“Hands down one of the most exciting rallies of 2016. Cartagena to Lima – with the option to take part in an additional stage through Peru’s southern highlands.
Six years after our first foray into South America on the infamous Patagonia Rally, we felt a return to this most mysterious and beautiful of continents was long overdue. ‘The Alpaca’ was originally inspired by Coleman’s Drive, the account of John Coleman’s incredible journey from Buenos Aires to New York City in a 1929 Austin 7.
The route has evolved considerably following the route survey, and after much discussion, we decided to run Cartagena down to Lima, with a loop around Peru’s southern highlands. Colombia, Ecuador & Peru are three truly phenomenal countries, offering up some of the best driving roads in all of South America. This is a real driver’s drive. Come and join us.”
1. HONDA TO MANIZALES
Steamy rainforest, steep cliffs and wind-swept plateaus.
2. MOCOA DEATH ROAD
The name says it all!
3. QUILOTOA LOOP
Stunning views, Lord-of-the-Rings-esque scenery
4. AVENUE OF THE VOLCANOES
Insane! The world just drops away from the road
5. CHACHAPOYAS TO CELENDIN
Wow! Watch this recce vid
6. CANON DEL PATO
Tunnels, unpaved single lane cliff-edge tracks. Take a peek
7. CARRERA INTEROCEANA
Nazca to Cusco via Chalhuanca, vicuñas, pampas, switchbacks. Perfection!
8. CUSCO TO ANDAHUAYLAS
What a drive!
9. AYACUCHO TO TARMA
Epic cliff-hugging track through a lush valley.
|1||Richard Fenhalls (UK) / Heather Milne-Taylor (UK)||Land Rover Defender|
|2||Peter Gerstrom (UK) / Carolyn Brigg (UK)||Jaguar Mk2|
|3||Paul Kane (USA) / Mary Kane (USA)||Ford Mustang|
|4||Christian Spleiss (CH) / Boris Schnorf (CH)||Chevrolet Blazer|
|5||John Noble (UK) / Jean Noble (UK)||Mercedes 280SL|
|6||Paul Merryweather (UK) / Sandra Merryweather (UK)||Mitsubishi Pajero|
|7||Alastair Caldwell (NZ) / TBA||Mercedes 280SL|
|DAY -2||CARTAGENA||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY -1||CARTAGENA||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 0||CARTAGENA||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 1||CARTAGENA TO MINCA||5H00 / 250KM|
|DAY 2||MINCA TO MOMPOX||7H00 / 380KM|
|DAY 3||MOMPOX TO MONTERIA||6H00 / 250KM|
|DAY 4||MONTERIA TO MEDELLIN||6H00 / 250KM|
|DAY 5||MEDELLIN||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 6||MEDELLIN TO RIO CLARO||3H30 / 220KM|
|DAY 7||RIO CLARO TO PEREIRA||8H00 / 330KM|
|DAY 8||PEREIRA||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 9||PEREIRA TO POPAYAN||6H00 / 340KM|
|DAY 10||POPAYAN TO SAN AGUSTIN||3H30 / 140KM|
|DAY 11||SAN AGUSTIN TO PASTO||8H00 / 260KM|
|DAY 12||PASTO TO QUITO||7H00 / 360KM|
|DAY 13||QUITO||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 14||QUITO TO BANOS||7H00 / 315KM|
|DAY 15||BANOS TO CUENCA||5H00 / 325KM|
|DAY 16||CUENCA||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 17||CUENCA TO MANCORA||6H00 / 350KM|
|DAY 18||MANCORA TO CHACHAPOYAS||10H00 / 670KM|
|DAY 19||CHACHAPOYAS||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 20||CHACHAPOYAS TO CAJAMARCA||8H00 / 300KM|
|DAY 21||CAJAMARCA TO CARAZ||10H00 / 480KM|
|DAY 22||CARAZ TO LIMA||8H00 / 410KM|
|DAY 23||LIMA||0H00 / 0KM|
…a couple of us will be driving this after the rally. If you’ve got an extra 2 weeks to play with and want to do this as well, by all means join us
|DAY 24||LIMA TO PARACAS||4H00 / 240KM|
|DAY 25||PARACAS TO NAZCA||3H00 / 200KM|
|DAY 26||NAZCA TO CHALHUANCA||6H30 / 340KM|
|DAY 27||CHALHUANCA TO CUSCO||6H00 / 300KM|
|DAY 28||CUSCO||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 29||CUSCO||0H00 / 0KM|
|DAY 30||CUSCO TO ANDAHUAYLAS||9H00 / 340KM|
|DAY 31||ANDAHUAYLAS TO AYACUCHO||7H00 / 250KM|
|DAY 32||AYACUCHO TO TARMA||9H00 / 350KM|
|DAY 33||TARMA TO LIMA||6H30 / 275KM|
|DAY 34||LIMA||0H00 / 0KM|
We were expecting to have to break bad news of long days on bad roads with promises of stays at amazing hotels, but we don’t need to. Don’t worry, you still get the luxury boutique hotels, but in the remotest of locations we’ve largely found perfect (fresh) tarmac. It seems Peru (and to an extent Ecuador) have recently released an ocean of cash to their road building ministers, and the effects are clear for all to see. We often found ourselves driving at night here, just because we endeavoured to follow each and every squiggly side road and then ran out of hours in the day. It is a doddle though. Signposted turns, reflectors. Safety barriers don’t feature. There are the odd bulls standing in the middle of hairpins, black as night, but apart from that things are a lot better than we had anticipated. That said there some tough sections, sections of mud/unpaved/graded tracks, and sections of horrific tarmac. But all are perfectly passable. Assuming mother nature decides not to throw a spanner in the works with landslides or volcano eruptions
There will be two support vehicles and five crew members, among whom are Conrad, Adrian, a photographer and 2 full-time mechanics
Next to nowhere accepts cards. On the whole fuel availability is OK. The longest stretch between pumps is ~340km on stage 26 (Nazca to Chalhuanca). The road book marks fuel stations in remoter areas so you’ll be able to judge. If you do splutter to a standstill…we won’t leave you to the buzzards
South American paperwork and bureaucracy approach farcical levels in places. As far as we are able to ascertain after contacting respective ministries for tourism, embassies, and chambers of commerce: there do not exist explicit laws prohibiting the temporary importation of RHD vehicles into Colombia, Ecuador, or Peru. This sentiment is supported by the wider overlanding community, and Adrian’s experience conducting the route survey in our RHD Landy. The issue was never raised; not at the port, nor at any land border or police checkpoint. Now, there is a caveat: we can’t promise that the state of the world won’t change come 2016. Presently, as far as we are aware, the South American countries that DO prohibit the importation of RHD vehicles, both temporary and otherwise, are Chile, Bolivia, and Paraguay. These laws were put in place to stem the tide of cheap Japanese cars flooding in.
