From the tips of the Andes to the nooks and crannies of the Amazon, Peru offers an array of outdoor activities for the adventurer and the curious alike. Intertwined with history, graced with beauty and packed with adventure, here are four Inkaterra-recommended hiking trails in Peru, guaranteed to keep you occupied and awe inspired this summer.
Tucked away in the northern highlands of Peru in the lesser known village of Kuelap, lies the 6th century fortress of the Chachapoyas which rests quietly some 3,000 metres high. Known as the walled city, Kuelap was once home to the culture, beliefs and rituals of the people of Chachapoyas, the “Warriors of the Cloud”. Accessible through the town of El Tingo, located in the Urubamba River Valley, hikers must ascend 1,200 metres by foot, should they wish to witness this pre-Incan ruin. This hike can be walked or trekked, and since March 2017, visitors were also welcome to explore the ruins via cable cars, ‘telecabinas Kuélap’, which provide a more leisurely experience for the latter half of the journey.
Boasting calming tranquillity and expansive beauty, located in southern Peru near Arequipa, the Colca Canyon is the world’s second deepest river canyon diving 3,270m, and therefore the ideal hiking destination for the adventurous at heart. Surrounded by the greenery of nearby pastures, remote villages and Inca terraces, hikers can rest assured that they will be accompanied by omnipresent vistas, sun and the occasional Andean condor as they tackle the intense incline. Alternatively, travellers are also welcome to enjoying their trek by way of horseback, taking in the surroundings safely a leisurely. Laced with culture, the Colca Valley also makes for an exciting dabble in history during your trek; known for their traditional embroidery techniques, native villagers boast colourful and intricately designed frocks unique to this region.
The highest trek in Peru, Ausangate, southeast Cusco, will take you through the wildest and most rarely seen parts of the country. Nestled in the Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range, hikers will climb and dip over high passes and deep valleys whilst encountering traditional villages. This hike showcases an array of geographic sites, from snow-tipped peaks and glaciers to wildlife and valley lakes, all spread over 6,000 metres in one of the most untouched areas of the region. Considered a ‘mountain spirit’ or holy mountain, the location has been a sacred place of worship and host to many traditions dating back to the pre-Incan era.
Standing as an endearing ode to history, travel and culture, the most visited trek in Peru is quite rightly the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Established some 500 years ago by the Great Incan Empire as a passage of pilgrimage and a system of communication, whereby Inca messengers, ‘chaskis’, would deliver goods and information. The trail covers roughly 23,000km and passes through northern territories of Colombia and Ecuador, undulating down to Peru, Chile, Argentina and ultimately Brazil and Bolivia. It also comprises many daring paths, some precariously carved in the mountainous regions with steep levels; these were created for local animals, such as llamas, to ensure easy negotiation during transportation. Passing through the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, today the Inca Trail remains a popular trek and travel attraction following its re-discovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham.
If you are travelling to Peru in search of a summer jaunt, whether you are looking for a death-defying scramble through the wilderness, or simply looking to take in the sites on horseback, make sure you’re packed and prepared for your treks. To find out a little more about other countless adventures Peru has to offer, have a browse of our website Inkaterra.com.