Aside from those exquisite colonial towns, the elegant palaces of Lima and Cuzco’s conquistador mansions, Peru is known for something else entirely: adventure travel.
In fact, with everything from dense rainforests and misty jungles to salt-sprayed coastlines and colossal mountain peaks dressed in snow between its borders, it’s hardly surprising this one’s now a real draw for the Bear Grylls and Ray Mears of this world. Take a look at some of the adventure hotspots of Peru below, a couple of which even pop up on our awesome Wonders of Peru itinerary!
A patchwork of ramshackle bamboo huts, the occasional Euro-style church spire, and countless criss-crossing streets set to the sounds of purring auto rickshaws, Iquitos is hailed as one of the top spots for basing explorations out into the wild, wild jungles that sprawl out where Brazil meets Colombia and Colombia meets Peru. The town’s nickname, the ‘capital of the Peruvian Amazon’, gives just a hint of the vast hinterlands that erupt in endless swathes of green to the east. It’s from here that travellers on our acclaimed Wonders of Peru itinerary depart for a three-night boat ride into untouched Amazonia, spotting snapping piranhas, stalking jaguars, slow sloths and sharp-toothed caimans between the mangroves and the palms.
The mighty snow-tipped peaks of the Peruvian Andes soar to a whopping 6,264 meters above sea level in the midst of the rugged Willkapampa Mountains, one of the outdoorsy gems of the Cusco Region as a whole. The great chiselled top of Salcantay marks the horizon here, the twelfth highest summit in the country that’s now considered a fine alternative for those who can’t get access to the coveted trekking spots on the Inca Trail. Along the hiking routes of the Willkapampa valleys, travellers enjoy wild camping under the snow-white glaciers of the Andes, bubbling hot springs, the occasional Quechuan mountain village and unforgettable panoramas over the Choquequirao region.
Once you’re done downing Pisco sours in the town of their birth, perhaps it’s time to take to the seas and case out Peru’s answer to the wild and windswept Galapagos Islands: the rugged Islas Ballestas. This rocky archipelago of pebble beaches and sheer-cut cliffs plays host to mind-boggling creatures like the blue-footed booby and the beautiful white-breasted guanay cormorant. Trips take travellers over the crashing rollers of the Pacific Ocean, weave through the salt-washed coves spotting seals and multi-coloured sea birds, not to mention the mysterious geoglyph of El Candelabro, carved into the sands of Paracas on the Peruvian coast.
Manu National Park
The Manu National Park bridges the vast expanse between where the Peruvian Andes and the awe-inspiring Incan ruins of the Sacred Valley leave off and the Brazilian wetlands take over in the east. Elevated by UNESCO, the region is one of the most biodiverse on the planet. Habitats range from the misty Yungas, through cloud forests, subtropical highland plateaus and dense primeval rainforest. Needless to say, the wildlife is phenomenal. Hummingbirds flit between the papaya tress, orchids bloom in a kaleidoscope of colours, spectacled bears meet ocelots in the undergrowth, monkeys of a thousand different types swing over stalking jaguars – the list goes on!
The Inca Trail
Last but certainly not least on this list of Peru’s top adventure draws is arguably the most coveted trekking route on the planet. Yes sir, the Incan Trail pulls in huge crowds with the promise of soaring Andean vistas, mist-topped cloud forests, and – of course – the cascading ruins of Machu Picchu, set more than 2,400 meters up in the Peruvian hills. In fact, the fabled Lost City of the Incas is just one of the ruins that adventurers encounter along this famous route, with the likes of Wiñaywayna and the iconic agricultural terraces of Intipata poking above the mists too. We offer two options of joining the Incan Trail on our Wonders of Peru itinerary: a one-day trip to the ruined city in the clouds, or a three-day excursion along the entire trial itself!
Feeling adventurous? Find more details on our Peru tours HERE!
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