Most beautiful Hikes in Peru

History, adventure, nature and culture: Peru is one of the most diverse countries in the world. An extraordinary variety of landscapes characterizes the third-largest country in South America.

From the idyllic Pacific coast and the adventurous Amazon region to the barren Altiplano highlands and the snow-capped Andes, Peru makes the heart of every nature lover beat faster. 

In Peru, Inca sanctuaries, pristine rainforest and vibrant cities vie for your attention. The famous Inca citadel Machu Picchu, the dazzling Lake Titicaca and the Andean highlands will amaze you as a nature lover and hiking fan on your Peru trip.

You will quickly realize why Peru calls itself the richest country in the world. If you want to go hiking in this dream country yourself, we have picked out a few of the most beautiful hikes in the land of the Incas for you! 

Travel adventure Peru - In the footsteps of the Incas

Vast highlands with mighty peaks, dense jungle, brilliant blue lakes and ancient cultures characterize the South American Republic of Peru, which borders Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile in the west of the continent.

Machu Picchu - In the Footsteps of the Inca

Peru has had to reinvent itself many times. The country has seen many civilizations rise and fall; many rulers come and go. But their stories, their traces, their treasures, they have remained – fortunately.

Perhaps the country’s greatest treasure, Machu Picchu, cannot be missed on your private Peru tour. To finally see the legendary “City in the Clouds” with your own eyes: An absolute feeling of happiness.

Just about half of Peru’s inhabitants are Indians, and one-fifth are mestizos. The official language of Peru is SpanishIn addition, many natives still speak the ancient Inca language Quechua.

Aymaras live in the Altiplano around Lake Titicaca, and these people speak Aymara. Peru is one of the most culturally rich countries on earth, possessing a cultural history that is around 3,000 years old and cultural treasures such as Machu Picchu.

Hiking in Peru - Discover the land of the Incas

Walking on the famous Inca trail of Peru on the way to Machu Picchu
Walking on the famous Inca trail of Peru on the way to Machu Picchu

Peru in 8K – Jacob & Katie Schwarz 

Hiking in Peru – The Inca Trail and many other trails wind through the Peruvian landscape and open up breathtaking natural areas for vacationers.

The Inca Trail is an absolute highlight here and always worth a trip because, on this ancient hiking trail, you walk in the footsteps of the ancient Incas and, at the same time, through the adventurous landscape of Peru in the west of South America.

Along the Rio Urubamba and into the Inca city of Machu Picchu leads the legendary Inca Trail, which is the destination of numerous hiking trips.

While hiking in Peru, you can visit the ruins of the Incas and, at the same time, discover the Cantuta, which appears in high bushes and is considered the Peruvian national plant.

The fauna of Peru is also very diverse and worth seeing, with seals, penguins, seagulls, scorpions, armadillos, pumas, lizards and jaguars.

Guided hiking tours or individual tours through Peru are therefore the perfect active vacation for nature lovers who have succumbed to the fascination of South America and now want to embark on the adventure of exploring Peru.

Some of the tours are also in small boats through the rain forests of Peru, so that a hiking vacation in this South American country is partly like an expedition. Hiking in Peru: Discover the land of the Incas while walking!


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Choquequirao - the little sister of Machu Picchu

Choquequirao is considered the sister city of Machu Picchu. It served as the last refuge of the Incas after the Spanish conquerors invaded Peru.

The Inca site remains well preserved and little-visited, as you can only reach it via a four-day hike that is relatively strenuous. Around Choquequirao, snow-covered mountains with up to 6,246 meters of altitude string together – the Apurimac River leads 1,500 meters down into the valley.

The forgotten ruined city of Choquequirao, in English “Cradle of Gold,” was probably built by the Inca ruler Tupaq Inca Yupanki in the last days of the Inca Empire.

To date, about 40% of the entire city has been excavated. Despite its centuries-old substance, the various levels of temples, palaces, aqueducts and agricultural areas are still in fantastic condition.

Embedded in a unique landscape, the presumed last place of refuge of the Incas is another proof of the extraordinary architecture of that time. Those who make the return trip to Cusco via Cachora can make a stop at the thermal springs of Cconocc on the way.

