In Peru tourists can find the legacy of millennial cultures as well as a very diverse culture from the colonial period. Peru is located in the North West of South America with a total of 300 million inhabitants.
Peru borders on Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and the Pacific, covering an area of nearly 1,3 million square kilometers which makes it the third largest country in South America. The country can be divided roughly into three areas: the coast - one of the driest areas in the world - , the Andes and the rainforest areas. About a third of the country is covered by mountains.
Moreover, Peru has a lot more to offer than just Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. The diversity of nature and culture of Peru offers a wealth of attractions to suit all tastes and guarantees a varied and impressive journey. It is an enchanting country with a globally unique and extraordinary variety of animal life, but also with a unique diversity of cultures.
Peru is famous and well known especially for the legendary Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. A trip to the "hidden city of the Incas" is a must for everybody who is interested in the past civilizations of South America. It was the sacred city of the Incas, which has never been discovered by the Spanish conquerors.
The Incas built the city in the 15th century at a height of 2360 meters above sea level on a ridge between the peaks of Huayna Picchu and the mountain of the same name (Machu Picchu). It is situated in the Andes above the Urubamba Valley of Cusco Region, 75 kilometers northwest of Cusco. The town consisted of 216 stone buildings that were located on terraces and connected by a system of stairways. The historic city is still connected to the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco, and the ruins of Llactapata by the so called Inca Trail.
The city was founded in 1535 but until today, and despite their constant growth and the advent of modernity, it preserves its colonial architecture in the city center. Lima is the most important economic and cultural center of Peru with numerous universities, colleges, museums and monuments. The historic center of Lima was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
It's said, that you never stop discovering something new in Lima: the historic city center with its old colonial buildings, monasteries and churches, traces of ancient indigenous peoples, museums and squares. The joy and friendliness of the city and its inhabitants make Lima an interesting and memorable place for visitors.
Peru's second largest city, Arequipa, is located in the southern Andes of the country and known as the "White City". The city lies at about 2,300 meters of altitude and is dominated by the volcanoes in its vicinity, such as the conical Misti Volcano (5822meters), the Chachani Volcano (6057 meters) and the smaller and more remote Pichu Pichu.
The historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Particularly striking is the imposing monastery complex, which is built up like a small city inside and which offers an oasis of tranquility in the city center.
From Arequipa you have the opportunity to take day trips to the wonderful natural surroundings of the city such as the National Reserve of Salinas Aguada Blanca, the Mejía Lagoons and the Colca Valley with the famous Colca Canyon. Arequipa is the ideal destination to visit colonial buildings and at the same time to have the most wonderful nature close by.
Lake Titicaca and Puno
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable waters on earth. It lies at an altitude of 3810 meters above sea level. It is 178 kilometers long, 67.4 kilometers wide and has a maximum depth of 281 meters. More than 25 rivers lead to the lake and there is a variety of large and small floating islands which house some relics of the Incan culture. Andean natives have built some of these islands out of reeds. The vegetable fiber used is Scirpus Totora from the papyrus family. The city of Puno is located right next to Lake Titicaca. In Puno visitors find many colonial churches and other architectural highlights. Puno is the folklore capital of Peru; about 300 folk dances originate from here.
Cusco is the capital of the province Cusco in the center of the Peruvian Andes highlands. It is located 3,416 meters above sea level. Cusco is said to be the "Archaeological Capital of America" and one of the most popular tourist destinations of Peru. Cusco was the largest city of the Inca Empire and its capital, before it was conquered by the Spanish conquerors. Today you will find in it traces of both the rich Inca architecture and the Spanish colonial architecture. It has become world famous as it is the starting point of many tours to the hidden Inca city of Machu Picchu.