We start by climbing Pisco, which serves as a great introductory or refresher climb for those with or without previous alpine experience.
At 5,752m/18,871ft above sea level, Pisco is a great acclimatisation peak.
Non-technical by nature, the normal route on Pisco Oeste climbs the southwest ridge.
This offers us glorious sunrise views of the Huandoys and a 360 degree summit vista that is considered by many to be the best in the Cordillera Blanca.
Next is Chopicalqui, which sits across the Llanganuco valley from Pisco. Chopicalqui (6,354m/20,846ft) towers above the rest of the peaks in the area, save the colossal Huascaran.
Chopicalqui’s southwest ridge offers a moderate climb with just enough exposure to keep climber’s adrenaline levels up.
However, we don’t cross the line of “technical” and thereby keeps this climb within the reach of novice mountaineers.
Chopicalqui’s high camp (5,400m/17,717ft) in the col between Huascaran and itself is an unforgettable place to spend the night.
From here you can see one of the most photogenic summit cones in the range and it’s a favourite of many climbers in the area.
Enjoy one of the world's finest 360-degree high mountain views.
Discover new limits with these strenuous but non-technical climbs.
Camp among some of the most photogenic, snow-clad peaks in Peru's Cordillera Blanca.
Glorious sunshine views, incredible starry nights and a true trip of a lifetime.
Your team were fantastic (and very patient!).
Rodolfo was an excellent guide and I certainly learnt a lot from him - he is clearly a very experienced and well respected guide.
E. Macleod, Pisco climb
Join tour in Lima.
We leave Lima early by public bus for a fascinating journey of contrasts that will end amid the towering high Andes at the small highland city of Huaraz. We head north through the coastal desert as far as Pativilca, then turn inland and begin our climb northeastward into the Andes.
We follow the Fortaleza valley, the fertile cultivated river banks contrasting dramatically with the barren mountain sides. Cacti gradually give way to denser vegetation and then puna grassland as we ascend to the highest point on our journey, Conococha (4,050m/13,287ft).
We turn north into the Callejon de Huaylas and enter a different world, the huge snowpeaks of the Cordillera Blanca dominating the landscape.
We arrive in Huaraz (3,090m/10,138ft) late afternoon and check into our hotel.
A bustling town of 80,000 inhabitants, Huaraz lies amid the scenic splendour of the Callejon de Huaylas and is the ideal base from which to explore the region. Callejon de Huaylas is the name given to the Santa valley, which separates the Cordillera Blanca from the Cordillera Negra, and rates as one of the finest areas of South America for its superb mountain panoramas.
The Callejon is bordered to the east by the Cordillera Blanca, the mountain range with the greatest number of peaks over 6,000 metres outside the Himalayas.
From Huaraz itself one is awestruck by the breathtaking vista of Mounts Vallunaraju (5,686m/18,655ft), Tocllaraju (6,034m/19,797ft) and Ranrapalca (6,162m/20,217ft) towering over the city and, to the north, the gigantic forms of Huascarán (6,768m/22,205ft) and Huandoy (6,395m/20,981ft).
Today we have our trek briefing and take a local walk to see some pre-Inca ruins.
Today we start out acclimatisation by heading up to 4,500m/14,764ft and to the beautiful Laguna Churup. We listen to our bodies and see how well we are acclimatising, taking it very slowly in the thin mountain air.
Mount Churup’s reflection in the clear waters of Laguna Churup is the reward for today’s efforts, and well worth it as the peak provides a stunning backdrop to the laguna.
We return to Huaraz and our hotel, maintaining the mountaineering rule of acclimatisation – walk high, sleep low.
Today we drive out of Huaraz, and then hike to the glacier on Vallunaraju, possible ice-climbing (dependent upon conditions) or skills review.
The guide will help you with new skills or refreshing existing skills, making sure we are ready for the climbs ahead.
After spending the day practising, we return to Huaraz and prepare ourselves for the off.
Pack your bags!
We head out past the beautiful Llanganuco lakes and on to the trailhead where we load our donkeys and ascend to the Pisco Base Camp.
We take it slowly, enjoying the views en route.
We wake early, enjoy a big breakfast and head off to the high camp, our last camp before the summit.
We aim to get there as early as we can, so that we can rest before the summit attempt.
We wake early, around 02.00am, and set off towards the summit of Pisco.
We enjoy the changing light as the sun rises during our summit attempts, and we aim to make the summit around 10.00.
