Peru, a place full of adventures
If you are thinking in Peru to be the destination of your next holidays, you might wonder what does this incredible country located in South America holds for you.
Peru holds much more than just the wonderful city of Cusco and the marvelous ruins of Machu Picchu to enjoy; hundreds of ancient trails, camping sites and lots of natural sites are available for camping, offering you an unforgettable experience and an incredible adventure in Peru.
So, let’s get right into the subject! Here we will tell you what you need to know about the best trails, camping, and climbing sites located within Peruvian borders to help you make up your mind and book your trip to this beautiful and fun country.
Top #10 Best Adventures in Peru
1) Inca Trail trek
The Inca trail is, among the various trails that lead you to the citadel of Machu Picchu, the most popular and interesting of them all since it gives you the chance to fully experience the path that the ancient Incas followed on their way to Machu Picchu, besides being able to enjoy amazing archeological and natural sites, as well as stunning views.
Throughout their time of reign on South American soil, The Inca empire created thousands of trails to link its principal settlements, from the southwest of Colombia, going through Ecuador, Peru and finally reaching Bolivia; despite the grand amount of trails built, this one is the most famous thanks to its final destination: the main religious and political settlement of the empire.
The starting point of this journey is just 40 minutes outside the town of Ollantaytambo, with a complete length of 4 days and 3 nights, this hike will lead you through an 82 km route filled with adventure that ends up at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) of Machu Picchu.
This trail is specifically limited to 500 trekkers a day, so booking the trip in advance is a must. You will have to go with a licensed private guide to comply with some rules imposed by the local government.
2) Santa Cruz Trail
As part of the Cordillera Blanca (the highest tropical mountain in the world), this incredible hike attracts a fraction of the visitors than Machu Picchu, and its located north of the city of Lima, capital of Peru.
With its 4-day length and 50 kilometers (31 miles) of extension, this hike will give you incredible views through its way, while being as well able to enjoy beautiful turquoise lakes and the pleasure of solitude on your way to the highest point of the trek, Punta Union, going at 4760 meters of altitude (15, 617 ft).
When is the best time to do such a marvelous hike? People accustomed to trek year-round in this region, however, the best time to do the journey is between May and September, because in this period you will have almost guaranteed great weather conditions, although it is highly recommended to be prepared for any sudden changes.
3) Laguna 69
Located in Huaraz, perhaps the hiking and trekking mecca in Peru, his singular hike is not technically challenging, although the high altitude can make the hike a little bit strenuous as you ascend to the lagoon.
the Laguna 69 (or 69 Lagoon in English) is a beautiful lagoon sitting at the base of a giant glacier, right at the Cordillera Blanca. With the incredible blue shades of its water will give you one of the most incredible landscapes you will ever see.
Despite not being a very technical trek, its altitude is incredibly high; it sits at around 4500 meters, sitting higher than any other mountain top in the Americas and merely 600 meters below base camp altitude at the Everest.
We highly recommend you to bring along rain gear, hiking poles, as well as hiking clothes, a lot of sunscreen bath, hats, sunglasses, snacks, coca leaves and of course, a camera if you want to capture all these incredible views.
4) Half world lagoon or Albufera de Medio Mundo
Best known as the Albufera de Medio Mundo or Half world lagoon, this amazing water reservoir is part of a natural conservation area located in the Vegueta district, inside the Uhura province right in the region of Lima.
Its 1482 acres of extension makes of this a fantastic place filled with wonderful biodiversity and filled with natural resources. At this marvelous lagoon, you will be able to observe its wonderful and rich wildlife. The calm waters of this lagoon make it a wonderful place to practice different sorts of aquatic sports, especially kayaking.
This wonderful area has an arid, semi-warm and humid weather throughout the year, with temperatures that go up to 21 degrees celsius. Being at sea level, going to this location won’t have the same obstacle as doing most of the trails in Peru.
5) Salkantay trek
The Incas built, during their time as one of the most powerful civilizations of the continents, thousands of trails and roads to connect their settlements. The Salkantay trek is one (and maybe the best) alternative to the Inca trail if you want to make it to Machu Picchu by yourself.
This marvelous trail it’s great for travelers that want to enjoy changing environments and ecosystems with each day of the trip. From magical and outstanding landscapes to snowy mountains and tropical jungle ecosystems with a wide range of animals, medicinal plants and flower varieties; you will have the chance to see all this doing this fantastic trail.
