Hiking & Trekking
Peru is a mecca for hiking and trekking of all kinds. All mountain towns, from Cusco and Ayacucho to Huaraz and Chachapoyas, have everything from easy half-day hikes to challenging multi-day treks.
Guides & gear
Even if you bring all of your own camping and trekking gear, I recommend hiring a guide for any multi-day treks. Trails in Peru tend to be unmarked and many trekking areas are crisscrossed with alpaca or llama trails that make it easy to lose your way.
If you’re not packing all of your camping gear with you, it’s easy to find a trekking agency that will supply the guide and everything else. Note: The Inca Trail requires a local trekking agency licensed for the Inca Trail.
Multi-day treks require a good level of fitness, both for the rugged, steep trails and for the altitude. Keep in mind that most trails were designed by the Inca and were part of the Qhapaq Ñan, the system of trails that linked most of South America. The trails were not necessarily designed to be the easiest way from point A to point B. They were a functional road system for people who lived at altitude and hiked the mountains every day of their lives.
Cusco region treks tend to focus on visiting archeological sites, though mountains like Ausangate don’t have archeological sites. Treks in Huaraz and Arequipa are more about mountaineering and glaciers, with Arequipa’s added bonus of volcanos.