Why Travel to Peru

Peru is a country that has it all. Its ancestral heritage gives us the chance to admire
countless archaeological treasures. Its land is covered with amazing natural and
pristine areas, preserving most of the biodiversity of the world in just one
country. But above all, its warm-hearted people allow the 
soul of the travelers to get in touch with the country.

Peru is also a land of contrasts. Contrast of geography in which we can find 84 of the 104 life zones existing in the planet. Contrast of people, traditions and culture as a result of different migrant processes that have occurred throughout history. Contrast of colors, sounds and landscapes from the vast desert coast with the greatness of the Pacific Ocean and giant sand dunes to the Andean highlands with its snowy peaks, glaciers and lagoons and down to the Amazon Rainforest rich in wild animals, plants and numerous endangered species in the world.

Almost like a continent in miniature, Peru will astound you with its diversity, from its countless indigenous peoples, languages and traditions to its variety of wildlife.  We invite you to come to Peru, discover our land and let us show you deep inside our country. It will be a unique and unforgettable experience. It is our goal in Peruvian Soul that travelers go back home taking a little of the love and passion we have for our country and share it with the world. Pack your senses and come to Peru!

A Peru for Everyone

Outdoor and adventure seekers. Imagine yourself trekking along the Andes Mountain range, following an ancient footpath to an ancient archeological site or climbing a vertical cliff at a natural stone forest. Imagine rafting wild rivers in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, biking along breathtaking natural surroundings, surfing perfect waves in the Pacific Ocean, paragliding above the blue ocean or sand boarding on giant dunes. Peru has endless adventure options to offer, come and feel them yourself. We suggest you to take a look at this program: Peru, land of adventure

Nature lovers. Imagine floating close to Sea Lions and Humboldt Penguins at the Paracas National Reserve, sailing on a boat in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, watching the majestic Andean condor in the highlands or enjoying some spectacular sunsets by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is host to one of the most spectacular collections of plants and animals on the planet; a reason it  has been considered one of the mega diverse countries in the world. If you love nature you can’t miss a journey to Peru. We suggest you to take a look at this program: Machu Picchu & Southern Amazon

History admirers. Although the Inca’s Machu Picchu is the most famous archeological site in the country, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Peru had many fascinating diverse cultures -some preceding the Incas by millennia- and remain untouched by time. Caral is the oldest civilization in South America, contemporaneous with the most famous ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and China. The Moche culture surprises us with the tombs of Lord of Sipan where masks, necklaces, earrings and other jewelry objects show us the ability of ancient Peruvians to work with gold, silver and copper. The Nasca culture gives us the legacy of its mysterious and enigmatic desert drawings; Chimu cultures built the largest adobe city of the world “Chan Chan”; Chachapoyas culture shows us the greatest of its fortress soaked up with mystery. The Inca Empire known as “El Tahuantinsuyo” (Land of four quarters) conquered most of these cultures covering the region from southern Colombia to central Chile, including also some regions of Bolivia and northern Argentina. During this time they built fabulous mountaintop citadels, including the famous Machu Picchu. If you are planning to visit Peru, get ready to explore the whole country and connect with all these ancestral cultures one at a time. We suggest taking a look at this program: Northern kingdoms

Living cultures. Peruvian culture is the result of the encounter between two different worlds that have brought an active, vibrant and colorful life. Local festivities are the best way to approach the roots of our country and learn about its tradition. In most of the Andean festivities, the Sun (Wiracocha), the mountains (Apus) and the land (Pachamama) play as the central worship. Here the dances mark these celebrations symbolizing the offering that the local settlers provide the divinities in recognition for a plentiful harvest, good health and bountiful work. The traditional parties that represent this relationship between the human and the divine are one of the country´s unique human resources. As a result of this, we can say that Peru is a country where history is alive due to its traditions that have persisted over time. We suggest you to take a look at this program: South Coast & Huancaya treasure

 

Geography and Weather

Peru is located on the west coast of South America, bordering with Chile to the south, Bolivia to the southeast, Brazil to the northeast, Colombia to the north, Ecuador to the northwest and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Peru, the third largest country in South America, lies on the south tropics of the equator and is divided in three different geographical regions, the coast, the Andean highlands and the Amazon Rainforest. Due to  its latitude Peru should be a country with a tropical climate like in the jungle, but the special features of the Pacific Ocean and the impressive mountains of the Andes have created very unique conditions that have made experts distinguish up to eight different regions and almost all world climates in the same country. For informative reasons we have divided the geographical territory in 3 regions, coast, highlands and jungle.

The coast, which includes Lima (the capital), is a narrow coastal plain consisting of large tracts of desert broken by fertile valleys. The highlands cover the Andes Mountains with peaks over 6,000 masl (20,000ft). The Amazon basin, an area of fertile subtropical land, lies between the Andes and the border of Brazil and represents almost 60% of the national area of the country where 43 ethnic groups live.

Although Peru is in a tropical area, its weather varies due to the geographical diversity depending on where you are; in the arid coastal desert, in the highlands or in the tropical Amazon jungle. Peru’s climate has two main seasons: wet and dry, though the weather varies greatly depending on the geographical region. Temperature is mostly influenced by altitude: the higher you climb, the cooler it becomes. It also depends on the intensity of the ocean currents, the cold water of the Humboldt Current and the warm water of “El Niño” Current during the summer.

