Some weeks ago, to take advantage of the summer, we escaped with good friends to the mythical enduro trails of Puerto Inca, on the south shores of Peru, where, close to the coast, some prime hills rise that let the adrenaline flow.

The serpentine highway to the Peruvian town of Puerto Inca, winds it’s way between desert and fertile valleys. The lush lands are irrigated by water flowing down from the famous Peruvian highlands, the contrast of the yellow sand and the green fields is striking and a memorable welcome to this remote part of Peru.


On our arrival at Puerto Inca,some or our group set up camp close to the Pacific ocean while others opt for the comfort of the Hotel Puerto Inca. The hotel is responsible for taking care of and protecting the surrounding area, keeping it beautiful for everyone.

The next day the real adventure began, we are here to discover new trails, enjoy the insane view and have a great day riding with friends. We started riding from the coast, away from the cold sea and the hot sand, towards the mountains with green hills, clouds and heavy fog, into the unknown. As we climb the ground conditions change abruptly, we leave the sandy and energy sapping trails behind and find some grip under our tyres making our passage quicker, for the time being at least. The uphill is long and hot as we wind our way through the landscape and into the peaceful village of Atiquipa. Beyond the village the climb becomes steeper and the mountain gets more serious, forcing us off our bikes as we realise that hiking is faster than riding, with our bikes hoisted onto our backs, we continue upwards.

Finally, after several hours of climbing, we reached the top of the mountain and the ruin of Cahuamarca. People say that in the time of the Inca Empire, the “chasquis” or messengers, ran from Puerto Inca, on the coast, to Cusco, in the highlands, bringing fresh fish for the Inca people. For this delivery system to work, the Incas built “Tambos”, or resting places, every 40 km. At these havens the “chasquis” gave the fresh fish to another “chasqui” in a relay system covering around 700 km and a height gain of 3,400 metres. This early postal service worked so well that the Incas could have fresh fish within 1 or 2 days. Cahuamarca is the first “Tambo” after Puerto Inca and is a welcome resting place for our weary legs and a place to prepare ourselves for the descent.

At the top we brace ourselves for the moment that all enduro riders desire,to go downhill as fast as possible and let the adrenaline flow, blocking the pain of our hands and legs. The descent was just pure enjoyment, the cooling breeze caused by our speed helped us to keep riding towards the ocean with whoops of joy. The hard hours spent climbing meant we had earned a magnificent 1.5 hour descent of swooping corners, big views and grippy trails, with a sun drenched beach our ultimate reward.

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Once at the shoreline, all we we wanted to do was to take off all of our packs and clothes and get into the cold seawater to relax our aching muscles and re-energize after the fatiguing ride. As the temperature drops into the night, we light a fire to keep our bodies warm and gather around to tell the stories of the trip, share good moments of pure friendship and organize the next day’s return home. The trails and adventure of Puerto Inca left us smiling from ear to ear and eager to return.

Words & Photos: Diego del Rio (Colectivo Intu)

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