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Peru

Peru, the Incas’ heartland, is still dotted with structures of this great empire’s ability as master builders, most notably Machu Picchu. Visiting this secret fortress in the highlands is enough to inspire even frequent visitors, but the Incas were only one of many people with a legacy to investigate. The terrain is very diverse, ranging from beautiful beaches in the west to the Andes in the center and the rainforest and the quieter tributaries of the Peruvian Amazon jungle in the east. Peru seems to be a country on the rise, as evidenced by the high quality of its hotels and the taste for exquisite cuisine, supported with seven out of nine awards from «World Travel Awards South America» as the leading culinary destination.

Among the varied landscapes that Peru offers, explorers may fly over the enigmatic Nazca Lines or take a wildlife adventure on the Ballestas Islands in Paracas, two of the world’s most advanced ancient civilizations. Know the Afro-American culture of Chincha, the vineyards of Pisco grapes – the distilled drink flag of Peru-, and two of the world’s deepest canyons just outside the colonial city of Arequipa.

Cusco (often spelled Cuzco) is one of Latin America’s most lovely and appealing cities. Located at 3,500 meters in the Andes, the city combines old Inca walls and colonial architecture, with surprises at the end of every cobblestone alley. Moreover, in the Sacred Valley, which connects Cusco and Machu Picchu, visitors will enjoy other see-worthy sights, such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery and an increasing supply of luxury hotels and resorts. One popular attraction in the area is trekking through the breathtaking Andes to the world-famous Inca fortress of Machu Picchu, declared Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and part of the Unesco World Heritage List since 1983.

If you want to go further, take a boat trip on Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake. The deep blue water reflecting the vast sky is peaceful and wonderful. The lake’s Islas Taquile and Amantani islands provide a fascinating look into what life must have been like five hundred years ago.

Another southern highlight is the colonial city of Arequipa, which has the white-domed Misti volcano in the background of the central plaza and a branching monastery that is a photographer’s dream. Those with more time might visit the neighboring Colca Canyon, the fourth deepest on the planet and twice as profound as the Grand Canyon, where condors soar. The area varies dramatically with breathtaking beauty.

(HABLAR DEL NORTE. «HEADING NORTH)»

Go east and find the Amazon, home to the largest rainforest in the world and its numerous indigenous tribes. It covers over 60% of Peru, the most significant area after Brazil. Both countries share the Amazon River, the largest river by discharge of water globally. Not surprisingly, it has a massive presence in the communities that have sprung up along its banks. The river is home to a dizzying array of plant and animal life that existed for millennia before the first indigenous settlers arrived from the Caribbean. However, it was not until the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century that it became an essential means of transportation and sustenance.

Finally, you might like to experience the colonial grandeur of Lima, the capital of Peru, with its historic cathedrals and centuries-old mansions. Lima’s relaxed, colorful eating culture, which ranges from backstreet ceviches to luxury restaurants, is generating a lot of attention. You may also anticipate vibrant nightlife in major cities.

(However, this is only a tiny part of the country’s riches. The magnificent ruins in the north are among the oldest in the Americas.) Get to know all the pre-Inca cultures with NPE on our «Kingdoms of Peru» KOP expedition, available in January and February 2023.

PERU HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pisco vineyards, Ica & Chincha
  • Paracas & Ballestas Islands 
  • Nasca Lines overflight
  • Chanchan pre-Columbian adobe city & Trujillo
  • Lord of Sipan & Pomaq Nat. Park in Chiclayo 
  • Chaparri Reserve & wildlife spotting
  • Tucume pyramids & Chiclayo
  • Machu Picchu & Cusco
  • Lima – culinary, cultural and historical experience
  • Titikaka Lake & Puno
  • The Heart of the Amazon by Small Ship

QUESTIONS?


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Time and Weather

 

Peru is located just south of the Equator, and it has three climate zones:

  • A coastal desert strip (called la Costa), with a mild climate that is cloudy and foggy in winter and pleasantly warm in summer. The temperature varies little during the year and is almost always spring-like. The daily temperature ranges from 18 °C to 24 °C in the north; from 17 °C to 23 °C in the middle (Lima and Trujillo); and from 15 °C to 22 °C in the south (Arequipa).
  • The Andean zone (la Sierra) is more or less cold, depending on altitude. Daytime temperatures in the Andean area do not vary much during the year, while nights are cooler in the winter months, especially in the south. At night, the temperature can drop below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) above 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) from May to August.
  • The Amazonian forest (la Selva) has a hot and humid climate all year. Temperatures in this region of the Amazon are consistently hot. However, the temperature drops in the winter; the average lowest temperature drops to around 15 °C.

