If you are planning a dream trip and wondering what are the top-rated Peru trek trails to add to your itinerary, you have got to the right place! Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or a nature enthusiast seeking breathtaking views, we’ve got you covered. From the iconic Inca Trail to hidden gems like Salkantay and Ausangate, this is your go-to resource for planning your Peru trek experience of a lifetime.
Peru’s diverse terrain offers a blend of Amazonian jungles, ancient Inca ruins, majestic canyons, and stunning peaks and lagoons. No trip to Peru is complete without venturing into its awe-inspiring hiking trails.
Our comprehensive guide provides essential information and insider tips for the trek trails in Peru, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your chosen adventure. Discover the best regions to explore and find accommodation options to suit every budget. Whether you make Cuzco, Arequipa, or Huaraz your base, this guide has everything you need to know to make the most for to explore the best Peru trek trails!
- CUSCO AREA MULTI-DAY HIKES IN PERU
- CUSCO AREA DAY HIKES IN PERU
- 6. RAINBOW MOUNTAIN HIKE: One of the most fascinating hikes in Peru
- 7. HUCHUY QOSQO (LITTLE CUSCO): Hike with outstanding architecture
- 8. THE MORAY RUINS & MARAS SALT PANS: A must-do day hike in the Cusco area
- 9. MONTAÑA MACHU PICCHU: Amazing views of the other views of the Lost City
- 10. HUYANA PICCHU: Offers incredible views of Machu Picchu
- HUARAZ & CENTRAL ANDES AREA
- AREQUIPA AREA BEST HIKES IN PERU
- Trek Peru Conclusion
- READ MORE
CUSCO AREA MULTI-DAY HIKES IN PERU
If you are planning to go trek in Peru, the Cusco area offers some of the best hiking opportunities – from day hiking to endurance multi-day treks in Peru, such as the Inca Trail. Cusco is n the Peruvian Andes, with an altitude of 3,400 meters above sea level.
Cusco is a must-visit destination in Peru, with a blend of colonial period architecture, the cobblestone streets, amazing cuisine, and the gateway to the beautiful Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. There are plenty of great accommodations, with the majority located within the historical center.
1. INCA TRAIL: One of the most popular treks in Peru
- LOCATION: Kilometer 104 to Machu Picchu
- LEVEL: Moderate
- DISTANCE: 12.4 km | 7.7 miles
- DURATION: 2 days
- ALTITUDE: 1,101 meters | 3,612 foot
Consider one of the most famous hikes in Peru, the Inca Trail is the bucket list for anyone planning a trip to Peru. There are lots of options for anyone thinking of hiking the Inca Trail; you can choose from the 2-day, 4-day, and even 10-day hike if you want to tack on Choquequirao.
However, the short 2-day Inca Trail is a very popular option for first-time hikers and those who are a bit short on time. Plus, technically it only involves one full day of hiking, while the second day is spent exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu.
The 2-day trek starts with an early morning drive to Ollantaytambo, where you board the Peru Rail train and travel for an hour and a half until you reach Kilometer 104. This is considered an unscheduled stop, so the guides have to carry special permits in order for hikers in their group to disembark. At this point, hikers walk downhill, across the Urubamba River by way of a hanging bridge, and that marks the start of the Inca Trail!
There are three major landmarks that you get to enjoy en route to Machu Picchu on the short trail. First, are the ruins of Chachabamba, which once operated as a religious and administrative center. Next are the ruins of Wiñay Wayna which are truly impressive and rival Machu Picchu; these ruins sit at 2,650 meters and they are practically devoid of tourists, save for those hiking the Inca Trail.
That plus the fact that it sits in a cloud forest with mist constantly rolling in and out adds a bit of magic to the place. The final landmark is Intipunku, also known as the Sun Gate. It’s a very steep climb up the stone steps, but once you reach the top, you are rewarded with views of Machu Picchu below.
Concluding that full day of hiking, hikers spend the night at a hotel in the town of Aguas Calientes, with accommodations typically included in the package. The pro of the Short Inca Trail is that it allows you to experience part of the hike, but you also get the comfort of a hotel at the end of the day. The following day is all about exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu!
