Peru is a beautiful country for its varied landscapes and its rich culture. As we know, due to its multiple paradisaical destinations and world heritage sites, this country is chosen by countless travelers. But travelers are not the only ones visiting this country. There are other ones who want to do the best treks of the world and hiking in Peru is their best option in South America.
Due to its incredible landscapes, many of those who visit this country are hikers. Thanks to its beautiful geographical features to take advantage of, you can enjoy its varied hiking trails. That is why Machu Travel Peru wants to help you know the experience of hiking in Peru.
When it comes to hiking in Peru, the country offers a few to take advantage of. They all have magical and dreamy landscapes so that all our effort is rewarded with unique views. Many of these destinations are suitable for everyone, and you do not need to be a professional hiker to do them. Some of them don’t even require that much physical effort. In the same way, it is always good to consult with our private doctor.
Hiking in Peru, the best top experiences
- Reasons why you should go hiking in Peru
- Something for everyone
- Beautiful and mind-blowing scenery
- Meet a fluffy friend
- One day and multi-day hiking options
- Exploring the amazon
Reasons why you should go hiking in Peru
First, we are proud to say that not many countries in the world can offer you a once-in-a-lifetime experience that combines hiking and history. Peru offers almost 11,000 years of history mixed with some epic settings. This promising and fascinating combination can only be witnessed first-hand on any of the hiking in Peru that you choose to explore. Peru is an avant-garde country, completely unbeatable.
1. Ausangate (Moderate to hard)
It is one of the most famous treks near Cusco by giving you the chance to see Vinicunca mountain, also known as Rainbow Mountain. In approximately 5 days, you can tour the Vilcanota mountain range and witness valleys and traditional Peruvian villages. Within this beautiful hiking in Peru, you will be able to appreciate everything from imposing snow-capped mountains to colorful mountains. You will also have at your disposal some incredible green Andean landscapes where alpacas abound. A unique experience within the Inca country. It is one of the few treks that give you the option to do it on horseback. Special for those who do not feel physically fit.
Usually, this hiking in Peru lasts 4 or 5 days and begins in the same Cusco city, where a car will pick you up to Ocongate (A town located southeast of Cusco). The car trip lasts 4 hours until the town. From there, you will take another transportation to Tinky Community and, from this point, the trekking will begin. The Ausangate Trek is a circular trail of 55 kilometers that surrounded the Ausangate Mountain (More than 6300 meters above sea level) and passes through local towns, Andean lagoons, and springs, even some caverns (All of them located from 4000 to 5200 m.a.s.l). Beautiful Andean landscapes, rivers, and the magnificent presence of Ausangate will accompany you all the time. The route is not well signed therefore, hiring a travel agency, is the most recommendable idea for those who want to do this hiking in Peru.
2. Inca Trail (Moderate to hard)
One thing is for sure, you cannot leave Peru without first knowing Machu Picchu. And the Inca Trail is one of the best ways to get to know the Inca citadel. Hiking the Inca trail is one of the best ways to appreciate Machu Picchu. Hikers will start in the Sacred Valley by walking the same trails built by the Incas. Most of the hikes are completed within 4 days, but there are other shorter variants. You will start the section in the city of Cusco and then continue towards the Sacred Valley.
The Inca trail map is mostly pretty easy, except for some steep parts. Keep in mind that this is one of the most popular treks, so if you want to experience it, you will need to book in advance. Within the tour, you will see several archeological ruins and beautiful landscapes taken from a movie. Definitely, the best hiking in Peru.
4 days and 3 nights. All the adventure begins in Cusco, where you will have to take a train (Peru Rail and Inca Rail are the two train local companies) to get to kilometer 82 (In the middle of the train route to Machu Picchu). At this point, you will drop the train up to begin the most famous hiking in Peru. The first day is a moderate climb to the first camp zone Wayllabamba. The climb will be more challenging on the second day to the Pacaymayo camp zone, this day you will pass by charming places like Llulluchapampa and Yunca Chimpa Valley.