Choquequirao, one of the best Inca ruins in Peru
Choquequirao, one of the best preserved Inca ruins in Peru

four to five day Hike to Choquequirao

Visiting Chochquirao is a real adventure because you can reach Chochquirao only by foot. The hike is classified as “difficult” and level 5 out of 5. The paths are steep, stony-sandy, and often you walk uphill in the blazing heat.

Every step then becomes a torture. There are no trains or buses up here, unlike its neighbor Machu Picchu. No wonder that only a few tourists stray here. This is rather a pity because you will always just marvel at the sight of the landscape of this beautiful Andean scenery.

In contrast to the busy Inca sites of Machu Picchu or Ollantaytambo, the probability is very high to meet only sporadically other (or even no) people. Yet, the site is comparable to both and was also founded by the Inca Pachacuti.

But the effort of the hike through the valley of the Apurimac River is worth it:

When the last pass is crossed, and the view finally falls on the ancient Inca town of Choquequirao, situated at 3100m. In Quechua, the ancient language of the Incas, the name means “cradle of gold.

The site is about 1800 hectares in size, with countless steep terraces stretching across the ridge with a well-preserved center on the mountain plateau.

Only 30%-40% of the entire Inca city has been excavated so far. The most significant feature: the llamas carved into the steep terraces.

Cachora, a small village 165km from Cusco, is the starting point for the hike to Choquequirao

Ausangate trek and rainbow mountain - 5 days

Majestically it rises in the middle of the southern Peruvian Andes: The Vinicunca. Located near the city of Cusco in the province of Quispicanchi, this rainbow mountain is a real tourist magnet.

It was only a few years ago that tours began to be offered as an attraction. Previously, the mountain was covered by a vast mass of snow and, accordingly, many people were not even aware of the beauty that was hidden underneath.

With various tones of red, a rich yellow, and many shades of green, the Rainbow Mountains look like painted. The intense colors were formed millions of years ago by the steady deposition of sediments, which were then pushed up again piece by piece by the active plate tectonics.

The reddish color is due to iron oxide, the lighter pinks to magnesium, and the blue-green color to the reaction of copper with water and oxygen.

Hiking in Vinicunca, Cusco Region - Rainbow Mountain
Hiking in Vinicunca, Cusco Region - Rainbow Mountain

Although a hike to the Vinicunca Mountains is not yet one of the classic highlights of a vacation in Peru, some agencies offer a guided tour from the Peruvian city of Cusco to the unique mountains.

Depending on your condition and mountain experience, there are different routes. From 1-day tours to a whole week, there is something for everyone.

Since some travelers are more affected by altitude sickness than expected initially, the local guides often offer the possibility to cover long distances on the back of the strong and persevering Andean horses.

Amazing view on the Rainbow Mountain

Since Rainbow Mountain was made accessible to tourists in 2015, it is becoming a popular tourist destination.

On the summit (5100 m), the beautiful scenery over the colorful mountains is a real highlight on any South America trip.

A total of about 700 meters of altitude are climbed and then descended again. At the highest point  you have a fantastic view over the colorful of Rainbow Mountain.

The trail leads through a valley up to the ridge and from there to the highest viewpoint. On the way, you can watch wild herds of alpacas grazing.

The hike is technically not very demanding. The biggest challenge is the altitude. If you have problems with that, you can also reach the summit on mules. They are with you all the way. Therefore, this hike is also doable for everyone.

Ausangate and the Rainbow Mountain

Those who like it a little more challenging can book a five-day trekking tour to the Ausangate. The Ausangate is with 6,384 meters the highest mountain in southern Peru – for the inhabitants of the Andes, it is the sacred mountain – “Apu.”

Hiking once around a sacred mountain of the Incas means high passes, secluded valleys, many alpacas, mighty peaks, wild glaciers, colorful lagoons and hot springs.

Trekking in the heartland of the Incas is a challenging thing: the mountains and passes are high, the weather is changeable, but the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful.

The tour passes glacial lakes, lonely mountain villages and three high passes. A highlight along the way are the thermal springs of Upis, which provide a bit of well-deserved relaxation.

The round trip of the Ausangate (6.384m) in Peru is a five-day trekking tour. To enjoy it, you should have good fitness and, above all, an excellent adaptation to the altitude.