📍 INSIDER TIP: Every trekker on the Inca Trail must be accompanied by a registered guide. Also, a hiking permit must be obtained via a licensed tour operator since only 500 people are allowed on the trail per day (this number includes guides and porters). You also have the option to book in advance a very affordable hike tour to the Inca trail
2. CHOQUEQUIRAO TREK: A hidden-gem Peru trek
- LOCATION: Cusco Region
- LEVEL: Moderate
- DISTANCE: 58 km | 36 miles
- DURATION: 4-5 days
- ALTITUDE: 2,500 – 3,000 meters
The Choquequirao trek is one of the hidden gems hikes in the Cusco region. The trekking route leads to the beautiful Inca ruins that are named the Little Sister of Machu Picchu. Walking is the only way of getting to Choquequirao ruins as a result there are very few tourists visiting the ruins.
The trek starts in Cachora, a small village 160 km from Cusco. It’s easy to get there by bus. The route offers fantastic scenery; a lush green jungle, impressive canyons, stunning viewpoints, and breathtaking mountains.
The elevation on the trek is moderate after staying in Cusco for a couple of days trekkers should be sufficiently acclimatized for completing the route.
The most challenging part of the trek is a steep 1500 m ascent from the bottom of the canyon to Morampata, a small village located close to the ruins. The ascent is done over two days. The Choquequirao trek is a return route but it can be extended for 4 more days and combined with a visit to the Machu Picchu ruins.
Visiting the ruins is the highlight of the trek. Exploring the ruins without thousands of tourists, being able to spend as much time as you want wandering around is a unique experience.
📍 INSIDER TIP: To go hike the Choquequirao Trek you don’t need special permits or guides are required.
3. AUSANGATE TREK: A very challenging trek in Peru
- LOCATION: Cusco Region
- LEVEL: Difficult
- DISTANCE: 70 km | 43 miles
- DURATION: 4-5 days
- ALTITUDE: above 4,000 meters
The Ausangate trek is one of the most challenging trekking routes in Peru. Due to its high elevation, trekkers need good acclimatization before attempting this trek. The entire route is above 4000 m with two passes over 5000 m. For not experienced trekkers it’s recommended to hire a guide or join a group.
Ausangate is one of the lesser-known trails in the region; there are not many trekkers on the route. The route goes through a very remote area of the Andes trekkers who have to carry food supplies and campaign gear with them. The trek starts in Tinqui, a small village about 100 km from Cusco. It’s cheap and easy to get there by bus.
The scenery along the route is stunning; mountain lakes ranging from turquoise to pink color, hanging glaciers, snowy peaks, emerald green valleys with hundreds of alpacas, impressive waterfalls, and colorful mountains. Some of the highlights of the trek; are Puca Cocha Lake, Palomani Pass, Ausangate Lake, and glacier, Qampa Pass.
As for wildlife, trekkers can see many alpacas, viscachas (mountain rabbits), eagles, and even condors. It’s possible to combine the trek with the famous Rainbow Mountain. It’s a one-day detour from the route.
📍 INSIDER TIP: To go hike the Ausangate Trek you don’t need special permits or guides. Note that for no experienced hikers it is recommended to hire a guide or join a group. Check a great tour here.
4) SALKANTAY TREK: Best alternative trek to Machu Picchu
- LOCATION: Hike starts at Soraypampa near Humantay Lake and ends at Machu Picchu
- LEVEL: Difficult
- DISTANCE: 74 km | 46 miles
- DURATION: 5 days
- ALTITUDE: Starting elevation = 3,800 m. Highest elevation = 4,630 m. Ending elevation = 2,430 m
The Salkantay Trek is considered one of the best alternative treks to Machu Picchu. This multi-day trek in Peru is difficult since hiking days are long and you reach an altitude of 4,630m, however, it’s a very rewarding experience.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is less busy than the popular Inca Trail and you will see magnificent views along the way, like glaciers, turquoise lakes, waterfalls, rugged mountains, a cloud forest, and famous Incan ruins. What to expect from this fascinating 5 days trek in Peru?