The third day is a real challenge for trekkers, the climb will get heavier, passing sites like Runkurakay (located at 3860 m.a.s.l) until Wiñayhuayna camp zone, the last one before to get to Machu Picchu. On the fourth day, you will make a slight descent to the wonder of the world, Machu Picchu. The Peruvian government sells entrance tickets to do this hiking in Peru and oversees that every traveler has a travel agency service to complete the route.
3. Choquequirao Trek (Hard)
One of the ideal adventure holidays in Peru if you are near Cusco. The hike to Choquequirao for 5 days is surrounded by natural landscapes such as valleys, snowy mountains, and wildlife to photograph. It is located more than 3030 meters in the Salkantay mountain range. Surrounded by the Apus of Yamana, Ampay, Chokecarpu, Pumasiyo, and Panta. Visitors will be able to see a complex hydraulic system used for agricultural or religious reasons. It is an ideal trek for those who feel ready for the challenge. Therefore, Choquequirao is the perfect example of hiking in Peru.
The Trekking begins in Cusco, the city where you have to take transportation to the little town of Cachora (4 hours west of Cusco). Again, hiring a travel agency is recommendable because the route is not well signed. Cachora is the start point to begin the trekking of this hiking in Peru. Remember, the first day you will go downhill, the second day you will climb steep slopes, the third day the climb will not stop through the Apurimac Valley and finally the fourth day the effort will be recognized by the amazing Choquequirao Ruins.
4. Santa Cruz Trek (Easy)
Among the different best hiking in Peru, the Santa Cruz trek is a fascinating option of 4 days. The Santa Cruz trail is a 50 kilometers hike between Vaquera town and Cashapampa. The route crosses the Cordillera Blanca, a sector known for its imposing snow-capped peaks. The entire hiking trail is characterized by spectacular glaciers, towering mountains, and deep blue lakes. Keep in mind that much of the hike occurs at an altitude greater than 4,000 meters, so acclimatization is mandatory. Most hikers tackle the route in 4 days, but if you are in shape it can be less. Before taking any hike, you should consult our guide for a completely safe trip.
This is the fourth most famous hiking in Peru after the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, Colca Canyon trek, or Salkantay trek. It begins in Huaraz city. From this point the visitor will have to take transportation until Vaquera town (Located more than 3650 masl). 4 to 7 hours of moderate trekking per day to reach its highpoint Punta Union Pass (Located to 4750 masl). The route finishes in Cashapampa town where the visitor can take the transportation of return or use its hot springs and take a deserved rest.
5. The Vilcabamba Trek (Moderate)
Vilcabamba is one of the top cities to visit in Peru and is also known as the lost city of the Incas. To get to Vilcabamba it is necessary to travel from Cusco by bus. This hiking in Peru for 5 days allows you to explore the ruins of what was one of the last shelters of the Incas in Spanish invasions. It is not a well-known hike, but it does take us away from the crowds to lead us into a mystical experience.
Being a slightly underrated hiking trail, it can look quite “empty” compared to other trails. But don’t let this put you off. It is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself and get to know one of the most beautiful sectors of Peru. This hiking launches in Cusco, where transportation will carry you up to Huancalle Town, the real starting point of hiking. Exuberant foliage typical of the Peruvian jungle will be the scenery of your trip here. Natural formations of rocks, the Chontabamba river, and the amazing Espiritu Pampa Ruins will be your reward.
6. Salkantay Trek (Moderate to hard)
If you are not a fan of crowds, the Salkantay Trek will offer you the peace you are looking for. The route begins in Soraypampa, near the town of Mollepata. The views that you can appreciate are fantastic. It is one of the alternatives to the Inca Trail and one of the best hiking in Peru. It is a much cheaper alternative but a bit more difficult. With the difference that you will find the stunning view offered by Salkantay. The route passes through some traditional villages with certain attractions that you cannot miss. One of the most amazing hiking in Peru to experience. If you are looking for something different from the Machu Picchu tours, the Salkantay Trek of 5 days can be an excellent alternative.
Besides, the route is famous because you can pass from the dry and cold weather of Peruvian Andean (4500 m.a.s.l) to the humid and warm climate of the Peruvian Jungle (1800 m.a.s.l). You will feel this extreme change of weather in one route. The dry season (From April to November) is the best time to visit it.
