Peru

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Overview

Located in the west of South America, Peru is a richly biodiverse country with arid plains, Amazon rainforest, towering Andes mountains and mile upon mile of beautiful coastline. Not surprising considering its diverse terrain, Peru is home to hundreds of endemic species of flora and fauna, a huge variety of wildlife - puma, jaguar, spectacled bear, sperm whales - and incredible birdlife. The landscapes are spectacular and it's steeped in fascinating and ancient history. Visit Lima to experience the perfect blend of ancient and modern, Cusco for breathtaking ancient ruins and Machu Picchu to see the famous Inca City.

Huascarán National Park encompasses most of the mountain range known as Cordillera Blanca (the world's highest tropical mountain range) which is part of the central Andes. Mount Huascarán rises to 6,768m above sea-level. The combination of snow-capped mountain peaks, tropical glaciers and lakes, and a large variety of vegetation makes this a truly rare destination to visit. The park is home to the spectacled bear and the Andean condor as well as other interesting wildlife. Activities include hiking, nature watching safaris, mountain biking, skiing, mountaineering and cultural tourism. Huascarán also contains an impressive 25 trekking routes and 102 mountaineering spots.

The Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary is Peru's most visited natural protected area, encompassing archaeological sites, Inca monuments and a large variety of fauna and flora, some of which are endangered. Wildlife of the area includes the spectacled bear and neotropical river otter. The main attraction is Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge, connected with various archaeological sites through the Qhapaq Ñan network (known as the Inca Trail). The Inca Trail is one of the most sought after trails in South America and currently offers six hiking routes.

The largest protected area in Peru, and the second largest in the Amazon region, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve comprises of an area of more than 20,000 km². This is one of the best areas to go on safari and spot Amazon mammals, birds and plants. In this lush green paradise expect to come across the endangered pink dolphin, as well as monkeys, hawks, capybara, and if you are very lucky, the elusive black jaguar. In the summer months, enjoy exploring the inlets that make up Pacaya Samiria’s flooded jungle, while in the winter months, when the river recedes, visitors can walk along sandy beaches and explore the shores. 

 

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Quick Facts - Peru

Travel Seasons

  • Jun-Aug - High Season. Busiest time, book ahead. Great time for festivals, highland adventures and treks. It's the dry season in the Andean highlands and eastern rainforest. 
  • Sep-Nov, Mar-May - Shoulder Season. Less crowded time to visit. Spring and autumn in the highlands, Sept-Nov is ideal for trekking in the rainforest. 
  • Dec-Feb - Low Season. The Inca Trail is closed in Feb for clean up. Rainy season in the highlands, very rainy in the Amazon until May. High season on the coast and for beach activities. 


General Information

  • Captial city: Lima
  • Currency: Nuevo Sol
  • Lauguage: Spanish
  • Size: 1,285,216 km²
  • Population: 29,496,000 (2010 estimate)


Health & Safety 

  • Travel insurance is essential for all international travel. Click below to find out more:

  • The CDC recommends the following vaccinations for Peru: hepatitis A and typhoid. Check with your doctor which other vaccinations you might need and make sure your routine vaccinations are all up-to-date.
  • The Peru Ministry of Health recommends vaccinations against yellow fever if you're travelling into the Amazonian region. Check with your doctor.
  • Malaria is present in areas of Peru - get medical advice on which prophylaxis to take if necessary.
  • It is best to stick to bottled water. 


Tourist Information

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Spectacular and diverse landscapes
  • Wealth of wildlife and natural resources
  • Rich cultural heritage and ancient history
  • Wide range of adventurous activities 
  • Trekking including the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Mouth-watering cuisine
  • Tradition of festivals, music and dance

 
Cons

  • Trek prices can vary between companies as well as the conditions and pay for their porters (there's a minimum wage and maximum weight they can carry). 
  • Counterfeit notes are common so take time to check the notes you receive and don't take any notes that are ripped, you will have to change these in a bank. Take time to get familiar with the money so you know what to look for. 

Travel Info

Arriving in Peru

  • Most visitors fly into Lima, an international hub with flights arriving from all over the world. 
  • There are land entry points from Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile. 
  • Cruise ships arrive at the port of Callao (30 mins from Lima). 


Getting Around

  • Due to the vast distances and condition of roads and accessibility in remote areas, flying is the best way to travel around Peru. There are several domestic carriers. 
  • You can also travel by train, but make sure you book a ticket in advance and buy a first class or buffet class ticket to avoid an uncomfortable journey surrounded by other people's luggage.  


Visas

  • A tourist visa is not required by most European and North American countries as well as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and many others, but check before you travel Peru Visas >>

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