Peru, The Land Of The Sun

Peru, heart of the Inca empire, which gave birth to one of the most advanced civilizations of pre-Columbian America, became part of the Christian west as a result of the Spanish conquest of the 16th century. It became an independent republic on July 28th 1821. Peru is situated in the central and western part of South America. Its neighbors on the north are Ecuador and Colombia; on the east Brazil, on the south-east Bolivia, on the south Chile, and on the west the Pacific Ocean, a 200 mile zone of which constitutes its territorial waters. The total area of Peru is 1, 285, 213 km. squared (496, 092 square miles) and its population is more than 30 million.

The topography of Peru is one of the most varied in the world, and includes all altitudes from sea level to the snow-covered peaks of the Andes, which reach a height of over 6,758m. all types of climate can be found from the heat of the coastal dunes an the virgin forest to the icy conditions of the Andean mountains, as can all types of country-side, from the desert and oasis kind near the pacific ocean to the fine valleys and peaceful mountain lakes near the cordillera, not forgetting the vast rivers and virgin forest of the Amazon.

Generally speaking, Peru has a temperate climate. On the coast the temperature rises to 25ºC from October to march. From April to September we have the cold season, but the temperature does not fall below 10ºC. Even the climate of the mountain regions is temperate except at high altitudes. The rainy season is from October to April. The virgin forest is hot and humid. The hottest months are July and august.

Lima, the city of kings, as it was named by Francisco Pizarro, its founder, is situated on the shores of the Rimac River, a few minutes from the ocean. It is a modern city with zones where the colonial architecture stands out by its beauty. Many of the best museums about the pre-Columbian cultures in Peru are in Lima. The Pachacamac and Caral ruins (the oldest city in the Americas) are to be visited from Lima too. Unknown but spectacular, the Nor Yauyos region is a new touristic area with breathtaking landscapes plenty of cascades, lakes and Indian villages.

The city is also one of the gastronomic capitals in the world. For the golf lovers, there are six good golf courses in and around Lima.

Cusco, known as the archaeological capital of America, offers not only Machu Picchu and its Inca monuments and ruins, but also its art treasures, sculpture and colonial goldsmiths´ work to the tourist, the historian and the culture lovers. Off the beaten path spectacular places can also be easily visited, like the mythical Maukallaqta and Puma Orqo. Trekking and river rafting are also very important tourist attractions around Cuzco.

Arequipa, the white city, is located at the foot of the snow-crowned Misti volcano, is a noble, picturesque town. The visit to the Santa Catalina convent is a must, as well as the Colca Canyon, the second deepest in the world. There is an 18 holes golf course in Arequipa.

Iquitos is situated in the forest on the shores of the Amazon. It is a typical, tropical town of considerable interest, and starting point for cruises along the Amazon river, or for jungle lodge programs.

Puerto Maldonado, Tambopata and Manu are exceptional almost virgin tropical jungle areas, scenarios for adventure jungle trips and jungle lodge programs.

The other very interesting destinations in the country are: Trujillo and Chiclayo on the north coast (Chan Chan, Huaca de la Luna, golf in Trujillo and the treasures of the Lord of Sipan near Chiclayo are some of the highlights in this area) as well as Cajamarca, Chachapoyas and the Kuelap fortress, Huaraz and the White Range and Chavin, Huancayo and the beautiful colonial city of Ayacucho in the Central Andes.