Peru lies on the Pacific northwest coast of South America, containing within its borders tropical rainforest, deserts and soaring mountains – along with a breath-taking array of relics and ruins of a long-lost ancient culture.
Visiting Peru, you have an exceptional opportunity to witness an abundance of wildlife in a variety of landscapes, to delve into a rich history and archaeological heritage, as well as to experience the generous, vivacious character of native cultures that have survived centuries of change.
Within the strip of coastal lowlands that stretches the length of the country, you will find charming fishing villages, exceptional beaches, deserts, bountiful agricultural lands and all of Peru’s major towns and cities, including the capital city of Lima.
Further inland, the lush Amazon Basin accounts for half of the country’s land mass, which is simply crying out for exploration. The Peruvian interior is an ecologically rich area of tropical rainforest that remains, even today, largely undiscovered and sparsely populated. It is the intrepid traveller’s ideal oxymoron: an accessible wilderness.
Separating the coastal desert from the jungle is the imposing bulk of the Andes mountain range. This is a seemingly endless chain of rising and falling peaks that reach up to 22,000 feet (7,000m). This is not only home to millions of indigenous highland people, speaking the ancient Inca language of Quechua, and living in traditional villages with steeply terraced agricultural fields – it was once also the realm of the Inca, and contains magnificent relics of the ancient civilisation. Exploring this region will bring you into contact with wandering herds of llamas and alpacas as well as tales of lost cities, undiscovered treasures and insoluble, timeless mysteries.
In Peru you can marvel at the sophistication of pre-Colombian cultures and explore their legacies. Visit the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco, the majestic ‘Lost City’ of Machu Picchu and the traditional world of the island people on Lake Titicaca.
Add into the mix the splendid Spanish colonial architecture of the cities, the exotic flavours of Peruvian cuisine and the chance to contemplate the mystery of the ancient Nazca Lines, and it soon becomes apparent why Peru is fast becoming one of South America’s most in-demand destinations.
The best time of year to visit Peru is between March and April when the weather is warm and humidity levels are low.
In the central, coastal city of Lima, February is the warmest month with average temperatures around 24 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit), dropping only to 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) in the coolest month of August.
The weather on the coast generally has less rainfall, while the highlands have a wet season (October to April) and a dry season (May to September).
Spanish and Quechua are the official languages, but many other indigenous languages are also spoken. English is spoken only in tourist regions.
A passport valid for six months is required for entry into Peru. Nationals of most countries will not require a visa for leisure stays of up to six months, however a business visa will be needed if you are travelling for work purposes. All travellers will need return or onward tickets and proof of funds. Please check the rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.
Safety in Peru is generally not a problem, though you should still take the usual precautions against opportunistic thieves, especially in cities.
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