With a treasure chest full of natural and cultural wonders including Machu Picchu, the “Land of The Incas” is one of the most popular destinations in South America.
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Area: 1.28 million sq. km. (496,225 sq. mi.). Peru is the third-largest country in South America and is approximately three times the size of California.
Major cities: Lima (capital), Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cuzco, Huancayo, Ica, Trujillo, Ayacucho, Piura, Iquitos, and Chimbote.
Terrain: Western arid coastal plains, central rugged Andean mountains, and eastern lowlands with tropical forests that are part of the Amazon basin.
Climate: Arid and mild in coastal area, temperate to frigid in the Andes, and warm and humid in the jungle lowlands.
Ethnic groups: Indigenous (45%), mixed background ("mestizo") (37%), European (15%), African, Japanese, Chinese, and other (3%).
Population (2008): 28.7 million. Approximately 30% of the population lives in the Lima/Callao metropolitan area.
Annual population growth rate (2007): 1.6%.
Religions: Roman Catholic (81%), other (10%).
Languages: Spanish is the principal language. Others: Quechua, Aymara
Perus the fifth most populous country in Latin America (after Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina). Twenty-one cities have a population of 100,000 or more. Rural migration increased the urban population from 35.4% of the total population in 1940 to an estimated 74.6% as of 2005.
Most Peruvians are either Spanish-speaking mestizos--a term that usually refers to a mixture of indigenous and European/Caucasian--or Amerindians, largely Quechua-speaking indigenous people. Peruvians of European descent make up about 15% of the population. There also are small numbers of persons of African, Japanese, and Chinese ancestry. Socioeconomic and cultural indicators are increasingly important as identifiers. For example, Peruvians of Amerindian descent who have adopted aspects of Hispanic culture also are considered mestizo. With economic development, access to education, intermarriage, and large-scale migration from rural to urban areas, a more homogeneous national culture is developing, mainly along the relatively more prosperous coast. Peru's distinct geographical regions are mirrored in a socioeconomic divide between the coast's mestizo-Hispanic culture and the more diverse, traditional Andean cultures of the mountains and highlands.
Type: Constitutional republic.
Independence: July 28, 1821.
Constitution: December 31, 1993.
Branches: Executive--president, two vice presidents, and a Council of Ministers led by a prime minister.
Administrative divisions: 25 departments subdivided into 180 provinces and 1,747 districts.
Political parties: Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA), Popular Christian Party PPC), Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP),
GDP (2008): $127.8 billion.
Annual growth rate (2008): 9.8%.
Per capita GDP (2008): $4,477.
Natural resources: Copper, gold, silver, zinc, lead, iron ore, fish, petroleum, natural gas, and forestry.
Machu Picchu is The world famous Inca Citadel - Archaeological Site is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cusco. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry stone walls Its primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Is a mystical place, a monument to divinity. Machu Picchu was part of a very big complex of Inca fortresses which defended the Andean lands in Sacred valley It is one of the most popular archaeological sites of the world, and therefore, the most visited attraction in Peru. Elected in the 7 New Wonders of the World - July 2007
Located at an altitude of around 3,400 m (11,200 ft). Cusco is the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. It is a major tourist destination and receives almost a million visitors a year. It is designated as the Historical Capital of Peru. Cusco is the coalition of two architectural styles that make it unique in the world. One can appreciate museums, beautiful churches, Inca palaces, popular markets, handcrafts, artisans, and more.
The beautiful Río Urubamba valley, popularly known as the Sacred Valley, is just north of Cuzco as the condor flies. The star attractions are the lofty Inca citadels of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, which preside over the river, but the valley is also packed with other Inca sites, as well as hectic markets and Andean villages. It’s also famous for some high-adrenaline activities, from rafting to trekking.
With the Andes mountains forming the backbone of the country and rising up to 23,000 feet; Peru offers some of the best trekking in the world with limitless possibilities for adventure and exploration. Below are just a few of the many famous treks in the country
Part of the 23,000 kilometers (approximately 14,000 miles) of roads built by the Incas in South America, this is Peru's most famous trekking route and possibly one of the most spectacular in the Americas. Every year; some 25,000 hikers from around the world walk along the extraordinary 43 kilometers of this stone-paved road built by the Incas leading to the unassailable citadel of Machu Picchu located in the depth of the Cuzco jungle.
Named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine, is a trek open to everybody. Connecting the city of Mollepata, Cusco with Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek is an ancient and remote Inca footpath located near Cusco, where massive snowcapped mountains collide with lush tropical rain forests.
For trekkers wanting to get off the well beaten tourist path and escape to a part of Peru that has changed little over the last 500 years then a trek through the spectacular scenery of the Lares Valley is a must. This remote and rarely visited region offers the trekker an insight into the real lives of the Andean farmer, dressed in their traditional brightly colored ponchos. You’ll have the opportunity to see thatched stone houses surrounded by herds of llamas and alpacas.
The Santa Cruz trek, located in the Cordillera Blanca, is very popular and extremely beautiful due to the incredible mountain scenery including snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes and beautiful meadows. The 45 km hike is rated moderate. The altitude along the trail ranges from 2,900m to 4,750m.