On Day 1, start your journey by hiking to the breathtaking Humantay Lake, situated at an impressive elevation of 4,200 meters. On the second day you will test your hiking prowess as you traverse the Andean mountains, reaching the challenging Salkantay Pass at an elevation of 4,630 meters. Descend through the mystical cloud forest, eventually arriving at Chaullay.
As you continue on Day 3, immerse yourself in the wonders of the tropical forest and make a stop at an organic coffee farm, where you can learn about the traditional cultivation methods. Spend the night in the charming village of Lucmabamba. On the fourth, you will have an exciting opportunity to explore the fascinating Llactapata, your first archaeological site on the trek. Ascend a mountain to witness the ruins before making your way to Aguas Calientes, the bustling hub of Machu Picchu.
On the final day of your adventure, prepare to be awestruck as you set foot in the iconic Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. Discover the secrets and marvel at the incredible craftsmanship of this ancient civilization.
📍 INSIDER TIP: To prevent altitude sickness make sure you acclimatize for a couple of days before your trek and by taking altitude pills (Diamox). If you are planning to hire a local and expert guide, make sure to check this renowned trek which also includes a bilingual guide, a ticket to Machu Picchu, accommodation, and all the hiking gear.
5. LARES TREK: A hidden-gem trek in Peru
- LOCATION: Lares Valley, accessible from the Sacred Valley Peru
- LEVEL: Moderate
- DISTANCE: Dependent on Route
- DURATION: Lares Trek can vary from 1-6 days
- ALTITUDE: Minimum altitude of 3,200 m
The Lares Valley is an “up and coming” destination for Peru hikers. Situated behind the Sacred Valley, this region of the Andes Mountains are filled with endless hiking trails, small weaving communities, fields of alpacas, little-known Inca sites, breathtaking alpine lakes, and hot springs.
The standard Lares trek is three days and is referred to as the “Weavers Way.” The typical route starts from Lares Village, passes by Huacahuasi village, and ends at Patacancha, where most tour groups hop on a bus that twists through mountainous roads to Machu Picchu.
While many travelers opt for a tour, it’s possible to hike the Lares Valley without a guide. Many trails are small “goat paths,” so you must feel comfortable with an offline map and of course the altitude. You won’t pass by many people, Lares is for adventurous hikers looking to spend some quality time with the beautiful Andes Mountains.
For a picturesque, but long day hike in Lares, take a collectivo to the small community of Quiswarani. Follow the road to the hamlet where you hop on a goat trail that leads you past an alpine lake filled with grazing alpacas. The day hike reaches a climax at the Huilquijasa Pass, a beautiful overlook at over 4,400 m.
Take the trail down past another lake to Cuncani village. Walk along a dirt road through cute weaving villages. The road leads to the main entrance of the Lares hot springs. This incredible Lares day hike is 21 km and takes around 6 -7 hours to complete.
📍 INSIDER TIP: If you opt to join a tour, there are different options and routes to choose from. A great option is the get out off the beaten path and hike all the way to Machu Picchu with this 4-day and 3-night trek. Or you can join a group with a local guide for this Ultimate Lares Trek & Inca Trail in 5-days, also a great option, with all the logistics included.
CUSCO AREA DAY HIKES IN PERU
6. RAINBOW MOUNTAIN HIKE: One of the most fascinating hikes in Peru
- LOCATION: The Peruvian Andes in Cusco
- LEVEL: Moderate, due to the elevation (the hike itself is very easy)
- DISTANCE: 10 km | 6.2 mile out and back hike
- DURATION: Due to the elevation, you’ll be moving slowly. It typically takes 3 hours to complete this hike.
- ALTITUDE: 5,200 meters above sea level
If you are looking for day hikes in Peru, there are plenty of options to choose from. Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca, was discovered only a few years ago. Its brilliant colors were hidden under snow and ice, until recently, when they began to melt and revealed an incredible mountain covered in purples, greens, rust reds, and blues.
The layers of colors were formed by weathering and sedimentary over time. It is an incredible sight to see and a must-add to any Peru itinerary! This hike is best done as a day trip from Cusco. It’s a 3-hour drive from Cusco to Rainbow Mountain, and there are many tour buses leaving each day.
