In Cusco, the stone buildings of the Incas defy time: Choquequirao, Sacsayhuamán and Machu Picchu. But Cusco’s geography also holds challenges for thrill-seeking adventurers. That’s because in Cusco, adventure knows no bounds. The capital of the Incan empire is the perfect place to scale the high peaks of the Andes, rock climb, or go rafting, paragliding or hiking. Its towering, snow-capped peaks shelter deep canyons with untamed rivers, and beautiful valleys with ancient terracing. All of these places can provide the backdrop for unforgettable experiences.
Experts consider the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to be one of the most spectacular hiking routes in the world. It can be completed in two or four days. The hike passes through different ecosystems, archaeological sites and landscapes home to rare plants and animals. It truly is a journey through the seasons, going from cool to frigid, from warm to sweltering. Adventure seekers’ hard work is rewarded when they reach Machu Picchu at sunrise and experience all of its magical beauty as the first rays come down the mountainsides to reveal the place where man and nature coexist in harmony.
Cusco is also the perfect destination for rafting. The Urubamba River has stretches of varying difficulty, making it naturally suited to this activity. Rapids are rated on a scale of I to VI, according to the international system, and a class VI rapid is the hardest to run. This Cusco-area river, which waters the Sacred Valley of the Incas, has several sections where you can feel the adrenaline: Calca - Urubamba and Huambutío - Písac (class II and III), Ollantaytambo (class III and IV). From December to March the class III Cusipata run and the class IV Chuquicahuana run are recommended. After braving the whitewater, draw in your paddles and soak in the beauty of the landscape.
Take a leap of freedom by soaring over Cusco in a paraglider. Once you let the wind take you as you look out over the mountains guarding the ancient Sacred Value of the Incas, you will want to do it again and again. From up in the air you will have a superb view of the Incan edifices and their mysterious natural setting. For beginners, the best experience is a morning flight from the Racchi overlook at 12,800 feet above sea level. The gentle winds at that time of day make for a relaxed flight. For more experienced paragliders, the Cusco area offers spots for fast and intense flights.
One hour from the city of Cusco, the Skylodge Adventure Suites offers an innovative lodging experience: a hanging lodge that literally has you sleeping beneath the stars, with a spectacular view of the Sacred Valley. Follow your inner explorer. Your adventures in Cusco will stay with you for the rest of your life.