Peru Destination Guide | Fast Cover

Peru

Visit colourful Cusco & the capital of Lima, or trek the Andes to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu.

Peru

Capital City: Lima

Peru Key Facts

  • Flag

  • Size

    1, 285, 216 km²
    20th largest

  • Population

    31, 151, 643

  • Peru Location

    South America

  • Travel Insurance

    For Peru travel insurance, select Worldwide Region

  • International Calling Codes

    51

  • Cities

    Lima
    Arequipa
    Trujillo

  • Language

    Spanish
    Quechua
    Aymara

  • Religions

    81.3% Catholic
    12.5% Evangelical

  • Currency

    Nuevo sol

    Get current exchange rates from

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  • Driving

    In Peru they drive on the right side of the road

Tourism website: www.visitperu.com

When is the best time to visit?

Peak tourist season coincides with the dry season between the months of May until October. The best times to visit for trekking and to avoid huge crowds is from June to September. 

Transport Information

Airports (234, 5 international), railway (including several scenic routes), highways, buses, metro in Lima, ports and harbours.

World Heritage Sites

  1. Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, which is the site of the Capital of the Chimu Kingdom which fell to the Incas in the 16th century.
  2. Chavin (Archaeological Site), one of the most famous and earliest pre-Columbian sites.
  3. City of Chuzco, a unique testimony to 3000 years of indigenous and autonomous cultural development in the Peruvian Andes.
  4. Historic Centre of Lima, which was the most important city in South America under Spanish rule.
  5. Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa, a wonderful example of the integration of native and European building techniques and characteristics.
  6. Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana, which depict creatures, plants and imaginary beings and endure as one of the biggest mystery of archaeology.
  7. Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System, representing a small section of the extensive road system built by the Incas.
  8. Sacred City of Caral-Supe, which is the oldest center of civilization in the Americas dating back 5000 years.
  9. Huascarán National Park, home to the world's highest tropical mountain range.
  10. Manú National Park, home to some 850 bird species as well as jaguars.
  11. Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, which is easily the most spectacular urban creation of the Inca Empire.
  12. Río Abieso National Park, which was specifically created to protect the fauna and flora of Andean rainforests.
  • Average Annual Temperature

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    20 degrees

  • Average Annual Rainfall

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    692 mm

Climate Information

Perù has a large variety of climates, though generally speaking it enjoys a tropical climate with pronounced wet and dry seasons. The dry season is generally from May until October, and the wet season from November to April with most rain falling in January and February. Along the coast, temperatures from December until April hover around 30 degrees and rain is unusual here. In the highlands rain is abundant from January until April and temperatures hover around 20 degrees. The Jungle regions see rain all year-round and from May until October temperatures go up to 38 degrees.

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Official Holidays

  • January 1 - New Year's Day
  • April 2 - Maundy Thursday
  • March/April - Good Friday
  • March/April - Easter
  • May 1 - Labor Day
  • June 29 - St Peter and St Paul
  • July 28 - Independence Day
  • July 29 - Independence Day (day 2)
  • August 30 - Santa Rosa De Lima
  • October 8 - Battle of Angamos
  • November 1 - All Saint's Day
  • December 25 - Christmas Day
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Why Visit Peru?

Peru has a staggering amount of things to offer and is quickly growing as a destination. From eco tourism to culture tourism, gastronomy tourism to adventure tourism, there are a lot of things to do in Peru. It also remains reasonably cheap for travellers to explore, making it an attractive destination when on a budget.

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Things To Do In Peru

  • See Machu Pichu.
  • See Lima.
  • Explore Cuzco and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Lake Titicaca and the floating islands.
  • Fly over the Nasca lines.
  • Explore the Inca Trail.
  • Enjoy a day at the beach.
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Travel Tips For Peru

  • Supermarkets are expensive and can only be found in big cities. If you need to go shopping in a smaller place, locate the market place!
  • There are a lot of beggars around and it is advised to choose wisely before giving them money. Under no circumstances should you give money to child beggars.
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Peru Food

Peruvian cuisine is as mixed and varied as the geography of the country, though distinctly South American and you will find themes similar to that of Chile and Argentina. Meat is a traditional part of the meal and in Peru you will find a lot of snout to tail eating. Local delicacies include a kebab made from spicy beef heart (anticuchos) and cow stomach served with potatoes (cau-cau), and both are more delicious than they sound so make sure to try them. Fish is popular in coastal regions and you should make a point of trying a local raw fish ceviches and if you are feeling adventurous, some sea urchin. Potatoes are a firm staple and you will find a host of potato dishes everywhere, from boiled potatoes covered in cream to mashed potatoes stuffed with meat or vegetables. Peruvians love desserts and you should make sure to try some of them: Mazamorra morada is a custard made from purple corn and is worth the view alone (purple custard anyone?)! Picarones are a local favorite, they are a donuts made from fried yams and served with a sweet sugarcane syrup. 

