Hikers walking in the Salineras de Maras, region of Cusco

Peru Travel Guide

09° 11′ 24″ S, 75° 00′ 55″ O

Peru in a few words...

Think of Peru and the first word that springs to mind is ‘Inca’ – the best-known and most-studied of South America’s civilizations – and the associated images of forgotten temples entangled in jungle vines. But away from the hordes at Machu Picchu, this is a country of diversity and superlatives: the deepest canyon, the highest navigable lake and the third largest area of rain forest.

Peru is divided into three distinct geographical regions: the Pacific coastal strip, the Andes mountains and the Amazonian lowlands. The desert coastline is the site of the Nazca Lines, one of the world’s great archaeological mysteries, while off-shore the Islas Ballestas are a wildlife paradise that is home to colonies of sea lions, Humboldt penguins and flamingos. Within 100km of the coast, the Andes rise to spectacular heights of over 6000m, where a multitude of trekking trails take in ancient ruins, remote villages and herds of alpaca. The eastern slopes of the Andes drop into the fabled rainforests of the Amazon basin, a treasure trove of vibrant tropical colour, where jaguars hide in the forest while flocks of macaws feed on the salt licks.





06:22 GMT -5

local time

Lima

capital city

1,285,220

area in km²

Spanish

main language(s)

Our local team

We think Peru is the greatest country in the world. We have towering mountains covered in thick forest, ancient ruins dating back hundreds of years and so much vibrant colour and music to go with it. Come and see it for yourself, we'll be happy to show you around!

Highlights in Peru

Hikers enjoying the city of Cusco

Cuzco

Capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco (or Cuzco) is a must-see city in Peru. The word Qusqu means navel in Quechua. Nestled in the Andes at an altitude of 3,400 meters, the ancient Inca capital was the center of the world for the Incas: the heart of Tahuantinsuyu (the Inca empire).

Panorama of the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Perched on a rocky promontory that unites the Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains (“the Young Peak” in Quechua) on the eastern slope of the central Andes. Abandoned during the collapse of the Inca Empire and before its construction was completed, Machu Picchu, the sacred city forgotten for centuries, is considered a masterpiece of Inca architecture.

Peruvian woman navigating on Titicaca lake

Lake Titicaca

The natural border between Peru and Bolivia, Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, nestled at an altitude of 3,810 meters. It is also the largest lake in South America. It covers more than 8,000 km² and is surrounded by mountains. The main cities bordering it are Puno in Peru and Copacabana in Bolivia.

Flying condor in the Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon

With its 3,300 meter vertical drop, the Colca Canyon stretches over 100 km. To the north of this immense fault stand numerous peaks of more than 5,200 meters in altitude such as Seprigina (5,450m). The Colca Canyon is also one of the best places in Peru to observe the majestic condor.

Hikers in the Sacred Valley, region of Cusco

Sacred Valley

Known as El Valle Sagrado, the Sacred Valley is located just north of Cuzco and is the heart of the Inca Empire. With fertile land and terraced agriculture this valley is dotted with small villages such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

Vinicuna Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain

Sitting at 5,200m, Montaña Arcoíris has seven different colours streaked down it's mountainsides. These colours are created by the minerals within the soils; pink is due to red clay, mud and sand; the whitish colouring is due to quartzose, sandstone and marls, rich in calcium carbonate; the red is due to iron-rich claystones; the green is due to phyllites and clays rich in ferro magnesian; the earthy brown is a product of rock with magnesium belonging to the Quaternary period; and the mustard yellow colour comes from the calcareous sandstones, rich in sulphur.

Tree in the Amazon rainforest

Amazon rainforest

The Amazonia is the world's largest rainforest, known for its incredible biodiversity. It's vast expanse of forest covers seven countries; Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname, with 13% covering Peru. The net of rivers and lakes that feed the dense forest include the Amazon river, the largest by discharge in the world. It appeared around 55 million years ago, following a global reduction of tropical temperatures.

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