7. Laguna 69 Hike (Easy)
Contrary to what you might imagine from the name, this walk does not last 69 days. The route runs along the shores of Laguna 69, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Huascarán National Park. This hike lasts a full day and could be considered moderate difficulty. It can take anywhere from eight to ten hours to complete the route, depending on your physical condition. So it is highly recommended to start this wonderful route very early. One of the best hiking Peru that you cannot miss. There is no best time to visit Peru when it comes to Laguna 69.
La Cebolla place inside of Huascaran National Park is the starting point of this amazing hiking in Peru.
8. Cotahuasi Canyon (Easy to moderate)
This is indisputably one of the deepest canyons in the world, surpassing even the Grand Canyon by twice the depth. This canyon is located about 400 kilometers from the city, west of Arequipa. To witness this landscape, you will have several hiking options. Have the option of a one-day hike up to 4-days in case you are feeling adventurous. The tour begins in Cotahuasi town and this will be the starting hub of all the trekking excursions through the four days. You will be able to see magnificent scenery that goes from a waterfall to suspended bridges. It is one of the best hikes in Peru by having different ways of approaching it.
The first day is a route in the car from Arequipa to Cotahuasi, on the route you will see beautiful towns like Pedregal, Corire, Aplau, the Coropuma mountain until getting to Cothuasi. The second point you will depart and arrive at Cotahuasi, passing by Luicho hot springs and Maucallacta Archeological site. On the third day, you will visit the Uskune Waterfalls, returning to Cotahuasi and on the last day you will get to Sipia Waterfalls, where you will have a perfect view of Cotahuasi canyon.
9. Kuelap And Vira Vira (Moderate)
A fairly long hike, since it takes 8 to 9 days to finish. This route can be experienced in northern Peru, in the city of Chachapoyas. But it has a much more moderate pace than other walks in Peru. A perfect option for those interested in making a hike of several days in their vacation with friends and not making challenging routes.
Within the long route, you will have the chance to visit the imposing fortress of Kuelap as well as the citadel of Vira Vira. You will even have the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful Gocta Waterfalls, which have a drop of 700 meters in height. This route may be a bit far from the other attractions in Peru, but it is well worth your time. If you are looking to enjoy Peru vacations different from all the others, it is ideal that you visit this region.
10. Laguna Churup Hike (Moderate)
It is a popular hike within the Huascaran National Park. At a moderate pace, this trail will take us to the Laguna Churup. It takes approximately 4 to 6 hours to complete the hike. But it is better to take our time to appreciate the landscapes and see the shores of the crystal blue waters. You can also have a glimpse of Huascaran in the distance, the highest mountain in Peru.
This one-day trek is a great option among the different hiking in Peru. If you have the time, be sure to take this beautiful route.
11. Humantay Lake (Moderate to hard)
Humantay lake is the new treasure that Cusco offers, along with Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain. This trek is one of the best new hiking in Peru, and it begins taking transportation from Cusco to Mollepata (which lasts 03 hours). Once you arrive at Mollepata (a little town located 247 km from Cusco, over its northwest), the fun will begin. The path of a hilly ascent lasts one hour and a half, and you will pass through the Soraypampa camp zone (The first camp in the Salkantay Trek) seeing the slopes of Humantay Snowy.
The trek is a real adventure for those who want to feel liberty, peace, and the echoes of the Andean mountains. Once you arrive at Humantay Lake (located at 4200 meters above sea level) you will feel that the slope walked will have been worth it. Don’t worry about the return, the descent walk is easier and lasts one hour to Mollepata. There is a lot of transportation that departs to Cusco every hour. Regarding the food? In Mollepata, you will see many tourist restaurants with a variety of Peruvian dishes. We recommend taking the tour through a travel agency and wearing snow clothes for the adventure.
12. Rainbow Mountain (Moderate to hard)
The rainbow mountain is made up of soils with abundant minerals distributed linearly. The minerals make contact with the cold breezes of the mountains, the rains, the extreme sun rays, even the snow (In Winter) and produce a variety of colors. If you are planning your vacations in Peru, the Rainbow Mountain Trek is your must-see destination. To get there, you will have to take direct transportation from Cusco to Pitumarca (Which lasts two hours and a half / Through a travel agency) and after to Qheshiuno Local Community (Both zones are located southeast of Cusco), Or If you want to make the hike by yourself, you have to take public transportation from Cusco to Sicuani (lasts two hours) and after, take another transport until Qheshiuno community.