Peru Travel Safety and Warnings

  • Due to extreme poverty, crime can be a real problem. It is best to leave anything fancy, new or expensive at home and take out older clothes for the journey. Pickpockets are also quite common, so it is usually best to avoid a wallet and distribute your money over all your pockets. It is also advised to leave credit cards and ATM cards in a safe rather than carrying them with you, as armed robberies have been increasing lately. Ensure you have travel insurance for Peru before setting off on your journey.
  • Bring a good travel pharmacy with you, make sure you have antimalarials! Make sure all your injections, including: rabies, hepatitis B, Measles, Parotiditis, Rubella, Tetanus, yellow fever, typhoid, and hepatitis A.
  • Do not drink tap water!
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About Peru

Peru is the fastest growing tourism destination in South America and it attracts more travellers every year, showing an annual growth rate of 25%! While it may not yet be the first thought in your mind when you think about travelling to South America, it’s actually one of the best destinations to visit on the entire continent.

From culture to food, from beach to mountains, from pristine landscapes to busy cities, Peru offers a truly unique experience to visitors willing to explore. Make sure you have all the necessary shots, get travel insurance for Peru, and enjoy your time in the 'empire of hidden treasures'.

Lima is the nation's capital and its historic center is absolutely amazing. Founded by the infamous Francisco Pizarro in the 16th century, it became the capital during the time of the Spanish and one of the most important cities in the country.

Today the city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a true marvel to explore for its unique mix of architectural styles. While just walking around this city is an adventure of discovery, an even better way to see it is to combine it with a culinary tour.

Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru

While native Peruvian cuisine is simple, Peru is touted as the food mekka of South America, due to its many cultural influences and unique location.

Cuzco is another city destination that should be on your map when you travel through Peru. The city has some amazing colonial architecture mixed with indigenous Quechua culture, which makes for one stunning combination.

Within the city there are some great museums to explore to find out more about history of the region (Museo Historico Regional), history of textiles (Museo del Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco), as well as a museum dedicated to chocolate (ChocoMuseo) and one dedicated to sacred, medical and medicinal plants.

However, Cuzco is really a great stepping-stone to explore some of the amazing ruins in the area, such as Sacsayhuamán, the site of an important battle between the Spanish and the Inca, and to head to Machu Picchu and the world famous 'Lost City of the Incas'.

Machu Picchu, even without its cultural heritage, is an absolutely breathtaking site with a beautiful landscape that is home to more than 90 species of orchids. This city built by the Incas forms the end point of the world famous Inca Trail, and is a site to behold.

Perching on the side of the mountain, overlooking the valley, is the Lost City. What specifically it was built for remains unclear to this day!

You can freely explore the ruins yourself or take a guide, beware though that little is actually known about this site, most stories the guides will tell you are based more on imagination than fact. 

Alpaca in Machu Licchu in Cusco Peru

Towering above Machu Picchu is Wayna Picchu, which offers super views and is not as bad of a hike as it looks. Ensure you have travel insurance for Peru before embarking on any big hikes though.

Towards the border of Bolivia is where you’ll find the famous Lake Titicaca, famous not only for endless innuendos by comedians, but also for being the highest commercially navigable body of water.

Apart from its stunning scenery, you can take a boat trip to see explore some of the islands of the lake, such as Isla Taquile or Isla Armantani.

Both islands have managed to maintain their own culture for centuries, and access can be tricky but is well worth the effort. 

Lake Titicaca in Peru

For something truly different though head to Uro Islands, a group of floating islands made of reed. These islands and their inhabitants are truly unique and quite the site to behold. Oh, and while you are here make sure to send a postcard from the world's only floating post office!

Travel through Peru is very rewarding, but requires preparation. Make sure you have a first aid kid replete with some antiseptics and iodine pills and also make sure you have all the required vaccinations.

While the people of Peru are amazingly friendly, crime can be a problem due to extreme poverty. It’s recommended to dress down and leave valuable items at home, or in a safe if you have access to one.

Peru is an amazing destination with a lot to offer.

Alpaca Cusco Peru

 

Beach, mountains, cities, desert, lakes, and forests, there truly are a lot of places you can go to do anything from trekking to scuba diving, from enjoying a mad party to relaxing with a cup of coffee. As it says, Peru really is the empire of hidden jewels!

 

For more information on Peru, visit the Peru Tourism Website.

 

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