Lying within the tropics, Peru has three distinct regions. Peru is home to the second largest mountain range in the world, the Andes, running parallel to its Pacific coastline. It is also home to the source of the ferocious Amazon River and boasts 13% of South Americas’ Amazon Rainforest.
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The Andes mountain range defines the geography of Peru. Running the length of the South America, The Andes are characterised by immense snow-capped mountains, bubbling volcanoes, deep penetrating valleys, agricultural terraces and winding roads that cling precariously to the steep gradients.
The Inca Empire stretched out along the Andes from central Chile to southern Colombia in the 16th Century leaving many beautiful ruins and contributing to an amazing variety of high altitude colonial towns and villages. Idyllic towns with ruins such as Ollantaytambo in southern Peru are surrounded by steep terraces nurtured over the years by agricultural hands. These remote towns are perfect for star gazing and the view of the peaks silhouetted in the bright moonlight is one to savour.
The Vilcanota River and Cordillera Blanca are just two of the stunning landscapes on offer for adventurers to explore. Whether you fancy white water rafting, trekking or cycling through the valleys, our trips can cater for all abilities.
When to visit: May until September is classed as the dry season and October to May as the rainy season- but the heavy rains usually start in late January. At altitude it gets very cold in the evenings, and during the day the sun is very strong and bright.
The coastal region, stretching 2250km along the west of the country, is a narrow plain of arid land, much of it desert. The warm equatorial currents meeting with the cold Humboldt currents off the Peruvian coast create this very dry climate.
The coast is home to the modern day Peruvian capital, Lima, and many relaxed beaches and spa resorts.
For those interested in ancient culture, no trip to Peru is complete without visiting the mysterious Nazca lines. These super-sized etchings in the desert, only visible from the sky, consist of over 300 figures including a whale, condor, llama and spider. Constructed by the Nazca Culture thousands of years old, we don’t why how and why they were drawn.
There is also the awe-inspiring ruin of Chan Chan, constructed by the Chimor culture in around AD 850, which was for many centuries the largest city in South America.
The Paracas Peninsula in the south has been compared to the Galapagos Islands for the endemic rare species that live there. Visitors to this area will get the chance to see hammerhead sharks, whales, sea lions, albatrosses, boobies and the magnificent condor which comes to feed on sea lion carcasses.
When to visit: The best time to visit is from late December to April during the summer months.
The Amazon Rainforest is one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet with one in ten of the know species in the world living here. The Amazon offers visitors a once in a lifetime chance to see a mind blowing variety of flora and fauna, much of it unique to this vast and stunning landscape.
The Amazon Rainforest is inhabited by almost 2,000 species of birds, the endangered Andean bear, 8 species of Cats, 13 varieties of monkeys, 27 different breeds of parrots and 3,500 species of orchids of which 800 can only be found in Peru. It has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status to protect the sheer scale and density of wildlife and plants in this special area.
This great jungle is also inhabited by many indigenous peoples, who follow ancient customs deep in the remote areas of the forest. Some of the local people have begun to get involved in tourism sharing their immense knowledge, culture and respect for the forest with those who visit it.
The Amazon begins as a tiny trickle on the Mismi Mountain (5597m) near Arequipa in southern Peru. This trickle joins the Rio Apurimac, a tributary of the Ucayali River which then joins the Maranon to form the mighty Amazon River. The Amazon is the second longest in the world with a length of 3,900miles and is the world’s largest river by volume.
When to visit: The dry season runs from April to October, however the forest comes to life during the rainy season when the river is at its highest – so really a year round destination.
These trips are purely for inspiration. Each Galapagos and Peru holiday we create is always unique and tailored to match your interests, timescale and budget