The great Andes mountain chain stretches the entire length of the South American, and made up of dozens of individual mountain groups known as Cordilleras.
In Peru, these snow-capped peaks have been the source of superstition, frustration and inspiration to mankind for thousands of years.
And modern-day outdoor enthusiasts have found that walking around mountains is as much of a thrill as climbing them. For these trekkers, Peru is a paradise.
Mountain Cultures: Except for the most remote and rugged areas, the Peruvian Andes offer little in the way of untouched "wilderess". Only 23 percent of Peru´s land is arable, and every fertile meter is farmed by local people. For most trekkers, then, "getting way" means leaving behind the 20th century and becoming acquainted with an indigenous lifestyle centuries old.
The formidable Peruvian Sierra, or mountainous region, was tamed by the Incas, whose terraced system of agriculture enabled large areas of steep yet fertile land to be cultivated.
This unique system is still employed in some areas, and countless ramains of ancient terracing give an insight into the productivity achieved by this civilizations.
The mountain Quechua, or campesinos, today cultivate numerous small plots of ancestral land. During growing season the hillsides are plowed in a variety of geometric shapes and , as the crops begin to mature, the mountains are carpeted in colors ranging from deep green to warm gold. It is into these areas that trekkers wander along ancient paths, occasionally pausing to allow a herd of llamas or goats or sheeps to scramble by, crossing high Andean passes at altitudes above 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), and marveling at the glacier-covered peaks which serve as a spectacular backdrop.
It is the very presence of humanity that makes trekking in Peru a unique experience.
There is always the opportunity to stops and converse in simple words or hand signals with local inhabitants. Many of the older Quechuas, especially the women, speak only a little Spanish - Quechua, the language of the Incas, is more often heard. Though the highland people are typically reticent with strangers, curious children or brave adults may initiate a conversation by wanting to know where you are from, what´s your name, or do you have any sweets- the last question being the most relavant.
The Peruvian Andes offer unlimited trekking possibilities. Still, trekkers are drawn to a few special places.
This hike is the best alternative for the Inca Trail. If you didn´t find spaces available for the Classic Inca Trail, we recommend to book the Salkantay Trek.