Peru Adventure Tours
Peru is synonymous with mountains. Seen from above, Peru’s territory resembles a colossal sheet of wrinkled paper. This is due to the presence of the magnificent Andes, which cut across Peru from north to south, molding the landscape and the people.
The Andes form the largest concentration of snow peaks in the Americas. It is an intricate system of large and small mountain ranges – approximately 20 of them – crowned by a thousand summits that tower over 5,000 m.a.s.l. and more than 30 that rise above 6,000 m.a.s.l. These make Peru a paradise for hikers. Practically the entire sierra, including valleys, plateaus and mountain ranges include trekking circuits of various degrees of difficulty.
Some of these circuits are:
» PERU TREKKING AND CLIMBING
River rafting in Cusco
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
One of the main attractions along the route is the web of ancient settlements built in granite rock by the Incas like the Wiñayhuayna and Phuyupatamarca immersed in an overpowering natural scenery. Hundreds of species of orchids, multicolored birds and dreamlike landscapes provide the ideal backstage for a route that every hiker should walk at least once.
White Cordillera Mountain Range (North and South)
Located 410 kilometers northeast of Lima (7-8 hours by bus), the White Cordillera is the world’s highest tropical mountain chain. It stretches 180 km from north to south and splits the eastern and western headwaters of the Andes in this region. Easily reachable by a paved road off Pativilca (210 km north of Lima) that leads to the Callejon de Huaylas, the White Cordillera welcomes every year thousands of mountaineers eager to conquer its summits or walk through its beautiful protected area within the Huascaran’s National Park, a paradise of snow-capped mountains, 663 glaciers, 269 emerald-green lakes and 41 rivers, 33 archaeological sites included.
Its flora and fauna are the added attraction, featuring almost 800 varieties of blossoming flowers including the Puya Raimondi and the ancient quenuak and cacti forests unique to these mountain scenarios. Andean condors, vicuña, puma, taruca or Andean deer and well over a hundred species of birds can be spotted in the area.
Huayhuash circuit in Huaraz
Located about 50 km south of the Cordillera Blanca, and 250 km northeast of Lima, Huayhuash is one of the least known mountain ranges in the world and at the same time one of the most beautiful. It stretches along 30 km from north to south and includes a string of gorgeous snow-capped mountains, most notably the Yerupaja, and dozens of glaciered lakes of unparalleled beauty like Carhuacocha, Jahuacocha, Mitucocha, among others. The full trekking circuit that, according to experts is one of the world’s most spectacular routes, stretches along some 165 kilometers (100 miles) and can be walked in about 12 days.
Only one route goes full circle around the range. Two days after leaving Chiquian (3,400 m.a.s.l), travelers will reach the heart of the range. The route climbs over five mountain passes and crosses charming peasant farming and herder’s communities like Llamac, Pocpa, Huayllapa and Pacllon, to complete the northern section of the loop. The route then continues along the eastern side and finishes on the western face of the mountains.
A shorter circuit (45 kilometers) links Chiquian to Jahuacocha Lake. The trek sets off from the villages of Llamac and Pocpa and finishes at Pacllon. Extraordinary glaciers, crystal-clear lakes, herds of llama and alpaca, hospitable residents and, most of all, pristine landscapes are the reward awaiting those willing to venture in the discovery of this unique trekking circuit.
Llama Trek Expedition in Olleros – Chavin
A new and interesting way to trek, llama-packing is part of the Llama 2000 Project, an initiative undertaken by a group of peasant farmers from the Callejon de Huaylas and the Mountain Association of the Olleros-Chavin area. The initiative is designed to promote ecotourism in the Ancash department by reviving its traditions. Llama and alpaca, the traditional Andean beasts of burden, captivate the walkers’ attention during their trip along some of the most spectacular trails in the White Cordillera and Huascaran National Park.
The route starts in the charming town of Olleros (30 kilometers south of Huaraz) where llamas are loaded with the necessary travel gear. During 4 days of walking and enjoying the scenic beauty of the area and the views of snow-capped peaks like Shaqsha (5,703 m), Cashan (5,686 m) and Tuctupunta (5,343 m), travelers have the opportunity of sharing the customs and traditions of local peasant communities at Shongo and Nunupata. The route ends at the splendid archaeological site of Chavin de Huantar, built to serve as the administrative and ceremonial center of the first pre-Columbian civilization that spread over most of what is now Peru.
However trekking does not necessarily demand mountain ranges or steep slopes. Some sites along the Peruvian Pacific seaboard combine the inmensity and deceiving emptiness of the desert with a ragged coastline to create scenery of attractiveness. One of such sites is the Paracas desert, located 250 km south of Lima, where yellowish salt pepper plains, fine sand dunes, wind-eroded cliffs, and an extraordinarily rich sea provide fishing grounds for huge colonies of sea birds and seals in a unique environment on the Peruvian coast.
Cloud Forest Trekking
On the other side of the Andes Mountains, down the abrupt slopes that overlook the east of Peru in the steamy Amazon plain, lies the high jungle.
A land of impenetrable forests, it is considered the last haven of unique plants and rare endangered animals like the spectacular bear, the dwarf deer and the yellow-tailed woolly monkey.
Walking tour to Gocta waterfall
One route in this area leads to the wondrous Kuelap, the Amazon jungle enclave of the Sachapuya people, renowned for the spectacular clay rock fortified walls they built around this citadel, built at 3,000 m.a.s.l. on top of an imposing rocky ridge.
Kuelap is the most important archaeological attraction in Peru’s northeast and consists of a beautifully engineered citadel sitting on top of two huge superimposed platforms. For its sheer size (584 by 110 m) and characteristics, the site is comparable to Cusco’s Sacsayhuaman.
To reach Kuelap, travelers must head Jaen after a 1 hour flight from Lima, then 3 hours by bus to Chachapoyas. From Chachapoyas, they head by road to Tinco in the Utcubamba Valley where you’ll first go to the shiny new Estación de Embarque (boarding station). probably you will have to hang around here for a bit while your group waits its turn to board a minibus for the short ride up to the cable car platform (Andén 1). Once up at the cable car platform, hop into one of the eight-seat cabins — of which there are 26 in total — for the 20 minute ride up to the upper platform (Andén 2).
Once you arrive up at Andén 2 and the Kuélap visitor center, your guide will take you on the walk up to Kuélap itself. It’s maybe a 20- to 30-minute walk; you can hire a horse if needed.