5 Best Extreme Sports in Peru

16Many foreign visitors to Peru are happy with a relaxing few days travelling around ancient Inca archaeological sites, kicking-back in luxury hotels, and riding exclusive trains to Machu Picchu. But if your dream getaway is a taking things to the max in search of extreme thrills and fun, then you won’t be disappointed either! Peru can offer it all! Here are the 5 best extreme sports in Peru.

Extreme Mountain Biking

Peru was made for mountain biking, after all the Andes – the world’s longest mountain chain runs right down the centre of the country, peaking at 22,132 feet (6,746 m) in the Cordillera Blanca in central Peru. Possibly one of the most extreme sports in Peru with locals and foreigners alike, there are literally thousands of places to find fast fun down-hill thrills. In Cusco there is a handful of specialist travel agents that offer a range of different day (and multi-day) trips, with full suspension Kona bikes. Our favourite extreme ride is the 1 day Mega-Avalanche single track ride, that starts at the top of Abra Malaga in the Sacred Valley (close to Cusco) and descends 1600 meters to the village of Ollantaytambo. Oh, and you can do it three times!

Surfing

You wouldn’t think so, but yes, Peru is actually one of the world’s best surfing spots. Along the northern coastline, Peru offers waves for everyone from beginners to pros. Peru has produced many world surfing champions, and it’s easy to see why when you understand just how good the waves are. Chicama has the world’s longest left-handed wave in the world at 4km’s long, and Mancora (close by) has the world’s largest left-handed point-break in the world. Extreme sports in Peru don’t get much better than this!

Sand-boarding

During the 1960s, the small oasis town of Huacachina was once a holiday hot-spot for rich limenians. Nowadays, this rather less glamorous place is the home of one of the most fun and extreme sports in Peru – Sand-boarding. Located 7 km’s from the main city of Ica, Huacachina is surrounded by vast sand dunes which stretch as far as the eye can see. There are only a handful of hostels in the town, but all of them will rent you sand-board for a few soles per day. Cover yourself from head-to-toe in sun-block and start climbing! It’s fun, cheap, thrilling and often painful!

White Water Rafting

With so many mountains, there are bound to be quite a lot of fast flowing and rocky rivers to enjoy. Rafting is probably one of the most common extreme sports in Peru, and in the region of Cusco, there are many expert travel agencies that will take you out on the river. The Urubamba River (in the Sacred Valley) offers a thrilling full day experience which is suitable for beginners through to intermediary rafters. But hard-core rafters looking for the ultimate thrill need to go a little further afield. Cotahuasi Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world, and is also home to one of the world’s toughest rafting challenges. The route includes 6 days of full-on, technical class 4 – 5 rapids, uncharted pre-Inca ruins and spectacular campsites. Extreme sports in Peru don’t get much better than this! But be warned the Cotahuasi raft is for only the toughest travellers!

Zip Lines in the Jungle

15 Km’s from Machu Picchu, close to the village of Santa Teresa is Peru’s first canopy top zip line (also known as flying fox). A series cables with a total length of 2500 meters are broken up into six sections, with the longest section being 400 meters in length. At the fastest point on the wire it is possible to reach speeds of 60 Km/h (37 mph), which is enough to give the sensation of flight! Make sure that you are not scared of heights either, as part of the line hang 150 meters above the jungle floor. Extreme sports in Peru don’t get much more fun than this!

Of-course there are a whole bunch of other great things to see and do in Peru, but if you think that there are better extreme sports in Peru than the ones listed, we would love to hear your thoughts!

This article was written by a Machu Picchu travel expert at Totally Latin America who specializes in helping people like you create Peru Vacations. Totally Latin America know what it takes to create a great vacation to Peru, and our quality personalized service coupled with high standard is what sets us apart from the rest.

