New Adventures Across Peru
“The silhouette of the black jungle lined the river banks in the moonlight. Fallen tree trunks bobbed in the murky water ahead of our boat. The reflection of distant lightning flickered silently on the horizon. This was a typical night on the Amazon River. Relaxing and fascinating at the same time.”
Lon Haldeman- Amazon River Tour 1999
During te past twelve years we have traveled to a variety of Peruvian destinations. We have combined many of our favorite adventures from past tours. We will participate in a wide variety of experiences not usually seen by tourists. This tour will offer plenty of opportunities for cyclists and non riders to see Peru as the local people really live.
This tour is appropriate for cyclists and non cyclists. We will travel to all the same locations along the same roads. Non cyclists will travel with 2-3 Peruvian guides in rented vehicles. The cyclists will ride with two Peruvian guides who are elite cyclists. We will ride about 320 miles during seven cycling days of 35 to 65 miles. Five of the days are on all paved roads. Two of the days have 10 miles of rough gravel and rocks and are not recommended for road bikes. Riders with road bikes can travel in the support van during those sections. A mountain bike could easily be ridden on all the gravel or paved roads.
This year will include:
*Visit to the Chosica Girl’s Home
*Tours to several jungle villages
*Riverboat tour down the Amazon
*Delivering school books to Amazon schools
*Visiting schools we have build in Peru
*Dinner party for homeless kids
*Bicycle race in the city of Iquitos
Saturday, October 22
Airline flights from the United States typically take most of the day with connections to Lima, Peru. Most flights arrive in Lima about midnight. If your flight arrives after 2:00 AM Sunday morning it would be better for you to travel to Lima the previous evening. When you arrive we will meet you at the airport and take you to our hotel in the nicer section of Lima. You will have time to sleep in the next morning before we start our adventures across Peru.
Sunday, October 23
If you have not been to Peru before we recommend taking the 9:00 AM Lima City Tour by bus. This tour visits the old colonial areas of the city and is a good introduction to the history of Peru. The morning tour is three hours and costs about $30 (additional). At noon we will have lunch with a typical family who live in the back street neighborhoods of Lima. (At our friend Sara’s house). In the late afternoon we will travel 50 miles to the Chosica Girl’s Home and take 15 girls on their annual shopping trip to buy new clothes. We will share an evening dinner together. That evening we will return to Lima and we will be joined by little Aracely (age 12) and her mother Nayda who will travel with us across Peru.
Monday, October 24
This morning we will go shopping for school books in the Lima market. These are the books we will deliver to rural jungle schools during our boat tour on the Amazon River in a few days. In the afternoon we begin our travel into the jungle. We will go to the airport to fly over the Andes mountains to the remote jungle city of Tarapoto. This city of 50,000 people is located on the eastern foothills of the mountains and has a good variety of terrain with a moderate climate. We will assemble bikes for the next day. There are several nice restaurants within walking distance of our hotel. Our base hotel for three days is modern with a nice swimming pool.
Tuesday, October 25
The next day we travel 20 miles from Tarapoto to the colonial mountain town of Lamas and back (40 miles round trip). There are paved and gravel road options to Lamas. Non cyclists will travel in our support van or taxi and and have time to stop and visit the sights along the way.
Wednesday, October 26
Today we will make an overnight tour to the village of Sauce (Sow-see). This secluded mountain village is located 35 miles from Tarapoto on a high jungle lake. The road is gravel the final 10 miles up the mountain to Sauce. Riders with road bikes can travel in the support van during those sections. A mountain bike could easily be ridden on all the gravel or paved roads. In the afternoon we will travel on a boat across the lake and visit a village where they are making paper by hand. The thatch roof restaurant and motel are clean but basic. This is a quaint jungle hide-way town.
Thursday, October 27
We return 35 miles to Tarapoto on a slightly different route by crossing the river on a small ferry boat that is big enough for only one car at a time.
Friday, October 28
We depart Tarapoto and begin traveling over the mountains toward the Amazon River. The new highway is paved and we will travel 40 miles to the village of Caymarachi. The bicycle and taxi tours will all rejoin in the afternoon. This is where the low jungle begins. Our hotel is simple but clean without hot water. The jungle will be warm and a cool shower is refreshing.
Saturday, Sunday, October 29-30
The cyclists will depart early to beat the heat during the remaining 50 miles to Yurimaguas. The highway is paved so we should all arrive in Yurimaguas by noon. We will then evaluate if we should take an afternoon boat down the Amazon. If a boat is not available we will allow time in our schedule to sleep in Yurimaguas until the next day when a boat is ready to go to Iquitos. The boat is 100 feet long with three decks and carries 80% freight. The passenger schedule is not always predictable until the freight loading is done. If we stay in Yurimaguas an extra day we will go hiking in the jungle forest preserve. The Yurimaguas fish market is also a fun place to see many unique items for sale.
Monday, October 31
and Tuesday, November 1
This boat trip down the Amazon is a unique experience. You will be traveling along one of the most peaceful and enchanting areas of the world. We will have some cabins to store our gear but most of us will prefer to sleep in hammocks or on foam mats on the deck. “It is like camping on a boat”. We will bring our own food and cooks to prepare the meals we prefer (like spaghetti and French Toast). We will be on the boat during two nights for about 40 hours on the river. One of our main goals of this boat ride is to deliver school books to remote Amazon Schools. During our tour we will stop at six remote schools to deliver books. Most of these villages are rarely visited by tourists. Receiving new books at their school is very exciting for them. Our travel on the riverboat will be interesting with spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The boat typically stops at twenty villages to load banana and off load bags of rice. The activity on the river bank is always entertaining. Even with all the people on the boat you will have time to relax on hammocks and deck chairs for most of the trip. Most travelers like to bring a good book or sit and talk while watching the scenery pass by.
Wednesday, November 2
After two nights on the boat we will be near our first opportunity to depart on a paved road again. The highway begins in the town of Nauta located 60 miles from Iquitos. Depending on the time of day or night our boat arrives in town we may ride or drive this remaining 60 miles to Iquitos. We have several options for going overland or staying on the boat to Iquitos. We might sleep in Nauta and continue on the road in the morning. We will need to finalizes these plans during our final night hours on the boat. If we arrive in the morning we may visit one of the rural schools we build 30 miles from Iquitos.
Thursday, November 3
This is our day to be tourists in Iquitos or just sleep and relax in a real hotel room with a hot shower. We will have time to visit several traditional jungle villages and go shopping for jungle handicrafts. In the evening we will have a birthday party for 30 homeless kids who live on the streets of Iquitos. This is always a memorable night for our group.
Friday, November 4
Today we will visit the schools we built in past years. This will be a busy day of ceremonies with the teachers and students. We will also evaluate future projects that the schools will need. Cyclists will have the opportunity to ride their bikes to the schools if they choose.
Saturday, November 5
(option: non cyclists may want to return home today to arrive in the United States on Sunday)
Today is the Bike Race from Iquitos to Nauta. This 60 mile race has become a popular event for riders from Lima, Columbia and Brazil. Cyclists in our group can join the race or ride a leisurely shorter route. Non cyclists can view the race from the support motorcycles or from our support van. In the evening we will have dinner with many of the racers at a local restaurant.
Sunday, November 6
We will fly back to Lima. Most flights back to the United States depart in the evening. You will have time to go shopping for Peru blankets and woolen sweaters in the Inca Markets.
Monday, November 7
Most flights arrive back in the United States by noon concluding your busy tour across Peru.