However, try to find a tour that leaves well before 4 am to avoid the massive crowds that will arrive there around 7 am. (Also, try to check the forecast before you go – if it is rainy and cloudy, you won’t be able to see the brilliant colors). The hike itself is technically easy. The incline is quite gradual, and it’s only about 3 miles from the entrance to Rainbow Mountain. However, the altitude is quite extreme – it’s 5,200 meters above sea level!
Even if you are in good shape, the altitude can take its toll. Be sure this isn’t the first thing you do once you arrive in Cusco. Allow yourself at least a couple of days to acclimate to the higher altitude. Because of the altitude, you will want to move slowly, take frequent breaks and constantly sip water. Don’t worry, there are also outhouses along the way if you need to use the bathroom – just be sure to pack your own toilet paper!
The views at the end of this hike are absolutely worth battling the altitude and early morning drive!
📍 INSIDER TIP: If you take a day tour from Cusco, try to get a tour that leaves well before 4 am to avoid the massive crowds. Check the forecast before you go, as the colors are difficult to see when it is rainy and cloudy. Make sure to book your trek in advance with hotel pickup, local guide, and ticket included.
7. HUCHUY QOSQO (LITTLE CUSCO): Hike with outstanding architecture
- LOCATION: North of Cusco
- LEVEL: Easy
- DISTANCE: 13 km | 8 miles
- DURATION: Due to the elevation, you’ll be moving slowly. It typically takes 3 hours to complete this hike.
- ALTITUDE: Starts at 4,050 meters and highest is 4,200 meters
Another excellent option for a day hike in Peru if you are visiting the Cusco area, is the Huchuy Qosqo, or Little Cusco. This incredible archeological site, located north of Cuzco, was initially an administrative and military center around Pisaq.
The route is situated just north of Cusco, making access easy and is ideal for hikers who either don’t have much time in the region or would like to do a little hiking without too much of a strenuous workout.
Here you can observe many through-provoking constructions in the surrounding vicinity, observe some Inca buildings with perfect stonework and grain-storage structures called Collcas – where it was used to preserve food, because of its important agricultural center to produce corn.
The site is located at a plateau with incredible views overlooking the Sacred Valley and the Vilcabamba range’s snow-capped peaks. You also have an option to hike the Huchuy Qosqo in 2-day and one-night camping and add a third day if you want to include Machu Picchu to the itinerary.
📍 INSIDER TIP: Although the Huchuy Qosqo trek has a reputation of being the easiest trekking route to Machu Picchu, it still requires trekking to high altitudes (over 4,000m). This comes with obvious altitude sickness risks. Treks to Huchuy Qosqo do not require a permit and therefore technically you can do this trek unsupported.
8. THE MORAY RUINS & MARAS SALT PANS: A must-do day hike in the Cusco area
- LOCATION: 50 km (31 miles) away from Cusco city
- LEVEL: Easy
- DISTANCE: 6 km | 4 miles
- DURATION: It can take 1/2 Day or the option for a full-day
- ALTITUDE: 3,400 meters
This is a half-day hike in Moray and Maras, but you also have the choice to hire a local guide to take a full-day tour and visit the Sacred Valley sites.
The Moray and Maras trek takes to the unique archaeological terraces of Moray, a unique site, that was used for agricultural experimentation. It consists of several impressive and symmetrical circular terraces, creating a depression in the earth. Enjoy this site and learn more about the fascinating story behind it, before you start the hike to the village of Maras.
You hike through a high plain on flat terrain until you reach a Maras salt pans. This fascinating site has a large number of watered terraces that collect salt by evaporation from the saline waters that gush from underground steam – so fascinating!
The saline de Maras was built in a similar way to agricultural terraces observed throughout the Andes, and it has been in use in the same way since pre-Columbian times. If you hire a private or group tour, you have the option to hike for another 45-minute down to the Urubamba River along the incredible narrow paths.
📍 INSIDER TIP: It is possible to independently hike to the Maras Salt Mines and continue on to the Moray Inca Ruins in the Sacred Valley of Peru. But the Sacred Valley offers many points of interest, so the tour operators offer day trips from Cusco, where you can also visit other sites. For peace of mind, if you decide to hire a private guide (I did) you can find a great option here.
