Peru is an amazing country that can take pride in a huge natural diversity, climates and microclimates as well as enormous cultural and historical richness!!
There can be found 3 main geographical zones:
The biggest natural jewels of the country involve the Manu National Park, the Tambopata National Reserve, Ballestas Islands,Colca Canyon and Titicaca Lake.
North and south of the country is connected by the Pan-American Highway. Most of big Peruvian cities are accessible by flights having a Lima as its main hub.
The territory of nowadays Peru represented the centre of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyo in their language) nearly five centuries ago. The empire stretched even further to the north and the south. Inca's descendants have been still living in the Andes continuing their traditional lifestyle. The Andean inhabitants make up a half of the population of Peru!
The most known and most impressive monument of the Incas is without any doubt Machu Picchu!
Nevertheless, there was a huge number of other civilization in Peru that are not so known as the Incas and their culture and monuments are not less impressive. The most significant of them are Chan Chan, Las Huacas del Sol y de la Luna, Chavin de Huantar, the Nazca Lines, Caral or Kuelap.
In the north of Peru can be also found the biggest beach resort – Mancora! It is a favourite tourist destination because it possesses the warmest water compared to other parts of Peruvian cost!
It is a biosphere reserve located in the Peruvian Amazon, in the regions of Madre de Dios and Cusco. The park was recognized as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1977. It is the biggest national reserve of Peru! The park covers an area of 1,532,806 hectares! The park is divided into two zones: the “Reserve Zona” and the “Cultural Zone”. The reserve is very well conserved thanks to its difficult accessibility. There can be found over 20,000 flora species as well as a huge number of animal species. More specifically, 1,000 bird species, 210 fish species, 222 species of mammals, 99 reptile species, 140 species of amphibians, 1307 species of butterflies, a big number of described and undescribed species of insect, 300 ant species, 650 beetle species and 136 species of dragonflies, for instance.
The reserve found in 1990 is situated to the east and the south of Puerto Maldonado. It covers an area of 1.5 millions of hectares within the Madre de Dios and Puno regions. Tambopata can pride in many world records regarding fauna and flora as there live 545 bird species (at only 5,500 hectares!) 1,122 butterfly species, 151 species of dragonflies and 29 species of tiger beetle species!
These islands are a formation of small islands located near the towns of Ica and Paracas, 5 hours south of Lima. The islands are a habitat to marine fauna such as guano birds, Humboldt Penguins, sea lions and fur seals among others. As the fauna is very similar to the fauna of Galapagos Islands while their tours are very economic, the islands are called the “Galapagos of the Poor”. In the beginning of the tour to the islands, which are accessible only by boat, visitors can see El Candelabro, a huge geoglyph placed on a hill.
This canyon measuring of 4,160 metres of depth is considered to be the deepest in the world! It is twice as deeps as the U.S. Grand Canyon. The canyon is made up by Colca River and it lies near the Arequipa City in the southern Peru. The canyon is inhabited by Collagua and Cabana people, pre-Incan cultures keeping their old traditions cultivating crops on pre-Incan stepped terraces.
The lake lays at the height of 3,812 metres above sea level making it the highest navigable lake on the world! The lake is located in the quite south of Peru and it is shared with Bolivia. In the Peruvian part of the lake, the Uros Floating Islands, artificial reed (totora) islands, can be found. The islands are populated by the Uros people whose traditional way of living was based on potato cultivation, fishing and bird hunting. However, they work in tourism nowadays and sell their handicrafts. Other interesting places of the lake are Taquile and Amantani islands keeping their traditions. Both islands inhabitants live from Experience Tourism, fishing, agriculture and souvenir sale. Moreover, Taquile pride in top-quality weaving products that have been proclaimed by the UNESCO as “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”!