The best time to visit

 

The rainiest time to explore the Andes and the Amazon is between January and April, with the Inca Trail closed in February. Travel is still feasible, and Machu Picchu is still open — it will just be more difficult for those who desire to hike. As February draws close, the Inca Trail reopens, and more people begin to come, especially as Easter approaches; this is also an excellent time to go if you want to combine a trip to Peru with the Galapagos Islands.

Between May and September, when the rains in the Andes have stopped, may enjoy bright, sunny days and cool, crisp evenings at altitude. This time of year is ideal for taking in all of Peru’s attractions, from appreciating Machu Picchu in the sun to taking a boat ride on Lake Titicaca under bright blue sky and climbing against backgrounds of snow-capped mountains. In June, those wanting to go should begin planning six to nine months and up to 12 months if you will climb the Inca Trail but have a limited travel window.

You can go all year round to the jungle, but keep in mind the two seasons marked by the rising and falling waters of the affluents of the Amazon. The high water season is between late November and early May, where the forests are flooded, allowing you to go further into the jungle but with less land to walk on, while the low water season, the rest of the year, is better for fishing and you can walk more. Flora and fauna will still be abundant, and there are always breaks in showers.

Wildlife

Peru’s varied fauna is owed to the three significant habitats within its borders, notably the Andes Mountains, the Amazon, and the arid Pacific coastline. This is one of the most biodiverse nations you may ever visit, with 28 of the 32 climatic zones on our globe. Over 1,800 bird species, 500 animals and 300 reptiles, several amphibians, and innumerable insects, including an estimated 450 kinds of colorful butterflies, are all present. Among this biodiversity are some of the world’s rarest species, like the elusive puma and the endangered spectacled bear.

Peru’s varied fauna is owed to the three significant habitats within its borders, notably the Andes Mountains, the Amazon, and the arid Pacific coastline. This is one of the most biodiverse nations you may ever visit, with 28 of the 32 climatic zones on our globe. Over 1,800 bird species, 500 animals and 300 reptiles, several amphibians, and innumerable insects, including an estimated 450 kinds of colorful butterflies, are all present. Among this biodiversity are some of the world’s rarest species, like the elusive puma and the endangered spectacled bear.

A river trip or a stay at an ecological resort will introduce you to some of the Amazon jungle’s most prevalent species. Caiman (crocodile-like) and serpentine anacondas that patrol these waterways may be observed safely from your boat. Pink river dolphins are a one-of-a-kind sight as you make your way down the rainforest’s network of rivers. If you’re looking for a genuinely unique experience, try fishing for piranhas!

Despite severe circumstances, limited foliage, and thin air, some remarkable species have adapted to live in the Andean paramo. The llama and alpaca are two of the most well-known species, noted for their silky hair and tasty flesh. Other creatures you could see when hiking in the mountains are the Andean fox, the spectacled bear, and the opossums. The highlands are also home to the tapir’s smallest species, the endangered mountain tapir, the only tapir that does not dwell in the tropical rainforest. Pumas may be spotted roaming around the paramo as well.

There is little doubt that Peru is one of the most outstanding birding locations in the world. These bird species are distinguished by their vibrant colors, peculiar cries, unusual mating dances, and other distinctive characteristics and habits. The most frequent are parrots and parakeets, which may be observed flocking to the clay licks to receive some of the most necessary antioxidants and salt to balance their acidic fruit diet. Toucans, numerous hummingbird species, rainbow-colored jays, and a dazzling variety of other birds may also be seen fluttering over the canopy. Many of these may be spotted and identified with the assistance of a naturalist guide. The scavenging Andean Condor has a remarkable wingspan of about 10 feet, making it one of the world’s most enormous birds of flight. Because of its size, it relies on the mountains’ windy environment and air currents to soar. Peru also contains several endemic highland hummingbird species.

Unlike other animals, many of the Peruvian Amazon’s distinctive species choose to dwell in the trees. Monkeys, who swing over the canopy and make their unique sounds at all hours of the day and night, are one group of creatures that stand out on each journey to the jungle. Their song mirrors the range of species, from howler to woolly to nimble spider monkey and many more. They coexist with various animals, including the jaguar, the king of Amazon carnivores. Even though these sly stalkers dwell on the ground, they are skilled climbers and hunters. On the basis, huge tapirs and their cousins, the peccaries, can be found wallowing in mud holes or lumbering through the jungle.

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