Gap Years and Backpacking in Peru

Countries  »  Peru

Why go?

Gap Years in Peru

Peru is one of the most fascinating, and popular, countries in South America. It's home to otherworldly Inca ruins, a colourful culture packed with vibrant festivals, and jaw-dropping landscapes. There's a ludicrous number of reasons why Peru should be high on your bucket list.

The cities

Capital city Lima may be your first port of call, this big, bustling city is the ideal place to get to grips with Peru. It boasts rambunctious nightlife, and long stretches of beaches to lounge on and nurse a hangover. There's also the Historic Centre of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes the stunning Monastery of San Francisco and the Palace of Torre Tagle.

Another must-see city is Cusco, the historical city that you’ll pass through on your way to Machu Picchu. Once the site of the Inca Empire, this city has been named the Historical Capital of Peru, and is the place to see the original Inca temples; Qorikanca and the Temple of the Sun. There are many other Inca buildings and foundations here as well as Spanish Colonial buildings, such as the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. Get your camera ready.

The scenery

Alright, where to start?

Machu Picchu, of course! It's almost certainly why you're in Peru in the first place. Backpackers can pack their bare essentials and take on the four to five day hike over the 43km Inca trail, where they’ll be rewarded with the amazing site of the 15th century ancient village. You can always take a train or minibus but seeing this incredible sight makes it all that more special when you’ve worked harder to get there.

There's also the incredible landscapes of the Nazca lines and Floating Reed Islands, sights that can't be matched anywhere else in the world.

It’s not all sightseeing and history absorbing here though; there’s plenty of space for adrenaline activities as well. You can go White water rafting and canoeing down the Urubamba River in Cusco, mountain bike along the trails of the beautiful mountains in the Huaraz National Park, and finish off surfing on the waves of the Chicama and Punta Rocas beaches.  

Huaraz National Park

Backpacking in Peru is an unrivalled way to spend your gap year, a trip you will never forget or regret. Basically what we're saying is go, go, go!

Itineraries

Make the Most of Argentina

We've got a wide range of tours and projects you can do in Peru and beyond on your gap year. Whether you want to experience the country at your pace, potter around the continent, or maybe settle down and volunteer, we've got an option for you.

Experience Peru

Peru Volunteer & Trek

Peru Volunteer & Trek

Gap Year Off The Beaten Track

Gap Year Off The Beaten Track

Machu Picchu Express

Machu Picchu Express

Volunteer with Children in Cuzco

Volunteer with Children in Cuzco

View all Peru itineraries

Advice

Advice & Tips on Backpacking in Peru

Peru has an enormous amount to offer anyone on a gap year - trekking the Inca Trail, visiting the Colca Canyon and the less well known, but just as spectacular, ruins of Ollantaytambo. That's all to say nothing of the huge variety of volunteering projects and the unbelievably barren Atacama Desert. These are just some of highlights of this real South American gem.

Peru travel articles

A Complete Guide to Peru

A Complete Guide to Peru

Walking the Inca Trail

Walking the Inca Trail

Beyond the Beaten Track

Beyond the Beaten Track

Conservation Work in Peru

Conservation Work in Peru

View all Peru articles