Peru Discovery Guide

Overview

Peru borders the western coast of South America. There are twenty-five regions in Peru and one province, Lima, which is also the name of the capital. Peru has a population of 28 million, 8 million of which is found in the metropolitan area of Lima alone. The main language of Peru is Spanish.

Peru lies on the western side of the equatorial South America with Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador as its neighbors. Pacific Ocean forms the coastline in the west. About 40% of the population is “mestizos” who are people of mixed blood resulting from intermarriage between Spaniards and Incas. Peru is dominated by the jagged volcanic peaks of the Andes, whose eastern slopes descend to the hot, humid, tropical rainforest and wetlands of the Amazon Basin. The western coastal strip is largely an arid desert.

The streamy Amazon Basin occupies the eastern region of Peru. The forest here is not an uninterrupted mass of trees but it contains pockets of grasslands and swamps. Much of this area is disputed territory awarded to Peru in 1942. The climate in Peru is mixed. The coastal region is dry, and kept cool by the cold waters of the Peru Current. The western part of the Peruvian Andes is fairly dry, but the eastern Andes and tropical Amazonia have heavy rainfall.

The capital city is Lima and the main languages spoken are Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. Peru has been known to be home to 84 of the 104 ecosystems in the entire world.

Peru has been a popular tourist destination for those who want to go beyond the usual tourist spots and be able to learn more about the history of mankind up close. After all, the country has been popularly known for the numerous ruins left behind by the Incan Empire, which has been considered by historians to be among the most powerful empires that rose in the Ancient World. It has also been the dwelling place of the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest civilizations that have been recorded in history.

It is no wonder then that many of the guided tours and packages that are offered center on the rich history of Peru. The highlight of these tours is the city of Machu Picchu, which has been dubbed as the “Lost City of the Incas”. The name of the city literally means “Old Peak” and quite rightly so since the city was established 8,000 feet above sea level. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Machu Picchu was built back in the year 1430 AD and is now regarded as the most familiar symbols of the Incan Empire. After the Spanish Inquisition conquered and wiped out the Incan Empire, this magnificent city was lost in history. It was only in the year 1911 when its ruins were unearthed and gained worldwide attention once again.

Equally popular to travelers is Titicaca Lake. Known as the largest lake in all of South America, Titicaca Lake is situated 12,500 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest navigable lakes in the world. Travelers visiting the different towns and islands around this area would be able to get a glimpse on how the ancestors of modern-day Peru had once lived as the tribes that live in these areas still embrace ancient traditions.


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