Looking for adventure and the exhilaration of hiking? Well look no further than Peru. Over the past ten years many new and exciting hikes have opened up to the public making Peru a hiker’s paradise. Peru is located in South America with some of the country’s largest town located within the Andes mountain range, these towns are the starting point for many amazing treks.
We have all heard of the famous Inca Trail, four days of hard slog up high passes with the reward of the Inca citadel, Machu Picchu, at the end of the hike, but in recent years the trail has become so popular that it fills up months in advance making for some very disappointed hikers wondering what hike they could do. But now in Peru there are many different options to choose from.
Firstly, lets travel to the north of Peru to the town of Huaraz, high in the Andes known as the home of Andean adventure, with panoramic views of one of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world, the most popular trek in the area is the Santa Cruz trek, a five-day hike that climbs the Quebrava Huaripampa. Sights along the way included the emerald lakes, snowcapped peaks and fields of wildflowers.
Another popular trek in the area is the Olleros to Chavin de Huantar, this three-day trek passes along a Pre Inca road and has spectacular views and to finish off the trek, hot springs await to soak away the aches after the hike.
In southern Peru there are many places to find a good hike. In and around the Colca Canyon the world´s second deepest there are many Inca trails to hike to get magnificent views of the canyon and the nearby terracing makes a great day hiking.
Moving onto Cusco there are many and varied hiking options. The Inca Trail as mentioned earlier is one of the most famous treks in South America, starts on day one in Ollantaytambo and continues for the next four days along Peru´s most famous footpaths, passing through beautiful cloud forests, if you get the opportunity to do this famous trek, it is something not to be missed.
Some of the other trails that are equally as beautiful as the Inca Trail are the Lares Trek, a four-day trail that starts in the Sacred Valley at Huaran, from there you will walk uphill for a few hours to the first campsite at the farming community of Cancha Chanca, you will be amazed at the scenery and can see how the farmer live and make a living. On the second day the hike gets a little harder climbing to a pass of over four thousand meters so your stamina will be tested, on this day you will pass glaciers, lakes and valleys that make the hike easier on the eyes but not on the legs. After lunch the going is a little easier as you will descend to the Quiswarani community and the Queunocha Lagoon, where you will camp for the night. On day three you will reach a pass of over four thousand five hundred meters which has amazing views of Pitusiray and Colquecruz mountains, the trail has many lakes and is covered with wild flowers and after a few hours you will arrive in Lares where you can enjoy the hot thermal springs. In the afternoon you will be taken to Ollantaytambo to catch the train to Aguas Calientes where you will spend the night. On the morning of the fourth day you will catch the bus up to Machu Picchu for a private tour of this incredible Inca City.
Another great trek in the Cusco area is the Salkantay trek which also ends at Machu Picchu. The first day starts with a descend to Soroycocha, where the first campsite is located, from here there are uninterrupted views of Mount Salkantay. On day two a long trek awaits to the Salcantay Pass, the highest point on the trek, there are views that will take your breath away, with glaciers and the magnificent Vilcabamba Cordillera, in the afternoon a decent to the cloud forest and the Salcantay River. Day three the weather will change as you will enter the jungle, following the Cochora River, the scenery will also be greener. This day the camp will be set up at Lucmabamba. Day four sees the trail go to the Q`ekkiqasa look out where you will see an excellent view of Machu Picchu and have an outdoor picnic. In the afternoon you will walk to the train station at the Hydroelectric plant to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, ON the last day of this five-day trek you will have a tour of Machu Picchu.
Another trek to mention in the Cusco area is a four-day trek called Choquequirao (pronounced Chocky-key-rao) this trek does not finish in Machu Picchu like the other treks and hasn’t got the high passes that the other hikes have. Starting at Cachora and continuing along a zig-zagging to Playa Rosalina. Then onto Choquequirao, you will return along the path you came to the beginning. On this trek you will see the most breathtaking scenery and mountains.
The last trek we should mention is the Inka Jungle Trail, this trail is a mixed bag of biking, rafting, trekking and zip lining, it starts early on the first day with biking in the morning and ends the last day with an early hike to Machu Picchu, a fun four days for those who like hiking and adventure.
As you can see Peru is full of hiking and has something for all tastes, we like to call Peru and hikers paradise.