Colombia-Ecuador-Perú 2013. Day 36: Quiruvilca – Huanchaco


quiruvilca - huanchaco

Click on image to see map

Stay on the mountains or take a break on the beach. Guess who won…

My idea was to go to Santiago de Chuco, but last day’s cold made me doubt about that idea. So when I left Quiruvilca that morning I wasn’t very sure about what to do. The weather was ok so maybe Chuco wasn’t a bad idea after all, and that would save me from going down and up again into the Andes.

I decided I’d choose when I get to Shorey. Only that there wasn’t much choice really…

Shorey is an ugly… I don’t know what to call it. It isn’t even a town properly. Just a bunch of houses on both sides of the road. Police and some mining. Obviously, that crossroad doesn’t properly exist neither. The “road” to Chuco is an unpaved trail. Everybody told me the proper road was back on the top of the pass. I had seen it, but trusted my map and gmaps on the issue, since they both marked this one as the main one.

The thing is I didn’t really feel like cycling that road, so I turned downhill. I don’t regret that election at all!!

The downhill doesn’t have anythijg special at the beginning. Actually, pass Shorey and you’ll be cycling uphill!! There’s another uphill a little bit harder and longer later on, just before the last downhill to Otuzco. I must mention the temperature difference between Quiruvilca and Shorey. They’re really close to each other and there’s not much altitude difference, but Shorey feels much warmer!! And it is warmer from the onwards, obviously. At least, that’s how it was for me.

There’s some roadworks in the area and some short parts of the road are unpaved.

This land is full of mining (gold and silver mainly), and also some more mines are waiting to be opened. Local communities do not want that and do their best to stop them. I don’t blame that: I heard some cruel stories of communities up in the pass that had to move because mines had forever polluted their waters so they (and their animals) can’t live there anymore. If it were a goverment thing, mines would be already working fully. They only see the money. There’s lots of people who’s moved to this area to work on these mines and are just waiting for permission to be granted. Who knows…

I also learnt about the Ronda here. A group of local people that substitute police here. Police doesn’t seem to have a support here and people lool down on them. There’re lots of stories of corruption, specially gun-traffic issues, related with the “official” police, that’s why this Ronda was created. Still, even locals (who definitively support la Ronda) tell you to be careful with them when driving at night.

Back to the road. The prettiest part of this day is the bit between Otuzco and the last 30 flat kilometers before Trujillo. A great canyon, great views, great river, increadible mountains (how do rocks not fall?!?), nice colours, great climate and vegetation changes… I really really enjoyed this part!!! Some of the best kilometers of the trip… and not only because of the downhill 😉

Once you reach the flat bit… Well. Starts ok. But little by little turns uglier. The towns are not so nice, much more traffic and dirtier. I had VERY STRONG head winds that didn’t help either (I didn’t feel I was going downhill, I had to pedal very hard!!). This winds may always stay here (the orography and ocean winds suggest so). So careful. And the trucks go VERY fast.

So the last 20 kikometers to Trujillo were a pain. And from there to Huanchaco were even worse…

I took the coastal road, so no need to enter Trujillo. Good, it’s quite fast. Problems:

Still, head wind. It turned towards the end but still…
Trucks go VERY fast and very close to you. TONS of trucks as well.
The sideroad is full of crystals so it isnt the safest thing to use it. Not all the time but most of it.
A very dry area. It’s just a desert, so be careful with temperatures and winds full of sand.

When I left this place, I took the road through the middle of Trujillo instead of this one. Now I’ve seen both, i prefer the one through town. Ok, lots of traffic and pollution and Trujillo isn’t the nicest city ever, but there’s absolutely no truck and then I found riding through the city funny, even when it’s not a very nice city). I’d choose this one, but it’s slower and… Well, up to you.

And finally… Huanchaco. I really didn’t like it when I arrived there. Honest. But that always happens to me when I find a place I really like!!! 🙂


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