I chose to study abroad in Cusco, Peru because it offers an absolute beautiful, yet historically rich selection of outdoor adventures. My outdoorsy personality has always hidden in me somewhere, but showed its true colors when I began my college career at Colorado State University. This blog post will go into detail about three of the most strenuous, yet utterly delightful hikes in Peru I have been a part of thus far.
Located roughly three hours from the city of Cusco by taxi or bus, you will find Lake Humantay. As part of the route to the Salkantay mountain, you can hike to Lake Humantay by foot or by horse. Our inner daredevils came out as my friends and I decided to tackle the hike by foot. Beginning at 12,700 ft with a 1,000 ft elevation gain, you finish the 4.4 mile round trip excursion at a whopping 13,800 ft. I must credit the very famous song that kept us going with the utmost uplifting support- “Eye of the Tiger.” It was quite the uphill battle, to say the least.
In the pristine blue waters of Lake Titicaca hides a tourist gem of beauty – Taquile Island. You arrive on Taquile Island by boat, and the ride on 12,300 foot high Lake Titicaca itself is incredible. Luckily the sun was out the day we hiked, or else we would have been quite chilly. The steep incline along the pictured path was worth the climb. The communities living on this island seemed as though they were genuinely happy to see us. Perhaps their positive and welcoming attitude is due to the lack of cars, no electricity grid, and no running water. It was rejuvenating and exciting to experience.
Machu Picchu is a classic destination for those who visit Peru, but not everyone desires or is able to summit Huayna Picchu. The distance is calculated at 1.2 miles to the top of the mountain with a 1,500 ft elevation gain from the plains of Machu Picchu. Knowing I was ascending the “Stairs of Death”, I had to give myself a pep talk before, during, and even after the hike. Though I was breathing heavily and sweating an immense amount, I kept repeating to myself, “no pain, no gain,” which motivated me to make it through the trek.
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