Breathtaking views abound. We descend to the site of our first base camp and rest.
A short hike out to a comfy campsite, close the trail head, where we meet up with supplies and enjoy a hearty asado – BBQ!
After a good night’s rest, we meet up with our vehicle, and head off to the nearby Chopicalqui trail.
We unload the vehicle, and trek towards our first camp at 4,900m/16,076ft.
We continue to ascend slowly today, reaching the high camp (5,300m/17,389ft), from where we make our summit attempt.
Wake up at 01.00 and depart for the summit at 03.00.
Work your way up the massive southern ridge and on to the summit.
We return to Moraine camp for the night.
Pack up camp and descend down to the winding road which leads back to Huaraz.
Stop for lunch and the Llanganuco Lakes.
Check back into your hotel for a well-deserved shower and then a celebration banquet.
Last minute shopping for family and friends before departing for Lima on the public bus, or carry on trekking and climbing.
Prices From $3,300 / £2,798 per person
Enquire about booking
All in-country transport during trip, including transport to and from the Lima airport, First class bus tickets between Lima and Huaraz, Hotel accommodations for specified time in Lima and Huaraz, Professional, English speaking guide for acclimatization activities and climbs/treks, Professional outdoor cook, 3 healthy meals a day plus snacks during the wilderness components of the trip, Technical mountaineering equipment, All park entrance fees, All camping & cooking equipment which is not included in the gear list, Donkeys or llamas and porters where applicable, Sleeping tents, sleeping mats (foam), Cook tent, eating tent, tables, chairs, and bathroom tent (where applicable), First aid kit stocked for wilderness expeditions, Celebration dinner at the end of trip.
International flights to/from Lima and applicable airport taxes, Personal clothing and equipment (see gear list), All food during in-town days with the exception of the celebration dinner, Incidental personal expenditures, including emergency evacuations and medical expenditures, Travel, Personal, and/or medical insurance.
In Huaraz we use 2-3* hotels with ensuite bathrooms.
Camping – we use top quality, high mountain, two-man tents.
Our guides are experienced mountaineers and we typically employ one mountain guide to every three clients.
They will not just show you the way but will teach and empower you to succeed in the mountain environment.
All are UAIGM-qualified and selected for the attention to detail and, above all, safety and assessment of mountains, conditions and your capabilities.
Guide’s decisions are always final as they do so based on many years of experience of climbing among Peru’s peaks.
Cooks, mule drivers and additional staff are all from the local, nearby communities and we have worked with them for a long time.
Vegetarians and many other dietary requirements are catered for without problems. Please let us know in advance of any requirements you have.
You wake early, usually around 07.00. Breakfast is served in a dining tent, and consists of hot drinks, porridge, toast, jams and bread, and your guide will explain the day’s trekking plans.
Lunch is usually around 13.00 and can feature soups, meats, salads and fish, with vegetarian options and hot drinks too.
The campsites are comfortable and around 17.00 hot drinks, popcorn and other snacks are served to help you recover energy.
Dinner is served around 19.30, and will feature pasta, mashed potatoes, meat, fish or vegetarian options, followed by hot drinks and a pudding.
Huaraz has a wide selection of Peruvian and international cuisine to suit almost all tastes and budgets.
This trip, while non-technical, is a strenuous trip and to get the most out of this expedition you should be in very good physical condition. We suggest you talk to your doctor if you are in any doubt as to your physical capability.
Any previous wild camping and winter experience are a plus, but experience in crampon and ice axe use is not essential as your guide will be teaching you the skills you need.
We use donkeys, llamas, or porters to transport all gear and food. We do recommend that you have a daypack to carry your personal items like cameras, water bottles, warm layers, etc… For climbing trips, you will be carrying a backpack with your sleeping bag, clothing, and personal items, typically weighing about 10 kilograms (25 pounds).
Your return backpack should be lighter as there will be less food to carry. Expect to get involved in all aspects of camping.
Summit days involve very early starts (01.00-03.00) and long ascents, so please be prepared for this. It is to maximise summiting chances.
Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.
The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.
The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.
Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.
The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.
The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.
Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.
The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.
The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.
Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.
You can also read about the weather of Peru in our blog.
Peru is located in the southern tropics (latitudes 0º to 18º), but climate varies significantly according to season, altitude and region.
Lima & the coast
From May to October, Lima is often overcast, but with minimal precipitation. There are sunny spells, and it’s a fresh to pleasant 13-20ºC.