Coast. The Peruvian coastline is formed by a long snaking desert hemmed in between the sea and the mountains. The Andes Mountains and the cold Humboldt Sea current that runs along the coast are the main reasons why this area is so arid. The coast includes Lima, the capital city; and several major cities. The northern region of the coast is sunny almost all year with some rain between November and March depending on the seasonal presence of “El Niño” current. The central and southern region of the Peruvian coast is generally sunny in the summer from November to May and cloudy the rest of the year. In summer time the temperature often rises to 30º C while in winter it rarely dips below 12º C.

Highlands. The Andes have a dry season that runs from April to October, with mainly warm sunny days and very cold nights. On the other side, the rainy season lasts from November to March becoming very heavy in January and February, but with milder temperatures the dry season. In the highlands temperatures have accentuated variations during the day with sudden temperature falls after sunset. Temperatures of 24º Celsius at noon can drop down to -5º Celsius during the night.

Rainforest.  The Peruvian Amazon rainforest can be divided into two different areas: The cloudy forest 700 m.a.s.l. which features a subtropical, balmy climate with heavy rain showers between November and March, and sunny days from April to October; and the lowland jungle (below 700 m.a.s.l.), where the dry season runs from April to October with sunshine and high temperatures often topping 35° C. In the Amazon rainforest weather conditions are hot and humid year round, with the most precipitation falling between December and May. From May to September temperatures are generally milder but never cold, except sometimes in Madre de Dios (south) where cold air masses move in from Bolivia and Argentina during the winter months. 

Population and Language

Peru's population is estimated at 30 million inhabitants. Peru is a nation of mixed ethnic origins. Throughout its history, Peru has been the meeting ground for different nations and cultures. The indigenous population was joined 500 years ago by the Spaniards.

As a result of this encounter, and later enriched by the migration of black Africans, Asians and Europeans, the Peruvian culture emerged as the representation of a nation whose rich ethnic mixture is one of its leading characteristics.

Spanish and Quechua are the official languages, but many other dialects are spoken. English is spoken only in major tourist centers and hotels.

As part of its rich cultural tradition, Peru features many different languages. Although Spanish is commonly spoken across the country, Quechua is a major legacy of the Inca Empire, and is still spoken with regional dialects in many parts of Peru.  In addition, other languages are spoken such as Aymara (in Puno) and a variety of dialects in the Amazon jungle, which are divided up into 15 linguistic families and 43 different languages.

Spanish: 80.3% Quechua: 16.2% Other languages: 3% Foreign languages: 0,2%

Currency

The official Peruvian currency is the “Nuevo Sol” symbolized by (S/). It is available in coins of 1, 2 and 5 soles, and coins of 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents. Paper currency comes in 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Nuevos Soles bills. You can check the exchange rates on the BCR website (www.bcrp.gob.pe). In Peru, most places accept US dollars but it’s always better to pay with local currency “Nuevo Sol” because you will probably get better rates. When receiving local currency, always ask for small bills since S/100 bills are hard to change in small towns or for small purchases. It is common to exchange money (dollars and euros) in the street but it is recommended to make use of the Money Exchange Offices known as “Casas de cambio” or official Banks for safety reasons. Credit cards are also accepted in commercial establishments but keep in mind you will be charged a commission of 5 to 10%.

Food

We cannot talk about Peru without giving credit to its food. As the diversity of our geography our food is also very varied boasting the continent´s most extensive menu. The word fusion is perfect to describe the essence of our food. Andean food of the highlands, tropical  food of the Amazon and seafood of our coast have come together with influence of Asian, Spanish and Italian flavors to create the Peruvian cuisine.

In the past years Peruvian cuisine has achieved such international recognition that it has made some travelers come to our country just with the idea of touring restaurants trying new flavors, new inputs and maybe learning to prepare some typical dishes.

Once in Peru it is a must to taste our popular “cebiche”, raw seafood marinated in lemon juice. You should also try “Lomo saltado” the simple beef stir-fried that headlines every Peruvian menu. Other common dishes found at peruvian tables and recommended for starters  are “Aji de gallina”, shredded chicken in a spicy walnut sauce. Causa, papa rellena or anticuchos (marinated beef heart).If you like soups don´t miss trying “Chupe de Camarones”, shrimp chowder or “sopa a la criolla”. Don’t miss the chance to try Pachamanca, an Andean dish cooked underground in a preheated stone-made oven, the process of cooking this traditional dish is a great experience. Finally if you feel a bit more adventurous try our traditional guinea pig “cuy”, mostly prepared in the highlands.If desserts are your weak point, we recommend you try “suspiro a la limeña” or “mazamorra morada” a purple corn pudding with fresh fruit.

Our national beverage is Pisco and the best way to try it for the first time is as “Pisco Sour”. You should also try our bubble- gum flavored Inca Kola and if  you are looking for something traditional you shouldn´t miss  “chicha morada”, a sweet beverage made from purple corn.

If you are interested in Peruvian food, we can arrange a culinary tour in Lima including a visit to a local market, a typical restaurant and the possibility to see how our popular “cebiche” is prepared by a reknown chef.

Facts

Full country name: Republic of Peru

Independence day: 28th July 1821

Population: 30 million

Division: Divided in 25 regions

Capital city: Lima

Area: 1.28 million km2 (496,225 sq miles)

Official languages: Spanish, Quechua

Main religion: Catholic

Government: Democracy

President: Ollanta Humala Tasso

Life expectancy: 71 years (men), 76 years (women)

Monetary unit: 1 Nuevo Sol = 100 cents “centimos”

Industry: Mining, tourism, petroleum, fishing, textiles, clothing, food processing

Main exports: Fish and fish products, copper, zinc, gold, petroleum, coffee, sugar, cotton

Time Zone: Peru is five hours behind Greenwich Meridian time