From the community will begin this amazing hiking in Peru. The trek lasts 03 hours, and you will ascend through stony and rough paths (It’s recommendable to wear trekking shoes and pants). Finally, on the top of Vinincunca Mountain, you will see this marvel, a complete hill covered by distinct colors in front of look into. Watch out for the hard winds at the moment of your photos, remember, you will be over the top of a mountain. The return will be by the same route and takes only two hours and a half until Qheshiuno Community. There, you can take public transportation until Sicuani town and after to Cusco or your private transportation direct to Cusco (In case of Travel Agencies)
13. Huayhuash Trek (Moderate to hard)
The Huayhuash trek is one of the most extreme hiking in Peru. The route is located inside Huascaran National Park, in central Andean of Peru, close to Lima. This hike in Peru has a high level of challenge for those who want to experience physical exertion and satisfaction on each day of trekking. It lasts 12 days, and you will pass for beautiful landscapes, at slopes of snowy mountains like Siula Grande (Over 6344 m.a.s.l) or Yerupaja (Over 6617 m.a.s.l). Besides, the Huayhuash hikes have the reputation of the most difficult hiking in Peru by its highlands. In some parts of the route, you will pass over 4000 meters above sea level, even reaching 5000 m.a.s.l.
It’s recommended to spend a few days in Huaraz, the town closest to the route, to acclimatize the body and get used to breathing cold air. From there, you will have to go to Llamac Village, where the trek begins and finishes. Please, unless you are an expert hiker, hire a travel agency for this hiking in Peru. However, rest assured about the time of the excursion, there are routes with fewer days of trekking (10 or 8 days). Good physical condition, a high level of hiking experience, and a persevering spirit are the characteristics of someone who wants to do this hiking in Peru.
14. Colca Canyon (Moderate to hard)
Hiking in Peru has two principal representatives in the south. The Inca Trail in Cusco and the Colca Canyon trek in Arequipa. The last one is developed in the second-deepest canyon in the world. Colca Canyon is located to 3 hours from Arequipa, by its northwest face. To get there, you will pass by Chivay, a quaint town, if you want to enjoy a good breakfast before trekking, there you will find some good restaurants.
The trek lasts 2 days (with an overnight in Sangalle, a local town located in the depths of the canyon) and begins from Pampa San Miguel’s lookout. From this point, the visitor will have to go downhill until the same canyon abyss, more than 3200 meters of descending, watch out for when walking on small ravines, slippery stones, and tricky slopes. Beautiful landscapes and the escort of the majestic Colca Canyon condors from the heights will accompany visitors to the 5 or 6 hours of descendant.
La Cruz del Condor (The Condor Cross) is the most relevant point on the first day of hiking. Here, you will see the Condor (A species of Andean vulture that lives on the cliffs of the canyon) hovering over the entire Colca. Once in Sangalle Oasis, you will rest in its different lodgings and rest pools. The second day is the most demanding trek; 2 or 3 hours of a hard climb to Cabanaconde Town (located at 3280 masl), the high points here are Los Volcanes and Salinas lookout and the viewpoint of Aguada Blanca National Reserve. Getting to the top of the canyon and the physical effort will have to be worth it.
15. Marcahuasi (Easy)
If you are in the capital of Peru and want to get to Cusco or other Peruvian attractions as fast as possible, wait a moment and see the best alternative of hiking in Peru surrounding Lima, The Marcahuasi Trek. The majority of visitors make the trek by themselves. So, the first step is to take a public bus to Chosica (The easternmost district of Lima). From the Chosica main square, you can take another bus to San Pedro de Casta town (Located 3 hours from Lima). Trought the route, you will appreciate the landscapes and highpoint of part of Lima that belongs to the Peruvian Andes. Once in San Pedro de Casta town, we recommend you search the few lodgings that exist in the zone. Spend a night there to the next morning and begin the trek.