If you are up for this adventure, you will look back on a great tour in the thermal pool in Pacchanta and enjoy life.

The route can then be extended with a side trip to Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca in Cordilleras.

Epic View - Cusipata Trail seen from Vinicunca and path to the Red Valley
Epic View - Cusipata Trail seen from Vinicunca and path to the Red Valley
Choquequirao Hike in 4K - by Peru Summit Adventures

Hiking in Huancaya - Nature reserve "Nor Yauyos-Cochas"

Away from the tourist routes, the Nor Yauyos-Cochas scenic reserve is located in the Peruvian Andean highlands. The Nor Yauyos-Cochas Reserve is one of Peru’s best-kept secrets!

Nor Yauyos-Cochas is located about 200 km from Lima. But despite the short distance, the journey is considered adventurous and strenuous.

The best starting point for hikes in the area is Huancaya. You should plan at least six hours to get there by local bus from Lima.

Huaquis village in Nor Yauyos Cochas, Peru
Huaquis village in Nor Yauyos Cochas, Peru

Covering an area of over 2000 square kilometers, the Nor Yauyos Cochas reserve is home to Andean-specific plants and animals such as the Andean fox, Andean duck and herons.

The Cañete and Cochas-Pachacayo rivers meander through the area, repeatedly cascading picturesquely over stair-like cascades and feeding deep lagoons.

The Cascadas de Cabracancha waterfalls and the Laguna de Papacocha near the village of Vilca are considered particularly beautiful. The emerald shimmering water makes the otherwise barren mountain world come to life.

Hikers will find a lonely Eldorado in Nor Yauyos-Cochas and, despite the remoteness, accommodation along the way. Selected providers also organize paddling tours through the area from Lima.

Hiking around Huancaya

Huancaya is the ideal destination for all hikers looking for an easy-to-walk route surrounded by breathtaking nature. The region is known for its deep blue lakes, steep waterfalls and imposing canyons.

Very attractive is the hike to the “Condor Valley.” With a guide, it costs around 60 soles ($18).

On a two-day hike along the Mantaro River, there is time for a daring walk over swinging suspension bridges or a ride in a kayak. This is not only fun but also relaxes the day and offers optimal variety for those who are undertaking a multi-day hike for the first time.

On a hike through the nature reserve, the local guides also tell about myths and legends associated with the landscape.

  • Location: Lima region. Vilcas [3,650 m] and Huancaya [3,500 m], Yauyos province.
  • Climate: Semi-arid and cold
  • Average temperature: 12°C
  • Season: May to October
  • Difficulty level: Low

If you want to explore Nor Yauyos-Cochas with sun and dry feet, planning your visit between May and October is best. Then the rainy season in Peru is over, and the sunshine hours become more.

← The most beautiful and comfortable way to reach Huancayo from Lima is Peru’s Central Andean Railway -a ticket costs around $150. Experience the Peruvian Andes on an unforgettable train ride aboard the highest railroad in the Western Hemisphere.

Accommodation in Huancaya

Brisa del Mayo is the “Best Accommodation in the Place” and the only accommodation with a private bathroom, but still very simply kept. Otherwise, there are countless “Hospedajes” in the village for about 20 soles per night.

Hotel Villarma

Hotel Villarma is located directly on the banks of the river Cañete, surrounded by majestic mountains amidst the majestic scenery of the valley.

Villarma offers its guests the opportunity to enjoy a unique experience in contact with nature with upscale comfort.  You won’t find a better place to stay if you want to visit the Nor Yauyos Cochas Preserve.

From Villarma you can visit the High Andean Lagoons – you can hike the Route of Gods which is part of the Inca trail that runs to Escalerayoc or visit the Cuchimachay Caves where cave paintings from 6000 years ago are found.1

Another option is hiking the Huamanmarca archaeological complex, this is one of the first Yauyos settlements with constructions dating back to 1200 years B.C.

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Mountain Warehouse Merino Womens Top -

Kari Traa Women's Akle Base Layer Bottoms

Merino wool has many advantages and is perfect for hiking. Why? Merino underwear and merino sweaters dry quickly, even if you sweat a lot. Perfect for a mountain tour. In addition, merino wool does not smell, so you can wear the clothes for a long time without washing them. Merino Baselayer feels soft and cuddly warm on the skin.

