Peru is fast becoming one of South America’s top holiday destinations, attracting visitors from all over the world who want to see its cultural and historical treasures, from the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu to the prehistoric geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines. However, it isn’t all Incas and archaeology! Adventure holidays in Peru are also getting increasingly popular, so here is a look at the best places to fit in some wild activities during your Peru holidays.
The Inca Trail and the Sacred Valley
Most people who visit Machu Picchu just take the train there from the city of Cusco. However, if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, then why not trek the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu instead? This four-day trek through the Andes Mountains takes you up to 4500m above sea level and gives you some fantastic views before you finally end up with the best view of all: the sun rising over this lost Inca city, perched high in the cloud forest. It’s a fantastic experience and if you like trekking then it’s a fantastic experience and a much more adventurous way to get to Machu Picchu.
High Altitude Trekking in the Huayhuash
However, if you’re a real hard-core trekker, then you may want to head a little further north in Peru, into the Central Andes and the stunning Cordillera Huayhuash. To begin with, you’ll fly into the small town of Huaraz to begin your acclimatization – probably with a couple of day treks from the town as you stretch your legs and get used to the thinner air. After a few days you’ll be ready to begin your trek in earnest, as you head out into some of the most beautiful scenery in South America. How long you spend trekking in the Huayhuash depends on how long you have available for your holidays in Peru but you need to allow at least six days to get the most from this dramatic destination. A longer expedition of eight or nine days will give you even more time to enjoy what is probably the best high-altitude trekking in the world.
Peru’s Amazon Rainforest
For a complete change of scene, why not head down from the Andes to the wilds of the Amazon rainforest? The largest jungle on earth offers a huge array of adventure holidays in Peru, from kayaking and rafting on the thousands of rivers and lagoons, to zip-lining and abseiling through the tree canopies. The best way to experience the Amazon is to stay in one of the specialist jungle lodges, from where you can enjoy a wide variety of activities and adventures, usually in the company of expert indigenous guides, who can help you to understand the rainforest, its perils and its possibilities…
Surfing in Peru
If you like a good slice of relaxation time along with your adventures, then perhaps a trip up to the far north of Peru, to the beach towns of Punta Sal and Mancora might be in order. This far north, you’re very close to the equator so you can be sure of year-round good weather, and the water’s always warm too! As well as fantastic white-sand beaches, the north of Peru is one of the best places in South America for surfing, with world-beating waves that make it a favorite for surfing pros from all over the world. If you like the waves but surfing’s not your thing, then jet-skiing, para-gliding and a host of other adventure sports are all possible too.
White-water Rafting in Colca Canyon
Heading back into the mountains, no adventure holiday in Peru would be complete without some white-water rafting thrills and spills! You can enjoy rafting in a variety of places throughout Peru, from the Amazon to the rivers around Machu Picchu, but arguably the best rafting experience is in the immense Colca Canyon, just near to the beautiful city of Arequipa. Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US, and the swift Rio Colca offers some superb rapids. Many people visit Colca Canyon on their Peru holidays anyway, as it’s a favorite spot for seeing the giant Andean Condors, so why not fit in some rafting at the same time?