Perú/Bolivia: Juliaca to La Paz – passing the lake by the north

A final fling in Perú, and passing Lake Titicaca into Bolivia and towards La Paz.  Anticipation of many things crowds my mind, but we are mourning the passing of Perú.  It’s been just over 2 months – long enough to just about begin to get a feel for the country and people (and currency).   Thinking – “How could we return – maybe to work next time?”

In the end we managed to cut the highway riding by only day or so.  In a fit of map perusal a few weeks ago we’d spotted that the main road goes round the south of Lake Titicaca and that there’s also a road round the other side.  In our books, enough to make a route choice – we’d take the northern route.  We were even foresighted enough to look into the border situation – just as well we did!

Leaving Juliaca - a town without much of a reputation for cleaned up touristy nice-ness . A common sight - not often photographed - clothes washing and chatting amongst the detritus and off-casts
After a morning of relatively wind-less flatness, the music strikes up. The local band are relegated to practicing in the middle of the largest open space they can find. The audience seem indifferent. Huacané.
More evidence of the superiority of women... Spinning wool, walking and keeping a small child under control
Moho is a decision point. Head directly towards the border at Ninantaya or divert towards the lake and a crossing after Tilali? We choose the latter, but only after leaving town in the direction of the former. After a climb over these hills, with some great looking limestone slab climbing, we hit the paved road along the coast that we could have taken straight from Moho...
This quiet coastline has a mediterranean feel - lots of wooden fishing boats and azure water (and no tourists)

The actual crossing was nice and relaxed – all we saw of officialdom was the final police control point just after Tilali.  They were more interested in checking up on our experiences of Peruvian cuisine (and my liking of Cusqueña Negra – a very fine beer) than exerting any muscle.  To avoid a 90km round trip we’d taken a bus from Juliaca to Puno to get our Peruvian exit stuff done – also with no problems.  The only stress was that we had to decide when we were actually going to cross the border so that they could put the correct date on our exit stamp.

The villages we pass through on the Bolivian side sometimes bustle, sometimes not - not much happening here
Leaving the lake behind, the landscape opens up - giving the afternoon wind plenty of space to chill things. All the while Nevado Ancohuma looks on

At the other end in La Paz things were a whole lot busier – we created our own stress by getting there last thing on a Friday.  The prospect of turning up on the Monday – 5 days after getting into the country and having to explain ourselves was one of the things that kept the legs going during the final day into La Paz.

Early warnings of the mostly unfettered bustle to come. 25km short of La Paz, the traffic mounts - minibuses zip in and out to catch all available passengers, while more massive trucks keep a steady and unstoppable line. Cyclists take their chances!
The meeting of many ways - narrow road tyres and an 'all piled in' approach meet our somewhat weary steeds. The La Paz Casa de Ciclista is a haven to hundreds of bicycle-travellers. Thanks to Cristian and Luisa


  1. Hola hola,
    Glad you went that way – nicer than the main road via Puno if you can be bothered to make a bit of effort with the immigration stamps. We only spent 2 months in Peru as well, and wished we’d had time for much longer too. Best cycling in South America I reckon.
    Enjoy Bolivia!

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