Rides bikes, paddles sea kayaks, takes pictures. Life on the road & my home in Cornwall.
Jauja to the Peru Divide
The Carretera Central is Peru’s primary road that crosses the Andes from Lima, heading east to the Amazon, and with spurs off to various centres north and south. As such it is horribly busy and a miserable experience for the cyclist, best avoided. I suspect not many folk are aware however that there is a “Carretera Central Antiguo”.. as it says, the old Carretera Central. I imagine it has largely disappeared or been paved over to make the new route however there is a stretch that begins near Llocllapampa, a few km from Jauja, which is little more than an unused grassy track these days. Extremely quiet and scenic.. this was my exit from town.
By the way, if you’re reading this and looking for a good way to join the Peru Divide from somewhere not too far from Lima then I highly recommend Jauja as a place to acclimatise (stay at the Hostel Berlin, just a short distance from the Cruz del Sur bus stop), chill out, and enjoy.
My planned route allowed for an easy, scenic day of steady climbing to 4000m, followed by a stiff, but not particularly difficult climb to 4600m or so before the descent into the valley to meet the divide between Vilca and Huancaya. There is plenty of scope for camping and water is everywhere; a couple of litres on board should be more than enough. I’ve included a GPS track at the end of this post.
I was delayed slightly leaving town, my host Water, as I was getting ready to leave, asked that I wait ten minutes while he dashed out. He returned with a lovely handwritten note wishing me safe travels and a small souvenir of Jauja to remind me of the place. Not sure how many extra calories the souvenir will cost me over the coming months but come with me it must. I didn’t leave straight away either, a coffee in the plaza and a few goodbyes to those whose acquaintance I’d been lucky enough to make over the days I was there.
It is an easy trundle of 20km on asphalt to the start of the Carretera Antiguo. Traffic was light with just a few buses, none of the heavy mining traffic that blights Peru’s highways in general. Llocllapampa turned out to be a friendly little village, while lunching in the plaza I met Walter, a local chap, who invited me into his home to look at his collection of fossils from the surrounding area. A true enthusiast of his local area he is in the process of converting part of his home into a homestay for visitors. Should you wish to spend some time hiking in the surrounding mountains or just looking for a short day out of Jauja he would be worth seeking out. Super chap. Llocllapampa also has it’s own slightly, and naturally, carbonated mineral water, it is sweet stuff.