This is why you came to Peru in the first place, right? The obligatory visit to Cusco, letting your body acclimate to the mountain altitude before heading off on your 4 day trek to Machu Picchu? Well, the Andes certainly won’t disappoint; but beyond the Inca Trail and the Lost City (all worthy sights and endeavors, mind you), the mountains surrounding the beautiful capital of the Inca empire house a wealth of amazing adventures just waiting to be experienced, some of which you’ve probably never even heard of. Until now, that is.
If you don’t mind trading historic significance for majestic high-mountain vistas, why not substitute a journey up/around the imposing Mount Salkantay in place of the Inca trail? Or venture along the passes of the higher and much less crowded Lares Valley, which takes adventure seekers through the Brown Andes before arriving (after a… cough, cough… brief bus ride) at the base of Machu Picchu. Those with a taste for more extreme mountaineering can bypass the Lost City altogether, opting instead for the week long climb up and down Nevado Ausangate. Or perhaps the intrigue of Manu National Park’s untapped rainforest to the north will usurp your taste for mountains altogether.
Feel like getting wet? We’ll you’ve come to the right place, my friend. The Apurimac and Urubamba Rivers constitute Cusco’s none-too-shabby selection of white water rafting destinations, replete with the kind of white knuckle rapids and jaw dropping scenery that will make you eternally grateful you decided to pack that helmet attachment and waterproof casing for your camera. Add all this to a healthy array of available cultural adventures (the Sacred Valley, the Moray Ruins, etc.) and you’ve got yourself a long list of reasons to refer to Cusco as Peru’s undisputed adventure capital.