An Adventure Traveler's Guide to Exploring Peru

Machu Picchu | © Frank_am_Main/Flickr
Machu Picchu | © Frank_am_Main/Flickr
Photo of Brandon Dupre
6 July 2017

From the Pacific Ocean to the Amazon jungle, the desert and the Andes, Peru is the perfect destination for those looking for adventure. Peru has more options than just the Inca Trail, and enough thrills to keep even an adrenaline junkie satisfied. Here is our guide for those looking for new experiences in some of the world’s most remote places.

Jungle Expedition

It doesn’t get any more adventurous than hiking through the Amazon jungle and enjoying its biodiversity. Hike through the thick forest of the Amazon or take a boat cruise to find pink dolphins. There are many different packages for staying in the Amazon, from luxury riverboat tours to jungle resorts. You’ll want to go during the dry season, which is June to November, to avoid the rain. A favorite spot for travelers willing to traverse the jungle is Parque Nacional Manu, a well-preserved national park that offers visitors a chance to encounter a variety of wildlife.

Sandoval Lake | © Alex Guerrero/Flickr

Inca Trail

This may well be what drew you to Peru in the first place: the chance to hike the famous and inscrutable Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The Inca trail will cost about $600–$800 for four days and three nights, ending with your arrival at the ruins.

View from the Inca Trail | © Kevin Jones / Flickr

Sand Dune Surfing

After you’ve practiced surfing in the water, take your new-found skills to the sand. You wont get tossed around by a rogue wave, but you might fall down a dune or two – at least it’s only sand. Three hours south of Lima lies the small desert oasis town of Huacachina, surrounded by sand dunes. Take off on a dune buggy and enjoy the sand surfing.

The sand dunes of Huacachina | © Madeleine Deaton / Flickr

Hike to Peru’s Stone Faces

Located just five hours from Lima, Marcahuasi is a stone forest in the Andes. It has gained world recognition because of its mysteriously shaped stones that resemble human faces and animals. The origins of these seemingly carved figures has been the subject of countless debates, with some posturing that they were created by aliens. Marcahuasi is higher than both Cusco and Machu Picchu, making the hike to the top difficult, but locals offer horses and donkeys for rent if needed. Bring a tent, a sleeping bag, and some warm clothes and enjoy the mysteries of Marcahuasi.

Marcahuasi | © Lorena Flores Agüero/Flickr

Surf Peru

There is never a dull moment surfing in Peru, which is known to have some of the best waves in the world. There are waves for beginners and experts alike, all along Peru’s coastline. If you want to enjoy the sun and the waves, head to the north of Peru. Playa Chicama, which has one of the longest left-hand point breaks in the word, and Mancora, in the north of Peru, will give you days of epic surf when the swell is right. If you’re in Lima, head to Punta Roquitas or La Herradura.

Rafting the Urubamba River

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. Companies will outfit you 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.

Whitewater rafting | © Rupert Taylor-Price/Flickr

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