Cotahuasi to Espinar

Thanks to Salva Rodriguez for the information on this route. Tales from a decade long round the world cycle can be found at his Un Viaje de Cuento website.

This is a reasonably hard and remote route in southern Peru, and provides an alternative to the Cotahuasi to Aplao road for those who want to stay in the mountains rather than descend towards the coast. The journey described here passes through Caylloma, then continues through the spectacular Tres Cañones to Espinar/Yauri. From Caylloma it is possible to take a road to Chivay, thus linking the Cotahuasi and Colca Canyons.

Water is only scarce between Orcopampa and Abra Ares, and supplies can be bought every couple of days.

Dist (km) Altitude (m) Decription
0 2710 Cotahuasi. Accommodation, restaurants, shops, no ATM. Climb to pass – camping is tricky.
43 4700 Abra de Viscos.
62 4310 L to Viraco and Orcopampa. Straight is the main way to Chuquibamba. There are good camp spots on the pampa that lies to the N of Coropuna, including by streams after the small settlement of Mauco Llacta.
96 4860 Junction. Go L for Orcopampa. (R goes to Abra Viraco and Aplao.) Descend on rocky surface to a large river. After the switchbacks on the descent, there is a small pampa with houses, by a small river. After this there is nowhere to camp for an hour or so of riding. The route follows a large river to Orcopampa – this comes straight from a gold mine, so it’s not recommended for drinking.
149 3800 Orcopampa. Accommodation (the community hostel is best), restaurants, shops. Leaving town on road to Caylloma, it is flat and good for 10km, then comes a steep, corrugated and sandy climb. Plenty of mine traffic. Climb to ~4750m before descending slightly and climbing again, on corrugations, to the junction with the Caylloma – Arcata road. From Orcopampa to Abra Ares water is scarce, and the small rivers which are in this area may have no water in dry season.
~185 4760 Join Caylloma-Arcata road.
191 4870 Abra Ares.
208 4600 Tolconi, small village with accommodation and shops.
228 4860 Abra Tolconi.
255 4350 Caylloma – village with accommodation, restaurants, shops. Take ‘main’ route to Espinar, via Abra Bajada and Suykutambo (rather than the alternative route via Abra Achallaque). From Caylloma, descend on a slightly corrugated and stony surface, to a messy river crossing. The first 5km of climbing to Abra Bajada is tough, but then the surface becomes good for the rest of the climb.
~280 4500 Abra Bajada. Surface is still quite good on the descent, then becomes excellent after the village of Suykutambo.
331 3950 Espinar/Yauri.

Distance (of which paved) 331km (15km)
Time taken 6 days (2 1/2 Cotahuasi – Orcopampa, 2 Orcopampa – Caylloma, 1 1/2 Caylloma – Espinar)
Best time to cycle May – September
When this information is from September 2013
Difficulty 4

Coming soon.