Hiking in Huancaya - Nature reserve "Nor Yauyos-Cochas"

Away from the tourist routes, the Nor Yauyos-Cochas scenic reserve is located in the Peruvian Andean highlands. The Nor Yauyos-Cochas Reserve is one of Peru’s best-kept secrets!

Nor Yauyos-Cochas is located about 200 km from Lima. But despite the short distance, the journey is considered adventurous and strenuous.

The best starting point for hikes in the area is Huancaya. You should plan at least six hours to get there by local bus from Lima.

Huaquis village in Nor Yauyos Cochas, Peru
Huaquis village in Nor Yauyos Cochas, Peru

The first people on Hawaii were Polynesians, who probably came to the archipelago around 800 AD. Some sources even assume an even earlier settlement. To this day, it remains a mystery why the Polynesians from the South Pacific traveled approximately 3,500 Kilometers across the open sea in their boats.

These pioneers brought their social system with them to their new homeland and founded the so-called “Old Hawaii” – a monarchy based on a legal system that set limits to the power of the ruler. Another characteristic of this Polynesian society was that its members believed in countless gods.

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The right equipment for hiking trips

Whether a hiking trip primarily offers relaxation or stress depends on one factor in particular: the equipment. Therefore, it is important to prepare the optimal equipment for hiking. The type of hiking trip is crucial here:

Will you be hiking from stage to stage or are day trips planned from a fixed stationary point? And: Will overnight luggage be transported or will it have to be carried along while hiking?

By far the heaviest loads are carried by hiking vacationers who travel with tents and undertake a hiking trip designed in stages. Not only do they have to carry all their belongings on their backs all the time while hiking, but they also have to carry food and drinks for several days. This can quickly lead to heavy weights – and that’s why you should pay attention to every gram when packing.

Hikers who either pitch their tent at a permanent campsite and set off from there each day can take a more relaxed approach.

Or you can choose to spend the night in permanent accommodation and therefore don’t need any camping equipment at all.

Functional clothing is the most important thing when hiking

You should select the clothing for hiking primarily under functional aspects. On a hiking trip, trekking pants with drawstrings at the legends are recommended because this protects against unwanted insect visits.

Also recommended are pants with a zip-off function, as these become shorts quickly in warm temperatures.

Essential are appropriate hiking socks – preferably functional socks with reinforced pads on the heel and ball of the foot to avoid blisters on the feet even on more extended tours. An extra pair of dry socks have saved many a hiking trip after rain or marshland has unexpectedly caused wet feet.

For your feet, of course, you absolutely need comfortable and robust hiking shoes. Since you will probably pack only one pair of shoes for weight reasons, you should cover all eventualities with this pair.

The best and safest for hiking in all landscapes and weather conditions are waterproof, mid-height hiking boots with a rough tread. The shoe should fit tightly on the foot when wearing thick hiking socks. That’s why experts recommend that hiking boots are usually a half to one size up from the shoe size you wear in sandals or athletic shoes.

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Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus

Columbia Men's Newton Ridge Plus

Timberland Men's White Ledge
Merino Wool for Hiking

Choose the right backpack for the hiking trip

It is advisable to go for a model that brings a sturdy wireframe and fits the back with a breathable mesh.

These models provide excellent ventilation. In general, a hiking backpack should have an integrated rain cover to keep all equipment dry in case of emergency.

The backpack should have padded shoulder straps, a pelvic strap and a chest strap for optimal load distribution, and various pockets for storing the equipment.

Loowoko Hiking Backpack 50L

TETON Sports Scout 3400

Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack

first aid kit for camping and hiking

The essential equipment must also include a variety of materials for first aid on a hiking trip. After all, this type of travel often takes a long time in remote areas.

So it would help if you were well prepared for any emergencies. Therefore, the first-aid kit for hiking includes obligatory blister plasters, sunscreen, insect repellent and waterproof plasters for minor cuts.

The first aid kit for a more extended hiking trip also includes: tape, tick tongs, a rescue blanket, disinfectant, wound dressings, compresses, tweezers, burn and wound ointment and painkillers.

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