Practically all of the highlands and some parts of the jungle include trekking circuits, although only a few are being used commercially. Hikes are possible all year round, but the easiest period is the dry season (June to September). Hiking equipment can be bought or hired in Cusco and Huaraz which are the starting points to the most important treks in Peru, listed below.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Probably the most famous trekking route in South America, the trail offers views of snow-capped mountains, high cloud forests and the opportunity to walk past 12 magnificent ancient Inca ceremonial centers, such as those at Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna. Completion of the 48km (30 mile) trek takes three to five days, and must be undertaken in a group with an official local leader. The trail fee is approximately US$50 per person, which includes a one-day entrance ticket to Machu Picchu. Due to the popularity of the trail and current restrictions in place to protect it, it is advisable to book your hike at least 30 days in advance wherever possible.
Cordillera Blanca: The highest tropical mountain range is a 180km- (112.5 mile-) long paradise of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, emerald-green lakes and archaeological sites. It also contains a wide variety of flora and fauna. Practically the entire range is a protected area within the Huascarán National Park. Routes vary from two to 12 days.
Olleros-Chavín Llama Trek: This is a four-day trek between the attractive town of Olleros and the spectacular archaeological site of Chavín de Huántar. Llama 2000, as it is known, is an initiative launched by a group of campesino farmers to promote ecotourism while protecting their traditional way of life.
Other trekking areas: These include the Cordillera Huayhuash (Huaraz), Colca Valley (164km/102 miles north of Arequipa), where major attractions include snow-capped volcanoes; Mount Ausangate (south of Cusco), a physically demanding eight- to 12-day walk, which requires climbing through high mountain passes and being exposed to changing weather conditions. By using your international mobile phone rental you can easily find out more about trekking in peru.
The Cordillera Blanca (23 summits above 6000m/19,686ft above sea level) and Huayhuash (six summits above 6000m/19,686ft above sea level) are the best-known ranges for mountaineering activities – a unique concentration of mountains and relatively few mountain climbers. There is mild weather almost all year long and relatively easy access to sites that are nevertheless cut off from hectic city life.
This is a particular favorite as the beaches of Lima (constant waves from April to September) and the north (heavy seas between October and March) rank alongside the best in Hawaii or California. Top spots include Cabo Blanco, Chicama (or Malabrigo) or Pico Alto.
The most renowned spot for sea fishing is Punta Sal in Tumbes (North coast). Tuna fish, drums, flounder, pacific croaker, grunts, groupers and large black marlins can be found on the coast of Peru. Lake and river fishing is good in both the highlands and the jungle.
Rafting in Peru combines amazing landscapes with some tough rapids. Some rivers can be run in one-day trips (mostly on the coast and the highlands), and expeditions lasting from three to 12 days can be arranged to run others (mostly in the highlands and the jungle). The Colca River is rated as Peru’s premier rafting river.
Any part of the country, except the coastal desert and the jungle plains, is suitable for mountain biking. Some of the best circuits include those in the Pachacámac Valley and the Paracas Reserve.
The main sports and activities practiced in Peru are paragliding, hang-gliding, rock climbing, windsurfing, horseriding, marathon running (annual competitions at challenging heights), snowboarding, hot air ballooning, underwater fishing and scuba diving. Tennis facilities are available in Lima. Golf facilities are usually available to members only.
Use your Peru cell phone rental to keep track of all these activities.