One of the highest mountains in Cusco (6300 meters), considered since Inca times a deity (APU in Quechua language).
Undoubtedly a world famous destination for the beauty of its landscapes and diverse climates.
It is definitely not an adventure to do it every day or with any level of rider, it involves a lot of logistics, a good level and experience in mountain biking, being in good physical condition and having a good bike and the necessary equipment.
It is not easy to get up to 4700 meters on a bicycle and without using a vehicle. But once you are up there “Pass Salkantay" is worth every second of your effort.
We leave Cusco for the village of Soraypampa at 5am. After approximately 3 hours traveling in our vehicle carrying our bikes and equipment, we arrive at the village of Soraypampa (3900 meters), which is a small village where people survive thanks to the tourism that generates this area.
Soraypampa is a famous town because from here you can walk for 2 hours to "La Laguna de Humantay" which is located at the base of a snowy and the water is characterized by very turquoise and stunning scenery.
And also from this same place begins one of the most beautiful hikes in the world "Salkantay Trek" which reaches the rainforest of the jungle 1000 meters. Without a doubt it is a unique experience in the world.
Walking up from Soraypampa (3900 meters) to the Salkantay Pass (4700 meters) takes approximately 2 to 3 hours for a normal hiker. Doing it by bicycle takes approximately 3 to 4 hours at a gentle pace.
In the town of Soraypampa we can find horses and porters, who are dedicated to transport equipment and luggage of tourists as well as travel agencies who offer services of 4 to 5 days of trekking.
So in case you do not want to go up pushing and pedaling your bike; you can hire a porter who will push your complete bike up to the pass. On the other hand in case you do not want to walk uphill, you can hire the service of horses that will take you to the pass. This way you will arrive at the "Salkantay Pass 4700 meters" super relaxed and with full energy to start the epic descent.
It is not recommended to carry the bike unassembled on the back of the horses, as there are many rocks and sharp turns, so it is very common that the bikes hit the rocks and get damaged.
The view from the "Salkantay pass" is spectacular, we were very close to the snowy mountain and from where we could see in the distance, on the horizon "The Rainforest of the Jungle" (1000 meters), our point of arrival.
The Salkantay mountain bike trail is quite dry at the beginning, technical, with lots of loose dirt and dusty and slippery rocks along the first part of the descent.
If it rains the terrain becomes muddy, with better grip, but even more slippery rocks.
The trick is not to go too fast, use the rear brake to flow and only the front brake to control, this first part is an art... and it is very impressive the great size of the snowy Salkantay that accompanies us this first part.
Then, further down the trail, the road becomes more fluid and with many parts of flat pedaling and very fluid and beautiful Andean moors, we could also observe more vegetation and humidity.
Later, as we continued descending, the trail becomes very humid and with a lot of vegetation, many mosquitoes and the weather became hotter and hotter.
The trail ends with a very fluid and fast section, but you have to be very careful with the horses, muleteers and porters that go up and down the trail, as well as many hikers. This final part of the trail is epic!
After finishing the first part of the downhill biking from "Paso Salkantay - 4700 meters to the village of Challhuay - 2800 meters" (2 hours downhill and 2100 meters of elevation gain). We had to rest for a while and get ready for the second part of the trail; which starts from the village of "Challhuay 2800 meters and ends in the village of Sahuayacco - 2000 meters.
This part of the trail is characterized by many explosive climbs and descents through a very fluid path but with many exposed parts. The terrain was very grippy, the weather humid and hot and the scenery wonderful.
Once we reached the village of Sahuayacco (La Playa) we found an XC route on an old road without asphalt, which took us to the village of Santa Teresa - exactly at the "Baños Termales de Cocalmayo" 1200 meters above sea level, where we ended the epic day with a well-deserved cold beer and a nice dip.
Cycling down from the Salkantay mountain to the jungle, really makes you feel more alive, it is wonderful to be able to tour such privileged and unique places.
Have a look on our 10 days Salkantay Montay Bike Tour : https://www.perubiking.com/en/cusco-sacred-valley-salkantay-mountain-bike-tour