Each region of Peru has incredible terrain thats worth a good hike. In the highlands of the Andes you can see elaborate fortresses and agricultural terraces left behind by the Inca. Go to southern Peru to see ruins left behind by ancient cultures, and see the very beginnings of civilization in South America. Peru also has Amazon reserves, where you can hike through the jungle along the Amazon River to incredibly remote and ecologically diverse parts of the forest.
No matter where you go in Peru, youll find a landscape unlike any other.
1. Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
This is one of the longest treks you can take to Machu Picchu 5 days of hiking and 4 nights camping. The Salkantay trek tends to be a little less crowded than the more popular Inca Trail, and youll see spectacular ruins along the way, as well as the peak of the Salkantay Mountain and steamy hot springs. The highest point on the trek is 13,800 feet (4,1,81 m) above sea level.
Just like the Inca Trail, this hike eventually leads to the ruins of Machu Picchu, and youll get to see this sprawling site from a distance during your hike.
2. Huayna Picchu
Huanya Picchu is a mountain that allows you to have a spectacular view of Machu Picchu. Its a steep hike to the top, but there are some cable railings to help you reach the summit. On the descent you can pass by the Inca Temple of the Moon.
3. Moray and the Salt Mines of Maras
In the midst of the Sacred Valley youll come to Moray, one of the most interesting agricultural designs that the Inca left behind. Moray is a series of concentric circles that form a shallow pit. Historians believe that the Inca used this depression to conduct agricultural experiments to determine which elevation works best for which crops. You can walk on stone steps from one level to the next.
Continue on the path to the salt mines of Maras to see an old-fashioned method for harvesting salt. Youll see rectangles of white set on the rippling slopes of a mountain, filled with salt that has dried in the sun. The Inca first engineered the streams of saltwater from a nearby spring to flow into these terraces, and the modern-day salt miners use the same method.
4. Pisac Ruins
You can climb from the town of Pisac up a hill for 2.5 miles (4 km) to see the Inca ruins that give the town its name. This is an elaborate site that overlooks the Urubamba Valley. Many of the sites temples are still intact. As you explore the site youll pass ceremonial baths and a hills with tombs carved into its side.
While youre in Pisac you should also make sure to stop at the towns incredible open-air marketplace. This is one of the most interesting markets in Peru, and locals gather her to sell handmade crafts and colorful, woven textiles.
To get to Kuélap youll hike through a dense forest with a guide the terrain here is too rugged and overgrown to navigate on your own. Eventually youll reach the fortress of Kuélap, where indigenous people managed to defend their lofty perch from the Inca for many years.
The ruins of Ollantaytambo have an elaborate ceremonial center. This site is perched on a slope overlooking the Sacred Valley, and from here youll also be able to see the Patacancha and Urubamba rivers. Youre also supposed to be able to see the shape of a mans face in the peaks of the surrounding mountains.
7. National Huascarán National Park
National Huascarán National Park covers 840,158 acres (340,000 ha) in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. Its tropical forest has the highest elevation of anywhere in the world, and the highest mountain peach reaches 22,135 feet (6,747 m). Glaciers and turquoise lakes make this park an especially enchanting place to go for a hike. If you want to spend 4 to 5 days hiking in the park, consider signing up for a guided hike called the Santa Cruz Trek.
8. Chaparri National Park
In Chaparri National Park you can see a dry forest and the imposing Chaparri Mountain. This 84,000-acre (34,000-ha) national park provides a habitat for several endangered animals, including the spectacled bear and the Andean condor.
9. Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is an incredibly deep canyon with a river running through it. You can hike along the edge of the canyon for a breathtaking view, and go to a lookout spot to survey the sky for rare Andean condors. Near the canyon you can also find traditional villages that you can visit as part of your hike.
10. Tambopata National Reserve
Tambopata National Reserve covers a whopping 678,773 acres (274,690 ha) of Amazon rainforest. More than 600 species of bird and over 1,000 species of butterfly live here. Explore this area by hiking to the edge of Lake Sandoval and continuing your tour by boat.
One of the most popular places to hike to in this reserve is the Colpa Colarado salt lick. Here you can see colorful macaw parrots gathering to lick the salty clay.
Zach Smith is CEO of Anywhere.
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