Marcahuasi is located 4000 meters above sea level. The hiking launch from the same main square (The route is well signed). 5 to 6 hours of a slow climb where physical endurance, more than effort, will play an important role. Marcahuasi is a natural rock formation, called the Stone forest of Marcahuasi, many of them have human faces and body shapes. You will have the possibility to camp on its slopes, spend a night admiring the stars, or appreciate the first rays of sunshine, the next morning. The return is by the same way and some public transportation depart from San Pedro de Casta to Lima at 2 pm. Make sure you arrive on time!
16. Gocta Waterfalls (Easy to moderate)
One of the highest waterfalls in the world is located in the Amazon political department of Peru. At the northeast of Lima. Specifically in Chachapoyas, a region where once upon a time the Chachapoyas pre-Inca culture governed and flourished. Now, the Gocta Waterfalls are a reminder of the beauty and its grandiosity in the middle of the Amazon. The waterfalls have more than 700 meters of drop and getting there is a real jungle adventure, especially for those who want to do a good photography tour in Peru.
This type of hiking in Peru is unique. The journey launch in Chachapoyas city, from there the visitor, can take transportation until two sites because to get to Gocta we have two alternatives. First, through Cocachimba town (Located 1 hour from Chachapoyas). The trekking begins in this quaint town, you will pass through lush forests, tough undergrowth, and exotic wetlands before arriving at Waterfalls bottom. If you want, you can wear swimwear to take a dip in its waters, the return is by the same route. (Trek lasts 4 – 5 hours).
The second way is similar to the Cocachimba route, with the difference that the visitors will begin by San Pablo town (Located 1 hour from Chachapoyas) and arrive at the high part of the waterfalls, with the impediment of descending towards the base of the falls.
17. Lomas of Lucumo (Easy)
Hiking in Peru is an activity developed in the most unexpected places of the country. If we talk about Lomas de Lucumo we have to talk about Lima. Because the Lomas de Lucumo are sandy hills with amazing vegetation and greenery located in Quebrada Verde Rural Village Center (Lima district of Pachacamac). The oceanic moisture vapor was trapped on these hills, giving way to lush vegetation and specimens of flora and fauna unique in the region.
To get there, the visitor has to take a taxi from any point of Lima to Pachacamac main square, a point where buses with tourist counselors depart every day between June to November (The best time to visit them). There are two routes, the first one, called The Guardians, and begins from El Establo zone, the visitor will walk around the hills in hiking of more than 4 kilometers finishing in the same place El Establo. The trek lasts 3 hours. The second one is Los Lucumos and begins in the same place as the before route, the difference is in the middle of the route, where the path takes a deviation to El Guayabo, La Picapiedra, and El Huarango extinct silver and gold mines. The route extent by 6 kilometers and lasts four hours and a half of trekking.
18. Gran Vilaya Trek (Easy to moderate)
Hiking in Peru can be a real challenge for those who want to prove themselves. The Gran Vilaya Trek is the perfect opportunity for this proposal “The Inca Trail of the North” is a path that the Chachapoyas pre-Inca culture used in ancient times (Five hundred years before Christ), of course, until the arrival of Inca’s Empire that conquered them (15th Century).
This hiking in Peru launch from the same Chachapoyas city (Northeast of Peru). Fortunately, many flights route Lima – Chachapoyas, every day and don’t forget that Peru is safe as far as tourism is concerned. From Chachapoyas, your transportation (It is recommendable to hire a travel agency because the route is not well signed) will pick up you to Santa Cruz Town, where the real adventure will begin. The complete hiking lasts 4 days and 3 nights, and you will pass through humid tropical jungles, grandiose jungle valleys, rock caves, overgrown archaeological sites to the imposing fortress of Kuelap (Chachapoyas pre-Inca culture). Don’t forget a raincoat, repellent, and good shoes for trekking, you will be hiking in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon! The return way is by car, offered by the same travel agency.
