Biking/Cycling – This is a popular one-day trip that passes beautiful Andean lakes and countryside, as well as the sites of Maras and Moray. Moray has four circular terraces into the earth like an artificial crater, while Maras is one of the most important salt mines of the region. If you don’t have much time and really want to go biking, this is an excellent option. Much of it is downhill so you won’t need to prepare, you visit unspoiled landscapes, archaeological sites, land traditional villages and can return to Cuzco the same day. Prices start at $50 per person.
Motorcycle– Motorcycle tours are on the increase in the area. First it was Harley Davidson’s, now it is shifting to motorbikes. As far as the most exciting goes, the 3 day/2 night trip to Pilcapata in Manu National Park is tops. The scenery is said to be some of the most stunning in Peru as you make your way down from the high Andes to the jungle, passing some of the world’s most diverse flora, fauna, and wildlife. Prices include a bike (XR 250, 400, or 600), helmet, and gloves. Gasoline and food is up to you. Prices start at around $125
Scooter Rental -Ok, so it isn’t a Harley, but if you just want to explore the city on the own, scooter rental isn’t a bad option. You can take it to the nearby ruins, the Pisac market, the suburbs, or just use it to help you get to each museum without your feet falling off from too much walking. You can find a scooter for rent at Tecsecocha 436 (241-447).
Horseback Riding – Although there are a variety of horse treks in the area, including multi-day trips into the Sacred Valley, by far the most popular is the half-day trip that visits the four ruins just outside of Cuzco. The horses ride through the scenic green valley and visit the four Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Q´enko, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay. The tour lasts about five hours, including a stop for lunch. Many agencies in town offer this tour. Prices start at $40 per person.
Rafting– The Sacred Valley is Peru’s rafting center and one of the best all around rafting areas in the world. There are a variety of one-day tours that range in cost from about $20-40. for something a little more unique, and a little more challenging, the 2 day/ 1 night adventure down the Rio Urubamba. The first day moves through a series of Class III rapids, while the second moves up a level to Class IV. The rainy season (December to April) is the best time to do this tour because the river gets faster and the waves and other hydraulics are larger. The tour includes all food, guides, tents, rafting equipment, and transportation to/from the starting/end points. Prices start at about $75. For a three-day trip on the Apurimac that goes through Class III, IV, and V rapids, the prices start at about $200.
Fishing – The Sacred Valley is filled with an abundance of mountain lakes, unpolluted rivers, and streams that are thriving spots for a variety of fish. Most trips wind up in the gorgeous Apurimac valley, using a raft to navigate down the river on Class II rapids. You also drive to various lakes, encountering sleepy rural villages and Pre-Colombian landmarks such as K’eshuachaca, a traditional Inca bridge. Tours can be several days of camping and cooking your dinner, to just a few hours. Prices vary greatly, so shop around.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.