At the same time, inland areas and the north coast mid to high 20’s ºC.
November to April is generally warm and sunny and Lima enjoys warm temperature of 19-25ºC, with the coast averaging 22-30ºC.
Climate depends largely on altitude. As a rule of thumb, below 2,000m climate is mild and above 2,000m warm clothing is required for evenings, nights and early mornings.
The Andean sun is very strong.
May to Oct (dry season in The Andes)
Cusco (3,300m): Average max/min temps: 22ºC /2ºC. Average 3 or 4 wet days per month.
Arequipa (2,380m): Average max/min temps: 26ºC /9ºC. Sunny more than 340 days/year with minimal precipitation.
On highland treks: Conditions are generally dry. However, at this time of year, expect a range of conditions within a single day: cold/freezing nights at camps above 4,000m, where pre-dawn temperatures can be -5ºC; warm, spring-like mornings and afternoons; and cold evenings.
Note that mountain weather can be fickle and localised, and that precipitation is not unknown in the dry season. Expect temperatures to swing between sun and shade, sheltered and exposed ground and with altitude gain and loss. A quick-setting sun means temperatures drop fast.
In the cloud forest, e.g. around Machu Picchu, daytime conditions are generally warm or hot, and evenings cool.
Nov to March/April (wet season in The Andes)
Cusco: Average max/min temps: 23ºC /6ºC. Average 13 wet days per month.
Arequipa: Average max/min temps: 25ºC /14ºC.
On highland treks: Wetter conditions, with cooler days and milder nights than dry season. Jan-Mar usually the wettest months.
The Amazon rainforest
Year-round, weather conditions are hot and humid and there is always the risk of rain
There is a ‘dry season’ in Tambopata and Manu between May and October. The average daytime high temperature is between 25°C and 34°C and the average nighttime low is between 16°C and 22°C. Heavy downpours typically occur every few days.
Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season Nov-April.
On rare occasions, between May and September, cold fronts from Argentina – ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
When planning for the extreme climatic conditions encountered on high peaks in the Andes, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system. It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create.
To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers.
Layers should have the following qualities:
First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.
Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.
Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.
Note that it’s our extremities that stand to suffer the most, and on high Andean peaks the poorly-equipped mountaineer is at risk of becoming frostbitten. Hence, much thought should be given to deciding how best to protect hands, feet and head.
Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.
Below is a more detailed guide.
Head and neck
For the extreme cold, we recommend a 3-layer scheme:
Other expedition kit
All other non-personal trekking and camping equipment is provided, e.g. tents, cutlery etc.
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
Peru boasts in its Amazonian region a vast swathe of world-class tropical wilderness with several rain forest and cloud forest reserves which are home to an immense diversity of wildlife.
Accessible from Lima, Iquitos or Cusco, the Amazon jungle is just a short flight away.
In Peru’s southeast lies the extraordinary region comprising the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene and Manu National Parks, with the greatest animal and plant diversity anywhere in the world.
Whether you choose to base yourself at a comfortable lodge or enjoy a more demanding camping trip, you can be sure of a unique, exhilarating and unforgettable experience.
The beautiful colonial city of Arequipa is replete with history and culture, and is the gateway to the condors of Colca Canyon.
Nestled at 2,325m/7,627ft, the ‘white city’ sits at the foot of three tremendous volcanoes: El Misti (5,821m/19,098ft), Chachani (6,075m/19,930ft) and Pichu Pichu (5,542m/18,182ft).
Arequipa’s attractions include the Cathedral, Compañía de Jesús Church, Santa Catalina Convent and the Dama de Ampato (Juanita Mummy) Museum.
With a year-round spring climate and sunshine guaranteed for 300 days of the year, it is the perfect place to begin acclimatising before continuing upwards.
Nearby is the famous Colca Canyon. At hundred kilometres long, this incredible gorge is said to reach a maximum depth of 3,400m/11,155ft – twice that of the Grand Canyon.
An overnight tour to Colca gives you the chance to see the iconic, soaring condors of the canyon.
Cusco is the archaeological and cultural capital of South America.
The one-time centre of the vast Inca Empire is a bustling highland city with bags of character.
Its whitewashed streets and plazas feature a fascinating blend of Inca and Spanish colonial stonework and offer endless possibilities for exploration.
You don’t have to venture far to find outstanding examples of high quality Inca architecture, including the monumental temple fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
There is also the fertile farming land of the Sacred Valley on the doorstep, with many Inca terraces, temples and fortresses, plus colourful local markets and small villages.
