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Top 5 off the beaten track activities in Peru

Top 5 off the beaten track activities in Peru

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 05, 2015

When you think of Peru, the first thing that will come to mind is probably the iconic city of Machu Picchu. But this fascinating country has so much more to explore. The beautiful coasts, rugged mountains, and Peru’s Amazon help to make up a diverse landscape that offers exciting adventures.

Here are five off-the-beaten-track activities that can help you make the most of your Peru trip.

1. Surfing Mancora’s Beaches

Some of the most beautiful beaches on the South American Pacific coast can be found in Peru, right next to the Ecuadorian border. Mancora is an absolute must-see, where you can mix with the locals and meet young travelers from all over the world.

Visitors here tend to come for one big thing though: surfing.

The best weather and waves are in March, August, or December, when the waters invite you to grab your board and show off your surfing skills – or, if that’s not you, simply have a nice swim and relax on the beach. If you aren’t an experienced wave rider you can also try the slightly more manageable sport of stand-up-paddle-surfing, which has become very popular in this area. Be sure to visit the small sea-side towns after your day at the beach.

2. Rafting in Lunahuaná

Just a two hour drive from bustling Lima is the beautiful, sunny mountain village of Lunahuaná. On my trip, I had the thrilling experience of whitewater rafting on the nearby Cañete River, where the rapids can get up to a Class 4. Unfortunately (and uncommonly) for us, we had some difficulties with our boat, but we were helped out of the water by some locals, who fortunately had ropes with them on the shores.

Apart from an adrenaline-pumping river excursion, you can also enjoy a calming horseback riding trip and a refreshing Pisco Sour; a world-famous cocktail invented in Peru. You can even visit a real Pisco plantation and see how Peruvians brew their national drink. Gather some friends during the day to enjoy all of these activities, and end the night perfectly with a sumptuous Peruvian barbecue.

3. Culture and history in Chiclayo

The romantic city of Chiclayo is a 10-hour bus ride north of Lima. The museums here are full of fascinating information about the Incan empire and their predecessors: the Chiclayo. One of the many highlights is the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, which is one of the most famous museums in all of Peru. Its pyramid-like architecture reflects the former sanctuaries of the Moche culture.

Slightly smaller, but also worth a visit, is the nearby Bruning Museum. Here you’ll find impressive artifacts including metals, ceramics, and textiles, and also the “Gold Room”, which is full of the riches from the old empires. It’s great to explore the Inca monument, Huaca Rajada, where you can spend the whole day walking up and down ancient Incan trails. After your cultural and historical visits, I strongly recommend that you wait for Chiclayo’s fishermen, who return from work during lunchtime and serve some of the best ceviche you’ll find in all of Peru.

4. Biking and Trekking in Cabanaconde

Nestled in the mountains of Southern Peru is the famous Colca Canyon. This huge landmark is a favorite among travelers seeking an adventurous experience, as well as the chance to enjoy some beautiful natural scenery. Some of the most common activities in the canyon include trekking, hiking, and mountain biking, and there are many places nearby to rent the appropriate equipment. Temperatures here hover around 30 degrees celsius (70 F.) year-round, and after some exhilarating exploration you will surely be happy to arrive someplace refreshing.

Well, you’re in luck!

After an approximate three-hour hike down (and six-hours back up) you will find the hidden oasis that is the village of Cabanaconde. Not far from the well-known viewpoint ”Cruz del Condor”, you can find a “paradise in the desert”, a cool-watered swimming pool. Plan to spend a relaxing night there, but if you don’t, then be sure to make it out of the canyon before sunset as it can get very cold at night. For the lazier ones among us, don’t worry, there are also mules that can help you back up the trail.

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