Tagged: celendin

Adventures in white-knuckle Andean bus rides.

Over the weekend, we took an epic 10-hour bus ride from the northern highland city of Cajamarca, to the Utcubamba Valley town of Leimebamba. (See a map here.) The most dramatic portion of the trip is the journey across the Río Marañón Valley. The fun begins when you come up over a high mountain pass and plunge into the valley, which is vertiginously steep — with mountains that rise almost 10,000 feet.

For the bus, it’s switchbacks all the way down. And then switchbacks all the way back up. Over the course of the ride, the climate changes repeatedly, from cutting highland chill to tropical heat to cooler but steamier cloud forest. The best part: It’s one-lane all the way, even though the road has two-way traffic. At times, the road is so narrow, it looks like a mirage. And naturally, there’s nothing in the way of barriers between the edge of the barreling bus and the precipice below. It is all kinds of freaky-gorgeous.

More pix and video after the jump.

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