Tropical lowlands and 'coffee country' of Peru between Namballe and San Ignacio, coffee and bananas cover the steep hills, and coffee drying on the highway in every village we passed
Terraced rice paddies after San Ignacio. The first time we had seen rice being grown in latin america after 1000's of plates of rice and beans!
Just wheel 'em on as they are, great service from these two gentlemen and all for only 1 sol 50 centimos, nothing more (60 cents)! Crossing the raging Rio Marinon via the Bellavista cut-off
"Hope the engine cuts in soon, we are about to get worked in the raging Rio Marinon...oh, there it is, good!"
Cacti in the Amazonas! Not quite what we had expected entering the province of Amazonas...definitely not the jungle here
Windy red-rock desert country, back on the paved road to the hot, busy, and noisy Bagua Grande
Cacti and eroded red-rock formations, Amazonas
The Rio Utcubamba, climbing up towards Pedro Ruiz, a day interrupted by loads of roadworks, paving and blasting their way through this spectacular canyon.
Parrots and roadworks accompanied us through this spectacular green forested canyon of the lower Rio Utcubamba valley
Hospedaje in Pedro Ruiz and the resident cheeky and curious parrot checking out Anna's 'Brooks' saddle...'who's a pretty a boy then Ian?...'
Awesome folded rock formations and cactus and agave covered cliffs of the 'Grand Canyon' so far of Northern Peru, Rio Utcubamba
Rio Utcubamba, like riding through the Grand Canyon on a newly paved smooth road!
Some crazy road engineering when the cliffs closed in to almost touch, and the raging river and this 'tunnel' section of road squeezing through, awesome riding on the Rio Utcubamba canyon
Rio Utcubamba canyon
Rio Utcubamba canyon, necks craned upwards as it was like riding through the bottom of the Grand Canyon in parts
Rock slabs and riding under the cliffs, Rio Utcubamba
More cool tunnel riding, down to one lane here as the road was blasted out next to the river
Parrots nesting in the cliff faces, near El Tingo
The main gate at the fortified Chachapoyan city ruins of Kuelap, ingeniously designed and built narrow to only allow the attackers single file entry which were then picked off easily from above
The view from Kuelap, folding of the landscape is clearly visible here as the Andes continue to be pushed upwards
A reconstructed thatched roofed house in the 'village' area of Kuelap, designed with a tall and steep roof to facilitate the runoff of the abundant rainfall
Birthday girl on her 30th, nice 20km hike up and back to the ruins of Kuelap 1200m up from El Tingo to celebrate in style.
A carved serpent motif in one of the entry hallways of Kuelap
Ali inspecting the stonework of the Chachapoyans at Kuelap
Huge garden retaining wall! No not really, the defensive wall of the Fortified city, 6 to 12m or so in places, a huge construction feat of the Chachapoyans
Mummy in a cloth 'shroud' as they were found in one of 6 'chullpas' (funerary towers) high above La Laguna de Los Condores
Grizzly remains of one of the mummies found at La Laguna de Los Condores
Mmm...another tough lunch spot in Peru! Pity about the view hey! "Is that rain coming this way?" Ali thinks...."yep sure is" (It rained pretty heavily to cool things down at 3600m about 15 minutes later!)
View on the other side of 'Black Mud Pass' 3600m as the clouds parted to reveal the Rio Marinon river valley below that we would cross the next morning at 980m, yep that's 2600m downhill!
On the 60km downhill just for us, great cliff riding, awesome mountain and river views, steady gradients for brake-free riding, and NO traffic!
Next morning, still raining, still cloudy, still going downhill...all the way down!
Rio Marinon canyon....the zig zag on the other side of the canyon is our road heading straight back up to 3100m in the clouds.
the Rio Marinon, all the way down there and the big climb!
The sun came out and we cooked climbing out from Balsas and the Rio Marinon
Long, hot, sweaty climb back out of the desert!
Halfway camp just past the village of Limon on a farmers property overlooking a creekbed with amazing birdlife in the late evening and early morning including the buzz of hummingbirds. The zig-zag in the hillside above is our road for the next morning to Celendin
The campervan of Peter and Miriam making its way up through the clouds and large long switchback sections of this climb
Ali with Miriam and Peter, a dutch couple in their french camper who we have met several times on our trip, firstly in Baja California, then Quilotoa in Ecuador, and now again in northern Peru.
Ali on the road carved out of the steep cliffs to Celendin
Anna riding into the clouds and on the left hand side of the narrow one lane road, (for obvious reasons), the clouds kind of obscure the precipitous drop to the right. If you rode off the cliff here for some reason noone would know!
Then above the clouds..."oh yeah that is a steep drop", Anna getting closer to the 3100m pass to Celendin
Andean mountain roads, long switching climb through the clouds...we were still climbing here, but looking back to where we had been several hours ago!
'Juanes'...a speciality from the Selva and Chachapoyas. Ground Yuca, olive, egg and chicken (normally) wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed...lekker!!!
Celendin street scene: a hustling, bustling indigenous town
Celendin...cowboys and cowgirls in comically oversized sombreros
Milk delivery out of Celendin...they start them early here!
This part of northern Peru is extremely rural with most indigenous people living off the land in someway, in this valley before Cajamarca wheat and barley were being harvested by hand, while these women are typical of the shepherds of the Andes, watching their flock of sheep and lone cow while spinning wool with a baby on back. Great sombreros for working the outdoors.
Los banos del Inca...the original baths where Atahualpa bathed his wounds from the civil war when the spanish arrived in Cajamarca in 1532.
El Cuarto de Rescate, where Atahualpa was imprisoned while the ransom of gold and silver was collected from all over the Incan Empire for his release. Despite the ransom being paid, Atahualpa was kept in these quarters until his execution by stangulation.
A painting in the hall of 'El Cuarto de Rescate' depicting Atahualpa showing Pizarro just how high he would fill the ransom chamber with gold and silver for his release