Traveling to Peru should probably be on top of your bucket list, whether you are an enthusiastic traveler or an avid hiker or both. Peru is a mesmerizing country endowed with some of the world’s most varying landscapes. Below we review the top five treks that can be found in Peru:
1. Inca Trail To Machu Picchu
It has now been one century since explorer Hiram Bingham first discovered the existence of Machu Picchu. The very appeal of this particular trek is a spectacular combination of extraordinary ecological variety, exotic vegetation, magnificent mountains, and Inca ruins. In addition, the trail passes over high landscapes with unforgettable sceneries, via cloud forest and lastly into beautiful and endearing subtropical vegetation.
At the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, there are over 250 species of orchid counted, numerous bird species, animals, and reptiles some of which are on the brink of extinction. While age should not be a barrier in order to complete the entire Inca Trail, it is highly recommended that one be at a reasonable level of fitness.
2. Salkantay Trek
The Salkantay Trek provides an alternative to the Inca Trail for reaching Machu Picchu. While occasionally referred to as Salcantay Trek, this trail begins from Mollepata and ends up in Hindroelectrica. The scenery on the way is beautiful, especially in the Peruvian Andes. It is not as busy as the Inca Trail, thereby giving unhindered views of sceneries around, as well as a glimpe of Machu Picchu.
The hike is as stunning as it is heart-throbbing. You will definitely be taken aback by the outstanding views at the part around Mount Salkantay and the following gorgeous 1,000 meter above sea level descent. This trek is so popular, so much that the National Geographic named it among the world’s best 25 treks.
3. Lares Trek
The Lares Trek is an excellent choice over the Inca Trail, letting you discover the beaten track, whilst letting you enjoy the company of authentic Andean communities. The hike traverses distinctive Peruvian Andean mountainous regions at the same time being surrounded with beautiful valleys and lakes.
The most famous route begins from the Pumahuanca village and completes in the Lares hot springs. Depending on the pace, the trek takes about two or three days and typically requires a five-hour bus or van ride.
You will find the indigenous people to be friendly, with Spanish and Quenchua being the local language of communication. Most of them are farmers and weavers and might often give you a chance to showcase your weaving skills.
4. Ausangate Trek
Although the Ausangate trek may not be as famous as the Inca Trail, it is a stunning trek that traverses through some of the rarest and wildest landscapes in Peru. The trek passes through Cordillera Villcanota then to several high passes and low alpine valleys, and finally to traditional Peruvian villages. Along the trek, you will see turquoise lakes, glaciers, herds of llamas, and snow capped peaks.
The trek is among the quietest and you will hardly see any other trekker. And unlike the popular Inca Trail, you will not require any permit to access the Ausangate Trek. Trekking usually takes six days depending on the company. Some companies find it convenient to combine it with a visit to Machu Picchu, while others will head straight to the destination with camping in between.
You will discover an array of beautiful wildlife including soaring pumas, bobcats, vicunas, and condors. Other spectacular views include colorful sandstone mountains, signature Rainbow Mountains, hot springs, and beautiful blue lakes.
5. Choquequirao Trek
Last but not the least is the Choquequirao Trek. Located in the Cusco region, it provides incredible views of nature. It is an alternative to the Inca Trail and sits quite high on Quriwayrachina with steep valleys on either sides.
Quite honestly, this is the hardest trek of the four. But with the challenge lies the beauty within. The trek consists of a 1,500 meter decent into the valley then closely followed by a 1,800 meter climb. The views are incredibly marvelous, starting with the rarely-explored ruins of Choquequirao and the unbothered route to Machu Picchu.
Depending on the company you are in, the trek takes between four to nine days in the Villcanota mountain range. The four days will circle you starting from Apurimac canyon and back through the Choquequirao Ruins. The next route to Machu Picchu begins from Choquequirao and finally takes you through long winding trails eventually linking to Salkantay.