Peru is one of the only countries today with such a strong current indigenous influence. Experiencing this culture in such a naturally diverse and beautiful place is an incredible experience.
Peru is located just south of the Equator in west-central South America on the coast of the South Pacific Ocean. To the North, Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia, with Chile to the south and Brazil and Bolivia to the east.
Peru is a mountainous country, wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Amazon jungle. Such diversity of landscape creates the ideal backdrop of an broad range of activities and experiences.
Peru is geographically divided into three large regions:
The Coast - 12% of the territory
The coastal region sprawls some 1,800 miles along the western coastline of Peru boasting warm weather and beautiful natural beaches, arid deserts, fertile river valleys and exotic dry forests.
The Highlands (Sierra) - 28% of the territory
This is the central region of Peru, dominated by the Andean Mountain Range that runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean. It houses the deepest canyons on earth, Colca and Cotahuasi (in southwestern Peru) as well as high plateaus such as Collao, where the highest navigable lake in the world (Lake Titicaca) straddles our border with Bolivia.
The Jungle or Amazon Forest (Selva) - 60% of the territory
Thanks to its tropical weather and abundant vegetation and fauna this region, covering the eastern expanse of Peru, is one of the great natural reserves on the planet. The world’s largest river – the Amazon – has its beginning in this Peruvian region.
Peru is legendary among world travelers for:
• 10,000 years of history embracing indigenous culture, European influence, and modernity.
• Astounding archaeology showcasing the cradle of human civilization in the Americas.
A land wrapped in 10,000 years of history, Peru is mostly known today as the heart of the mighty Incan Empire. Long before the Incas consolidated their Andean empire, ancient civilizations took root in the North of Lima as what scientists believe was the earliest civilizations found in the Western Hemisphere.
These early cultures left telling archaeological traces of a fascinating past.
It’s no wonder human civilization flourished in ancient Peru -- one of the world’s most bio-diverse lands.
Consider these incredible ecological facts about Peru:
• Of the 117 life zones (biomes) recognized in the world, 84 are found in Peru.
• Of the earth’s 32 types of climate, Peru has 28.
• As one of only 18 countries in the world to be categorized as biologically mega-diverse, Peru is naturally equipped to harbor a majority of the earth's species.
• Peru has the fourth largest area of tropical forest in the world after Brazil, Congo and Indonesia.
• An incredible 5,855 of Peru’s 21,462 plant and animal species are endemic.
• For birdwatchers, Peru spreads its wings with nearly 1,800 species of birds… that’s the 2nd most in the world.
• For your traveling botany and garden enthusiasts, there are nearly 800 types of orchids that grow exclusively in Peru.
Peru is endowed with 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of these, two are Nature sites and two are in the “Mixed” (culture & nature) category.
Huascarán National Park: The Huascarán National Park is a Natural Heritage to Humanity, due to its exceptional beauty formed by the Cordillera Blanca and intense turquoise lagoons formed by glaciers, as well as a large variety of Andean flora and fauna.
Río Abiseo National Park: The park was created in 1983 to protect the fauna and flora of the rainforests that are characteristic of this region of the Andes. There is a high level of endemism among the fauna and flora found in the park. The yellow-tailed woolly monkey, previously thought extinct, is found only in this area. Research undertaken since 1985 has already uncovered 36 previously unknown archaeological sites at altitudes of between 2,500 and 4,000 m, which give a good picture of pre-Inca society.
Mixed Sites: Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and Río Abiseo National Park.