A friend of mine, Ryan, recently went on a 12 day, adventure packed trip to Peru with some of his buddies. When I saw the pictures he had posted to Facebook I instantly knew I had to share this with you guys! Although this was very much a boys trip, as all the exploring, motorbike riding, and hiking, left very little time for relaxation, I would still totally love to adventure in Peru. I hope this this post will give you an idea of places to visit in Peru (if you are planning a trip soon), or inspire you to call up your best friends for an unforgettable travel experience! Ps. Right now (May-September) is the driest season and therefore the best time to travel to Peru!
Continue scrolling down to read more about Ryan's action packed Peruvian adventure!
The obvious Peruvian must see is Machu Picchu. Getting there takes a little while, however there is a main trail called Inca Trail, which leads you straight to town. Although there is a bus that takes about 40 minutes to get to the top of Machu Picchu, I reccomend hiking the ancient Incan trail (which takes a few hours). We hiked the trail at dawn to watch the sunrise at the top of the ruins and let me tell you, there is nothing like. It was one of the most memborable and beautiful parts of the trip. The views are stunning and I loved taking a couple hours to relax and admire the scenery. Other than these breathtaking views and prime photo opportunities, there isn’t very much to do in the town of Macchu Picchu. The small mountain town has some resturants, and a little hot spring area. There is one hotel and multiple hostels, but other than that the ruins are what draws everyone in.
MARAS SALT MINES
In the heart of the sacred valley the Maras salt mines are legendary. Made up of 6,000 salt evaporation pools, and only accessible by one road, this another must see location in Peru. We were lucky to get a quick history lesson and tour from the head contractor.
Rainbow mountain was a trek of a lifetime. We woke up at 3am to take a four hour bus ride to reach a small mountain town. Hiking up the 17,000 foot summit took nearly 4 hours, and was a hell of a climb. Thankfully, we were able to rent horses to ride for a portion of the climb. The horses weren't too expensive, and well worth the temporary relief on our bodies. The climb was very cold, so I definitely recommend layering up for this trek. It's also really important to try to gauge the weather and aim to go during a time when there isn't rain. Going down there are 2 options; taking the way you came or adding an extra three mile hike down the backside of Red mountain valley. We took the latter. You get the full andes experience on the trip down: llama farms, vast gorges of cliffs and rivers. The valley is seemingly endless and you stumble upon rural farms in the middle of the Andes. It's magical.
NOTES FOR YOUR PERUVIAN ADVENTURE
1. Pack light: There is a lot to see and even more to do! You are always on the move. I was able to pack for all environments and weather (from beaches to summits) in just a carry on and a day pack. The weather and environment is constantly changing so be prepared!
2. Leave a few open days: Plan before hand where you want to go and what you want to see, but leave a couple open flexible days because there are so many spontaneous adventures around every corner.
3. Be safe: Drivers in Peru are very aggressive and there is heavy traffic around the airport and main streets so be very cautious of your surroundings. Also, while you may feel safe near your hotel, like any other city, some parts are not as welcoming.
4. Stay hydrated: Drink a ton of water! I also highly recommend altitude pills. You can buy them almost anywhere and they’re really cheap.
5. If you're in Lima: Take a visit to Ayahuasca Restobar for a fun night out with friends. Essentially, it's a mansion with eight different bars and clubs inside. (And the Pisco Sour is the go-to drink everywhere you go)
In summary, Peru was a trip of a lifetime. Along the way I met interesting people from all over the world, who were also exploring. There is no country that can compare to Peru, and this is definitely a once in a lifetime trip. Experiencing the diverse culture, ecosystems, and incredible views will remain one my fondest memories.
Photography and writing via Ryan Leong