Updated on January 29, 2018

When you think of Peru, one image might come to mind. The Inca city of Machu Picchu. While these ancient ruins are worth a visit, Peru has many more adventures in store. If you are coming to this South American country in search of incredible outdoor experiences, you’ve come to the right place. There are many options for great adventure holidays in Peru.

The country’s diverse geography delivers a ton of unique ways to explore this country in a short amount of time. Catch the perfect wave, spot animals in the Amazon, hike through the Andes and cycle some of the most spectacular routes South America has to offer. 

From July to September 2015, we explored Peru by bicycle and foot. We spent the majority of our time around the Huaraz & Cusco regions of the country. Here’s our top recommended adventures along with a few we can’t wait to go back for.

 

 

HIKING

THE HUAYHUASH CIRCUIT

huayhuash circuit trek

 

The Huayhuash Circuit is a hiking trail that takes you to some of the most impressive mountain vistas Peru has to offer. It’s not hard to see why it’s considered by many as the best trek in the continent. Snow-capped peaks, immaculate lagunas, and great camping spots make this hiking route as one of our all time favorites.

The whole circuit takes anywhere from 8 to 14 days to complete as there are different routes available. There is only one small town where you can re-stock on supplies which means you will need to carry all your food for 7-8 days if walking independently.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Tour Information: Huayhuash Circuit

Recommended Accommodation: Guesthouse La Aurora, Huaraz.

Comfy beds, great views, professional service and excellent breakfast make the Guesthouse La Aurora one of the reader’s favorites in Huaraz. A perk is there are free hot beverages and a restaurant on site.

 

 

INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU

Machu Picchu (1 of 1)

 

The classic Peruvian hike and one of the most famous trails in the world. The Inca Trail takes you directly to the ruins of Machu Picchu in 4 days.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Recommended Accommodation: Casona Les Pleiades Hotel, Cusco

Casona Les Pleiades is a cozy yet spacious B&B located in the artisan neighbourhood of San Blas. Breakfast is served with fresh juice, the staff is super friendly, and internet is quick (which is rare in Cusco).

 

 

SANTA CRUZ TREK

Cutting Through Peru's Cordillera Blanca: Hiking The Santa Cruz

 

Peru’s Cordillera Blanca is one of the most concentrated collections of big peaks in the Western Hemisphere, with 33 summits topping 5,400 meters (18,000 feet). The most popular way to experience this mountain range is to hike the Santa Cruz Trek, considered by many as one of the best hiking routes in the world. This 50km (31 mile) trail takes you through open valleys, passed high snowcapped mountain peaks along rivers and the shores of brightly colored lagoons.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Tour Information: Santa Cruz Trek

Recommended Accommodation: Guest House La Aurora

Comfy beds, great views, professional service and excellent breakfast make the Guesthouse La Aurora one of the reader’s favorites in Huaraz. A perk is there are free hot beverages and a restaurant on site.

 

 

AUSANGATE LODGE TO LODGE TREK

Ausangate Trek

 

The Ausangate trek is not only a hiking adventure but a journey through the spirit of the Peruvian Andes. The landscapes found here are unlike anywhere else. The days are spent enjoying the beauty of the mountains and the nights are spent relaxing in one of the four luxury lodges along the way. Nearly all hiking tour operators in Cusco offer this trek but Andean Lodges is the only company that will bring to the trail in the photo above. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Tour Information: Ausangate Lodge to Lodge Trek

Recommended Accommodation: Casona Les Pleiades Hotel, Cusco

Casona Les Pleiades is a cozy yet spacious B&B located in the artisan neighbourhood of San Blas. Breakfast is served with fresh juice, the staff is super friendly, and internet is quick (which is rare in Cusco).

 

 

CHOQUEQUIRAO TREK

Choquequirao Trek

 

Choquequirao is located at 2,987 meters (9,800 feet) above sea level in a remote corner of the Peruvian Andes. A visit to these ancient of ruins means that you are in for a real adventure. Unlike it’s neighbor Machu Picchu, there are no trains or buses that will bring you here. To reach this important piece of Incan history, you’ll need two legs and the will to endure the steep trail of the Choquequirao Trek.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Tour Information: Choquequirao Trek

Recommended Accommodation: Casona Les Pleiades Hotel, Cusco

Casona Les Pleiades is a cozy yet spacious B&B located in the artisan neighbourhood of San Blas. Breakfast is served with fresh juice, the staff is super friendly, and internet is quick (which is rare in Cusco).

 

 

 

ICE CLIMBING

ICE CLIMBING LLACA GLACIER

Ice Climbing Huaraz Peru

 

Whether you are an experience climber or a newbie, the Cordillera Blanca has ice climbing trips to suit every level. Llaca Glacier is where people go to learn the sport and practice their skills before going on to climb more challenging ice walls.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Tour Information: Ice Climbing in Llaca Glacier

Recommended Accommodation: Guesthouse La Aurora, Huaraz.

Comfy beds, great views, professional service and excellent breakfast make the Guesthouse La Aurora one of the reader’s favorites in Huaraz. A perk is there are free hot beverages and a restaurant on site.

 

 

 

CYCLING

CYCLING THE HUASCARAN CIRCUIT

Cycling the Huascaran circuit

 

The Huascaran Circuit is a loop that is about 300 kms if you start from Huaraz and about 230 kms if starting & ending in Carhuaz. There are 3 passes over 4,000 mts (13,000 ft) to climb and many possibilities for hiking side trips along the way. It took us 6 days to complete the route including one rest day in Chacas and a side trip to the Lake 69 in the Llanganuco Valley.

 

 

 

WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS

PERUVIAN AMAZON

20782364389_22f075fc25_k-2Photo by Bryant Olsen, licensed under CC BY

The Peruvian Amazon Region comprises more than 60% of the country and is the second largest portion of Amazon rainforest after the Brazilian Amazon. The jungle is home to millions of species of unique animals only found in this part of the world. 

A visit to the Manu, tambopata or Pacaya Samiria are some of the most popular ways to experience this region of Peru. There are lot’s of options from river cruises to jungle lodges. Which ever you choose, you are in for some of the best wildlife encounters this planet has to offer.

 

 

 

ADRENALINE PUMPING

ZIPLINE & VIA FERRATA IN THE SACRED VALLEY

Zip

 

Located in the heart of the Sacred Valley, Cusco, the company Natura Vive has created an amazing mountain adventure for people without any experience. You can try out the 7 ziplines or climb a rock face with the via ferrata and then zipline the mountain, through the valley.

The Via Ferrata is a type of steel ladder and cable system to climb up the 300 meter cliff face. To descend you have the option of a rappel or by means of 7 interconnected Zip Lines. The two activities can be experienced separately or as a combination for a full day of adventure.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Tour Information: Zipline & Via Ferrata 

Recommended Accommodation: Sky Lodge Adventure Suites

For those looking for an adventurous sleeping experience, check out the Sky Lodge, created by the owners of Natura Vive. From the transparent hanging bedroom, you can soak in the views of the sacred valley hundreds of meters below you and feel what it’s like to sleep in a condor’s nest.

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Larry Adams

    Hi Amanda,

    The adventures that you had while your stay in Peru sounds amazing, Peru is certainly on my bucket list, which are the other interesting place to visit in South America according to your personal experience.

  2. Amanda Zeisset

    Hey Larry,

    If you love adventure, you can’t go wrong with Peru! So far in South America we’ve been to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Each offer it’s own great experiences and it really depends what you are interested in. If you give me a general idea of what you want to do (ie: trekking, scuba diving, paragliding, kayaking…) I’d love to give you some ideas.

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