Hiking on tiny ledges weaving up and down 13,000-foot-high mountains, as you follow the ancient Inca trails to Machu Picchu is the most well-known and popular trip with many Americans. The number of groups allowed on the most popular route is limited, due to ecological reasons, but several adventure travel companies are now trekking on lesser known trails. Trips start at various points along the route from Cuzco to Machu Picchu that the Incas once created while moving between the two cities, so the number of days on the trails varies. No matter which trail you follow, as you walk through the Sun Gate and look down at the so-called Lost City, the view is unforgettable.
Hiking in Colca Canyon, believed to be the deepest canyon in the world, is a wonderful experience because you also get to see the giant condors fly. Views of the desolate countryside, the passes through 14,000-foot-high mountains, and the nature preserves where vicuna roam, during rugged 100-mile drive from Arequipa to the rim of Colca Canyon, make the trip worthwhile. Depending upon where one chooses to stay along the rim, you can hike from tiny town to town, soak in hot springs, go rafting on the river flowing through the canyon, and watch farmers till their lands on terraces first cleared by Inca farmers centuries ago.