In Peru: Outdoorsy Adventures Beyond Machu Picchu
Action-packed trips are putting the spotlight on Peru—and not only on the trails of the ancient Incan site.
Outside the historic city of Cuzco, the Sacred Valley is drawing adrenaline junkies with a range of new thrills. Natura Vive, a climbing site known for its seven-part zipline, careers terrifyingly over mountain gaps. That’s nothing compared with its new capsule suites: gravity-defying transparent bubbles constructed out of weather-resistant polycarbonate and high-strength aluminum. They cling to sheer rock faces 1,200 feet up, offering heart-pounding views of the valley. Each suite contains up to four beds and a dining platform, where staff serve breakfast every morning (Suites from $281).
Ten miles from Cuzco, extreme-tour operator Action Valley has South America’s highest bungee jump, at 400 feet. But true thrill-seekers—like Cameron Diaz, who showed up on a recent trip—go for the slingshot, in which you are fastened to the ground while a motor pulls the bungee cord until it reaches maximum tension. Then a quick trigger release sends you screaming 405 feet into the air. At the apex, you’ll achieve zero gravity not once but three times. Try to keep your eyes open through all the hyperventilating: the view of sprawling farmland and pine-covered hills is unforgettable (From $71 per person).
Hikers who’ve already done the famous Inca Trail are trying the more immersive Salkantay Trek, which cuts a rugged path north of Cuzco and the Urubamba River and past waterfalls in Chaullay’s dense cloud forest. Guides can plan a full itiner- ary, including climbing the Salkantay Pass (at 15,200 feet, it’s one of the region’s highest points), a visit to local hot springs, s’mores roasting in the jungle, and of course, the sunrise ascent to Machu Picchu (From $400 per person).