Geography: Peru is crossed from south to north by the Andes which bring a rich variety of ecosystems and climates. Peru is one of the 7 most biodiverse countries on earth, located in the third position. It can be founded 84 of the life zones that exist on earth. Peru is home for more than 400 mammal species, 300 reptiles,1700 birds and more than 50,000 plants.
Area : 1´285,215 square kilometres, is third in length in South America and is one of the 20 biggest nations. Also, Peru maintains 200 miles in the Pacific Ocean and has territory rights of 60 million hectares in the Antarctic.
Population: over 28,000,000 million
Urban ; 72 %
Peru has been the meeting point of different nations and cultures. Native coast and andean people have joined 500 years ago after the Spanish invation and later, Africans, Asians and European enriched the culture. The Peruvian emerges as the representation of a nation which ethnic welfare and racial mixture represents its principal characteristic.
Language: As part of its rich cultural tradition, Peru has lots of languages. Although Spanish is the most spoken language in the territory, quechua is the legacy of the Inca empire and it is still spoken in many parts of the country mainly in the Andes . The Amazon has 38 different languages.
Spanish; 80 %
Quechua: 16 %
Other Languages, 3 %
Foreign Languages 0,2 %
It is necessary to emphasize as curiosity that the 3 % of the other languages, most of it, correspond to the 38 different languages that exist in the Amazon with more than 200 variations and with the spoken aymara in the limit with Puno.
About The Aymara it has been written that is a very ancient language "mathematically perfect" with that it is necessary to emphasize that it is very logic, it has been used by the NASA to send messages to the universe. It is also use due to its particular characteristic that does not distort the sense of the translations that is why it can be use as a key language in high quality translations. It was the native language of Manco Capac, the founder of the Inca Empire and, nowadays it is the most spread language in the high plateau between Peru, Bolivia y Chile with a nation that over one million inhabitants.
Coast, Peruvian sea
It represents more than 70 % of the Peruvian territory and it is located in its entirety in the Amazon basin. Its proximity to the Andes and the scant human presence make the most biodiverse forests on earth.
The rainforest of the Madre de Dios rainforest in the limit of Brasil and Bolivia , is considered world's biodiversity capital , its pristine and the measures taken for its conservation assure a great experience for tourists. This region still has nomadic native groups which does not have contact with the world; the contact with the �civilized� world could represent its extermination due that they does not have defences against our diseases, and a simple cold could end with entire families..
The physiography presents two zones clearly difference: The low jungle or Amazon plain, and the upper jungle that goes up towards the Andean heights.
The low jungle presents as main characteristic the presence of plentiful big rivers, and big forests with trees that can overtake 40 mts high, whereas the upper jungle is crossed by fast-flowing clear rivers, valleys and deep streams with a lot of vegetation which goes to the cloudy forest in the highest part (3000msnm) to the high forest of the plain (280 msnm.), the upper jungle is more rainy than in the low jungle.
The wildlife is plentiful, the presence of the different species is disperse in function to different habitats and different ecological levels, A good number of species have a vast distribution does no matter the altitudinal levels. For example the Andean puma can get to Brasil. Studies show that the biggest strip of biodiversity concentration is between 500 y 1500 msnm.
More about the amazon rainforest
Information to travel to the jungle.
Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, The Andes, The Titicaca Lake, Cuzco and Macchu Pichu are located in the mountain region.
The Andes represent approximately 30% of the Peruvian territory, cobres the country from south to north from Bolivia to Ecuador , is crossed by hundreds of interandean valleys. The altitudinal difference between the high peaks of more than 6000 msnm and the deep valleys generates diverse climates and a rich variety of animals and plants. The world's deepest Canyon: Colca y Cotahuasi are located in Peru in the Department of Arequipa, both have faces exceed 3,000 metres from the base to the top of the terrace.
From all the andean species the most outstanding because there are easy to see are the american camels represented by 4 species: llama, alpaca, guanaco and vicuña. The last two are threaten species that is why the state has created parks and reserves with the purpose of protecting them.
The vicuña posses the most fine animal fiber known, its knits has good value in the international market.
The lakes and rivers are inhabited by two foreign species: the trout and the silverside that have displaced the native species.
The mountains inhabitants are mostly descendents of the Inca Empire; they speak quechua language and have a rich culture represented in its architecture, typical attire, music, dance and other cultural expressions that the visitor can see during its journeys without needing to go to museums or theatres.
The highest peak is the Huascaran with 6740 mts. And there are at least 20 that exceed the 6000 mts.
The Andes is divided in three branches faced from south to north:
The occidental mountain chain or the coast
The central mountain chain
And the oriental mountain chain or Amazon
The oriental mountain chain because is near to the Amazon plain has the most biodiversity in the country and one of the highest on earth. The different ecological levels are refuge of plentiful wildlife.
The north part of the country, a big part of this rich biodiversity has already been destroyed because of the colonization, coca farming, fruits and indiscriminate deforestation.
At the south part of Peru from the Vilcambamba mountain chain to Bolivia , this mounatin chain has very low population and it is almost intact with scant human intervention. It preserves a great richness of flora and fauna species, now protected by the state through National Parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries such as: The National Park of Tambopata, Manu and Bahuaja Sonene are one of the most representatives. The population density in this zone is lower to 05. hab. per km 2.