This trail also gives you the chance to know and interact with ancient Andean communities located to Machu Picchu through the sacred valley, getting to know a little bit more about their traditions and ancient culture.
6) Huayhuash trek
Arguably one the best treks on the planet, the Huayhuash trek has become a well-known destination for enthusiasts thanks to its beautiful mountain peaks, its pristine glacial lakes, and the possibility to visit traditional Andean communities.
Due to the heavy investment of the Peruvian government on infrastructure and security on the area made this hike safe to all visitors. This reason has made of Huayhuash one of the most popular treks among foreign tourists, although it’s still not as well-known as other treks of Peru. This lack of notoriety made of this trek an almost unspoiled territory great for people who want to experience the Andes in the most peaceful and picturesque way.
With its 130 km of length (nearly 81 miles) and elevations as high as 5,490m (18,012ft), trekking this cordillera is not for everybody. The weather can be extreme most of the time, making hypothermia a significant threat. Besides, those unaccustomed to high elevations could develop altitude sickness, suffering symptoms such as headache, nausea, loss of appetite, and trouble with sleep.
You need to have in mind that this trek is difficult and even dangerous sometimes, so if you are planning to do the full trek, we highly recommend you to do so only if you have enough hiking experience. If you are not sure whether to take the full length of the classic circuit, you will also have the choice to complete the trail going through several different shortcuts which can reduce the length of the hike.
7) Hatun Machay Rock formations (Climbing)
These famous rock formations among climbers are located in an alpine meadow in the Cordillera Negra. Despite having more than 300 established bolted routes to use, this natural attraction sees a low traffic of tourists. The free-standing stone towers and mushroom-shaped formations boast climbs ranging from 5.6 to 5.14d.
Etched into the walls of various caves of the surrounding areas are various petroglyphs dating back to 10,000 B.C. This tells you a little bit about the historical significance of the place. Native Andean communities living in the area have perceived these impressive rock formations as their “protectors”, using the area for temporary settlement before moving to another destination. Today, the area continues to play a significant part in the economic activities of the local community, being the territory where they can breed livestock and build a shelter for themselves during the rainy season.
The best time in the year to visit this location is between May and September, just in the middle of the dry season. If you travel during the rainy season, you might as well get some climbing in, but always with the threat of a possible rainstorm.
8) La esfinge (The Sphinx)
La Esfinge (The Sphinx) is a 950-meter tall granite big wall, located in Quebrada Paron, right above the town of Caraz. This amazing rock structure offers you the chance to climbers to enjoy 22 different bolted routes.
The gigantic rock wall was first climbed around a 750-meter long route back in 1985 by a couple of Spanish climbers, after staying a total of 9 days in the area studying the wall and its possible routes of ascend.
The summit of this wall is at 5350 meters above sea level. Due to the altitude of this particular spot and the length of the ascend, it is recommended to prepare themselves during the 10 days before the ascend, just to get acclimatized and ready for the journey.
9) Chicama beach
Chicama Beach is a well-known Peruvian surf destination, famous internationally for having the longest, left-breaking wave in the world. It features perfectly-shaped waves and crisp barrels.
Located in the northern coastal desert of Peru, its weather is sunny and dry throughout most of the year, with an average temperature of 75°F. The temperature of the water is approximate 68°F on average, so it would be best for you to wear a 3.2mm wetsuit to keep you warm in the water, and cool enough in the sun. It’s also a good idea to bring booties to protect your feet on the rocky parts of the seafloor.
10) Lobitos Beach
Lobitos is a small surf town located northwest of Talara, in the northern region of Peru. This great beach has a consistent left break that reaches more than 10 feet when a north swell fills in. Within the 2-mile stretch of the coastline, there are more than 6 points with chest- to head-high waves, giving the surfer the perfect conditions to catch a barrel.
Besides great surfing conditions, you should be able to enjoy incredible sunsets and clear water, this little town is popular among surfers that try to escape from crowded destinations. This beach is not only warmer than other coastal cities in Peru during the wintertime (from June to September) but with strong southerly winds, make this territory great for kitesurfing as well.
Locals are very friendly with tourists, besides they also happen to love the surf culture. Although it is a popular surf destination, being a small town makes the supply for surf apparel very limited; so, make sure of bringing a couple of extra items of everything you decide to bring to the trip, whether its wax, fins, leash, etc.
Written by: Agnys Orellana