Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
Hiking holidays in Peru are hot right now. More popular than ever. Political stability since the leader of the Shining Path terrorist group was captured in 1992 resulted in a booming tourist industry.
The second highest mountain range on Earth is fantastic. Broad valleys and endless vistas. You are always above the tree line. Arid desert to the west, Amazon jungle to the east.
Our contributors have hiked most of the major treks in Peru the past few years. The peaks, glaciers and canyons are outrageous. Everyone is thrilled with the Andes.
Unfortunately, management of treks is atrocious, the Peruvian government seemingly bent on ruining their fantastic tourist draw. Do your homework before booking a flight to Lima. Or sign on with a trekking company with which you have had a strong, recent recommendation.
Ruminahui in Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
The weather in the Andes can be deadly, of course, but sometimes you get weeks of sunny blue skies, especially in the Cordillera Blanca out of Huaraz, Peru. The best weather for the high peaks out of Huaraz (the best jumping off point for hikers in the Central Andes) is the drier “Andean summer”: May-Sept.
In fact, there are good hikes somewhere in this region year round.
More information on our new Central Andes information page.
Our favourite hike in the Central Andes is the little known Ausangate Circuit in Peru, our #4 best hike in the world. Quite a few trekkers have decided on Ausangate (instead of the over-hyped Inca Trail) based on our recommendation. And all have been happy with that decision.
See our Ausangate Circuit Information page.
The best guidebook for the Central Andes, by far, is Lonely Planet:
Note that Bolivia is not nearly as popular as it should be due to lack of infrastructure for tourism, security concerns and political instability. Honestly, unless you know the language and culture well, it’s better to hike Peru. Or much neglected Ecuador.