The Inca Empire made its home in the Andes and it’s often said that Peru has a unique fusion between history and the natural environment, in what they call “Pachamama”, “mother earth”. For mountain lovers embarking on walking holidays in Peru, you’ll find the scenery comparable with the Himalaya. But it also has an unrivalled history that sets it apart from any other mountainous area in the world.
Machu Picchu is undoubtedly one of the most famous places to visit in Peru. This mist-shrouded Inca citadel is a magnificent archaeological site that stands at almost 8,000ft in the Andes and dates back approximately 500 years. There are several walking routes to the summit including the Salcantay Trek, the Moonstone Trek and the world-renowned Inca Trail.
The Inca Trail is a ‘must’ for any walker and is the most famous trek in South America. It was constructed as a highway connecting Cusco with the lost city of Machu Picchu. The original trail has been carefully and comprehensively restored and, although it can be quite busy at times, it is unquestionably the most rewarding way to arrive at Machu Picchu. When you join one of our Peru trekking holidays, you’ll pass through the impressive mountain landscapes of the Amazonian cloud forest and the snow-capped Andean peaks.
Although our walks in Peru are more than just a simple stroll, they should be within the capability of anyone who is in good health and fitness, and the rewards will certainly justify the physical effort.
Machu Picchu: Placing Peru firmly on the map, Machu Picchu is an ancient archaeological site that can’t be ignored by anyone wanting to explore the country. The ancient citadel was built by the Incas around 500 years ago and is set among the most incredible Andean backdrop of mountains and cloud forests. You can take various routes up to Machu Picchu, but the Inca Trail is arguably the most stunning. Arriving at the Sun Gate on the slopes of Machu Picchu, you’ll enjoy staggering views across the Lost City and the Andes.
Cuzco: Once the capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco is a spellbinding city in the Peruvian Andes and is most famous for its Spanish colonial architecture and archaeological remains. At its centre ornate cathedrals, ancient ruins and agricultural terraces surround the Plaza de Armas in the old city. This is a fascinating place for history lovers wanting to learn more about Peru’s Incan heritage and you could easily spend a day here admiring the architecture. Cusco is also the starting point for the Inca Trail and Salcantay routes.
Amazon Rainforest: The lush canopy of the sprawling Amazon Rainforest is home to some of Peru’s most wonderful wildlife and is a must for nature lovers on walking holidays in Peru. Meandering rivers, lakes and forest trails steer you through the natural habitats of animals such as monkeys, reptiles, giant otters and a whole host of birdlife. As well as exploring on foot, you can also paddle along the waterways in a canoe. This is a unique experience that will jostle your senses as you listen to the sounds of the wild on an extraordinary adventure.
Lima: The city of Lima is the vibrant capital of Peru and is a heady concoction of culture and history, providing a stark contrast against the natural landscapes. There’s no doubt Lima will charm you with its colonial-influenced architecture, coastal backdrop and tropical beats. Dubbed ‘the gastronomic capital of South America’, the city is also home to some of the most sensational food in the world with Peruvian delicacies such as Ceviche, Lomo Saltado, Picarones and Aji de Gallini. Food lovers will be in their element with the wealth of tasty treats on offer.
Lake Titicaca: Lying nearly 4,000 metres up in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is the largest and highest navigable freshwater lake in South America. But this isn’t the only reason it’s caused a stir with both locals and visitors to Peru – it’s believed by the Incans to be the birthplace of the sun, and that’s one impressive claim to fame! The highland lake is overlooked by imposing Andean peaks and strewn across the plateau you’ll find ancient ruins that tell of its past. The locals make a living from selling handmade crafts and even to this day they harvest their crops by hand. If you enjoy delving into the history of the destinations you visit, this is a great place to find out more about the real Peru.
Group of 16, with 12/4 f/m split, aged late 40s to late 60s. Trip is accurately rated on the Exodus scale – so some fairly stretching treks mixed with highly enjoyable steep sections. Everybody got round with no significant difficulty. Weather in mid-March was really nice – pretty warm at times by day but mostly ideal, and chilly but nothing more dramatic than that at night even at higher camps. Lovely inclusive group chemistry with non-stop chatter. Food is terrific – really quite something for a field kitchen. Just when the idea of another tagine is becoming a little less inspirational then along comes Berber omelette with chips to die for. In general camp life is a bit cushier than the notes might suggest – toilet obviously pretty basic but you learn to adapt. Tents are snug but no trouble sleeping after days like that. And the final day has an optional hamam visit in Taroudant – do not even consider turning it down – it’s the real thing, and not the flaky tourist version elsewhere. A glorious experience.
I already submitted a review form and won’t add to the comments made there. But I realsied that I wasn’t prompted to say anything about the two hotels we stayed in (or maybe I missed that). These were: Edom Hotel (Wadi Musa / Petra). This was really excellent. Clean, efficient, well-placed and a pleasure to visit. I have no idea why it is only described as “comfortable” rather than being given a deserved 4* rating. The only minor downisde was no bottled water in rooms. Days Inn Hotel Amman. Well, at least the staff are nice and we got bottled water in the rooms! But in other respects it is poor and certainly not deserving of a 4* rating. Everything is tatty, the corridors and rooms – despite being notionally non-smoking – reek of cigarette smoke (this applied to two visits and two different rooms a week apart) and, on our second visit, the bath had not been cleaned – there was a wet pile of hair in the middle of it. I am sure that Amman can do better than this for the same money.