19. Pastoruri Trek (Moderate)
Pastoruri is one of the most important snow in Peru (Altitude more than 5200 m.a.s.l), it is located inside of Huascaran National Park (Huaraz region, at central Andean of Peru) and, not so long ago, climbing and rappelling were practiced on its slopes until global warming. Nowadays, the visitors who make this hiking in Peru can see how, regrettably, the snow of Pastoruri gradually disappears (22% of the ice mass disappeared in less than 30 years). Today, practicing these sports are forbidden. Therefore, the Pastoruri trek represents adventure and raising awareness, too.
The trek launches from Huaraz city to Huascaran National Park (located on the south of Huaraz), this part of the route is with transportation, and you will pass by picturesque villages, lagoons, and hot springs like Puma Pampa, Pumapashini inter alia. Besides, the flora will be present through the route with the “Puya Raymondi” (A giant plant that blooms every 100 years and then dies). Once you arrive at the Pastoruri snowy base this hiking in Peru will begin (lasts less than 1 hour) walking around the snow mountain, reaching a great lookout where you will have the perfect view of the snowy, and the other landscapes of Huascaran National Park. The return is by the same way until Huaraz. Trekking of only one day.
Something for everyone
This incredibly diverse country offers something for just about every taste. From physically demanding but incredibly rewarding hikes in the Andes to awe-inspiring exotic hikes in the Amazon. Peru has a vast network of hiking trails with which you can experience the dramatic beauty of the Peruvian Andes and travel back to the time of the Incas. Besides, our tropical lowlands will allow you to be witness stunning wildlife and one-of-a-kind natural scenery.
Beautiful and mind-blowing scenery
Peru has some of the most spectacular and dazzling landscapes in the world that will leave you speechless. Many of the treks in Peru take place along ancient trails to fascinating Inca ruins, snow-capped peaks, or spectacular lagoons. The satisfaction of being able to explore Peru in the same way as our ancient civilizations will be incredible. This rich experience where you can access secluded landscapes and learn about everyday life in the countryside will leave a lasting impression on your soul. Without a doubt, your adventure trip to Peru is something you will never forget.
Meet a fluffy friend
When hiking in Peru, especially in the Andes, you will be met with fluffy and furry llamas and alpacas. Lots of travelers feel a big-eyed curiosity for these animals. They look like living stuffed animals that anybody would like to play with. Furthermore, 75% of the worldwide alpaca population has its home in Peru. Can you believe it? Machu Travel Peru is sure you don’t have any doubt that Peru is a completely mind-blowing package.
One day and multi-day hiking options
Millions of travelers come to Peru to take some tours to Machu Picchu. Among them, the famous Inca Trail, but fortunately there is an extraordinary variety of Inca Trail alternatives. They will offer you many amazing moments during your stay in Peru. And among the main areas for hiking in Peru, you will find the Sacred Valley in Cusco. Also, available are the Cordillera Blanca in Huaraz and the northern Amazon in Chachapoyas. Each has its unique beauty and challenging hikes. To illustrate, The Salkantay Trek in Cusco is the most popular alternative trek to Machu Picchu. It takes 4 days to complete. You will escape the crowds and pass high mountains, glaciers, lagoons, and towering snow-capped mountains. It offers an epic landscape of the Andes.
If you are short on time, you can take a hike to Rainbow Mountain. Or take a hike to Laguna 69, a stunning and picturesque blue-green lagoon in the Huascarán National Park in Huaraz. These options are some of the best tours in Peru available. Especially if you can’t commit to a multi-day hike.
Exploring the Amazon
Not convinced yet? Ok. We have something interesting to offer. You can hike in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. This exotic experience will have you learning all about the diverse Amazonian ecosystems and wildlife. You can also try riding a bike, this option is completely safe takes a responsible role in protecting its inhabitants. As you have noticed, there is a route for every skill level and experience. So, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed to explore the country. Just relax and enjoy your time with nature. Your hike in Peru will be more enjoyable!
“THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING AND I MUST GO”
Peru is, without a doubt, a country made for hikers. Among so many hiking trails to choose from, we chose to list the most popular ones. But keep in mind that they are not the only ones to enjoy. We hope this list has been helpful when choosing a hike. Some of these are not that crowded and it can be a bit difficult to get a guide, but they are still worth it. Machu Travel Peru wishes you an incredible experience and that you enjoy all its splendor.