Every year Peru received tons of tourists looking for adventure, and they couldn’t have chosen a better place! If you like outdoor activities, visiting Peru is a must! The country has the best trail in South America.
To travel around Peru, I took the Peru Hop tour, that takes you all around the country, making the trip way easier and so much more fun, as you have the chance to meet other people along the way.
Whether you are an experiment hiker or just a beginner, Peru has all kind of trails and hikes for you, and to help you find the perfect hike for you, here goes a list of the best hikes in Peru for first time visitors.
Top 5 Best Hikes in Peru for First Time Visitors
The most famous hike in Peru, that leads you to one of the most iconic historical sites in the world, the Machu Picchu, is by itself as historical as the Sacred City. Yeah, that’s right, the Inca Trail is really, the same old path used by the Incas centuries ago, to go from the city of Cusco to the Machu Picchu.
In total, the Incas build more than 40,000 kilometers of trails to connect all parts of their territory, that used to go from Ecuador to Chile.
There are different options for those who want to take this adventure but the classic trail takes 4 days and covers 82 kilometers between the starting point, and the Machu Picchu.
Besides the ruins of Machu Picchu, along the way, the Inca Trail passes close to many other Inca ruins that can only be visited by those taking this route.
It is important to note that the Inca Trail ascents to more than 4,200 meters, which can cause Altitude Sickness, so my advice for those up to take the Inca Trail, is to get used to the altitude first, so if you are flying directly to Cusco, stay in the city for at least 2 or 3 days before starting the journey.
It is important to note that the Inca Trail is regulated and limited, so bookings should be done at least 4 months before.
If hiking in high altitude for 4 days sounds too extreme, you can also reach Machu Picchu in one day, leaving from Cusco.
Considered by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine as one of the 25 Best Treks in the World, the Salkantay Trail is another ancient path used by the Incas and located in the same region as the Inca Trail.
There are many options for those interested in taking this hike, the longest route takes 5 days and also leads to Machu Picchu, passing by stunning natural sites.
Salcantay is a glacier-capped summit, considered magical by the Incas and the local people, located in the middle of the Cordillera Vilcabamba and this trail raises to 4,600 m, so again, it is important to spend some days in Cusco first in order to avoid Altitude Sickness.
Not so popular, the Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca, is a mountain in the middle of the Vilcabamba, located close to Cusco and can be done as a day trip.
The Rainbow Mountain receives its name due to the different natural pigments of the rocks in the mountain that makes it look like a rainbow. It is extremely rare and only happens in a few places in the world.
On the way up, you will pass by beautiful scenarios, llamas, and alpacas. If the trails sound too extreme for you to hike your way up, you can also hire a horse on the way.
The Misti is the main volcano in the region of Arequipa, the second biggest city in Peru, and is probably the most scenic in the country due to its perfect coned-shape and snow-capped during the winter.
Hiking your way up, you will be able to come really close to Misti’s crater. Although Misti is still active, its last eruption happened in 1985, it is completely safe to come close to the volcano.
If you stay in Arequipa, you will see Misti from pretty much any point of the city. Arequipa has many terraces from where you can admire its volcanos, and one of the most beautiful photos can be taken from the main square, but if admiring from a distance is not enough, you can also take the 2 days trekking up to the top.
Colca Canyon is an Andean Valley with Inca-roots, considered some years ago as the deepest canyon in the world, with a depth of 3,270 meters. Steeped terraces built by the Incas around the mountains and are still in usage by local Indians to cultivate.
This trail is considered by some as more tiring than the Inca trail, and due to the altitude, can also cause some discomfort and Altitude Sickness.
From Arequipa, the Colca Canyon trail can be done as a day trip from Arequipa, or you can also go for the 3 days trekking, in this case, you will be able to visit small villages on the way.
Colca Canyon is also famous for being home of the Andean Condor, the largest flying bird in the world by combined measurement, with a wingspan of 3.3 meters. The experience of seeing this majestic animal flying free above your head is unforgettable.