Peru is home to some of the highest peaks in the Andes and the best trekking routes in the world. These spectacular circuits wet the appetites of hiking enthusiasts everywhere and have become an essential part of any Peru travel. From the highest tropical peaks to jade-colored crystalline lakes, Peru trekking offers breathtaking views and unforgettable encounters with nature. Take the opportunity to traverse the Caminos del Inca (Inca Roads) while visiting multiple Incan ruin sites and bask in the mysteries of this ancient culture’s civilization. Pass through remote Quechua villages and interact with these native people. Various options exist to accommodate the hiking amateur as well as challenge avid trekkers, each person is sure to discover an alpine adventure to perfectly suit their needs.
The Classic Inca Trail Cusco, former capital city of the Incan Empire, is one the most popular archeological destinations in South America, thereby making it a celebrated trekking region in Peru. Multiple ruin sites and an inviting native culture steeped in tradition attract people from around the globe to this region. The most fabled ancient Incan city, Machu Picchu, is commonly deemed the finish line for multiple treks in the area. The 4 day/3 night moderate trek along the Inca Trail, the stone-laid pathway of the Incan people, is South America’s most famous trek. Due to its exploding popularity and subsequent government regulation, guides for all trekkers are required during this portion of their Peru travel.
The route traverses past several Incan ruin sites. Hikers can see magnificent views of the snowcapped Veronica, cross over wooden foot-bridges, and descend down stone steps into the cloudforest of the bordering Amazon Basin. While this is a short circuit with numerous descents, this trail is still considered a moderate trek due to its fairly steep ascents over three passes (particularly Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,773 ft). The trail ends with a descent into Machu Picchu where trekkers can explore the mystifying remnants.
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For those travelers looking to hike the classic Inca Trail, our Machu Picchu Pilgrimage 10-day tour, our 14-day Inca Pathways trip, and the Incas and Rainforest 16-day tour are excellent options.
Cachiccata Trek - Alternative Inca Trail
For those hikers desiring a secluded and less-traveled alternative for their Peru travel, a new and largely undiscovered trek was forged only a year ago and has begun to attract some well-informed hikers. The Cachicatta Trek is an easier, shorter option with hiking at lower altitudes and passes through golden valleys and soaring mountain peaks. The 4 day/3 night journey includes visits to the ancient Incan temples of Chokekillka and Intiwatana, views of waterfalls and exotic wildlife, visits in local communities, and ends with a train ride to Machu Picchu to explore the ancient city.
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We're very excited about this trek. To explore this new Peru trek, I invite you to join us on our 10-day Cachiccate Trek tour.
Another popular trail to explore during Peru travel is the longer and slightly more demanding Salcantay Trek. Beginning in a higher region that is closer to snow peaks, the trek merges with the classic Inca Trail to visit Incan ruin sites along the stone pathway to Machu Picchu. This 7 day/6 night trek offers more interaction with locals and lacks the crowd associated with the Inca Trail during the first four days. Before reaching the Inca Trail, enjoy the views of streams and waterfalls, pass by small, local farms, and admire the beauty of Salcantay (20,551 ft). Hikers will cross Incachuana Pass (12,252 ft) before joining the Inca Trail and continue through mountains and cloudforest until Machu Picchu marks the end of the journey.
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Our 13-day Salcantay Trek tour includes time in Cusco and the Sacred Valley - a perfect two-week alpine adventure.
Southeast of Cusco, the Ausangate peak towers to 20,906 ft in the skyline and offers a challenging and less crowded trekking experience. The Ausangate circuit features four high passes, two of which are above 16,405 ft, with rigorous ascents. While it is important for hikers to be adequately acclimatized before beginning any Peru circuit, this is especially true for the Ausangate trek. This 7 day/6 night trek around Nevado Ausangate begins and ends in the town of Tinqui. This trail is recommended for moderate hikers seeking varied mountain scenery including fluted icy peaks, tumbling glaciers, grasslands, and marshy valleys. The relatively isolated region boasts abundant wildlife and indigenous people practicing their centuries old way of life. This is a classic Andean Trek, offering a little piece of everything the area has to offer. A great option for any Peru travel.
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The summer is an excellent time for trekking in Peru, and the Ausangate is a great option. Explore this region on our 11-day Ausangate Trek tour.
In northern Peru lies the Cordillera Blanca region. Boasting the most stable recorded weather conditions during the trekking season, Cordillera Blanca has become a popular hiking destination – and for good reason. The 5day/4 night trek has gradual climbs through alpine meadows and the snow-capped peaks. Trekkers will see high panoramic views, cascading waterfalls, turquoise-colored lakes, and Andean wildlife. The breathtaking scenery and traditional Quechuan villages are waiting to be discovered along the way. For those hikers desiring to spend more time reveling in all that the Cordillera Blanca has to offer, additional days can be added to the trek to give the enthusiast more time exploring the region.
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Join us on our Cordillera Blanca Trek 10-day tour and come see for yourself what makes this region one of the most desired circuits for trekkers world-wide.
While many popular treks in Peru can be congested during the high season, most of the hiking available in the Peruvian Mountains offers more seclusion. The Colca Canyon Trek located north of Arequipa offers a web of trail options crossing through valleys and gorgeous scenery as well as visiting colonial towns and pre-Hispanic ruins. Other more isolated alternatives in northern Peru, such as trekking options around Chachapoyas, offer beautiful scenery and possible visits to a fortress ruin site in the Amazon jungle. Whatever a trekkers preference may be, one is sure to find a route that suits their taste for adventure in Peru’s Andean Mountains. Along with historical wonders, trails also offer abundant and diverse eco-systems sure to leave hikers awe-struck with their varied landscapes and spectacular mountain views. Incan ruins, traditional Quechuan native villages, peculiar Andean wildlife, colorful wildflowers and cascading waterfalls make each trekking adventure a highlight for any Peru travel.
Inca Trail 4 day/3 night Total Distance: 28.0 miles Highest Altitude: 13,775 ft
Cachicatta 4 day/3 night Total Distance: 12.5 miles Highest Camp Altitude:12,500 ft
Salcantay 7 day/6 night Total Distance: ~ 45 miles Highest Altitude: 15,252 ft
Ausangate 6 day/5 night Total Distance: 47.5 miles Highest Altitude: 16,564 ft
Cordillera Blanca 5 day/4 night Total Distance: 38.0 miles Highest Altitude: 15,620 ft