My plan is to ride for more than 9,000 kilometres from Pasto in Colombia to the Chilean capital of Santiago. I’ve divided the route into four sections, but I fully expect my actual course to vary from this proposed plan at many points, given road conditions, the weather and other factors. I’m very much open to suggestions from other travellers about diversions and changes I could incorporate – you can email them to me at or through my social media pages that you’ll find at the bottom of this page.

Part 1, from Pasto, Colombia, to Ayacucho, Peru
74,054m of climbing
29% unpaved

This will take me from southern Colombia, the northerly extent of the Qhapaq Ñan, through the “volcano corridor” that runs through the Andean heart of Ecuador and into Peru, where the inland section of the network runs past some of the highest peaks in the Andean chain to reach Ayacucho.

Part 2, from Ayacucho to Uranmarca
3,400m of climbing
25% unpaved

A shorter section because Strava can’t “see” the bridge over the Rio Pampas that Google Earth and road maps suggest is definitely there. This will take me past the Inca temple to the sun god at Vilcashuamán upon which the Spanish built a Roman Catholic church.

Part 3, from Uranmarca to Bolivia’s capital, La Paz
29,805m of climbing
22% unpaved

Continuing on the other side of that bridge, the route will take me into the Inca heartlands and their cities at Vitcos, Ollantaytambo and, of course, Machu Picchu to reach the hub of the Qhapaq Ñan at Cusco. Continuing south I’ll pass the reed-made suspension bridge near Huinchiri that crosses the Apurimac gorge and reach Lake Titicaca, from the waters of which the first Incas emerged, according to legend. After drinking plentifully from the Fountain of Eternal Youth, the Inca Trail will carry me on to La Paz, the Bolivian capital and the world’s highest.

Part 4, from La Paz to Mendoza in Argentina and across the Andes to Santiago in Chile
28,967m of climbing
47% unpaved

Bolivia, Argentina and Chile are blessed with some of the most outstanding gravel and dirt roads anywhere in the world, and I’ll see plenty of them. In southern Bolivia I’ll cross the Uyuni salt flat, the largest on the planet, and pass through village of San Vicente, where Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid met their end. In Argentina’s little-known northern province of Jujuy, I’ll reach my highest point on the Abra de Acay pass and reach the city of Mendoza, from where I’ll turn west to cross the Andes, passing just to south of the chain’s highest peak, Aconcagua, and dropping into Chile and my finish line in Santiago, the southernmost point of the Inca empire.