A Guide to Peru’s Trekking Hotspots

Published On June 23, 2013 | By Staff Writer | Peru, South America, Travel Guides
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If you’re looking for somewhere that’s great for trekking holidays, Peru is a great option. Aside from the famous Inca Trail, the country boasts many outstanding hiking routes that you can tackle.  For a truly memorable experience, have a professional help you. There are many fantastic sites such as Latin America For Less that can help you plan that perfect visit.  All you have to do is enjoy it!

Rather than focus on specific treks, we’ve come up with a selection of the best regions in the country for walking breaks – if you want more detail about any of these, or hiking in Peru in general, click here.

Sacred Valley

Also known as the Urubamba Valley, this is the part of Peru that’s most often associated with the Incas, as it boasts a host of ruins from this civilization and it’s where you’ll spend much of your time walking if you tackle the Inca Trail. The valley is located between Cusco and Machu Picchu, making it a hotspot for trekkers.

While the Inca Trail is the most popular route to wind its way through the Sacred Valley, it’s not your only option if you want to hike here. The Lares Inca Trail is an alternative to its better known counterpart, which runs through the Sacred Valley and into the Lares Valley. If you decide to follow this trail you’ll pass through many Quechua villages where the way of life has changed little over the years.

Farming terraces and meadows where llamas graze are common sights while walking on the Lares Trail, while this route will lead you to Ollantaytambo, a former Inca settlement that’s well worth exploring. Although it’s a modern city, there are many ruins dating from the period of the Incas to discover here. Among them is the remains of the Temple of the Sun and the Inca Huatana, which is believed to have been used as an observatory.

Should you decide to tackle the classic Inca Trail, you’ll start from the famous KM82 trailhead and hike past numerous ruins at every stage of your journey. Patallacta in the Sacred Valley will be your first overnight camp and you’ll gradually climb out of the valley the following day, before taking on Dead Woman’s Pass on the third day of your walk.

From here, you’ll continue past the Phuyupatamarca and Winay Wayna ruins, among others, before arriving at the Sun Gate and getting your first glimpse of the fabled Machu Picchu.

The Cordillera Vilcanota

The Cordillera Vilcanota (or the Willkanuta Mountain Range) spans the Cusco and Puno regions of Peru. It’s here that you’ll find the Ausangate Circuit, one of Peru’s top walking trails. This circular route skirts the foothills of the Ausangate peak, which stands at 6,372 m above sea level.

What makes this part of Peru so appealing to hardened trekkers is its remoteness and the outstanding beauty of its scenery. As well as the aforementioned summit there are several other mountains that stand at more than 6,000 m high in this part of the country, in addition to numerous glacial lakes and more than 400 glaciers.

You’ll spend six days hiking on the Ausangate Circuit, which is a strenuous route that involves steep up and downhill sections. You’ll hike through vast high alpine meadows (keep an eye out for the herds of llamas and alpacas that the local Quechuas keep here), cross several high mountain passes and walk around some of the most beautiful alpine lakes you’re ever likely to see – Jatun Pucacocha is particularly memorable thanks to the red color of its water.

Photo source: prahladk5

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