Coast, Peruvian sea
Peru has more than 2000 km of coast, characterized for been one of the thinnest desertic strip that represents 1% of the territory located between the andean flanks and the Pacific Ocean . It is crossed by numerous valleys made by rivers that descend from the andean region.
The Peruvian sea is exceptionally rich due to the presence of the Humbold current and the warm Niño current; species of great commercial value are capture by the fishing fleet of different countries. The species that inhabit in big shoal fishes are the anchovy, sardine, mackerel, scad and hake. Peru is the first fish-meal producer. The marine mammals are protected by the legislation and its fishing is prohibited during the whole year.
It determines that two of the third parts of the whales of the world crosses the Peruvian sea in its annual migrations. The Peruvian whale is an endemic specie and it has very little studies and observation.
In the fisherman wharfs is possible to observe a wide variety of sea products for human consumption and enjoy the popular cuisine.
The coastal strip presents variations from north to south. At the north the coastal plain is wider reaching to 200 kms of extention, covered with carob forests and tropical dry forests inhabit by a variety amount of animal species like howler monkeys, toucans, ocelots, caimans and endemic bird species.
The mangrove swamps of the Tumbes Department are unique habitats in Peru and there nest marine birds and also inhabit other species of great commercial value like crabs and �conchas negras�.
To the south the coastal strip gets narrower to just a few kms and a lot of times the Andean foothills reach the sea making high cliffs. In a transversal cut the coastal strip suffers dramatic changes from the desertic coastal beaches to the highs caused by the Andean massif. In few kilometres it can ascend from the sea level to go along the 500 mts crossing different ecological levels.
The fauna of the coastal hills is varied, even though it has never been rich is number of individuals due to the little existence of food since the pastures are spray only by the coastal mist and not with rain. It also has suffered a great decrease due that the coast is the most populated zone of Peru. Between the most notorious animals are: deers, vizcacha, andean puma, fox, small lizards and snakes. The most common representative in the air is the turkey buzzard, even though in some places it is possible to see condors that go down from the highs to eat dead seal babies, or its placenta; it also exist a lot of bird of prey species.
Mammals: The 33 marine mammal species recognize in Peru are divided in 9 families from which the Otaridos and delphinidos are the most numerous. There are species in danger of extinction like the sea otter that can be seen frequently in the beaches of the cathedral inside the Paracas National Reserve.
The big whales and sperm whales that cover the open ocean and can be observe from 50 miles from the Callao port.
The most observe mammals of the Peruvian coast are the sea lions. Two different species share the coast that the cold Peru Current: the big otters (Otaria byronia) of 300 kg prefer to meet at the sandy beaches and the otters (Arctocephalus australis) of slimmer body that meet in the rocks and inaccessible coastal ledges. Both species reproduce between November and march, ideal months for its observation.
The most recomendable sites to find them are located in the south coast: The Paracas National Reserve, in the Ica department which posses important sea lion zones in the Ballestas Isles, Punta Arquillo y Morro Quemado, where probably it concentrates the most number of sea lions in all the country.
To the south it is Punta San Juan, a reserve zone established to protect the guano - producing seabirds nesting sites, Humboldt penguins and a big sea lion colony. Here it is possible to observe between December and April killer whale groups hunting sea lions.
The cetaceans, for its part are well represented in Peruvian sea. Several dolphins and �bufeos� species like the bottlenose dolphin and the common, also �marsopas� or �chanchos marinos� are habitual residents of the coastal low deep - waters.
Tuna fish, sea bass, soles, weakfish, chita, groupers and even the world's biggest black merlin fish and specimen of 792 kg which gave the world's record in merlin fishing to the norteamerican Alfred Glossell Jr. The great writer Ernest Hemingway it was a visitor of the Peruvian sea which big fishes inspire him to write its famous novel �the old man and the sea�
As he does, fishermen know Peru is a synonymous of adventure and, overall, of good fishing. Not for nothing fishing is considered as an activity of major importance in Peru, due to the great variety and abundance of its sea. Here the everyday fisherman will always find an ideal beach for the type of fishing he wishes to practice: Cliffs, wide beaches of sand, cold, rich in plankton waters and hot transparent currents. Good fishing!
Natural Protected Areas
Peru counts with 50 Natural Areas protected by the state, classified in the following categories:
National Parks, National Reserves, National Sanctuaries, Historical Sanctuaries, Reserved Zones, Estates of Hunt, Protected Forests and Communal Reserves.
The National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA) is the one in charge to veil for their protection and development through the National System of Protected Areas. (SINAMPE)
In a first time visit to Peru, these are the �must-go� points for travelers: The National Reserve of Paracas, The Historical Sanctuary of Macchu Picchu and the Tambopata/Manu Natural Reserves. If you still have some spare time after all these visits or are planning a second trip to Peru, we recommend a visit to the Titicaca Lake Reserve, the Huascaran National Park and the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. The remaining ones not mentioned before aren't less beautiful or important and if you have free time and spirit of adventure you will enjoy each one of them, destinations which still don't have the presence of tourists due to the lack of service infrastructure. See map of protected natural areas
Information on Peruvian history
Flights to Peru
Peru amazon travel guide
Facts about peru
Peru amazon culture
Information on Peruvian roads
Peru amazonian region
Festivals in Peru
Information for travelers
Information on Amazon Parks
Machu Picchu information
Information for Travel Agents
Peru Weather information