Backpacking Route through Peru – Tips & Tricks

You are curious about Peru and have decided to make a tour through the beautiful country in South America. The only thing you are missing for your happiness is a backpacking route? Then you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled some info about the destination. Furthermore, a lovely group of students from the University of Bremen has worked out a backpacking route through Peru for you – more precisely through the south of Peru – which you can do alone or even with friends. So let’s go!

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Why Peru?

Peru is undoubtedly one of the most colorful countries in the world: the blue of Lake Titicaca, the yellow of the Ica desert, the green of the rainforest, the white of the glaciers in the Andes – and of course the colorful textiles and costumes that reflect all the colors of the rainbow.

Rebecca Hesse

Probably Peru’s most famous landmark is the ruined city of Machu Picchu. You probably have a picture of the breathtaking scenery in your mind’s eye: the terraced city built by the Incas in the 15th century between two mountain peaks. The mountains are the same-named Machu Picchu (old mountain) and Huayna Picchu (young mountain). At an altitude of almost 2,500 meters, the city towers in the Andes and provides a unique backdrop. It is a UNESCO World Heritage historic site that is definitely worth a visit.

Peru makes mountain and hiking hearts beat faster and attracts travelers with its magical places. By the way, the oldest city of the American continent is located in Peru: Caral. It was built in 2327 BC and is located near Lima, the capital. The metropolis has about 8,570,000 inhabitants and is the most important economic and cultural center of Peru with numerous universities, colleges, museums and monuments. Have you ever been to Lima?

Picture by mailanmaik on Pixabay
Picture by Lenin Oscar Calsina Condori on Pixabay

Backpacking tour through Peru

Lea Bertram from the student group at the University of Bremen describes a unique route for you:

First stop: Cusco

Our trip starts in Cusco – the former capital of the Inca Empire – which now serves as the center of the Andes and at the same time as the starting point for most trips in the south of the country. The arrival to our first destination is from Germany by plane. Cusco airport is 20 minutes by car or 30 minutes by bus from the accommodation Qosqo Maki. It stands for education and equality and has been supporting children and young people living on the streets of Cusco since 1990. Qosqo Maki gives them the opportunity to lead a self-determined life, to take responsibility and to strengthen their personal skills.

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From Cusco, a trip to Machu Picchu is definitely worthwhile. The best way to get there is by PeruRail. This is a train that goes to the small town of Aguas Calientes, which is located at the foot of Machu Picchu. From there, it’s a two-hour hike to get to the top of the mountain. For first-time visitors to Machu Picchu or those inexperienced in hiking, a guided tour is recommended. There are countless local providers for this. But also Cusco’s old town has a lot to offer. It consists of many historic buildings, which is why a sightseeing tour with a local is a good idea.

The sacred valley in Ollantaytambo

From Cusco, it takes 1.5 hours by bus to get to Ollantaytambo. This is a large valley in the middle of the mountains. You can see salt terraces, small villages, ruins and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The next socialbnb Mi Pequeña Ayuda is also located here. This institution supports children and young people with disabilities or low income in different areas (e.g. education, health, sports, social, etc.). Furthermore, there is a community development program, an educational program, as well as health and social welfare campaigns that enable the children and youth to improve their quality of life.

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Chivay – the gateway to the Colca Canyon

From Ollantaytambo we go quite a bit south to Chivay. You will arrive by car (9 hours) or by bus (10 hours). Chivay is the entrance to the Colca Canyon – the second deepest canyon in the world, which you should definitely have seen on your backpacking route through Peru.

The accommodation Intiwawa Colca – Casa del Inka fights poverty in local villages by providing children and young people with tools to form an autonomous community where Intiwawa as an organization is no longer needed. Children and parents should have the opportunity to improve their standard of living and realize their dreams. Another goal of this organization is to combat domestic violence, which is not uncommon. To achieve these goals, Intiwawa carries out projects in the areas of education and health promotion, as well as strengthening socio-cultural and environmental values.

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Arequipa

Arequipa is located 100 kilometers from Chivay. By bus, the journey takes about 3.5 hours. Here you will find the monastery founded in 1579, which is rather a small town in the center. A visit with a local guide is worthwhile, because he can tell you everything about the history. Also to be found is the socialbnb Intiwawa Arequipa, which belongs to the previous socialbnb in Chivay and follows the same values and goals.

Picture by socialbnb
Picture by socialbnb

The rainforest of Puerto Maldonado

From Arequipa you will go to Puerto Maldonado. While the fastest way to get there is 4.5 hours by plane, you can also drive 13.5 hours by car or bus to avoid a domestic flight and enjoy the scenery with a few stops in between. Puerto Maldonado is close to the border with Bolivia. Here you will find the rainforest, which is also the starting point for excursions into the wilderness.

An hour from Puerto Maldonado is the last socialbnb of our trip Sustainable Amazon – Finca Las Piedras. The organization focuses on conserving the Amazons’ natural resources through sustainable agriculture, biological research and monitoring, as well as engagement and education.

Picture by socialbnb
Picture by socialbnb

From here, it’s worth taking a trip to the Puente Billinghurst, Peru’s longest bridge at 723 meters, which crosses the Rio Madre de Dios and also serves as a symbol of the city. You can explore the rainforest on foot or take a comfortable boat tour.

From Puerto Maldonado airport, we finally return home after an unforgettable trip and with many great memories.

Picture by jmarti20 on Pixabay

Thanks for this great backpacking route, Lea! There is nothing stopping you from your adventure – all that’s left to do is pack. Feel free to check out our backpacking packing list here to make sure you don’t forget any important items on your trip to and through Peru. Sign up for our free newsletter today and get a monthly chance to win an overnight stay at a socialbnb of your choice.

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