20 Things to Do in Peru in Your 20s

Machu Picchu | © trophygeek/Flickr
Machu Picchu | © trophygeek/Flickr
Photo of Brandon Dupre
31 October 2017

There’s nothing like traveling through Peru in your 20s. The country is comprised of harsh and extreme climates that aren’t for the weak or faint of heart. To truly discover all Peru has to offer you’ll need to brave the cold, altitude, and elements to enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes the world has to offer. Here is our guide to exploring Peru in your 20s.

Jungle hikes

When visiting Peru—if you’re one of those intrepid travelers—you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Amazon rainforest. Head to the jungle city of Iquitos and take a multi-day excursion into the thick foliage of the Amazon where you’ll find millions of plants, insects, and animals that you’ve never seen before.

The Amazon rain forest | © Mia Spingola / Culture Trip

Learn how to surf

Peru’s coastline is dotted with perfect left-hand waves, suitable for both beginners and experts. But if it’s your first time, nothing beats the warm waters and sunny skies of Mancora. With a consistent swell and fearless surf instructors, you’re guaranteed to stand up on a wave.

A fun left in Máncora | Mia Spingola | © Culture Trip

Hike the Inca trail

The famous Inca hike is best done in your 20s—not that you can’t do it in your wiser years, obviously. Hiking the Inca trail isn’t a walk in the park, especially at that altitude, and you don’t want to miss out on the beautiful scenery because you’re gasping for air.

Machu Picchu, Peru | © Nimmi Solomon / Flickr

Drink ayahuasca

This powerful, mind-altering medicine can be enjoyed by anyone at any time in their life, but there’s nothing like experiencing the life transforming brew at a young age, when your life feels open with infinite possibilities.

Ayahuasca | © Mia Spingola / Culture Trip

Hike in Huaraz

There are many different hikes throughout the area, all of which offer some of the best views of snowy mountain peaks and pristine lagoons in all of Peru. The hikes are strenuous, but just wait until you see the views—let’s just say it’s more than worth it.

Laguna Churup, Huaraz | © Madeleine Deaton/Flickr

Sand surf at a desert oasis

The desert oasis of Huacachina offers endless orange sand dunes, perfect for a day of sand boarding and off-roading.

Huacachina, Peru | © Justin Vidamo/Flickr

Bike the Andes

Peru might just have the best cycling in the world. You’ll climb high into mountain passes through the Andes and ride through remote mountain villages.

Hike one of the deepest canyons in the world

Colca Canyon near Arequipa, Peru is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and offers thrill seekers hiking, biking, and camping options—and remember to look up, you just might catch a glimpse of the elusive Andean condor.

Valley of Colca River, Peru | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr

Climb a volcano

At 5,822 meters, brave the chill and altitude to climb volcano Misti that looms large over Arequipa.

Misti volcano | © guido612/Flickr

Hike to Inca ruins

Scattered throughout the Sacred Valley are Inca ruins that you can enjoy in a day hike, or spend four days on long treks through the sacred land of the Incas.

Macchu Picchu | © pululante/Flickr

Ride caballitos de totora in Huanchaco

The ancient tradition of reed boat-making has been in Huanchaco for thousands of years. Learn how they make it and then try your luck surfing a caballito de totora.

Caballito de totora | Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip

Explore the white city of Arequipa

Take a walk around the beautiful, white historical center of Arequipa. At night, enjoy some cocktails and dinner in Arequipa’s romantic Plaza de Armas.

Arequipa, Peru | © Danielle Pereira/Flickr

Whale watching

Head to the beach city of Mancora where the company Pacífico Adventures, which is made up of marine biologists, will pick you up and take you on the ocean to find some breaching whales—it is more than worth the money and they’ll make sure you find some whales.

A breaching humpback whale | © Kevin Galens/Flickr

Fine dine in Lima

Lima is home to some of the world’s best restaurants and chefs, offering Peruvian fusion and progressive takes on Peruvian classics—and you can never go wrong with the ceviche.

Peruvian ceviche, also accompanied by an Inca Cola | Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip

Homestay in Puno

Lake Titicaca is home to the Uros people, who build reed islands on the world’s highest navigable lake. The area around is very remote, which means that you’ll have the opportunity to do a homestay with someone from the community. It is a moment in time that you’ll never forget.

Lake Titicaca | © Shutterstock

Take a three-day cargo ship down the Amazon

There are many ways to go down the Amazon river, but there’s nothing like doing it on a cargo ship, the lifeblood of the Amazon, delivering supplies to remote villages along the river.

Hammocks on a cargo ship | © Mia Spingola / Culture Trip

Wind surf

Peru is home to some of the world’s best wind and kitesurfing beaches such as Lobitos and Pacasmayo. If the waves are blown out, it’s time to give wind surfing a chance.

Horseback in the Sacred Valley

There’s no better way to see the Sacred Valley of the Incas than from the top of a horse. You’ll go over rivers, through grassy valleys and see snow-capped mountains all without breaking a sweat.

Sacred Valley, Peru | © McKay Savage/Flickr

Rainbow Mountain

Once you make it to the top you’ll find a mountain comprised of rainbow-like colors (hence the name, duh)—but the hike to the top isn’t easy. At 5,200 meters above sea level, Rainbow Mountain is no joke.

Rainbow Mountain | © Travelbusy.com/Flickr


The new health craze from the Amazon is a poison secreted from a frog, called kambo. The shaman will scrape the back of a frog to get the poison and then burn it into your arm which will release toxins from your body.

Rafting the Urubamba River

For adrenaline junkies there might not be a better bang-for-you-buck than whitewater rafting down through the Sacred Valley. With all different types of rapids, there’s something for everyone’s skill level and hubris.

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