Peru is located in South America, bordering Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia and Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Andes Mountains define the three geographic regions of the country, the coast, the highlands or sierra and the jungle or selva, part of the Amazon rainforest. The climate is not exclusively tropical due to the influence of the Andes. The coastal temperatures are moderate, but in the sierra, it is dry and can be cold up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The jungle is hot and rainy. But these are only facts, and you have to see Peru firsthand to experience its magic.
Imagine scenery on the epic scale of an Indiana Jones movie: forgotten temples entangled in jungle vines, cobwebbed ancient tombs baking in the desert sun and bejeweled buried treasures beyond all reckoning. Wild rivers that rage, pumas prowling in the night and hallucinogenic shaman rituals – it’s not just a movie here, it’s real life. Like a continent in miniature, Peru will astound you with its diversity. Not even fierce Inca warriors or Spanish conquistadors could totally dominate such jaw-dropping terrain, from icy Andean peaks where majestic condors soar, to almost limitless coastal deserts, to the steamy rainforests of the Amazon basin. Peru is home to snow-capped mountains, giant sand dunes, flocks of brightly hued tropical birds, postcard-perfect volcanoes and rocky Pacific outcroppings inhabited by argumentative sea lions that will delight your camera.
Peru offers such a wide range of experiences that it can be difficult to choose between them. Solemn pilgrimages honor gods both Christian and indigenous. Ancient ruins divulge prehistoric secrets. There are museums to visit, lakes to ogle, waves to surf, labyrinthine cities to explore. And let's not forget the food – a bounty of sublime concoctions made from ingredients native and contemporary. You'll need weeks to savor the vast selection of delicacies: from rare strains of potato to guinea pig to ocean ceviche. And for many visitors a visit to the cloud-topping Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime experience.
Wherever your journey takes you in Peru, you’ll be welcomed by big-hearted people that tackle their lot with gusto and a deep lust for life. Small wonder, then, that the land of the Incas is one of South America’s top picks for adventurous travelers and Spanish learners.