Cusco is a region characterized by it´s history and the very old culture of the Incan Empire. You can experience tours of this type to know and discover tourist attractions that reflect on this glorious past. But Cusco is also a region ideal for adventure sports. The tourism surrounding adventure, ecoturism, and sports tourism are starting to boom in recent years.
For this reason, if what you are looking for is to experience adventure sports in Cusco, this post is to give you all of the details you need. We will also give recommendations of the best tours for you to see incredible archeological sites, experience Incan communities and experience extreme sports in natural magical environments, of which only Cusco can offer.
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What types of adventure sports can you practice in Cusco?
This is a list of the top 10 adventure sports you can experience in Cusco and all of the details for you to know where you can practice and how to contract companies for these types of activites.
It should be noted that most of these sports are practice in the Sacred Valley and in the region of Cusco, not many are in the city. But, they can be reached very quickly and at a low cost to most destinations.
Depending on the adventure that you choose to go on, you might experience tourism sites full of history and culture. Either way, your experiences at these locations we can assure will be completely satisfactory.
The Adventure Sports you can experience are the following:
- Fish in the Apurímac River
- Horseback riding in the Sacred Valley
- ATV trails in Maras and Moray Sites
- Bicycling in Abra Málaga
- Rock climbing around Sacsayhuamán
- Zip lining in the Sacred Valley
- Rafting in the Vilcanota River
- Bungee Jumping in Cusco, Poroy
- Paragliding in the Sacred Valley
- Trekking at Machu Picchu
Fish in the Apurímac River
One of the most important rivers in Peru is the River Apurímac. The characteristics of the waters create for an ideal river for fishing and rafting. In the Apurímac there is an abundance of trout and diverse sizes of fish that are typical to the waters of the Cordillera de los Andes. Generally they offer tours for one day that includes transportation, tackle, rods, bait (all of the necessary elements for fishing), lunch, and a specialized guide.
The tours can be contracted through the internet or in tour agencies in the city of Cusco. The prices vary according to what they offer and the demand. In the slow season it is obviously more economical to buy a tour. We do recommend that you bring rain gear or a poncho because rain is very common in the region, especially during the months of October-March.
Horseback Riding in the Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley offers beautiful, unforgettable, and impressive landscapes. You will have the opportunity to experience them riding through the valleys and the mountains.
We can assure you that this is an incredible experience. This is a good activity for groups of friends, couples, and also families. It is an option for adults and children with or without riding experience.
In general, the tours are a duration of half a day or a whole day, depending on the option you choose. We will say that there are many options for horseback riding and tours that include everything necessary.
Do not miss the possibility of climbing mountains, touring the valley on the side of the Urubamba River, traveling through ancient Inca trails and visit typical towns of Cusco.
A tour of this type that we recommend is the horse trek that leaves from Ollantaytamo in the direction of Inti Punku. The ride lasts almost all day, but will reach the top of the mountain from which you can see the entire valley, as the Incas did.
Tours can be arranged online or in Cusco.
ATV Trails in Maras and Moray
A few kilometers from Cusco you can practice one of the adventure sports most chosen by travelers from around the world. It consists of touring in ATV touristic sites and archaeological parks of the Sacred Valley.
This adventure will take you to the village of Chinchero, a complex archeological site of Moray and the Salt Mines of Maras. The distance in between these places is only a few kilometers and the landscapes between them are amazing.
Moray is an old Incan agricultural laboratory, to this day still a mystery to those who investigate it; the salt mines of Maras, is north of the village, and is 3 thousand meters above sea level. Maras is between the moutains, and is one of the moust traditional towns in Cusco, a perfect place to buy typical textiles.
Generally the tours last around 5 hours and they will provide everything that you will need for the activities. They also provide transportation and a guide. You can contact them through the internet or in the city of Cusco. A recommendation we do have is to pay attention to whether or not your tour includes the entrance ticket to Maras and Moray, as sometimes it will not be, and it will cost you extra.
Bicycling in Abra Málaga
One of the adventures that is the most adrenaline fueled is the descent by bicycle from Nevavdo Veronica. The descent starts at an altitude of 4,200 meters above sea level. There are tours that will bring the bikes up to Ollantaytamo and other to Santa Teresa. The descent is indescribable. You will start in the mist and the cold, and continue downwards into warmth and vegetation and the jungle forest. It´s almost a 3 hour descent along an asphalt, and well marked, albeit narrow, path. If it´s a rainy day, the trip is even more extreme, and more interesting.
The tours include bicycles, equipment, transportation to the location, lunch, and a tour guide. It is not necessary to be an expert cyclist to have this adventure. A recommendation of ours is to bring a backpack, to wear comfortable clothes, and to pack water and a snack.
Rock Climbing Around Sacsayhuamán
If you are a lover of climbing, this is an excellent option in the surrounding areas of Cusco city, in the ruines of Sacsayhuaman. This is an impressive archeological site where it is permitted to practice climbing over it´s monumental stones. The fortress allows for experimentation for all types of travellers. There exists many different routes of varying difficulties. If you´re a beginner climber, don´t worry, you don´t need to be an expert, only to be encouraged.
