WALKING IN PERU

Walking in Peru is one of the best ways to see and understand the country. The Inca trail is probably its best known, but there are many others which rival this.  The longer Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, staying in lodges rather than camping allows you to walk the cordillera Vilcabamba with its impressive 6,000 metre peaks.  The lesser known Choquequirao trek covers 60 km and follows the Apurimac River canyon and is flanked by the snow-capped Salkantay Mountains.

The Inca trail leading to Machu Picchu is not just a walk but a line in history, as you pass numerous Inca and pre-Inca ruins en-route.  The flora and fauna, spectacular scenery and interaction with the locals means that by the time you arrive at the most impressive Inca ruins of them, Machu Picchu, you have had a glimpse into their past.

The Salkantay trek moves around the Cordillera Vilcabamba and connects the cities of Mollepata and Cusco with Machu Picchu.  In the centre of the Cordillera lies Mt. Salkantay.  It is an outstanding glacier-capped summit worshipped for thousands of years by local Indians. The name Salkantay is a Quechua word meaning “Savage Mountain”.

The lesser known Choquequirao trek leads you to the enigmatic last refuge of the Incas. Choquequirao is located at 3,100 metres and is a huge archaeological complex still under excavation today. Surrounded by the Salkantay sacred mountain and the Apurimac River canyon it is a sight to behold.

BEST PLACES FOR WALKING IN PERU

Probably the most popular and well known area of South America for walking. Both the Inca trail and the Salkantay treks offer the chance to walk amongst 6,000 metre snow-capped Andean peaks and it is also one of the best ways of understanding the Inca world

Book a long way in advance if you wish to do either of these treks as they are hugely popular and there are only limited number of permits issues for each day

Choquequirao

The Choquequirao trek is a spectacular 60 km trek that will lead you to one of the last refuges of the Incas. Choquequirao, located at 3,100 metres is a huge archaeological complex still under excavation today and is located amongst the Salkantay sacred mountain and the Apurimac River canyon. This is a walk where you will find amazing mountain scenery as well as a diverse range of Andean flora and fauna.

Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is reputedly the deepest in the world – 3,182 metres (11,000 feet), which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The region is also known for its terracing, thought to be the most extensive in Peru, its picturesque towns, where the traditional clothing is still worn by the majority of women and the spectacular mountain scenery with snow-capped Andean peaks.

Machu Picchu

For many this is the main reason to make the pilgrimage to Peru. Situated on a single mountain high in the Andes (2450m) this archaeological site was never discovered by the Spanish. Situated 120km northwest of Cuzco it is only accessible by train and foot. The archaeologist Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu in 1911, although archaeologists have been visiting it for years its purpose is still unclear.

The Inca Trail

The trip to Machu Picchu can be done several different ways. One of the most popular and spectacular is the Inca Trail. You traverse the Andes, passing archaeological ruins, rivers, terraced valleys, snow-capped peaks, cloud forest, and a wide array of flora (including numerous varieties of orchid) and bird life. Not only is this a good walk, but it also allows you to get a better understanding of the Inca world en-route to Machu Picchu.

The Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley is a short drive from Cuzco and good place to help acclimatise to the altitude as it is lower than the Inca Capital.   The Sacred Valley contains fertile valleys, White Water Rivers, colourful markets and hiking trails, making it a superb destination for both cultural and active interests.

The Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek has been named among the 25 best Treks in the World and unlike the Inca Trail it is open to everybody, with no limitation on spaces or permits.  You will trek from 3,900m/12,800ft to 2,100m/6,900ft, traversing across magnificent mountain passes, enjoying enormous and mystical snow-capped peaks, seeing nature in its purest form and exploring more than 15 different ecosystems from beginning to end.

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