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Peru Travel Guide Travel Information


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Overview of Peru

Peru Travel Guide

A great place in South America with numerous mysterious attractions and spectacular views.

When in Peru you will have the chance to visit the archaeological sites scattered around the country, you will see dry deserts, high snow-peaked mountains, colourful grasslands and deep Amazonian rainforests.


Peru was where the core of the ancient Inca Empire (the Tawantinsuyu) was, until it was conquered by Francisco Pizarro's army. The archaeological riches left behind by the Incas are impressive, take Machu Picchu, for instance: a dreamlike lost city, located high on top of a 2.300 m high mountain overlooking the green Urubamba Valley.


Today Peru is famous for its colonial, pre-Columbian and modern urban attractions, it also has a rich wildlife, it is a popular place for mountain tourism as well. And there's so much more, you just can't get enough of Peru! 



Peru Travel Factsheet

State, geography 

Official name:

República del Perú (Republic of Peru)

Government type:

Presidential republic


Northwestern South America, in the central Andes.


1.285.215,6 km² or 496,224.5 sq mi

Geography overview:

Most of the country is covered by the Andes mountains - there are over 20 peaks that rise above 6.000 m.

Dense rainforests, green valleys, semi-deserts and deserts are also found in Peru.

The main affluents that form the giant River Amazon (Amazonas) erupt from Peru and flow out into Brazil in the northeastern part of the country.

Demographics, population

Official language(s):


Locally used languages:

Quechua, Aymara

Other widely spoken languages:


Nationalities, ethnic groups, races:

45 % Amerindian; 37 % Mestizo; 15 % White; 3 % Black; less than 1 % Asian.


29,139 million

Population density:

22/km² or 57/sq mi

Capital city & population:

Lima (urban region: 7.605.000, metropolitan area: 8.473.000)

Largest city & population:

Lima (urban region: 7.605.000, metropolitan area: 8.473.000)

Other large cities & population:

Iquitos (central area: 371.000)

Arequipa (central area: 905.000)

Cuzco/Cusco (central area: 350.000)

Ayacucho (central area: 151.000)


89 % Roman Catholic; 6,7 % Evangelical; 2,6 % various religions; 1,4 % atheist; 0,2 % not specified



1 Nuevo Sol (NOK) = 100 Céntimos

Symbol/sign: S/.

Foreign currencies widely used:


GDP (nominal):

127,46 billion USD

GDP per capita (nominal):

4.448 USD

Other data

Time zone:

Peru Time (PET): UTC -5 h

Country telephone calling code:


Internet TLD(s):


Electric power system:

Voltage & frequency: 220-240V/60Hz


Plugs/sockets: A, B, C

Driving system:

Right-hand drive


Peru Interactive Map


View Larger Map




Places to Visit & Things to Do in Peru

Lima & Surroundings

Lima is a city renowned for its beautiful architecture.

The Plaza de Armas is one particular location where you can admire the beauty of old buildings: the Palacio Arzobispal, the Municipalidad de Lima. Nearby, the Pasaje Santa Rosa is especially beautiful to walk across.

 Old churches from the colonial period are also present. The Lima Cathedral is the place where you can see famous conquistador Francisco Pizarro's tomb. Many many other churches are worth visiting too, such as the Iglesia de San Francisco, the Santo Domingo Convent.

The city has Art Nouveau buildings as well, you can walk around in the old quarters and discover various styles...

An interesting museum to see for tourists is the Museo de Oro del Perú, the Gold Museum.

Lima's Miraflores quarter has many modern buildings, it's a place where the rich buy high-rise apartments, oceanfront vacation homes... It's interesting to take a walk through this part of Lima.


City southeast of Lima. Among the most important attractions there are the following: the Monasterio de Santa Catalina (monastery), the Plaza de Armas (which is also beautiful at night), Casa de Moral, Iglesía de Los Jesuítas, Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Iglesia San Juan Bautista.

Also, an interesting natural attractions are the Misti and Chachani volcanoes.

Machu Picchu, Cuzco & the Sacred Valley Region

The top attractions of Peru.

Most foreign tourists visit these parts when they come to spend their exotic vacation in Peru.

Usually, the trip starts by arriving with the airplane to Cuzco (Cusco) city, from there travelers take trips to surrounding archaeological sites, especially to those in "The Sacred Valley of the Incas". Machu Picchu is not in the Sacred Valley, but about 120 km northwest from Cuzco city, to which one can get by train.

The Sacred Valley includes over 200 archaeological sites and many many villages, towns with special local attractions. Just to mention some of the most important such destinations: Ollantaytambo (major Inca fortress & near it the town with the same name), Llactapata (recently uncovered ruins) Písac (Inca ruins on the mountain side and town with the same name with periodical market, down below), the Salinas, the Moray circular agricultural terraces, the towns and villages of Urubamba, Yucay, Calca, Maras, Chincheros, the ruins of Q'enko, Tambomachay, Sacsayhuamán.

Cuzco itself is rich in attractions: many museums, among which the Coricancha (was an Inca Temple) is the main attraction, also the Plaza de Armas and the nearby churches.