9. MONTAÑA MACHU PICCHU: Amazing views of the other views of the Lost City
- LOCATION: South-west of Machu Picchu
- LEVEL: Moderate to Difficult – Because of the high altitude
- DISTANCE: 4.3 km | 2.7 miles
- DURATION: 3 hours to accent and descent
- ALTITUDE: 3,082 meters above sea level
There is not a perfect itinerary in Peru if you don’t add the lost city of Machu Picchu. One of the most amazing day hikes in Peru is the Montaña Machu Picchu. The most spectacular, yet, one of the most overlooked options treks available in Machu Picchu.
Even though it is not a long hike, it is difficult due to the combination of high altitude + humidity, making you feel that you are literally hiking in slow motion. But the views along the way and from the top are so rewarding! The Montaña Machu Picchu trek offers unparalleled views of the famous Inca sanctuary, and during the hike, you have panoramic views of the surrounding mountain scenery.
The Machu Picchu Mountain Trek is wide and well-marked. After the warden’s hut, the trail follows a fairly even ascent, and gradually and steadily gains altitude. There are several views and rest points along the way, and you will need to stop to appreciate the vistas and to catch your breath. The views of the Machu Picchu become even more impressive as you ascend the mountain.
As the trail gets closer to the base of Machu Picchu Mountain, the steps become steeper, narrower, and more challenging. The descent follows the same route but takes about 30-minutes less.
📍 INSIDER TIP: Note that to go climb the Montaña Machu Picchu you need to book way in advance. It is limited to 400 hikers per day. The tickets need to be purchased as a combination with the general entrance to Machu Picchu. The first entrance is from 7 am – 8 am and the second entrance is from 9 am-10 am. Make sure you book in advance your official tickets to enter Machu Picchu and to hike the Montaña Machu Picchu.
10. HUYANA PICCHU: Offers incredible views of Machu Picchu
- LOCATION: The trail head is located far North of Machu Picchu behind the Sacred Rock
- LEVEL: Moderate to difficult
- DISTANCE: 2 km | 1.2 miles
- DURATION: 2 hours for the short trail and 4 hours to the full trail
- ALTITUDE: 2,693 meters above sea level
This incredible day hike in Peru is one of the most in-demand hikes available, leading to a viewpoint overlooking the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
You have the option to hike the short trail or the full trail. The short trail is accessible to most people of all ages and it is required that you have a reasonable fitness level, taking approximately 2 hours. If you decide to go on the full trial, you will need 4 hours to complete it.
The trail loops around the very top of the mountain, where architectural vestiges such as altars, narrow staircases, tunnels, and terraces can be found. The lower trail follows the base of Huayna Picchu to the Great Cavern where the secluded and mysterious Moon Temples is located.
After signing in at the warden’s hut, the Huyana Picchu trail follows an undulating path for 15-20 minutes until the trail splits, the upper patch continues to the summit of Huayna Picchu. Note that you need your passport number and name for signing in.
Huyana Picchu trek is not recommended for people with a fear of heights. The trail is very steep in some places, immediately after the summit where the trails descend through a series of steep and narrow stone steps.
📍 INSIDER TIP: To trek Huyana Picchu you must be in Machu Picchu wih a specific combination ticket for both – Machu Picch and Huyana Picchu. Make sure you book your tickets well in advance. There are limited to 400 tickets per day with 200 tickets allocated for the 7-8 am entrance and 200 tickets for the 10-11 am entrance. Book in advance your official ticket to enter the citadel of Machu Picchu and to hike the Huyana Picchu.
HUARAZ & CENTRAL ANDES AREA
Located 400 kilometers north of Lima is the city of Huaraz. It is a gateway to some of Peru’s most remarkable natural scenery, in Huascaran National Park and the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. Some of the best Peru treks are here, such as the Huayhuash Circuit and Santa Cruz Trek.
Huaraz has grown in popularity as a hiking destination in recent years, and the good news is that it is a cheaper and less crowded alternative to the Cusco area.