With this information, you are free to make an informed decision on your choice of car. We are not imposing a restriction on this issue ourselves, and shall be bringing our RHD Landy back out as one of the support vehicles. We would highly recommend bringing a LHD’er so as to minimise any risk of border difficulties. And actually it is rather unpleasant driving on the outside anyway, overtaking blind and what not. If you do decide to bring a RHD’er, just be aware of the facts
Included: 27 nights accommodation & breakfast on a double/twin sharing basis; return shipping to the UK as double container load; 4 rally parties with dinner and drinks; rally support team and full-time mechanic; border crossing assistance; 3rd party insurance (SOAT); rally hamper, – pre-programmed GPS unit; comprehensive road book, road maps; a tasteful selection of rally clothing.
Not Included: Flights; fuel; road tolls; ferry tolls; entrance fees; lunch and dinner with the exception of the rally parties; breakdown/repair costs; marine insurance; side-trips; anything else not on the inclusion list
The shipping costs we are working off assumes double container load ex. Tilbury, UK. Those wishing to ship from another port of origin may face an additional charge.
There is a general preconception that South America is a big old scary place, but 5 weeks on the road should serve to dispel that. There are the basic problems that you have almost anywhere in the world (pick pocketing and petty theft). Just be aware, leave your valuables in the hotel when you venture out at night, and split your cards/cash into multiple locations just in case. We never leave the cars on the street overnight. Each evening we park at the hotel’s secure parking area or we use a nearby facility. Colombia’s political problems continue to bubble away in the background, but guerrilla-held areas are largely in the remote South-Eastern jungle regions, areas through which we won’t be travelling. Ecuador is perfectly safe. Peru’s guerrillas have dwindled to near extinction. The only section of the rally which passes through a questionable region is stage 32 between Ayacucho and Tarma. On this day we ask that participants drive the Rio Mantaro valley in convoy and don’t tootle along alone. On the whole, we would not say there is any reason to be especially concerned
A lot of you have been asking about them, why they aren’t on the itinerary, and whether we can put them there. The rally is, first and foremost, about the driving. Leaving the cars behind in Quito for a week mid-rally would not sit well with all, and so the decision was made to offer this as an optional post-rally add-on. Secondly, exactly what constitutes a good trip to the Galapagos is highly subjective. Some may wish to go native and live among the finches and frolicking turtles for 3 weeks, others may be content with a 2 night in-‘n-out. So…long story short, we’re happy to advise you on the Galapagos but they won’t be on the main itinerary. We recommend flying there from Lima via Guayaquil or Quito after you’ve crossed the finish line and sealed the container. June is a great time to visit the islands, just before the cold weather sets in, and when the turtles are at their most frisky
This is a touring rally, and will not be formally competitive. That said, we shall be implementing a variation of our “fining system” introduced on the 1st Jewel of India in 1999, whereby participants will be charged penalties for various misdemeanors, with proceeds to charity. All fun and games! Snitches and grassers welcomed!
All entrants will be considered. This is not a competitive rally we do not see the value in specifying exhaust noise criteria or cut-off dates. That said, Conrad will consider your proposed car, and if he thinks you’re being a fool – he’ll tell you. Ground clearance, ruggedness, reliability, and failing that – repairability are key. Bear in mind the region of the world, the remoteness of some of the drives, and the harshness of the unpaved stages. Yes our mechanics are there to assist you, but no amount of mechanicing is going to get you over the Andes with 2 inches of ground clearance
8 BEST ROADS
Day 26 & 27. Nazca to Cusco. We split this drive into 2 stages, stopping overnight in Tampumayu
Yesterday I was lucky enough to stumble upon the most spectacular drive I’ve ever done in my life.
It’s hard to convey the allure of the Paracas Reserve through writing, but this is a very special place.