Lake Titicaca & Surroundings

Lake Titicaca is South America's biggest body of inland water. Its area is split between Peru and Bolivia.

The floating islands on the Titicaca are special attractions that you won't find elsewhere in the World.

You can get to the lake by going to Puno, a town that has a railway station, adequate road connection and an airport.

Chachapoyan Archaeological Sites

Less visited than the Inca ruins, but not less interesting. The Chachapoyas inhabited Peru for a long period before the Incas. It is considered that the Chachapoyas unlike other Amerindians were white.

The most important site is Kuelap, not far away from the city of Chachapoyas. You can get there by plane and then on road to the ruins. Either go individually or with an organized group, latter variant preferred, it's not a highly frequented site.

The Nazca Lines

Located south of Lima, near the city with the same name, the Nazca Lines are gigantic "drawings" that can only be seen from the sky, from an airplane or helicopter, that is.
Local companies will take you up and give you the opportunity to see the artwork from above.

These large carvings were made by the ancient Nazca population that lived in these areas of Peru, long before the Incas. 

Amazonian Peru

The River Amazon (Amazonas) starts its long journey towards the Atlantic Ocean in Peru. Many might think that Peru is a mountainous country with snow-peaked mountains, but in fact it also holds part (a large area) of the immense Amazonian rainforest.

Iquitos is the most important spot of Amazonian Peru is the port city of Iquitos. You can fly in to Iquitos from Lima or even from another country.

From Iquitos, you can take boat trips on the Amazon and admire the wild nature.

Specialized agents offer trips into the wild jungle, you can watch birds and other animals, stay at eco lodges, etc.

Eastern Peru, where the Ucayali and Madre de Diós provinces are, is also home to many eco tourism and wilderness travel hotspots. The Manu National Park is located in the area, a popular destination for wilderness travel enthusiasts.

Make sure you have taken all the measures necessary to avoid possible dangers. Exotic illnesses, among them the commonly known Malaria and others are very frequent. You must only travel with an organized group, purchase service from a specialized agency, preferably a local one.


By Air

You should choose to fly in to Lima and then reach the places you want to visit. You can travel from Lima to other cities by train, bus or by plane (to the biggest cities). Many major airlines from Europe, North America and Asia fly to Lima, it won't be very difficult to find connection.

By Road 

Peru is best connected with Chile from this point of view. Many tourists travel from Peru's south into Chile's north. You too can choose this quite popular way to get into the neighbouring country or to travel from there into Peru.

 Travelling into Bolivia might also be quite easy, there are roads, even though their quality is not at Western European standards. The Ecuador-Peru road connection is rather poor, but the one connecting the country with Chile is better.

Don't think about road connections with Colombia and Brazil, those are Amazonian rainforest areas. The wilderness is everywhere, there are few roads and only short poor quality ones in forests.

By Rail

The rail system is the main transportation artery from Cuzco to Machu Picchu. Choose the railway over the road f you want to travel to Machu Picchu or Cuzco. But, the airplane is even better.


On Water

Few companies offer ocean travel trips to and from Peru, the opportunities are not so good.

River and lake travel offer more opportunities, though.

You can travel into Brazil on the Amazon, a good place to start is the city of Iquitos.

Travelling into Bolivia is also possible by ship on the Lake Titicaca.

Best Time for Visiting Peru

If you want to go to the beach and Lima, then December - April is the best interval to travel. the rest of the year, there are many rains and the sky is cloudy.

But, if you go to the mountainous regions, like Machu Picchu, then travel in the interval between May and October. Preferably, June - September in order to make sure you get the best weather.

Amazonian Peru: travel to these parts of the country between May and October. Anyway, you will feel strong heat and the humidity is very high.

Risks & Precautions in Peru

Important: We present you some of the most common risks and precautions for you to take in this country, however our list does not cover the whole typology and details of these problems that might occur.


Theft is a common problem in Peru, but tourists are at a higher risk.

Make sure you don't enter crowded buses and other republic transport vehicles with your valuables easily accessible to pickpockets.

Also, make sure not to walk alone in suspicious looking neighbourhoods. Avoid walking at night, anywhere you are. 

Swindles, Frauds

Various people hunt for tourists, especially foreigners in order to sell them goods or offer a variety of services. Excuse yourself politely in order to avoid swindles, frauds that can cost your money or your good health.

 You might become a target when you are around public transportation spots, like airports, railway stations. Taxi drivers and various other persons might approach you to offer a "great" and "cheap" service. Avoid suspicious deals and don't exchange currency unless you're in a bank or exchange office and you know exactly the rules that apply.

Exotic Diseases, Contagious Diseases

Peru is a source for malaria, diphtheria, yellow fever, Spanish flu, cholera and a wide variety of other illnesses. Water is often polluted, therefore, only drink bottled water!

If you travel to the jungle areas, you will certainly need to take vaccine and also take extra measures on spot.

To defend against various mosquito and other insect-spread diseases (such as malaria), please use insect repellant spray or ointment.

Get well documented before your trip and take the measures necessary to prevent getting ill.

Interesting Things About Peru

Peru was the heartland of the once prosperous Inca Empire, which was the second largest empire in the World (the biggest being the Roman Empire).


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