Located East island of Lima is the Central Andes area. This is a section of mountain ranges nestled halfway between Cusco and Huaraz. In this area, you can find some of the most untouched mountain ranges and hiking trails in Peru.
11) HUAYHUASH TREK: Of-the- beaten-path Trek in Peru
- LOCATION: Town of Huaraz
- LEVEL: Difficult
- DISTANCE: 115 km | 71.5 miles
- DURATION: 8 – 12 days
- ALTITUDE: 4,200-5,150 meters above sea level
The Huayhaush Trek is one of those off-the-beaten-path hikes in Peru. Located in the small mountain town of Huaraz, the trail takes hikers on an 8 to 12-day journey through the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Andes Mountain Range.
On the 130 km journey, you’ll be tested with 10 mountain passes with elevations of up to 5,100 meters above sea level. It’s safe to say the Huahuash is only for the experienced hiker and is rated as hard. I myself found the Huahaush to be the hardest trail I have completed to this day.
For most, the Huayhaush is completed as part of an organized tour. These tours leave from Huaraz and include a mountain guide as well as transport of your tent and food via mule. This makes the trail much more manageable for those who may not have trained as much as they should. If you want, you can complete the entire trail on your own but experience with high elevations and extreme cold is required.
On the trail, the views are what make this hike so special. Along the way, you’ll view mountains over 6000 meters in height. You’ll also get to see the famous Tres Lagunas (pictured above). If you love mountain views, remote alpine lakes, and the feeling of being away from the busy hiking trails in Peru, then give the Huahyuash ago!
📍 INSIDER TIPS: If you are short on time or don’t want to go on multi-day hiking, you also have the choice to go on a day tour, if you are short on time. You can discover the Cordillera Blanca mountain range in Huascaran National Park and hike around the scenic Paron Lake on a full-day tour with a private guide Check options here and enjoy the majestic scenery of the mountain range of Cordillera Blanca.
12. SANTA CRUZ TREK: Considered one of the most incredible treks in Peru
- LOCATION: Cordilleras Blancas, Peru
- LEVEL: Moderate to Difficult
- DISTANCE: 50 km | 31 miles
- DURATION: 4 days
- ALTITUDE: 5,100 meters above seal level
The Santa Cruz Trek is one of the most incredible hikes in Peru and anyone who loves the great outdoors and exploring Peru’s nature should add it to their itinerary.
The Santa Cruz hike takes around 4 days and is not the most difficult but also not really suitable for beginners. Since it’s a multi-day trek in Peru, you need to be physically fit and ready to take on a challenge.
You’ll hike between 8 and 11 kilometers (5 – 6 miles) per day approximately which doesn’t seem like a lot but the altitude changes on the Santa Cruz Trek definitely make it more difficult. Make sure you’re well acclimated to the altitude before you begin the hike. Many people feel unwell at first and need a few days to adjust. The total distance of the Santa Cruz trek is around 50 kilometers (31 miles) and there are two possible starting points; either from Cashpampa or Vaqueria.
The highest point of the Santa Cruz trek takes you to around 4,700 meters above sea level. While it’s possible to do the Santa Cruz Trek without a guide only experienced hikers should attempt to do so. If you go with a group you won’t have to worry about the planning process and don’t have to worry about carrying your gear so it’s much more beginner-friendly. In any case, try to pack light and only take what you absolutely need.
📍 INSIDER TIP: The best time to hike is from May to mid-September when the weather is generally good and the mountains are clear. Hiking outside this peak season will bring much more solitude, but the weather is also more inconsistent. Check the local weather conditions before you set out and be diligent in monitoring current conditions, as weather can change quickly in the mountains.
13. MARCAHUASI: Off-the-beaten-path trek in Peru
- LOCATION: San Pedro De Casta
- LEVEL: Moderate
- DISTANCE: 12 km | 7.5 miles
- DURATION: 6 – 8 hours
- ALTITUDE: 4,000 meters above seal level
Talk about the best hikes in Peru, and it’s not often that you’ll hear about Marcahuasi. In fact, this place is so remote that not even Peruvians know about it. Getting to San Pedro de Casta is an ordeal in and of itself.