The Most Extreme Sport

15There is nothing that is more extreme then the sport of skateboarding. Skateboarding started out by simply nailing rolling skate wheels to a plank of wood and has since evolved into a worldwide phenomenon and recognized extreme sport. Skateboarding has gone through a lot to get to the point it is at now but that discussion is for a different article. Here I want to talk about why skateboarding is so extreme and so popular. Skateboarding takes a kind of athlete that very few sports require. Balance, strength, intuition, guts, skill and a natural ability are just a small sample of what a person needs to become a great skateboarder. The skateboarders of today are quite possibly the most talented athletes in the world. When you compare the difficulty, danger, skill level, variety and competition of the sport it is really not hard to see why. There are also a number of avenues that the sport of skateboarding has been down that solidified it as an extreme sport, avenues like the X Games and the Gravity Games.

When you think of an athlete you generally think of a football, baseball or basketball player. Perhaps you think of a track and field athlete, swimmer or tap dancer (kidding). Before the recent skateboard revolution in the 90’s and today not many people would have lumped skateboarders into the category of athlete; thug, trouble maker, talented or maybe skilled, but not athlete. But now when you compare the types of tricks skateboarders are doing, and the unbelievable things they get their bodies to do when they are 15 feet in the air and then land smooth just to hit another huge air seconds later to the things “typical” athletes do, people are actually starting to say that skateboarders are arguably MORE athletic then a what we know as a “typical” athlete. After watching competitions like the X Games I am not one to argue that point. What professional skateboarders are able to do with a chunk of wood on wheels is uncanny.

Simply the danger and difficulty of skateboarding are enough to steer thousands of hopeful professional skaters away from the scene, but those that press through know what it took to get there. There are not too many other sports that draw comparisons of difficulty to skateboarding. Take this for example you take off going extremely fast launch into the air, while your in the air you flip your body, rotate the board under your feet, catch the board with your hand, put the board back under your feet, land on the board and keep riding… oh and do it all with style. It is pretty amazing what skateboarders are able to do these days and very fun to watch. Luckily the main stream has caught on to this incredible sport and competitions like x games and gravity games now highlight skateboarding as one of their main events. This gets the word out and shows the world that these guys are in the most extreme sport and deserve to be called world class athletes.

Defining the World of Extreme Sports

14Extreme sports have been growing in popularity for many years now. Multiple activities fall into this category of intense sports with high levels of inherent danger. Defining the world of extreme athletics can be tough to do since there are so many different activities included under this term. Still, it is safe to say that pretty much all of them involve a high degree of speed, danger, special gear, and physical and mental exertion. These sports certainly are not for the faint of heart. People seeking thrills are the ones that flock to these intense and adrenaline packed activities.

It is debatable as to exactly which sports can be classified as extreme sports. We can get a pretty good idea of the types of activities included in this category by looking at some of the common elements that most extreme sports share. Athletes involved in this field tend to face more adverse challenges. Traditional athletes have to compete against other people, but extreme athletes go up against other environmental obstacles and uncontrollable variables such as weather conditions and terrain surface.

Weather and terrain play especially big roles in most extreme sports. While conditions can be controlled to a certain extent in regular sports, extreme activities involve uncontrollable factors like wave height, snow conditions, and wind speed. Some of the sports that definitely fall into this category include paragliding, skydiving, inline skating, mountain-biking, free-skiing, snowboarding, kite-surfing, rock climbing, and surfing. There are certainly some other activities that could be considered to fit the bill for this category of sport. The common threads are the increased levels of danger, skill, uncontrollable conditions, and adrenaline. It may be hard to judge each and every sport, but there is no denying the incredible acrobatics, stunts, and physical challenges that this field of activities presents.

The extreme sports term was really made popular by the X Games, but it has been around far longer than most people realize. These types of sports can be competitive or non-competitive. Those people who thirst for adventure and intense challenges are naturally drawn to this field of sport in search of something more. The thrill of going up against nature and other elements makes for a truly memorable experience. That is why extreme sports continue to gain so much popularity. You can find information on just about any extreme sport, so look for more on whatever it is that interests you.

