Ready to experience a major rush in one of South America’s top action-packed hotspots? Find out how to paraglide, piranha fish, and paddleboard your way through Peru.
Looking for an action-packed destination with wallet-friendly prices, a variety diverse landscapes and a spirit of adventure to fuel your escapades? Look no further than Peru, a South American destination that’s quickly become a magnet for thrill-seekers on a budget. From hiking trips in the Andean highlands to aquatic missions deep within in the Amazon, there’s no shortage of incredible, affordable excitement on offer in Peru. All you’ll need is a sturdy daypack, a few soles and in certain cases, advanced bookings.
Adventure Mission #1: Hike the Inca Trail
Indeed, all Inca roads lead to Machu Picchu, but there’s one route that sets hiker hearts afire across the globe—the classic Inca Trail. And there’s good reason: Approaching the Lost City of the Incas from the iconic Sun Gate makes the cut on so many bucket lists. It’s four days of hardcore hiking aside ancient archaeological sites, awe-inspiring panoramas and antsy llamas. Plus there’s the exclusivity factor; only 500 permits per day are issued to authorized companies, so prior advanced planning and reservations are essential. (The four-day classic IncaTrail from $600, Llama Path )
Adventure Mission #2: Stand-Up Paddleboarding in the Tambopata Jungle
Balance has never seemed more important than in hours when you’re paddleboarding down the Tambopata River in the heart of the Peruvian jungle. After all, in this same body of water, you can catch the gleaming eyes of dozens of caimans, the South American cousin of the crocodile. The good news? You don’t have to worry about getting snapped up by river monsters. Safety is key at the Tambopata Research Center, and your specialist guide is laughing as he paddles past. ($90 as an add-on activity, included in six-day adventure packages from $1,226 with Rainforest Expeditions )
Adventure Mission #3: Paraglide over Lima
Sightseeing in Lima is easy—especially when you’re doing it from the sky. Avoid traffic jams and street-level hassles and join the paragliders taking off daily from Raimondi Park in the nation’s coastal capital. Flights depart the neighborhood of Miraflores and soar over skyscrapers and surfers en route to the bohemian Barranco district and back again. And you can relive your high-adrenaline, high-altitude city tour over and over thanks to readily available GoPro rentals. (150 soles or $53USD per flight, GoPro rental from 80 soles or $28USD with perufly.com )
Adventure Mission #4: Sandboard in Huacachina
Already love snowboarding? Try the sand-based cousin to one of the world’s most popular adventure sports. While the colder version may be more ubiquitous in the US, sandboarding reins supreme in Huacachina, a tiny desert oasis town that’s located four hours south of Lima. Tour guides will direct you to sit inside a cage-like buggy and take you so far into the dunes that you can no longer see civilization. Then, they’ll unleash you with a board and a candlestick (the latter is used to add speed to the bottom of your board). After that, your guides wave goodbye; they’ll see you all the way at the bottom of the massive dune. Have fun getting down! (Two-hour dune buggy and sandboarding trip from 30 Peruvian Soles/$10USD with Banana’s Adventures )
Adventure Mission #5: Piranha Fish in the Amazon
Feeling super brave? Cast a fishing line into piranha-infested waters in a remote Amazon tributary outside Iquitos. Later, you can swim in the main river, if you dare. Though your guide will reassure you that your toothy victims don’t venture into deep waters, your rapid heart rate may indicate otherwise! Piranha fishing is just one of many activities packaged into three days of jungle adventures at the Heliconia Lodge. (Three-day tours from $360 with Viator )
Adventure Mission #6: ATV Ride in Paracas
This is not the speed limit-enforced, bumper-to-bumper ATV trail ride you may have taken elsewhere in the world. No, this is the kind of off-roading, wheelie-popping adventure ATVs were made for. Tear through the haunted desert landscape at whatever speed you please, but take care to avoid the fossil graveyards, dramatic cliffs, and occasional seabirds you’ll want to stop and admire. It’s likely you’ll have the entire Paracas National Reserve to yourself, saved for a few hearty visitors taking in the park’s dramatic beaches, including the only one in Peru to boast red sand. (Three-hour tours from $40)
Did you know that there are such a variety of adventure activities on offer in Peru? Let us know which one you’re most pumped to try in the comments section below!
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research, talk to local guides, and use your best judgment.
- See more at: World's Best Places to Go River Rafting
Alexandra Baackes is a traveling writer, designer, and underwater videographer. She is currently in her third year of living as a full-time nomad -- follow along at alexinwanderland.com!
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