At about 100 km from Lima, you’ll have to get a taxi to a bus stop out of town, then a bus to Chosica and finally another to San Pedro, for a traveling time of about 5 hours. Once in San Pedro, you’ll be greeted by a local who’ll take you to the tourist office where you have to pay for a permit – it’s a small fee of a dollar or so.
Spend the night in San Pedro and start walking no later than 6:00 am the day after, as it typically starts raining at 2:00 pm or so. The hike follows an easy trail – the main difficulty here is the altitude – that takes you to a site whose origins are still being debated. Some would say it’s man-made, others believe it’s the result of natural erosion.
Either way, it’s a great place to visit and completely away from the crowds of other places in Peru.
📍 INSIDER TIP: The only option for accommodation at San Pedro de Casta is The Hospedaje Municipal – with very basic accommodations.
14. HUYAYTAPALLANA: Hike in the Andean scenery
- LOCATION: Huaytapallana mountain range in the Junín region of Peru’s central Andes
- LEVEL: Moderate to Difficult
- DISTANCE: 43 km | 27 miles
- DURATION: 5 days
- ALTITUDE: 4,800 meters above sea level
If you are looking for a phenomenal trek in Peru, while you enjoy the Andean scenery, this is the hike for you! Huaytapallana Trek is located near the town of Huancayo, around a 7-hour bus ride from Lima.
Huaytapallna trek is the highest mountain in the Huaytapallan range. It is only located only 90-minutes away from the city. You also have the choice to do a day-hike if you are short on time, including day trips to the glacier and the peak of Lasuntay.
A 5-day hike in the Huyaytapallana mountain starts at Virgen de las Nieves, located about 30 km of Huancayo City. This hike will take you to the astounding glacial lakes of Huaytapallana.
This hiking is most at a high altitude of above 4,200 meters, and you will need some acclimatization before you start it. You should plan to spend a least a couple of days in Huancayo before. The hiking is challenging, but there are llama shepherds to help you along the way. The descent is into Amazonian the lush jungle, at Racracalla.
📍 INSIDER TIPS: You are not allowed to climb Huaytapallana without a guide. you are required to have a guide when you climb Huaytapallana and the surrounding hiking trails. Getting an official tour is convenient because they provide transportation at a fairly low price.
AREQUIPA AREA BEST HIKES IN PERU
Arequipa is one of the most beautiful cities in Peru and is also known as the Ciudad Blanca (White City). Because of its historical buildings made from a local volcanic material called sillar, Arequipa offers a very unique experience.
This colonial-era city is surrounded by snow-capped volcano peaks, colonial streets with cobble-stoned, incredible Peruvian cuisine, and of course, lots of thrilling outdoor adventure activities to explore and incredible opportunities to trek in Peru.
Located at an altitude of 3,325 meters above sea level, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arequipa has plenty to explore. With 423 restaurants, over 400 options for accommodations, 10 museums, and 7 volcanos.
15. COLCA CANYON: Hike the second-deepest canyon in the world
- LOCATION: Near Arequipa, in southern Peru
- LEVEL: Moderate – Difficult
- DISTANCE: 20 km | 12.4 miles
- DURATION: 2 – 3 days
- ALTITUDE: The trek starts at an altitude of around 3,300 meters, and you walk down 1,200 meters from there.
Arequipa is located in the South of Peru, some of the best hikes in Peru are located around this area.
If you’re looking for a challenging hike in Peru that takes you down into the second-deepest canyon in the world, with a depth of 3,270 meters, you should hike the Colca Canyon. Here, you can observe condors, walk past Peruvian villages, and admire the stunning scenery.
One of the highlights is staying in a desert oasis, where you can relax by a pool, lay down in the sun on the grass, or meet up with other travelers.
Hiking through the Colca Canyon takes two to three days. If you are short on time, you can explore the region in two days, but you will have a long trek on the first day. Many travelers, therefore, decide to split the hike into three days.
This also lowers the difficulty. As you need to walk 1,200 meters down into the canyon and climb the same distance up again at the end, you will find the three-day hike much more relaxing and less challenging.