Fashion and Extreme Sports

13Although it’s still not exactly “mainstream,” extreme sports have become incredibly popular over the last decade or so. Sports like surfing, snowboarding and BMX still don’t draw the crowds that football and baseball do, but they’ve been slowly creeping into the collective consciousness of sports fans everywhere in surprising ways. One area where these sports have had a major influence is in the world of fashion. BMX apparel and other kinds of sports fashion have become very popular not just with extreme athletes, but with people from all walks of life.

From a certain angle, the rise of extreme sports fashion isn’t surprising. Sportswear has always been popular with athletes and non-athletes alike. Not only is sportswear built for comfort, but they fit perfectly with most casual clothing styles in the United States. Sportswear has gone from being strictly for athletes in the early 20th Century to being what most people imagine when they think of casual dress. Fashion designers now regularly incorporate sportswear elements into their work, even in clothing that is not intended to be casual. These days, it’s hard not to go out in public and see people wearing jerseys, baseball caps and other clothing originally designed as sportswear even when there is no sporting event happening. Sportswear has become all-purpose casual wear.

Of course, comfort and a casual look aren’t the only reasons why sports gear has become so popular. As the name implies, extreme sports can be dangerous. Professional skateboarding at the very least requires pads and a helmet, and the right BMX apparel can save BMX bikers from some really nasty injuries. At a glance, this might not mean much to someone who would never step onto a skateboard or BMX bike, but the protection offered by some extreme sports gear can be useful in other situations. The heavy fleece jackets worn by snowboarders are some of the warmest winter jackets available, and the shoes worn by skateboarders can take a beating and last much longer than most sneakers.

Because of the popularity of these high adrenalin sports, many clothing designers have begun to market that extreme sportswear to the mainstream. People are still probably more likely to wear a football jersey than BMX apparel in casual situations, but the growing popularity of sports fashion hasn’t gone unnoticed. Many professional extreme athletes have their own clothing lines now, and it has gotten to the point where many people wear the clothes without having any knowledge of sports. Many just like the clothing itself, which can probably be considered the ultimate victory for any clothing designer.

In the end, the popularity of extreme sports fashion isn’t all that different from the popularity of most other sportswear. Most people ultimately wear things like BMX apparel because it fits in with the casual style of dress that is so popular in the United States. On top of that, most of this clothing is durable as well as stylish. Extreme sports are still seen as a niche, but many of the fashions associated with it could become mainstream in the next few years.

What Are Extreme Sports?

12An extreme sport can be defined as any activity that has a real or perceived high level of danger. This can be anything from bungee jumping to hang gliding, scuba diving to snowboarding and rock climbing to extreme ironing – literally anything that gets your adrenaline pumping can be classed as extreme! Originally extreme sports were associated with adult sports such as those described above, however the term now includes sports like skateboarding and bmxing which are popular with teens too.

The history of the term ‘extreme sports’ is quite often associated with Ernest Hemingway who stated ‘there are only three sports – bullfighting, motor racing and mountaineering, all the rest are games’. Whether you agree with this statement or not, it is clear that from as far back as the 1950s the term was associated with sports that could lead to death.

Most extreme sports are solitary activities although there are some exceptions to the rule such as paintballing (yes it really is extreme when you get into a game) and white water rafting which are clearly both team sports. Most people become interested in one or many at a young age and they usually only get a coach if they wish to take the sport further – this is clearly different to other sports such as football and swimming for example.

Another difference between extreme sports and normal sports is that the performance of a sportsman is not as clear cut. For example, a person’s ability to rock climb is evaluated on more subjective and aesthetic criteria, rather than on a speed or score level. With every mountain being different, and the variables also changing in the other sports, it just isn’t possible to create a set performance system. Of course, this isn’t the case for all extreme sports but it is the norm for most.

Nowadays there is even an international competition that celebrates these sports known as the x games. This includes people participating in extreme sports in a controlled environment. It began in 1995 in the United States and it is now a hugely watched competition throughout the world. This has also enabled many extreme sporters to participate in a sport full time due to the levels of sponsorship received.

Whether you fancy skateboarding or scuba diving or any of the other sports that fall in between, one thing is for sure – your adrenaline will be pumping and you are sure to have an experience that is like no other you’ve had before!