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Peru has the most historical sites of all South American countries, starting with the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, and continuing with an amazing variety of settlements, pyramids and temples, more than 5000 years old: the amazing Atacama Desert, Lake Titicaca, the high Andes and Amazon.
The Republic of Peru is located in western South America. It comprises three main geographic parts: the coastal plain, a narrow strip of the lowland desert and Sierra, consisting of the mountain ranges of the Andes Mountains, at an altitude of 4000 m.
Peru is home to the Andes - the tallest mountain range outside the Himalayas - and the deepest regions on Earth, Colca Canyon being twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. You can climb to the top of the snowy peaks in a day, and the next day spend your time at the beach under the hot rays of the sun, and then you can choose to venture into the rainforest of the lower lands, or paddle vigorously toward one of the highest lakes on the planet, such as Lake Titicaca.
The best time to visit Peru is June through August, which corresponds to the dry season, making hiking and climbing easier. From December to March it rains very often and therefore harder for sightseeing.
Must-visit places include...
The lovely colonial city of Lima on the west coast is the capital and largest city of Peru; it is also the commercial and cultural center of the country. Nicknamed the 'City of Kings,' it boasts a beautiful cathedral with art treasures from the past five centuries. It has long been the most influential city in South America and now attracts tourists from everywhere because of its architecture and museums, nightlife and musical scene.
The greatest attraction is Machu Picchu. The lost city of the Incas is located in Urubamba Valley and a bus runs regularly up the massive cliffs to the sacred city. Hikers will prefer to take the Inca Trail. You’ll be astounded at the incredible precision of the stones laid for the buildings, put together by hand, without mortar, and still standing after more than 500 years. Machu Picchu is a unique testimony of the Inca civilization and much prized for the special energies of the location.
Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, is called the archaeological capital of the Americas. In the sacred city, the Inca buildings were constructed five centuries ago. Visiting this city, you can start with the main square, an important place in the history of the country or with the Cathedral, dating from 1664, housing a collection of pieces of gold and silver from the colonial period.
Puno, the folkloric capital of the country, is situated at an altitude of 3860 meters on the shore of Lake Titicaca. On the lake you can visit Amanati Island, which houses impressive archaeological sites and temples on high. You can meet the Yatiri indians, the shamans of Lake Titicaca, who read the future in coca leaves.
The Nazca landscape drawings are considered one of the greatest mysteries of the world. It is assumed that they could be old astronomical calendars or even airfields for alien ships! Nazca culture hides other mysteries, such as images of hollow skulls that seem to prove their knowledge of brain surgery techniques.
Puerto Maldonado is a real paradise in the middle of the Amazon forest, the old sanctuary of Eseeja culture. Tourists can explore the Amazon jungle on a boat, ride on the narrow canals that cross the rainforest, and at the same time, they can discover the diversity of flora and fauna.
Máncora is an important coastal destination among surfers and those traveling with backpack, with great waves and endless fun.
The excavated ruins of Chan Chan, near Trujillo, are the signs of a culture that has existed for 600 years. These ruins belonged to a large pre-Columbian city in South America.
Although the larger cities are bustling, many Peruvians live a simple life. Quechua is their official language, but Aymara and hundreds of dialects are spoken around the country. Lovers of crafts will enjoy the exquisite silver and gold ornaments available at many roadside stands, along with beautiful wood carvings and clothing woven from pure alpaca wool.
Peru is the dream of every hiker, featuring some of the most picturesque and challenging mountain ranges of the world, including Cordillera Blanca.
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