Trekking is not just about mountains and rugged terrain. Some parts of the Peruvian coast combine the vast and apparently empty desert with the jagged coastline to create extraordinarily beautiful natural scenarios for hikers. One such trekking spot is the Paracas desert south of Lima and Bayóvar, in the northern department of Piura.
On the other side of the Andes, along the steep eastern slopes, drenched by the constant rains from the Amazon plains, spreads the cloud forest. This land of impenetrable forests is believed to be the last refuge for a unique wildlife (orchids, bromeliads and tree-born ferns) and unique species on the verge of extinction (the spectacled bear, the dwarf deer and the yellow-tailed choro monkey). This area formed part of the vast and complex network of pre-Colombian roads that linked the highlands to the jungle. One of these routes leads to Kuélap, the Chachapoyas fortress deep in the jungle department of Amazonas.
Other fascinating routes in the eastern Andes include the trails that descend to the east of Cusco and Puno, and make up spectacular, little-known circuits for trekking enthusiasts.
The peninsula and bay of Paracas, in the department of Ica, is criss-crossed by countless trails which make for first-rate trekking circuits. Plains of yellow saltpetre, shifting sand dunes and extraordinarily rich fishing grounds are the stomping ground for vast flocks of marine bird species and sea lions, which have created a unique environment along the Peruvian coast.
The far north of Peru is home to Bayóvar and its unspoiled beaches, a natural treasure of the department of Piura. Deep ravines, carved out by rivers long since dried up but which every 50 years spring to life to violently reshape the landscape; forests of twisted carob trees; flocks of migratory birds and a windswept desert are just some of the area's attractions.
If willing to practice trekking in Peru you should consider these recommendations:
- Climbers and hikers should get information on the state of trails and the degree of difficulty of the climbing route.
- Bear in mind that local inhabitants have different notions of time and distance. The classic response "aquicito nomás" (just around the corner) can mean long hours of trekking up steep slopes.
- Do not pull up or cut live plants or light fires within highland forests.
- Do not move trail signposts.
- Do not hunt or fish during the dry season (trout fishing ban).
- Always inform local authorities, trekking or mountain climbing associations in the area of your entry into mountainous areas.
- Never go on climbs or treks unaccompanied.
- Always bring back litter. Leaving it on the mountainside can harm the fragile environment.
- Sunscreen is recommended, plus warm clothing. High altitude sickness known locally as soroche can set in at over 2,500 m.a.s.l. Take precautions by resting the first day, drink plenty of liquids and avoid heavy food and alcohol.
|Trekking and Hiking in Peru Articles
Inca trail to Machu Picchu Trek - Cusco
Trekking in the Cordillera Blanca - Huaraz
Trekking in the Cordillera Huayhuash - Huaraz
Llama Trek Chavín to Olleros - Huaraz
Trekking in the Colca Valley - Arequipa
The Salkantay Loop - Cusco
Trekking beyond the mountains