Many tourists are drawn to Peru for the iconic Machu Picchu. Who wouldn’t be? After all, it is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. While Machu Picchu might be your main draw to the country, there are many other adventures in Peru to enjoy. Peru is home to dozens of noteworthy outdoor activities that are equally breathtaking, figuratively AND literally.
A quick disclaimer: many outdoor adventures in Peru require a lot of change in elevation, which can result in altitude sickness. We always recommend travel insurance, but because altitude sickness is such a prominent issue for tourists visiting Peru, make sure to read the fine print and purchase one that will cover this if you think it might be an issue for you. That said, if you plan to engage in these activities make sure to take a day or two to get acclimated before setting off on these adventures.
Trek the Salkantay Trail
If you are someone who likes to take the road less traveled, you might want to consider hiking the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu instead of the Inca Trail. While it might be less traveled because of how long and challenging it is, this will be an adventure of a lifetime. You can expect it to take about 5 days to reach Machu Picchu. However, the ice-capped mountains and views along the way are equally as beautiful as the destination.
Surf along the Pacific Coastline
With all of the mountains dominating Peru’s landscape, it’s easy to forget about the miles of coastline Peru also has to offer. If you’re ready for a beach day, head to the coast to surf the Pacific waves along Peru. You can find everything from big breaks to beginner waves. Just remember your wetsuit, the water can be on the colder side in Peru.
Hike Lake Humantay
Another great outdoor adventure near Cusco is visiting Lake Humantay. This is a short and easy day trip. The lake is a beautiful emerald green, getting its color from the runoff of the mountains that surround it. You really can’t beat these instagrammable views.
See the Rainbow Mountains
If you are in Cusco, you’ll likely want to visit this other unique landscape known as the Rainbow Mountains. These mountains got their nickname “Rainbow Mountains” because of the vibrant coloring. The best time to visit this destination is when it is sunny, so a good idea would to watch the weather forecast during your time there and book it through your hostel or accommodation. We recommend visiting with a tour, since there are regulations about visiting. Keep in mind too that some of the mountains are less touristed than others!
Go sandboarding in Huacachina
Tired from all the trekking? Looking for a change of pace? Look no further than sandboarding in the desert. Huacachina is a small town about four hours outside of Lima that is surrounded by vast sand dunes perfect for sandboarding. Huacachina makes a perfect day or weekend trip to escape the city and experience the best of South America’s desert.
Rafting in Urubamba
Adrenaline seekers can’t miss out on this opportunity. Peru is home to the Urubamba river, absolutely perfect for white-water rafting. The forceful waters flowing through the Andes will have you in for a wild ride and you’ll finish in a beautiful lush jungle. What’s not to love?
Whether you are trekking, sandboarding, surfing or rafting, Peru was made for adventure seekers. Pack your best hiking boots and head out—check out our cheap flights to Peru to get you there for less.