Peru is one of the most popular travel destinations worthy of multiple visits. A favourite among nature enthusiast and adventure seekers, it is known for its wide variety of wildlife, unique terrain, and diverse climates. Home to a section of the Amazon rainforest, Peru offers great outdoor experiences. Moreover, a vacation to Peru will introduce you to some of the deepest canyons and the highest mountains in the world. In short, there is no shortage of exciting outdoor activities in Peru and we can arrange tailor-made travel experiences based on the level of adventure you are comfortable with.
For many people, experiencing Peru includes climbing mountains, hiking, surfing, and stargazing. If you are planning to visit Peru for the first time, here’s a list of places we recommend for your visit.
The Sacred Valley
If you are looking to have a nice and relaxed holiday in Peru, adding the Sacred Valley to your itinerary is a must. Located in the Andean highlands, this entire region forms the heart of the Inca Empire. While many people know the Sacred Valley (Valle Sagrado) as the gateway to Machu Picchu, its highlight is the living cultures of the Peruvian highlands.
In addition to the scenic views nearby, this area is home to one of the best handicraft markets in the region. Mesmerized by the artisan workshops and handicraft markets in the Sacred Valley, many find themselves picking souvenirs here.
If you intend to explore a little further from this area, in the northwest, you will find Urubamba, which is famous for being the center of adventure tourism. Get your adrenaline pumping by going rock climbing, downhill biking, and trekking.
If you are into mountaineering, a visit to Huaraz is an absolute must on your trip to Peru. Surrounded by the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, Huaraz is the go-to place for hikers as many of them consider its mountain range to be second to the Himalayas.
Accompanied by the pristine springs and jade lakes, the snowy peaks of Cordillera boast a dramatic view of the eastern skyline that is to die for. While some mountain lovers trek all the way to the top of Peru’s tallest mountain (Huascaran), many families choose to go for an easier adventure by planning a day trip to the Laguna Churup.
For water activities, head to Lake Titicaca! Separating Bolivia and Peru, this body of water is considered sacred to the locals as it was believed to be the birthplace of the first Inca. The lake is also considered a geological wonder as it is the highest navigable body of water in the world. Moreover, Lake Titicaca is also the largest freshwater lake in South America.
Surrounded by reed beds and dotted with various islands, the lake offers you a chance to visit the floating islands and witness the culture of the Uros people. You can choose to travel on these brightly reflective waters on a high-speed speed boat, or a traditional boat.
In the indigenous Quechua language, Choquequirao means a ‘cradle of gold’ as climbing the mountain is nothing less than stumbling upon hidden treasure. While Choquequirao is similar to Machu Picchu in structure, it is twice as large as the famed mountain. With an elevation of 3050 meters. Much of Choquequirao is covered with thick jungle foliage and is best suited for more fearless hikers.
In order to climb the mountain, you will come across some steep steps, due to which many hikers choose to visit Machu Picchu instead. This also means that you will have a clear path in front of you where you can enjoy your hike without the track getting too crowded.
Arequipa is famous for several reasons. The buildings in this city are constructed from a white volcanic stone, also known as sillar, making it one of the most visually stunning cities in Peru. However, it is its 3 volcanoes along with the Colca Canyon that set this region apart from the rest of the country.
A full-day trip to Colca Canyon, outskirts of Arequipa, is a great opportunity for nature lovers to see the condors gliding above them. Visitors can also trek down to the oasis situated at the bottom of the canyon.
If you are visiting Peru, you might as well experience its wildlife! Puerto Maldonado is the capital of the southern Amazon rainforest where you have access to wildlife-rich jungles. You can go to the Tambopata National Reserve which is known for its biodiversity. From thousands of butterfly species to hundreds of varieties of birds, mammals, and plants, Tambopata National Reserve has it all.
The tall palm trees and wetlands in Tambopata National Reserve are also home to black caimans and river otters. In addition to that, there is also an observation tower from where you can enjoy views over the lake.
Nauta is known for being the access point to Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve which is the second-largest protected natural area in the country. The reserve is even bigger than Yellowstone Park and is spread over five million acres of land.
One of the best activities to do here is to explore the winding river systems and small inlets amidst the flooded jungle. In summer, the river water recedes, exposing sandy beaches. Moreover, you can spot many endangered species such as the pink river dolphin here.
Oxapampa is known for its Peruvian- and German-influenced. Originally founded by Germans and Austrians in the 19th century, this jungle town will surprise you with its unique culture and food.
Here in Oxapampa, you get to explore the lush mountain sides either on foot or by bike. Moreover, with Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park and Rio Tigre waterfall located nearby, you will be able to spend quality time in nature. Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park is especially popular for its camping and trekking opportunities.
Take a break from the mountains and the lakes and venture into the desert for a change. You can have a 3-hour sandboarding experience and show off your skills. Don’t worry if you are new at sandboarding, most of the visitors here aren’t too different. All you have to do is take a sandboarding lesson at Huacachina oasis after which you can practice your skills on the tallest desert dunes.
While sandboarding, you will also be able to take in stunning views of the landscape. If you want to take a break from the desert heat, you can also visit Islas Ballestas which is less than 2 hours away.
Experience The Great Outdoor On Your Holiday In Peru
Whether it’s surfing, hiking, snowboarding, or exploring untapped treasures of nature, Peru has it all. It has something to offer everyone, however, it’s the great outdoors of Peru that makes it such a desirable tourist location. So, if you are a thrill seeker and adventure lover, Peru is the place to be.