Want to get off the beaten-path in Peru? Don’t worry, you can always squeeze in a quick visit to Machu Picchu (really, it can be done in just a day). When there’s so much to see in Peru, you’ll wonder why most people don’t venture stray far from the Inca Trail. Here are five trips to get you dreaming . . .
1. Choquequirao– Perched on a saddle between stunning Andean peaks, Choquequirao (or “Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister”) is the type of trip your guides really want to do. The ruins are accessible only by foot which limits traffic and enhances the mystique of this amazing site. You’ll most likely find yourself the only tourists exploring the vast complex of ruins and camping beside the site (can’t do that at Machu Picchu).
2. Cordillera Blanca / Huarez– Where true trekkers get their kicks in Peru. The breathtaking peaks are reminiscent of the Himalayas. Mountaineers and inexperienced trekkers can both find a variety of challenges.
3. Manu– This national park boasts the highest bird, mammal and plant diversity of any park on earth. A spot for people who can forgo a few comforts for one the finest rainforest experiences anywhere.
4. Apurimac River– Considered one of the world’s top ten rafting rivers, the Apurimac cuts through canyon walls twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and offers exciting rapids. A great choice for a shorter rafting trip.
5. Kuelap and Chachapoyas – Kuelap is just one of the many astounding archaeological testaments to a mysterious pre-Incan civilization in northern Peru. The site’s vine draped, towering walls rival the grandeur of even Machu Picchu. The surounding area is dotted with charming Andean towns like Chachapoyas and is criss-crossed by ancient footpaths you can still trek today.