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Location and Geography Peru is located in the western central coast of South America. It shares borders with Ecuador (N), Colombia (NE), Brazil (E), Bolivia (SE) and Chile (S). The West side with the Pacific Ocean;this is the main border that has a length of 3,079.5 km. There are four major natural regions: the 200 miles Peruvian Sea, a narrow coastal strip, the high Andes Mountains and the vast and plain Amazon basin. Peru is the third largest country in South America with an area of 1'285,216 km2.
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Population and People Peru has a population of nearly 27 million people, Peru has a wide ethnic mixture composed mainly by a 54% Indian, 32% Mestizo  (mixed), 12% White and Spanish descendants and 2% Black and Asian. The minorities, who live basically in the city of Lima and the coast, are immigrants from Asia (China, Japan), Africa (west coast), Europe (Spain, Italy, England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Israel, Poland, Belgium and Yugoslavia), North America (United States) and Middle East (Arabia).
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Languages Spanish and Quechua (Ancient language, which was made official during the Inca times) are the two official languages spoken nowdays in Peru. Although Spanish is the main one, Quechua is widely spoken in the Andes as well as Aymara in the southern Andes around the area of Lake Titicaca. In the Amazon territory there are more than 70 native languages, belonging each one to an ethnic group. Some of the Andean people are bilingual (Quechua or Aymara and Spanish). English is spoken  widely all over the country, but more in the main tourist destinations.

Capital City Lima is the capital of the country, located in the central coast of Peru. It has a population of over 7 million inhabitants.

Government Peru is a democratic country. The current constitutional President is , Dr. Alan Garcia Perez.

The president of the country, is elected every five years and can be re-elected for one more term. The Legislative Power is based on a Congress of 120 members. The Judicial Power is composed by two Courts.

Voting is compulsory for every citizen between 18 and 60 years old (militaries and policemen are not allowed).

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Money Peruvian currency is the “Nuevo Sol”, the exchanging rate is around three soles per US dollar.

 The US dollar is well accepted all over South America. The denomination of $10s, $20s, and some of $50 are the most convenient for any payment. Ask your bank for new unmarked bills to exchange. All the major towns we visit have ATM machines that accept most major credit cards (MasterCard or VISA), some other ATM’s. It is advisable to have both types of cards. Traveler’s checks are exchangeable too and fine restaurants will accept them as payment. Be sure to understand the terms and conditions each place has regarding rates and percentages to be charged when paying with traveler checks or credit cards.

Time GMT - 5. Five hours less than Greenwich Mean Time.

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Geopolitical Division Peru is divided into 24 departments and one constitutional province. Each department is divided in provinces, 189 counties exist in the national territory. Each province is divided in districts, 1800 districts exist in the national territory (modernized in 1994)
The capital of the Republic of Peru is Lima
The Historical capital of Peru is Cusco

Main cities of Peru and population:

  • Lima
  • Arequipa
  • Trujillo
  • Chiclayo
  • Iquitos
  • Chimbote
  • Piura
  • Huancayo
  • Cusco
7'497,000 inhabitants


The Mountain Range (Cusco, Puno, etc)

Mid April – October. This period is the dry season, with hot, dry days (20-25°C) and cold nights, temperatures are often below zero, particularly in June and July. May is perhaps the best month to visit the mountains because all the countryside is exceptionally green, yet with superb views and excellent weather. You will find the flowers in bloom, green grass and the streams full of water. Peru’s high season for tourism is from June to September. You’ll find Cusco as a pretty cosmopolitan city with “gringos” (Be aware that the word GRINGO is not a disrespectful expression, local people understand this word as BLONDE) from all over the globe converging in Machu Picchu.

The famous festival of Inti Raymi, which is the Inca festival of the winter solstice ( nowadays held on June 24th ) draws thousands of visitors to Cusco interested in enjoying this festivity.

November – Mid April. This is the wet season with most of the rains happening between January and February. Most mornings are usually clear and dry with outbursts of heavy rain in the afternoons. The daily temperatures are usually between 16°C to 18°C with only a small drop at night, 15°C. The Inca Trail is less crowded during this period and there’s plenty of fresh water from the streams that come from the main glaciers, but of course be well equipped for the rain. You will also find some roads may become just impossible to drive by, particularly when trying to visit villages off the beaten tracks. Many of Peru’s major festivals such as the Carnival and Easter Week take place during this period.

