Top events in Peru

August
25

Santa Rosa de Lima' was the name bestowed upon a woman who dedicated her life to caring for the sick – Isabel Flores de Oliva. Her shrine,...

November
01

The who’s who of the bull fighting world head to Lima’s Plaza de Toros de Acho in November for this hard-fought tournament. This event...

November
01

A chance for Peruvians to remember their dead with gifts of food, drink and flowers presented at the family graves. Broken up over two parts, the...

Llama, Peru
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Llama, Peru

© www.123rf.com / Keith Levit

Peru Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

1,285,220 sq km (496,226 sq miles).

Population

29.8 million (2013).

Population density

23.2 per sq km.

Capital

Lima.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from Spain in 1824, having declared it in 1821.

Head of state

President Ollanta Humala since 2011.

Head of government

Prime Minister René Cornejo since 2014.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 60Hz. Flat and round two-pin plugs are used. (110 volts AC is available in most 4- and 5-star hotels.)

From ancient cultures to bustling cities to extraordinary landscapes, few destinations have as much to offer visitors as Peru, an astonishingly varied country. Here you'll find panoramic mountain ranges, vast deserts, beautiful beaches and tropical jungle, not to mention fantastically rich history, archaeology, wildlife and enduring indigenous cultures. You can make a trip to Peru whatever you want it to be, whether it is trekking the Inca Trail or heading out to more remote places to explore the little-known areas of the country.

Images of the extraordinary remains of ancient civilisations will inevitably jump to mind. The Inca stronghold Machu Picchu is one of the most famous and photogenic archaeological sites in the world and the mysterious Nazca Lines boggle the brain, but there are hundreds of similarly fascinating and even older sites to discover.

The beautifully excavated ruins of Chan Chan near Trujillo are clues to a culture which presided for 600 years, and these ruins were once the largest pre-Columbian city in South America. Heading off the beaten track, up in the northern mountainous region of Peru you will find Kuelap, an ancient fortress and burial site of the Chachapoyas culture. These remains are far less visited than others and provide the adventurous traveller with a challenge.

All are set in stunning landscapes, whether parched desert coast, soaring sierra or remote rainforest overflowing with wildlife. Such a diverse landscape generates diverse pleasures; you can hike through snowy peaks one day, and relax on the beach the next; paddle a dugout through lowland rainforest or hop on a traditional reed boat on some of the world's highest lakes.

The towns and cities of Peru are equally fascinating. Lima’s shiny and modern Miraflores area and grand and imposing historical centre, which has recently been cleaned up, are an example of the wealth of the country at its height. Contrasting beautifully is the ancient capital of Cusco with its steep, winding, cobbled street and its more than 1,000-year history. In between is everything from established cities to large communities to tiny indigenous villages, at extremes in altitude and temperature.

Peru does not solely involve rushing up and down mountains; if you’re searching for a relaxing destination, there are various beaches on which to perfect your tan while soaking up the local atmosphere. Máncora, in northern Peru, is the surfer and backpacker destination of choice, with good waves and a party atmosphere. A little more subdued but extremely popular is Huanchaco, where you can see the caballitos de totora, the reed canoes used by local fishermen. Locals from nearby Trujillo flock here at weekends, and the waves are excellent for surfers.

Peru is a hiker’s dream, with some of the world’s most picturesque and challenging mountain ranges in the world, including the Cordillera Blanca. The richness of accessible wilderness allows you to really immerse yourself in nature and discover the country for yourself. But there are plenty of other activities on offer, from sandboarding and surfing to extreme mountain biking and rafting. Add to this medicinal hot springs, mesmeric music, well-stocked museums, rich culture and uncommonly friendly people and you have a destination with something for everybody.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 30 October 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Demonstrations are common in Peru and can turn violent quickly.

Around 56,000 British nationals visit Peru every year. Most visits are trouble free.

Drug trafficking is a serious crime and drug smugglers face long terms of imprisonment. See
Local Laws and Customs

There may be a higher risk to your safety in areas where there is organised crime and terrorism linked to the production of drugs.

There are serious risks involved in flying over the Nazca Lines.

There’s risk of robbery by bogus taxi drivers, especially to and from the airports and at bus terminals.

Driving standards are poor. Crashes resulting in death and injury occur frequently.

There is a general threat from terrorism.

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