Unique Destinations in Peru

Peru is located on the western coast of South America, sharing borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile. The great diversity of landscapes has divided Peruvians from pre-Columbian times to date. From the arid deserts of the coast, the Andean Sierra rises up to 19,700 feet. About half the population of Peru concentrates in the highlands.

Peru’s climate and topography show remarkable diversity. The three main areas comprise the arid region along the coast, the central region of high mountains, and a vast area of forested mountains and tropical lowlands in the east. Geography of a country plays a predominant role in its culture; Peruvian culture is one of the most diverse in South America.

Peru means “land of abundance” to the Quechua, founders of Incan civilization. Places such as Machu Picchu and Cusco are a legacy of this lost civilization, destroyed in the early 16th century by Spaniards. Perú was the heart of the Incan Empire and today Machu Picchu is one of their best-known architectural achievements. At the time of the Incas, their capital was Cusco, in an Andean valley 11,000 feet above sea level (considerably higher than Machu Picchu at 8,000 feet, but far more accessible). The Spanish founded Lima as their capital, since they had a preference for the lowland coast and trade with Spain. Climate played a dominant role in this decision: Lima’s equatorial climate is moderated by the cold Pacific, resulting in pleasant temperatures all year.

In the east, the Amazon jungle starts in Puerto Maldonado in the South, and in Iquitos in the North. Iquitos, in the North, marks the start of the Amazon River, and offers river cruises that reveal the diverse Amazonian fauna, including pink dolphins, piranhas, giant river otters, caimans and many more animal species, as well as the tremendous diversity of the tropical rainforests. Puerto Maldonado can be reached by a 30 minutes flight from Cusco. From there river boats travel along the Madre de Dios river to Tambopata or to Manu, two jungle reserves in Southern Peru, exquisitely populated by a most varied flora and fauna.
Chillo Lodge Aqua Expeditions Delfin_II Delfin I

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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Heath River Wildlife Center La Casona, Cuzco Reserva Amazonica Refugio Amazonas Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel Tambopata Research Center Posada Amazonas

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Peru Fast Facts
Population: 29,248,943 (estimate for July 2011)
Capital: Lima; 8,769,000
Area: 1,285,216 square kilometers (496,224 square miles)
Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Religion: Roman Catholic
Currency: Nuevo sol (Approx 2.77sol/US$)

Peru

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Machu Picchu llamas Cusco Otter On Tree Manu National Park Phoenix  geoglyph, Nazca Uros Islands, Lake Titicaca Caiman in Manu National Park Amazon Sunset