The highest navigable lake in the world. It has landscapes of indescribable beauty, it has been the origin and cradle of big pre-Hispanic civilizations as Tiahuanaco, Collas and Aymaras, and of the mythical legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo who emerged of its waters and went to Cuzco to found the capital of the Inca empire. Living Culture: The Uros, famous and ancestral town that live in floating artificial islands. Puno is the main city in this area, and where most tours depart from.
Declared "Archaeological World Heritage Site" by UNESCO (1994). The Nazca Lines are located in the arid Peruvian coastal plain, some 400 km south of Lima, the geoglyphs of Nazca and the pampas of Jumana cover about 450 sq. km. The Nazca Lines, which were scratched on the surface of the ground between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, are among archaeology's greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity.
Over half of Peru is Amazon rainforest. The Amazon offers incredible diversity of life, and is so remote that large areas are inaccessible and there are even indigenous groups that still haven’t been discovered. One of the very best places in the entire world, Manu National Park and World Heritage Biosphere is considered by many experts as the most important rainforest park in the world offering the fabled city of Cusco and the mythical Inca citadel of Machu Picchu as its gateway. About half the size of Switzerland, Manu protects an entire virgin watershed from Andean grasslands at 12,000 ft. down to cloud forests, to the vast lowlands below 1,000 ft. above sea level.
It is the capital of city Peru and its largest with around 8 million people. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the modern city is a mix of the modern mega city with some 'islands of modernity', large but orderly slum areas, and colonial architecture in the city center. Lima was the seat of the Spanish rule during 300 years, and because of this, it has wonderful churches, cloisters and monasteries that are worth a visit. Lima is also the best place to try the wonderful Peruvian cuisine.
Arequipa is the capital city of the Arequipa Region in southern Peru Located in the Andes mountains, at an altitude of 2,380 meters (7,800 feet) above sea level; the snow-capped volcano El Misti overlooks the city. The city has many colonial-era Spanish buildings built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock, from which it gets the nickname La Ciudad Blanca ("The White City").. The historic centre of Arequipa was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, in recognition of its architecture and historic integrity. Located near Arequipa is the famous Colca Canyon, the worlds deepest, it is twice as deep as the Grand canyon in Arizona, and offers a multitude of recreational activities and incredible wildlife and scenery. Famous for the rare giant Andean Condor.
From Pisac in the South to Mancora in the far north, Peru’s pacific coast is rugged and beautiful. Characterized by a dry desert environment for much of the coast, the Pacific waters are popular for great fresh seafood, surfing, and beach vcationing.
Trekking (Inca Trail, Salkantay, Ausangante, Santa Cruz, etc)
White Water Rafting (Apumarac and Urubamba Rivers)
Cultural excursions to local communities in the Andes
Lima’s Historical center w/ Museums and Catacombs
In Lima or Cusco- sample local cuisine (seafood, Andean), enjoy the famous nightlife
Go on a “Pisco Sour” tour
Flying over the Nasca Lines
Stay in and explore Cusco City “Capital of the Incas”
Going to the famous Pisac Market.
Visiting the Inca sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Exploring Machu Picchu with a guided tour and climbing Huanyapicchu
Visit Arequipa’s world heritage colonial center
Touring the Colca canyon, famous for its giant Andean Condors.
Descending from the High Andes into Virgin Amazon rainforest at Manu
Technical Mountaineering in Huaraz- (Cordillera Blanca) or Cusco (Ausangante)
Stroll Mancora’s pristine beaches and enjoy the fun nightlife and hip local scene
We offer a 7-night Peru Inca Highlight Package:
Visiting Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
Starting as low as $1195 per person and can be booked anytime of year
Includes all of the following:
Lodging- 3 and 4 star properties: 4 nights Cusco, 2 nights Ollyantaytambo, 1 night in Aguas Calientes.
Private Tours: Professional English speaking guide for all tours which are private, All entry fees to historical sites visited in the program, Cusco city tour, Machu Picchu entry and guided tour, Sacred Valley full day tour, Pisac Market, Moray, Maras Salt mines tour
Optional extras on free day: rafting, biking excursions, and more.
Private Transport: Airport transfers to and from Cusco airport, all tours use private transport, Train ticket to and from Machu Picchu. RT bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
Meals: Breakfast each morning, Special dinner/cultural show in Cusco
Extras: Add on Options for 4 day Classic Inca Trail Trek (need to book well in advance of desired travel dates), or Alternate Trail hikes. Guided and outfitted trekking options from $499 per person
3. You can also Join in on one of our annual set date trekking (Classic Inca trail, Salkantay, Lares,etc) or Non trek Mulit-sport trips. Please see our calendar of upcoming events or request one of these itineraries for your group for any set of travel dates you would like!
Peru was beautiful! The planned itinerary gave us a good view of what the area is really like- not just the usual tourist spots. I liked that Erik hung out with the group during free time too & helped us find good local restaurants, clubs & hiking.
-Marie, Sussex, WI
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