Colombia-Ecuador-Perú 2013. Day 44: Chacas – Carhuaz


Another early start looking for the good weather. I found what I was looking for… for a while.
Yes, the day started sunny, like most of the days during the rainy season. I was expecting to start the day uphill as well. After all, I had some 30 kms in front of me and 1500m to climb; that was the average I had found in the Balsas area, so I could expect some gradual uphill again. But not this time.
First 8 kilometers are relatively flat. The road (increadibly well paved) goes through some neighboors where kids and mums ask for sweets all the time. It was quite surprising how much people ask for stuff in this region; in Yanama they even asked me to give them my phone!! I don’t like giving people stuff, even less sweets to kids. They get used to be given things just because, and that can never be good. I hope other travelers are not giving them anything neither. That’s a bad (an unhealthy) habbit.
The first time you start going uphill properly in this route is a tough one!! Hard climb here!! At least you’re compensated with the view of glaciers very early. The park entry is close as well, and no need to pay here (that’s weird; you can go hiking or trekking in this area like in Llanganuzo area, but here there’s no need to pay).
Rain got me at 10ish, so my views were spoiled pretty early. The uphill is not very hard appart from those initial kilometers, but it’s long and don’t expect any resting kilometer. The road is very good (or maybe that’s what I felt after those long days in the bumpy roads of the mountains); without saddlebags the cycling would be great and fast!

The highlights of this route are the lakes and the glaciers. I’m not going to speak much about the glaciers because I couldn’t see them properly, but I’ll definitively recommend the lakes. The colours are great, some of them really increadible, and each lake has a different colour. Some of them reflect the mountains nearby and it just makes it better. It’s definitively a great area that I’d recommend anybody to cycle!
The olympic tunnel is at an undefined height; the altitude changes depending on the map, book, sign or whatever you read. The view from there is spectacular, and road downhill even more. Be ready for curves!! Actually, the curvy bit is the most spectacular one. Again, really nice place.
Once you leave that valley, the downhill continues into hotter places which, after such a rainy day, I really appreciated!
This route was just great. Also, I was expecting much more traffic, with the road being so good and everything. Surprisingly, almost no car at all, which just made it even better. It wasn’t perfect, obviously, because of the rain… I should come here on the dry season!!


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