hassle and no money asked.

        Once in the CdC of La Paz we heard about the Canadian-German couple story…on the one hand not very surprised about the migración officer behaviour. Also in La Paz, we learnt that if you did not know about the exit stamp procedure in Puno, they will let you through in Puerto Acosta and then you can pay a 300 bolivianos fine in Migración La Paz to get your entry stamp…

        • Dominic 23/10/2014 at 18:37 # Reply

          Good to hear that you got through without paying. I met an English and Scottish guy who hadn’t known that they were supposed to stamp out in Puno so were going to ride down to Copacabana, ninja across the border, stamp out from Peru, and then stamp in legally in Copacabana.

          • Frank 05/09/2015 at 01:02 #

            I cycled the route August/September 2015 from Puno to Copacabana.. Paved to Tilali, then bad up and down to Puerto Acosta, and ok to Escoma. They were just working on the part between Puerto Acosta and Escomar, but not sure if they are just intending to improve the gravel?
            The iBolivian border immigration officer was really friiendly, asking where I was heading to, and even giving tips for accommodation, as it was already late so I wanted to go back to the village to stay overnight. No problems at all. Finally he took a photo of me and the bike, and showed me on his phone more than 30 othercyclists that had passed “his” border, among them a family with a trailer for the kids.

  3. Martina 01/12/2014 at 18:56 # Reply

    I cycled the route end of November 2014. I took the nice dirt road from Jipata where you hit the pavement after Moho. So it’s easy to follow the coast towards Conima. Before Tilali I turned onto a pretty steep and horribly rocky road and crossed the border in a small village called Wirupaya. No control and no problems. The downhill part to Puerto Acosta was stony and bad as well. So I think it doesn’t matter which road you take, it’s always rocky and bad. The migration in Puerto Acosta is closed from 12.30 until 14.30 pm. Keep in mind that Bolivia is an hour ahead!!! I was looking forward to the discussion with the officers but they just stamped my passport…
    On the 4th of November 2014 Bolivia changed the law and now you only get a 30 day visa no matter where you enter the country. But its easy to extend it twice for 30 days in every bigger city. Just bring your passport and a copy of the picture page of the passport, the green paper and the site with the exit stamp of Peru (that you get in Puno) and the entry stamp of Bolivia. It’s very easy to get the extension and free of charge. Well, unless you are American.

  4. Ritxar 21/12/2014 at 04:28 # Reply

    Realice esta ruta entre el 18 y el 20 de diciembre 2014. Fueron días con muchas lluvias. Pero justo el día que toco cruzar la frontera por Puesto Acosta hizo un buen día y no llovió. Aun así, en este tramo había mucho barro, aunque con paciencia se pasa sin mayor problema. Cruce la frontera Bolivia sin mayor problema, poniéndome el sello de salida de Bolivia en la propia frontera. en Puerto Acosta tome la ruta de la izquierda, que sale por la plaza de arriba del pueblo. Muchas piedras al principio pero 2 km después aprox la ruta es mas sencilla. En la frontera de Perú ( Tilali) comenzaron los problemas.
    -El policía peruano me reviso las 6 bolsas de mi bicicleta, buscando a ver que le podía “regalar”. Pensó que yo era Santa Claus.
    – Se puso mis gafas de sol, utilizo mi cámara de fotos, se empeñó en que le ” regalara” mi IPad,
    – Ante mi negativa empezaron las malas maneras y el trato con desprecio. Casi 2 horas retenido allí.
    Elegid cualquier otra frontera, o llevad al policía caramelos y chocolate.
    La ruta es muy buena.

  5. Aritz&Esti 20/11/2015 at 23:11 # Reply

    Just an update regarding inmigration stuff, if you go from the Peruvian side to the Bolivian one. We cycled this way in October 2015 and yes, there is Peruvian inmigration office, but still on ints foundations. They said it will be ready by 2016 or 2017. The guys there honestly tried their best and ourselves -native Spanish speakers- spent a whole morning trying every possibility of having us checked out of the country by phone, but no way. We had to leave the bikes there and go to Puno. Remember the inmigration office there in Puno is closed on weekends. Otherwise, no problem at all; we really enjoyed this quiet, easy and nice route.

  6. Tsaga 26/02/2016 at 15:07 # Reply

    Hello,

    We rided this road on July 2015, with our family.
    There are some updated informations hereafter (sorry, it’s in french):
    http://tsagaventure.com/2015/07/19/ya-lfeu-au-lac/

    5 days were a litlle bit short, so we hired a fisherman boat to reach Capichica pinunsula, from Puno.
    This road is very interesting to ride with childrens because there is no trafic.

    Sébastien.

  7. Robin 03/05/2017 at 21:51 # Reply

    We just cycled this relaxed route – some Updates:

    All the route until Puerto Acosta is paved now. If cycling the shore the surface climbing from Puerto Acosta to the border is still bad while the descent into Tilali is quite okay.

    Since Feb. 2017 there is immigration in Tilali. If you cycle the shore (I highly recommend to do so) you dont need to go to Puno anymore. We also managed to change money in Tilali.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Bloody Big Lake and a Sizable Bolivian City… Around Lago Titicaca to La Paz | Velo Freedom - Cycling South - 15/12/2014

    […] While some riders elect to ride around the busy west side of Lago Titicaca, those with any sense take the east side. A really easy stretch of riding offering great views of Lago Titiaca and the quietest of border crossings, this eastern route should appeal to all types of rider. There are few hills, plentiful villages with accommodation, restaurants and shops, and virtually the entire route (save for the first few kilometers in Bolivia) is paved. The only thing that could challenge you is the wind but that should prove favorable if travelling south. Something to take note of is the lack of Peruvian immigration office on the border. This means that you are required to visit Puno and get your Peruvian exit stamp before setting off on the route. There is now an immigration office on the road just south of Puerto Acosta who can stamp you in and out of Bolivia. For instructions regarding this process and route notes visit Tom Walwyn’s Bicycle Nomad site. The Pike’s offer a slightly different route to the border that can be viewed here. […]

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