The so called “Lost City of the Incas” was built by the most significant Inca ruler Pachacutec in 15th century in high Andes in the south of Peru. This impressive city was hidden to Spanish conquistadors (however, not to local people!) until 1911 when it was discovered for the surrounding world by Hiram Bingham, an American archaeologist. The city is divided into many parts like residential (there can be found 143 residential houses), spiritual, cultural and public (squares). The spiritual part involves important temples such as the Sun Temple, the Wind Temple, the Condor Temple and many water fountains considered as temples of water.
It was the biggest city made of adobe of both Americas! The city is situated in Northern Peru close to the Trujillo City and it covers an area of 20 km². Chan Chan represents one of the most important centres of pre-Colombian America! Since 1986, Chan Chan is a part of the world cultural heritage protected by the UNESCO! Accordingly a legend, the city was found by the god Naymlap coming from the ocean. In fact, Chan Chan was found around 900 AD and it was all covered by gold and beautifully decorated! Around 1,300 AD, it became the capital of the Chimu Empire. The empire of this ancient pre-Colombian culture extended along the Peruvian coast up to Ecuador covering like that an area over 1,000 km²! The city experienced the biggest boom in 15th century, just before the fall of the Incas defeated by the Spanish conquistadors.
In English, it means the Houses of the Sun and the Moon. This place is an archaeological complex located in the Northern Peru, just 5 kilometres far away from the Trujillo City. The complex served as a Moche (a significant pre-Colombian culture) sanctuary and it became the capital of the Moche culture between the 1st century BC and 9th century AD!
It is an archaeological complex built before 1,200 BC in a high valley of the Andes by the Chavin Culture (one of the first and most important pre-Colombian cultures), 250 kilometres north of Lima. The site lies at an altitude of 3,177 metres above sea level. The site has been protected by the UNESCO. This place served as a ceremonial centre even before the complex was found as occupation there has been carbon dated to 3,000 BC! The Chavin Culture developed between 1,500 AD and 300 BC and it preceded even the Nazca Culture!
The lines represent geoglyphs consisting of geometric lines and pictures. The geoglyphs were created by the Nazca Culture between 400 and 650 AD at the Nazca Desert, around 7 hours south of Lima. In 1994, the lines were proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site! The geoglyphs represents hundreds of figures such as monkeys, spiders, hands, hummingbirds, fish, orcas, sharks, lizards and many more.
This city was found around 5,000 years ago making it the most ancient city of both Americas! The culture of Caral was a contemporary of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China! This site had a theocratic organization while being surrounded by less developed cultures living in so “village society”. Caral is located 200 kilometres north of Lima in the Supe Valley. Caral has been declared a World Herritage Site by the UNESCO!
He was an important Moche ruler whose tomb along with other tombs was found in a complete, intact state. The tombs were discovered in 1987 by the archaeologist Walter Alva. Archaeologists consider this discovery as the most important during the last 30 years in South America. At present, not only the site of excavation is accessible to visitors, but also the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum which was open in 2002 by Dr. Alva to house the most precious artifacts of the tombs.
It is an important archaeological complex located in a highland jungle of Peruvian north-east. Kuelap is a city built by the Chachapoyas Culture at around 11th century and it is called the “Machu Picchu of the Northern Peru”! The city seats on top of the Barreta Hill (3,000 m.a.s.l.) and it is made of complex of great stones with large artificial platforms oriented from south to north. The platforms extend nearly 600 meters and their wall perimeter reaches at some points 19 meters. Its colossal walls and its complex inner architecture are evidence of its role as a city of well-organized culture. The city involves administrative, religious, ceremonial as well as residential areas. Kuelap was occupied until the mid of 16th century.
The best way how to get to know Peru is to undertake a long tour! The Tierras Vivas offers a wide range of tours across whole the country as well as tailor-made tours!
If you like to experience hiking the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, try our 11 day Inca Trail Expedition tour.
If you prefer to see the Amazon Rainforest, hike the Lares Valley Trek to Machu Picchu, visit the Titicaca Lake and the Colca Canyon, then check out our 20 day Secrets of Peru tour.
With the 20 day Deep Peru Discovery tour, you can visit not only the above mentioned, but the Ballestas Islands and Nazca Lines as well!