No BBQ in Urubamba, Peru


Route Santa Teresa, Peru – Urubamba, Peru (RN28B)
Distance 162Km
Travel Time 6 hours
Road Conditions Rough dirt to St. Maria, then excellent asphalt, fallen rocks, dogs!
Weather After St. Maria rainy, freezing slush on Abra de Malaga
Terrain Mountainous
Food and Petrol St. Teresa, St. Maria, Ollantaytambo, Urubamba
Accommodation Misky Illary Wasi, Urubamba

After a farewell-breakfast at Mijuna Wasi we leave Santa Teresa. We loved this village and we’re now looking forward to heading back out on the road we arrived on and seeing it by daylight.


The dirt road from Santa Teresa to Santa Maria (25Km) is a phenomenon… It’s like a short version of Bolivia’s Death Road but it’s worse!



The surface is rough and uneven and sticks to the mountain side with a large, almost vertical drop on your other side.


Lovely views, but adrenalin driving for sure. Again I catch myself thinking, bringing you in on these roads in the dark first time round is nature’s way of delaying the climax of fear, given to you when see what you’ve been riding on on your way back out. 😉


At the end of it we get a few shots of the little “ghost town” and exit the track at Santa Maria.


We’re heading for Urubamba today. We want to spend a few days in one place taking it easy and Urubamba looked like a comfortable little town. We are really longing for a BBQ – an eucalyptus wood BBQ to be specific – the seed that was planted in my head at the petrol station at Urubamba has grown to an almost-obsession and I can mentally see the chicken roasting away over that fragrant smoke clearly!

We ride up the excellent road to the Abra de Malaga pass (ca. 4300m), leaning into curve after curve after curve, and taking in the glorious views. As we go higher it gets colder, and eventually we hit rain. Even with the poncho on the ride becomes very unpleasant. We have to be very cautious on the wet road and even at this low speed the cold becomes unbearable! Just before the top of the pass we take shelter from the wind next to a stone-wood hut, put on more layers and try to thaw out our hands on the engine. We’re dangerously cold and we need to warm up a bit and get some energy into us. We have some food and sugary drink and make for the last stint over the top.


We hit the downhill and I feel thankful that we might actually survive. I’m focussed only on two things: breathing and DOWNHILL! As expected, though it seems like a long time through all those turns, once we descend a thousand or so metres the temperature improves. The rain continues but we’re essentially “home free”.

At Ollantaytambo, soaked to the bone and half frozen, we stop off at the plaza coffee shop and get some coffee and hot chocolate into us. Mighty fine! This place is awesome!


Urubamba we reach before nightfall but it takes us a couple of hours riding around the one-way streets to find a decent hostel. Just before we give up the hunt we find the excellent Backpackers Hostel Misky Illary Wasi (40PEN/dbl). It’s clean and comfortable, the staff is great, the kitchen is well equipped, they have wifi, motorbike parking and it’s got a hand-washing facility for laundry, meaning we have a chance to clean our stinking biking attire. Sadly though, it doesn’t feature a BBQ, which is heart breaking!

For about a week we settle in here and work on cooking good food and updating our out-of-date blog. We finally buy our very own coffee machine!


A French family is also staying at our hostel at the same time and we befriend them. They’ve done something pretty interesting: since the French system allows it, they have taken their four kids out of school for eight months and together they’ve gone on a big trip to get to know the world. How fantastic. The kids have school work they have to get through and the parents help them keep up to date, but this must beat going to school for sure!


Urubamba is indeed a nice little spot with lots of bars and restaurants, a great mercado which offers everything from fresh herbs to wild bee honey. Shopping here is a feast in itself, and it’s cheap. Good bread seems to be a bit difficult to find, but a few blocks from the plaza there are at least one panaderia and a public Horno, which is almost sure to have bread for sale. We don’t eat out much to save costs, but one notable restaurant was a Pizza place on the main avenue called Pizza Wasi. Try it.

Oh yes, the Horno: This is the first time I’ve encountered such a thing, by the way, and I think it’s brilliant. It’s just a huge (and I mean huge) clay- or brick oven, like the wood-fired pizza ovens but big, which runs hot 24 hours a day, and for a few Soles you can bring your own stuff here to bake. What an excellent idea! I know it doesn’t appear to suit the individualistic structure of our modern lives, it seems like a great example of sharing resources and saving energy? I chat to the guy attending there and he tells me they can bake as many as 400 bread rolls in it in one go.

We’re still in the Valle Sagrado and have a few days left on that “all-inclusive” ticket we bought in Ollantaytambo last week so we make a few excursions to nearby historical sites. The sites themselves and the journeys there are once again spectacular. The places we manage to visit are Pisac, Moray and Chinchero. All of them are beautiful examples of Incan inventiveness and worth seeing.

Lots of info about them out there, so rather than going into more detail about these let me just wet your appetite with a few photos:

Church at Chalhuanca – excuisite decor inside…

Moray – Incan agricultural enginuity, and to some, the centre of the earth…

Moray – Crop interbreeding ground…

Pisac – Incan farm…