At night, Cusco offers an excellent array or restaurants and bars plus the continent’s best Andean folk music scene.
In the northeast of Peru lies Kuelap – the jewel in the massive archaeological crown of the Chachapoyas Cloud People.
The mystical structure of Kuelap – dubbed the Peru’s second Machu Picchu by locals – is 1,200 years old.
It features massive limestone walls towering 60 feet, pottery, bones and hundreds of mysterious round stone structures, and away from the crowds of other sites.
This is a remote area of sub-tropical valleys, half way down the eastern slopes of the Andes. The jungle is impenetrable, dense with low trees, bromeliads, bamboos, orchids and mosses.
Lake Titicaca, at around 4,000m/13,123ft above sea level, is a vast shimmering body of water on the Peru/Bolivia border.
It is the world’s highest navigable lake, set against a breathtaking background of towering ice-covered Andean mountain peaks.
The islands and shoreline of Lake Titicaca support many Indian communities, including the well known floating islands of Uros and the more remote islands of Taquile and Amantani. Here, traditions are strong and it appears time really does stand.
Agriculture, fishing, knitting and weaving are important to the islanders and by staying a day or two you gain just a small insights into this traditional way of life.
Islanders welcome tourists into their homes and this is a wonderful opportunity to experience island life.
Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant bustling place with a wide variety of things to do.
Stroll or bike around the historic centre, visiting the many museums or just chilling out in a café or restaurant in Miraflores.
In Parque Kennedy you can sit outside in Parisian fashion and watch the world go by in cafes and restaurants, or walk to the shore and the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
There are a number of artisan shops & market stalls, plus a big silver jewellery trade, and a burgeoning number of top end restaurants with delicious food.
The centre of Lima is home to impressive Colonial architecture – Plaza de Armas has the Palace, official residence of the president, on one side, and on another is the Cathedral.
San Francisco Church, home of the Catacombs, is well worth a visit, as is the Inquisition museum.
Nothing says Peru quite the way Machu Picchu does.
The Lost City of the Incas, perches dramatically on a ridge-top 400 metres above the Urubamba river. The extensive site, with its many terraces, temples and palaces, is set amid a beautiful landscape of deep gorges and thickly forested mountains.
When Machu Picchu was rediscovered early in the 20th century and cleared of forest, it was found to be very well preserved. It has since presented archaeologists with many unanswered questions regarding the role it played in Inca times.
The sense of grandeur, whether you arrive on the Inca Trail or not, is impressive.
Try to arrive early at the site to enjoy it at its best – and late afternoon can often see you almost alone in the ruins.
North east of Lima, the Cordillera Blanca offers fantastic mountain scenery and some of the best trekking and climbing in the Andes.
The Cordillera Blanca boasts dozens of peaks over 6,000 metres, including Peru’s highest Huascaran at 6,768m/22,205ft above sea level.
The Blanca range also contains the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers.
This is an ideal destination for treks, from just a few to 12 days or so and also an ideal starting place for learning or improving mountaineering skills.
The nearby Huayhuash mountain range contains a dazzling array of snow peaks including seven summits above 6,000 metres.
This is a trekking paradise with breathtaking majestic panoramas and stunningly remote and picturesque camping spots. There is no better place to visit to get away from it all.
2023 price, per person, shared tent/room basis
Based on four people.
July 23-Aug 6 scheduled.
Ask for alternative dates.
Daily private departures available, May-Sept
Enquire about booking
Can’t find what you’re
looking for? Get in Touch
+44 (0)131 378 5593
+44 (0)131 554 6025
What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $1,268 / £1,075 per person
Dates: From March 2023 to November 2023
Capacity: 16 people
Enquire about booking
Prices From $3,505 / £2,972 per person
Dates: From January 2024 to December 2024
Prices From $633 / £537 per person
Prices From $1,600 / £1,357 per person
Dates: From May 2023 to October 2023
Students Study Food Insecurity & Climate Change in Peru University of Edinburgh students and teachers report back from Peru, where they learned how traditional farming techniques could help prevent climate change and reduce food insecurity. The team visited coastal Lima, the Cusco Highlands, and the cloud forest. For Andean Trails and our local team, it was a chance to showcase a side of Peru that many visitors may not see when passing through. It went so well that the University has already signed up its team to another Food Security tour in the spring of 2024. Learning About …
Sign up here to receive the latest news and info from Andean Trails