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White water rafting | © Rupert Taylor-Price/Flickr
White water rafting | © Rupert Taylor-Price/Flickr
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7 Adventure Sports to Try in Peru

Picture of Brandon Dupre
Updated: 30 August 2017
With the Andes, beaches, deserts, and the ocean, Peru has plenty to offer those seeking a spike in their adrenaline. Peru has some of the best mountain biking, surfing, and rafting in the world, and options for both the most seasoned athletes and complete novices. Peru isn’t only for sight-seeing; there are many sports you can try your luck at for the first time in some of the most idyllic settings imaginable. Here are seven adventure sports you might want to sample.

White Water Rafting

This is not one for the faint of heart. Companies offer adrenaline-seekers a chance to raft down class III and IV rapids in the Sacred Valley, located a short distance from Cusco. Go with a guide and a group of friends and enjoy the rush of river rafting. You will be outfitted with gear, which includes a helmet, because it can get dangerous, and transportation. It is a great way to escape the city life of Cusco and raft world-class rapids.

Surfing

Peru is one of the best countries in the world to score some epic surf. With thousands of miles of coastline and year-round swells, you’ll always find somewhere in Peru that is going off. While there are some crowds, especially in Lima and Mancora, with so much coastline, you’re bound find some empty lineups. Peru is usually separated into two different areas for surfing: the north, and Lima and the south. The north coast of Peru has warmer waters and will be sunny almost all year round. The best time for waves is during the summer months, from October to March, when Peru attracts more northerly swells that bring along warmer water. Lima and the south are usually covered by a thick fog that hangs over the area, only clearing up for the summer months, which are hot and sunny. The water is cold in the winter and a little bit better in the summer, but you’re definitely going to need a wetsuit to surf here, no matter the season.

Kite-Surfing

When the swell isn’t quite hitting or the surf gets blown out, it’s time to use the wind to your advantage, and kite-surf. There are schools all over the north of Peru, but especially in Mancora. You can pay for single lessons, but we recommend that you do a package deal where you go out for a couple days, as you won’t get the hang of it all in one session.

Paragliding

At the Miraflores boardwalk you can paraglide over the upscale beach city and the Pacific Ocean. If the sun is out, you’ll have a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and Lima’s beach neighborhoods. Expect to pay around $70 for 10 minutes.

Zip-Lining

Not too far outside Cusco you can go zip-lining through the Incas’ Sacred Valley. This offers a fun experience while also seeing the beautiful valley, as you enjoy the sacred region from up above on a zip-line.

Sand Surfing

Giant hills of sand are a defining feature of the region – the orange-ish lumps seem to roll on forever. Three hours south of Lima lies the small desert oasis town of Huacachina, surrounded by sand dunes. Take a dune buggy with a group and surf the steep sand faces. After you’ve practiced surfing in the water, sand surfing will come much easier. You won’t get tossed around by a rogue wave, but you might fall down a dune or two – at least it’s only sand!

Mountain Biking

With some of the Earth’s most diverse landscapes and historical sites, every trip will be an adventure. Discover the Peruvian landscape and culture while on your bike. Head anywhere in the Peruvian Andes and you’ll have spectacular rides along virgin roads. Peru is considered one of the best-kept secrets in the biking community, and the Andes are definitely the highlight, with a lot of downhill riding and, without many trees at the high altitudes, unrivaled panoramic views. In these remote areas you’ll also come across less-visited Inca ruins that you can explore away from the usual tourist traps.