📍 INSIDER TIP: If you go hike Colca Canyon independently, inquire about public transport before you leave! Buses infrequently go to the Colca Canyon, and it’s usually easier and cheaper to travel with a tour company. But you prefer to hire a local guide, the Canyon is extremely accessible, with numerous tour operators on hand throughout the duration of the year. There are many different options for sightseeing, hiking, or even whitewater rafting in the canyon. Here you find a great option for a 3-day hike with an expert guide and affordable prices.
16. COTAHUASI CANYON: Hidden-Gem Peru Trek
- LOCATION: North of Arequipa
- LEVEL: Moderate
- DISTANCE: 32 km | 20 miles
- DURATION: 3 days
- ALTITUDE: 3,900 meters above sea level
Just because the hikes in Peru never disappointed you, this is another option to go hiking in another canyon.
Cotahuasi Canyon is another colossal canyon around the Arequipa area. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Cotahuasi is the deepest canyon in the world, cutting through the Coropuna and Surimana massifs.
The Cotahuasi Canyon region is legendary throughout Peru for its steep cliffs, waterfalls, and local inhabitants who follow a traditional way of life. This incredible trek offers a range of hiking options – From day-hiking through a multi-day endurance trek.
During this fascinating trek in Peru, you will pass suspension bridges criss-cross over the Cotahuasi River flowing at the bottom of the canyon, connecting regional trails followed by hikers and locals alike.
The Cotahuasi Region is remote and lacks consistent transportation. Therefore, trekking the canyon is quite an off-the-beaten-path experience. For those looking for a compact yet intensive trek, this is an ideal option, especially if you have a special interest in wildlife and Andean culture.
📍 INSIDER TIP: Because of the location, you’ll need to set aside several days for this adventure, but the reward is some of Peru’s most spectacular and remote scenery in one of the world’s biggest canyons. The journey from Arequipa to Cotahuasi village (the base for trekking in the canyon) takes a full day by road if you take a guided tour. I also recommend doing the Chili River rafting tour if you are in the area.
17. MISTI VOLCANO: An exhilarating hike in Peru
- LOCATION: Arequipa
- LEVEL: Difficult
- DISTANCE: 25 km | 15.5 miles
- DURATION: 2 – 3 days
- ALTITUDE: 5,822 meters above sea level
Last but not least amazing trek in Peru is the Misti Volcano – The world’s most accessible high peaks for trekking and one of the highest points on the planet that can be reached by hiking without using special mountaineering equipment.
If you visit Arequipa on a clear day you cannot help but notice the El Misti volcano towering over the city.
This two or three-day trek to the top can be hard work due to the thin air but any relatively fit, acclimatized trekker should be able to do it without too many problems, it is certainly not a technically difficult climb.
There are great views from the top. Although El Misti is an active volcano it has only erupted four times in the last 500 years. Best to acclimatize at higher altitudes such as Cusco or Lake Titicaca before attempting this trek.
There are several routes to the summit but the easiest begins from a new road that takes you up to 3,400m. From here climbers ascend to make base camp at around 4,700m (6-7 hrs). At dawn, you can climb up El Misti’s snowy south side to the summit. It is possible to descend and make it back to Arequipa by late in the afternoon.
📍 INSIDER TIP: It is highly recommended to hire an experienced guide for the climb. Less experienced climbers should buy a package from a travel agency in Arequipa which should include guides, transport to and from the trailhead, all camping and safety equipment, cook and meal.
Trek Peru Conclusion
All the trek Peru trails are amazing and it can be hard to choose which trek(s) to go. But you cannot go wrong – Choose the hiking that fits best for you based on the area of Peru you are traveling, and based on your preferences for a day-hike or a multi-day hike.
I hope that this guide for tips to hike in Peru and the list with the top 16 Hikes in Peru inspired you to choose where you would love to visit and hike in Peru, and all the tips are very useful for your to plan safely your next adventure.
If you have any further questions, just leave me ac comment below and I would love to talk to you about my favorite topic, Travel!
Here are some articles you may enjoy:
- Everything You Need to Know Before You Go Hiking in Peru
- How to Train for a Hike
- How to Train for Hiking on High Altitude
- Best Hikes in the World
- Hardest Hikes in the World
- Best Hikes in South America
- Best Backpack Routes in South America
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