Peru is a large country located on the Pacific coast of South America, which includes coastal desert (at cost), rainforests (la Selva) and high mountains (Sierra), each with their own environment. They will offer exceptional opportunities to travel across various landscapes, with abundant wildlife, history and a rich archaeological heritage, as well as the culture of native people, all in a single nation. Fishing villages, beautiful beaches, agricultural lands and major cities are along the coastal belt that stretches on the entire length of the country. Rich basin of Amazon occupies half of the country and is a rich ecological area, with rainforests that have some of the least exploited places on earth. Andes separate the jungle coast, an endless mountain range of peaks with heights of over 7.000m,which houses millions of people who speak the language of Incas and live in traditional villages.
An interesting history of ancient civilizations, lost cities, undiscovered treasures and unsolved mysteries make Peru one of the most interesting destinations. Admire the sophisticated pre-Columbian cultures and explore the Inca heritage, especially in Cuzco. Hiking along the Inca roads will lead to the majestic Machu Picchu. Boats transport tourists to the unique floating islands on Lake Titicaca. Visitors can admire colonial cities which have preserved their Spanish architecture. Peru offers a unique and diverse travel experience.
Climb up to the most important attraction in Peru, the Inca city of Machu Picchu, perched atop an isolated mountain, northwest of Cusco; this World Heritage place, rediscovered in 1911, is the most important South American archeological site, not to mention its wonderful location. Do not miss a trip to the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco -this place on the list of world patrimony was founded in 1100 and is a fascinating mix of Inca and Spanish colonial architecture; the walls are still painted with historical scenes and local women wearing traditional clothes. Admire the legacy of five centuries in colonial Lima and admire the city markets and opulent villas, with lacy wooden balconies; in the main square, Plaza de Armas, there is an impressive eighteenth century cathedral and the Government Palace. Visit one of the few buildings that withstood the 1746 earthquake in Lima - San Francisco church; inside you can see the dome roof, a comprehensive library, masterpieces of Jordeans, Rubens and Van Dyck and catacombs that expose the remains of over 70,000 people.
Float on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world and visit the unique islands. The 8.379km2 lake area is surrounded by ancient ruins and houses the nineteenth century steam ship, Yavari. Visit the Manu National Park, the greatest wealth of biodiversity of the country; the park includes 20.000km2 of rainforest with 2,000 species of plants, 1,200 species of butterflies, 800 species of birds and 200 different mammals. Visit the ancient city of Caral which is 500 years old, near Lima; Caral was first discovered in 1994 and was recently opened to tourists, after years of excavations. Discover more of Peru's archaeological sites, including Chan Chan, the largest pre-Inca mud city; the restored Huaca Arco Iris is covered by pre-Incan hieroglyphics.
Venture yourself in Tambopata-Candamo Reserve, 45km from Puerto Maldonado on the river, about which experts say that is the largest and richest biodiversity in the world; the fauna includes over 2,000 varieties of flowers, 1,000 birds and 900 butterflies and dragonflies. Hike on the extraordinarily beautiful trails on the Cordillera Blanca, a haven of 180km with snowy mountains, glaciers, emerald lakes, archaeological sites and a large variety of flora and fauna.
By Maria Morari
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