The Coast.

December – April. This is summertime in the coast where the weather is hot and humid and ideal for swimming , visiting the beaches and getting a tan. Temperature average is from 25 -35°C.

May – November. The temperature drops a bit and you will find blankets of sea mist engulfing the coast from the south right up to about 200 km north of Lima. At this time of the year only the northern beaches near Tumbes are warm enough to provide pleasant swimming.

The Jungle

April – October. This is the ‘dry’ season with daily temperatures fluctuating among 30–35°C. However cold fronts from the South Atlantic are common when the temperatures can drop to 15°C during the day and 13°C at night. The dry season is the best time to visit the jungle, there are few mosquitoes and the rivers are low, giving the chance to see the river shores. It’s also a good time to see nesting and to view the wildlife at a very close range, as they stay near the rivers and offer a better opportunity to be appreciated.

November – March. This is the wet season, hot and humid, when you can expect heavy rains at anytime. It only rains for a few hours at a time, so it’s not bad enough to spoil your trip. Wellington boots are a “must”, as some of the jungle trails can become extremely muddy and wet.

Health - Preparations before you travel

If precautions are taken by the visitor to Peru, there is no reason why you shouldn't remain as healthy as at home.

1. Before you travel make sure that you hire a good medical insurance. If you plan to take 'adventurous or radical activities' such as rafting, horseback riding or paragliding, make sure that your policy covers all of the above.

2. For advice on which immunizations you require we recommend that you try contacting a specialist travel clinic (at least 6 weeks prior to your travel).

Although it’s not strictly necessary, you should consider the following vaccinations:

Yellow Fever (if going to the jungle)


Hepatitis A

Malaria prophylaxis is also recommended for the jungle, although nearly all of the jungle lodges in the Madre de Dios/ Tambopata areas and Manu National Park state that there have been no reported cases of malaria, taking malaria pills is optional.

Health - Tips about staying healthy while traveling

The most common problem found by travelers in Peru is diarrhea (between 30 to 50% of the travelers in a 2 week stay, experience this) but the majority of these upsets will be relatively minor. Don't be in panic; trying the local food is part of the experience of traveling, so whenever you want to try it, look for advices about restaurants in town.

Tab water in Peru is not safe to drink. Always purify the water first by boiling it or adding purifying tablets such as Micropure which can be easily bought in most pharmacies throughout Peru (make sure that you understand the instructions before using them). Bottled mineral water is easily available anywhere.

In most good restaurants, purified water is used to wash fruit, vegetables and salads. If you are in doubt, ask.

Fruit in Peru is plentiful and delicious, but ensure that you wash or peel it yourself.

Avoid undercooked and reheated foods.

Shellfish is a particularly high risk type of food and so is Ceviche  (raw fish marinated in lemon). They are all delicious, and safe in well-run hygienic establishments.

There are good doctors and reasonable hospitals in the major cities , however you will find only basic facilities in small towns along the way of your trip.



Altitude Sickness

Reaching heights above 3000 m. bring heart beat to raise and also shortness of breath, this is a normal response to the lack of oxygen in the air. However, for some visitors these symptoms can deteriorate into a condition known as Soroche (or acute mountain sickness) presenting a chart of headaches, extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, insomnia and often nausea. Symptoms usually develop during the first 24 hours at high altitude, but may be delayed up to 3 weeks. To prevent Soroche, on arrival do not over exercise. Once you arrive to your hotel rest and relax for a while. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and heavy food. Drinking mate de coca (an infusion of coca leaves - perfectly legal in Peru) may help you. If symptoms become more severe and prolonged it is best to quickly look for medical assistance. On recovery the person will be able to come back up slowly or in stages.

Health - When you return home

Report symptoms to your doctor as well as exact details where you have been. If taking anti-malaria tablets, remember to keep taking them for 6 weeks after leaving the malaria areas.

Note. The above information and advice on HEALTH is given in good faith. Peru explorers Tour Operator cannot accept responsibility for accuracy of information provided. In issues regarding your health it is always best to get advices from your physician.


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Cusco - Peru

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