Another hiking season is upon us and the rain has begun to clear around the most popular trails in Peru. This year there are bound to be more tourists and adventure seekers than ever before so it’s time to start researching and start booking your travel packages. It's time get off the couch and take a look at some new trails to explore.
In this brief article we’ll take a look at the top five hiking trails in Peru. We’ll see some of the classics and iconic hiking trails while also introducing some fresh routes to make your first (or next) trip to Peru that much more memorable and exciting.
Santa Cruz, Cordillera Blanca
This is the trek for anyone who wants to say they’ve crossed the highest peaks in the Western Hemisphere. We’re talking high-altitude trekking with numerous epic treks that span from subtropical to glacial peaks—when talking about the Santa Cruz you get a little bit of everything in a few days.
The trail kicks off from Huaraz, “hiking capital of Peru,” where you can hire guides or meet up with other adventurers to take on the more than 30-miles of trails. If you’re feeling up for the challenge, try the more ambitious 11-day Huayhuash Circuit that crossed Punta Coyoc.
The perfect time to travel is April through September.
El Misti, Arequipa
Towering over the city of Arequipa at 19,000 feet, El Misti, the city’s guardian volcano is a popular climb in the region. Below the summit is a sulfurous yellow crater with volcanic gas, but that’s never stopped a dedicated trekker before. The rewards are the spectacular views down across the Laguna Salinas and the city of Arequipa.
Though it’s not the most technically demanding climb for a mountain this size it’s had work nonetheless and taking a guide is strongly recommended. The most popular route starts from Chiguata, with an eight-hour hard uphill slog on rough trails to base camp at 14,760 feet. From there the trip to the summit and back takes eight hours.
There are several routes, though not all are clearly defined. It’s recommended you climb this peak from July through November, but the later you go the less cold it will be.
The Chaski Trail, Cusco
Back when the Incan Empire was at its peak, it was connected by the swift-footed chaski messengers, who ran so fast that according to lore, the Emperor was able to dine in Cusco on fresh fish from the Pacific Ocean more than 300 miles away.
This high-altitude route follows some of the paths those runners might have used, and takes in seldom-visited Inca buildings, water channels, and quarries. The trail ends at Ollantaytambo and most versions include a stop at the Perolniyoc waterfall and its nearby ruins.
The Chaski Trail will take you about three to five days. It is a great alternative to the traditional Inca Trail.
Salkantay Route, Cusco
Another alternative to the Inca Trail is the Salkantay Route. It has been described as a smorgasbord of topography and ecosystems. The 20, 500 feet-high Mount Salkantay is the flagship of the trek and is one of the holiest sacred peaks, Apus.
For this mule-assisted hike you’ll cut through the Mollepata Valley and traverse past the Apus at an altitude above 15,000 feet. From there the trail passes through subtropical cloud rainforest before meeting up with an ancient Inca highway that leads to the ruins of Llactapa, where you can look across the valley upon the glory of Machu Picchu complex.
This trip usually takes between five to eight days.
Huascaran-Sur, Cordillera Blanca
Once you’ve made your way around Peru, it’s time to get serious. Huascaran-Sur is the highest peak in the country and one of the most imposing summits in the world. At 22,200 feet it offers a challenging ascent and an unusual opportunity for climbers who want to conquer a very high altitude mountain.
Though it’s a popular climb, it’s a difficult one that will take an experienced adventurer between six to eight days. Along the way you’ll see eucalyptus plantations, mountain streams, the spectacular North and South peaks, and many magnificent sunsets. The most awe-inspiring section of the climb is sure to be the Garganta Icefall.
Climbing Huascaran is a trip that will change your life. The best time to do it is from June to September.
These are only a few of the great hikes that can be found throughout Peru. If you know of anymore, please share them with us in the comment box below.
Source: Peru this Week