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Peru is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise with trails winding through an array of land formations, rivers, jungles and climates. If you are seeking a vacation far from the norm and have a hankering for history and culture with a dash of adventure thrown in, then the hiking treks of Peru are perfect for you.

Most trails will offer a spectacular close-up view of the soaring Andes Mountains, and there are a variety of hiking trails which cater to all, from novices to skilled trekkers.

Before embarking on any trek, make sure you have the best hiking gear you can afford. For example, you’ll need to organize hiking boots (remember to wear them in before you go), backpacks, tents and consider clothing options tailored for women and men, such as compression tights for women or trunks for men.

Once you have your gear ready, take your pick from these top five hiking trails in Peru.

The Greatest Hiking Treks in Peru

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The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Retrace the ancient trails made by the Incas, on one of the most popular treks in the world. The challenging Inca Trail lives up to its hype and you are guaranteed to have a grand time exploring ancient tunnels, settlements and Inca ruins.

You can take four or five days to follow the trail as it passes through incredible Andean scenery before descending into the Amazon Jungle. To enjoy this wonder of the Andes, make sure you book your permit early enough. Machu Picchu is your reward at the end.

Machu Picchu

Santa Cruz Trek

If you’re looking for an experience far from the Inca Trail, this is the trek for you. Catch a flight or take an eight to ten-hour bus ride from Lima to the town of Huaraz to begin one of the best alpine treks in the world.

If you’re feeling ambitious, choose the 11-day Huayhuash Circuit to get splendid views of the white Peruvian Peaks. The best time to go on this trek is from April to September, when the weather is at its best. If looking for sleeping bag recommendations see more here.

Lares Trek

This 3-day trek starts outside Cusco, to the east of Machu Picchu and will take you close to some of the Andean farmlands and indigenous Quechua people.

It winds though the illustrious town of Ollantaytambo and you can make your way through the Lares Valley on a path that reaches 15,583ft (4,750m), which is higher than the Inca Trail. Keep an eye out for condors and alpacas on this trail. If looking for recommendations on hiking backpack check more tips here.

Lares Trek

Salkantay Trek

This trail is famous for magnificent flora and fauna. Starting at Sacred Valley and topping out at 13,779ft, it takes you along ancient footpaths where you can delight in the glorious views of one of the most spectacular peaks in Peru.

The Salkantay trek is quite demanding and requires you to be in good physical condition.

Choquequirao Trek

This is the ultimate trek if you are an altitude junkie with a love of history. It will take you through archaeological structures and ruins that have only been partially excavated. This is a demanding trek that can take four to five days to hike, winding though the Willkapampa mountain range and ending at Aguas Calientes.

Next time you are stumped for a holiday destination, why not dust off your hiking boots and book the next flight to Peru? With the fantastic treks described above, you won’t be disappointed.

BACKPACKS WE RECOMMEND: CLICK FOR BAG INFO ↓

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

Mountaintop 65L Internal Frame Backpack

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

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    25 Comments

  1. It would be so interesting to go trekking in Peru. Would you take your own tent or would you stop in simple accommodation?

    • It depends on how you’ve planned it – a lot of the time when you book an actual tour, the tents and equipment will be provided for you. However if you’re organizing a trek DIY you should take your own tent with you.

      You’re in the wilderness once you begin your trek, so it’s tent accommodation, but you can organize guest houses at the start and end 🙂

  2. I so want to trek through Peru. It’s good to know that there are several options and trails to explore for different abilities and sites!

    • Need to find the right person to travel that’s for sure

    • Kelly: Absolutely, there are a really nice range of options so there’s something that almost everyone can enjoy 🙂

      Javier: For sure – though if you’re traveling in a tour group, you can meet people there too 🙂

  3. I LOVVVVVVED Peru when we visited! We actually didn’t do any of these treks though- due to limited time, we ended up taking the train to Machu Picchu instead of doing the Inca Trail. Still memorable (and a lot easier)!

    • Awesome Tamara! It’s a fabulous country! Just means you have a couple of great reasons to plan a return trip at some stage 🙂

  4. Peru has always been near the top of my list! The beauty of the Andes is overwhelming…not to mention visiting Machu Picchu. 🙂

    • Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

  5. I knew that I wanted to go trekking in Peru but now I NEED to go trekking in Peru. There is so much to see and so history. I’ll need to train a bit. Last time I hiked at altitude in Pagosa Springs CO I got winded way too fast. Once I get trained up, perhaps I should take an entire season and do all of these treks. I feel I have to do the Sacred Valley but there is so much more.

    • Perhaps you could start with some of the smaller treks and as you said, work your way up to the more challenging. Definitely a country you could spend forever exploring – I’m sure there is so much history and culture out there which hasn’t even been discovered too!

  6. If only I didn’t develop plantar fasciitis! So I content myself with sight-seeing with the aid of vehicles!

    • Ah, sorry to hear that Carol! You can definitely incorporate some of the more significant sites without the trek attached to it, like catching the train and bus to Machu Picchu 🙂

  7. Machu Picchu and Peru, in general, is one of my biggest traveling dreams. I want to go there as long as I can remember. Hope I have the chance to do so sooner than I can imagine.

    • Definitely consider incorporating some of these treks into your time in Peru – one of the greatest ways to experience the history and forgotten cultures first hand 🙂

  8. I second the Choquequirao Trek. One of my favorites, for sure. If you have the gear and the experience to go on your own, it can be quite cheap (though very challenging). But be prepared to shell out the big bucks if you need to hire a guide.

    • Awesome Dan! The organized tours can definitely start getting up there in price – we personally prefer DIY, but I agree that if you’re a beginner or just getting a feel for what multi day treks are like, a tour guide is probably the best way to go 🙂

  9. So gorgeous. I want to visit. I hope soon so I have to keep this handy.

    • Highly recommend trekking in Peru!

  10. These are great options for trekking, it’s really good to know. I am not that experienced at trekking yet but once I start with something easier, then I wouldn’t mind trekking in Peru since I’ve heard so much about it! I would love to do the Inca Trail in the future.

    • Definitely a beautiful country for trekking, and a great place to work up to. Hope you have the chance to trek the Inca Trail soon!

  11. Great article- trekking in Peru is absolutely incredible! I visited Peru last year and did the Lares trek with Ayni Peru (https://www.ayni-peru.com/lares-trek/). It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and awesome that the trek also had a cultural element. If you’re interested in a mix of trekking and culture, I’d highly recommend Lares!

    • Thanks Emily, and thanks for sharing your link – will jump over now to see what you thought of the Lares trek 🙂

      Happy travels!

  12. I want to visit Peru.

    • It’s a wonderful country, I hope you have the opportunity to travel soon 🙂

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