is frequently referred to as the 'land of the Incas' and contains some
of the most spectacular archaeological ruins in Latin America. With its
wealth of ancient sites and cultures, it is the historical gem of the
southern continent. What makes Peru so special is that it has
something to offer every kind of traveller. Peru is a land
of contrasts and is divided up into three geographical regions:
the Andes, the coast and the jungle.
most famous attraction is Machu Picchu, which is breathtakingly
beautiful and is built between two mountains in a particularly stunning
location. Nearby, the colonial town of Cuzco can be used as a base
to explore many of the surrounding Inca ruins. Being the second largest
mountain chain in the world after the Himalayas, the Andes is ideal for
hiking and climbing. One of the most popular hiking destinations is the
Cordillera Blana which can be accessed easily from the city of
Huaraz. Some areas have glacier-clad mountains with peaks over 6000
meters - these are also frequented by mountaineers. The
highlands are home to a large indigenous population who speak
Quechua and Aymara and still lead a very traditional lifestyle. Small
villages become brightly coloured centres of activity on markets days
when locals can be seen in their colourful costumes and herds of llamas.
Other opportunities for great trekking lie in the south: from Arequipa,
the 'White city', gives access to the magnificent Colca Canyon, one
of the deepest canyons in the world. Here, one can watch the flight of
the condor (or sometimes up to 20 condors!) gliding effortlessly
overhead. Condors have a wingspan of around 3 meters making them the
largest flying bird in the world. The area of Colca is also ideal for
exploring and river rafting.
population of Peru is over 26 million although half of this is
concentrated in the coastal strip which is mainly desert. There are many
other archaeological sites along the coast such as Chan Chan and Nazca.
The unique Nazca lines are drawings made in the desert in the shapes
of animals, monkeys, birds and reptiles which are so big that they
can only be seen clearly from the air. How and why the Nazca Lines were
made remains a mystery, but an exhilarating flight over the lines is
recommended to fully appreciate their beauty and uniqueness.
the Coast does have a National Park in Paracas where sea lions,
frigates, boobies, cormorants and pelicans can be found, the Amazon
boasts the richest variety of wildlife in Peru. Spread over more than
half of Peru's land area, there is plenty of see. Whether in Iquitos in
the north or in Manu National Park in the south, the bird life is
phenomenal. Whether camping or staying at a jungle lodge there is
lots to do, and if lucky you can also see the increasingly endangered
species of river turtles, manatees, giant river otters, black cayman and
river dolphins. Manu is one of Peruís most important natural
Reserves and was declared a Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
highlights include Lake Titcaca, which is the world's highest navigable
lake at almost 4000 meters. The Uros people live on floating
islands in the middle of the lake and it is possible to take a day trip
to see them. Whether interested in history, trekking or adventure, Peru
has something to meet the needs of every traveller. Itineraries can be
tailor-made and combined with other destinations, such as
Bolivia, to suit individual requirements.