The stretches for those with less experience are at a height of 30 meters. In general, the tours last around a half day and include safety equipment, private transportation, and a professional guide. This adventure is ideal for those to experience with friends.
But this archeological site is not the only option, there are many other alternatives for climbing in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Ziplining in the Sacred Valley
Zipling is a sport full of adrenaline that consists of descending at high speeds fastened to an inclined steel cable. It is a very popular sport in Cusco and can be experienced in many parts of the Sacred Valley, where you can appreciate many impressive landscapes.
One of the options includes 7 cables that cary in length. This sport can be enjoyed by people of all ages, because you do not need any special preparation aside from willingness and courage. Tours can be arranged in Cusco or on the internet and they offer transportation, safety equipment, lunch, and a guide.
One of the best sites to zipline is Santa Teresa, not very far from Cusco, and only 20 kilometers from Machu Picchu archeological site.
Rafting the Vilcanota River
Without a doubt one of the most important rivers in Cusco is Vilcanota, also called Urubamba (a separate stretch) since it travels in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The currents that this magnificent river has to offer are ideal conditions for a canoe or for rafting. The levels of difficulty, according to the area of the river, range from 3 to 5 on a scale of 0-5. The journey through the river can last 2 hours on average. It is not necessary to have experience because it has all the corresponding safety measures, but it does require courage to be delivered to the river stream. The tours are contracted in Cusco or online and include transportation, equipment, lunch and a tour guide.
Keep in mind that during that rainy seasons (October – March) it is recommended that only travelleres with experience rafting go on this trip. Otherwise, April-September the river is much lower, and better for the average consumer.
Bungee Jumping in Cusco, Poroy
Inside the region of Cusco you can experience bungee jumping, maybe the most exhilirating extreme sport of them all! There is a sports center a few kilometers outside of Cusco that has a suspended platform 122 meters high. This is considered the most high bungee jumping platform in all of Latin America. This activity can be done in a tour that has covered all of the security elements, professional instructors, and transportation to the site. No experience needed, just the willingness to overcome the fear of heights.
Paragliding in the Sacred Valley
If you don´t have a fear of heights then the sport we can definitely recommend you to experience is paragliding in the sacred valley. This activity starts on Sacro hill in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The starting point is a height of 800 meters and has a view of all of the valley. It is an incredible experience for contemplating all of the beautiful landscapes that the region has. From this height you can observe the villages, the river, the agricultural terraces, the mountains, and more. It is an unforgettable experience.
The flight down lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes and the tour can be arranged in Cusco or over the internet. You should set aside a half day for this excursion. Keep in mind that this extreme sport is dependent on weather conditions.
Trekking at Machu Picchu
And finally, one of the most acclaimed activited for tourists all over the world: the hike to the archeological site of Machu Picchu.
There are many numerous alternatives to reach the jewel of the Incan empire. You can go the traditional Incan trail or also go trekking on paths less known to tourists, like the Salkantay route, or the Lares road, and also the Huchuy Qosqo trail.
But without doubt, the most famous is the Incan trail. This route is 4 days and 3 nights, and is considered to be one of the best 5 trails in the world. If you elect to travel on this trail you will have the opportunity to contemplate incredible vistas, and amazing landscapes, from the mountains to the valleys and the junges, and the unique archeological sites.
If you desire to do one of the best treks in Cusco, visit our next post regarding all of the details, for intineraries, and recommendations.
A clarification, during the rainy season (October to March) is likely not to find tours for trekking since the weather conditions are complex and the trails are usually waterlogged or become very dangerous.
Best Adventure Tour in Cusco
If you desire to combine various types of adventure sports into one tour, and to go to Machu Picchu, the best option is the excursion company, Inka Jungle Tour. Why? Because you have the possibility to not only see archeological sites, but also to bicycle a mountain, raft, zipline, and trek other beautiful areas.
All of the sports you desire can be experienced during our 4 day tour. The itinerary starts in Cusco, and will bring you all throughout the Sacred Valley. The first day you will descend Abra Malaga towards Santa Maria, this descent is from 4,200 meters above sea level to 1,900. For 3 hours on the mountain you will descend and enjoy amazing views.
In the nighttime, in Santa Maria, you can go rafting in the Urubamba in an area that has level 3 difficulty. It will be a great adrenaline-filled experience too.
The next day you will trek in the mountains and learn all about the productions of coffee and cacao (chocolate). There is also the possibility to move on to do sections of the Inca trail, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
On the third day you will zipline in the surrounding areas of Santa Teresa. Descending from 5 metal cables in the mountains down into the valley. It is a grand adventure and the last adventure before you start the trek from the Hidroelectrics to Aguas calientes (warm waters).
And on the final day, Machu Picchu, the mecca of travelers. We hope that this post inspired you to experience adventure tourism, by exploring historical, cultural, and extreme sport options. Pack your bag, and get ready for the best Cusco has to offer, we hope to see you soon.