Peru is located in the central western portion of South America. It covers 1.285 million square kilometers and is South America's third largest country, and the 20th largest nation in the world. Its total surface equals the combined areas of Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Holland and Belgium. It borders to the north with Ecuador and Colombia, to the south with Chile and Bolivia, tothe east with Brazil and to the west with the Pacific Ocean.
Population:Peru's population is approximately 28 million of which 72% live in the city and 28% in the countryside.
Peru's many languages co-exist and are proof of the nation's diverse cultural heritage. Spanish and Quechua (the language of the Incas) are the nation's official languages although Spanish is much more widespread. Forty-nine other indigenous languages are also recognized by the Peruvian State. English is used widely by travel service providers.
Visitors to Peru need a valid passport. Visitors from North American and Western European countries do not need tourist visas. More information is available from Peruvian diplomatic representatives in each country. Addresses and telephone numbers are available at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' web page www.rree.gob.pe.
No specific immunization restrictions apply for visits to Peru. It is however advised to get a yellow fever vaccine 10 days before visiting certain Amazon rainforest areas. Visit www.cdc.gov/travel for more information.
Peru is a country of diverse climate and geography. It is divided into three natural Regions: the Coastal band, the Andean highlands and the Amazon jungle.
Peru's coastal band is a long stretch along the western slopes of the Andes, a 2500 kilometer long strip bathed by the Pacific Ocean where deserts are interspersed with beautiful beaches and lush agricultural oases. Summe stretches from December to March when temperatures reach 27Â°C (80Â°F) on average, while winter (May to October) may fall to a mild 12Â°C (53Â°F). Although it rarely rains, mist and drizzle are usual in winter, especially in Lima. The sun shines 365 days a year over Peru's northern coastal tip, with temperatures reaching 35Â°C (95Â°F). The cities of Lima, Trujillo and Chiclayo as well as the Na sca Lines, Puerto Inca and Lagunas de Mejia National Sanctuary are in this region among other attractions.
The proper name for the Andes mountain range, the Highlands are made up by a mountain backbone that runs from south to north creating the Pacific-Amazon divide. Weather in the Highlands is dry and mild, with a well defined dry season (May to October) when days are sunny, nights chilly and rain scarce, making it the ideal time of the year for visiting. Dramatic temperature changes"”with fluctuations ranging from 2Â°C (35Â°F) to 20Â°C (68Â°F) in one single day"”are usual in the Highlands. The cities of Cajamarca, Huancayo and Cuzco as well as Machu Picchu, Chavin de Huantar and Ishinca Mountain are in this region among other attractions.
A region of lush tropical vegetation, the Peruvian Amazon area includes the nation's largest natural reserves. Its humid and tropical climate comprises two clear seasons, the dry (May to October) period when rivers flow low, days are sunny and temperatures exceed 30Â°C (86Â°F) and the rainy season (November to April) of frequent downpours and large river flows. The Jungle is home to more than 1,000 indigenous communities that have managed to preserve their traditional customs, traditions and languages. The cities of Iquitos, Pucallpa and Puerto Maldonado, as well as the Amazon River and the Manu National Park are in this region among other attractions.
Peru is home to 10 sites inscribed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites: the Chan Chan Metropolis, Chavin of Huantar, the city of Cusco, HuascarÃ¡n National Park, the city of Lima, Nazca Lines, Manu National Park, Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary and the National Park Abiseo River.
Visitors to Peru may bring with them a number of personal goods free of taxes, including clothing and accessories, a portable musical instrument, three liters of alcoholic beverages, and gifts for a maximum value of US$3,000 and individual values not exceeding US$100. Sports gear for adventure tourism (hang-gliding, mountaineering, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, water skiing, windsurfing and others) and scientific equipment for plant and animal life research are also allowed free of taxes into Peru.
Peru's national currency is the "nuevo sol (S/.)" divided into 100 cents. Coins worth 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1, 2 and 5 soles are in circulation, as well as 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 nuevo sol bills. Currency can be exchanged at all banks and exchange houses, and at most hotels, restaurants and shops. Major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, Diners and American Express) are accepted at most commercial establishments and ATMs are also available.
Peru is served by a wide domestic and international network of private and pay phones. Country and city codes are posted on most telephone booths. For international calls dial 00 + country code +city code + telephone number. For local domestic long distance calls, dial 0 + city code + telephone number. Public (pay) phones accept coins and calling cards sold at kiosks and supermarkets. Directory service (in Spanish) is available by dialing 103.
Internet kiosks operate in most cities around Peru. Usually known as Internet cabins, they offer Internet connection for an average S/3.5(US$1)/hour.
220 volts but most four/five star hotels also have installed 110 volt power outlets.
7,068 properties offering 113,672 rooms. Peru has 27 five-star hotels, 24 four-star hotels and more than 460 three-star hotels. As an example of Peru's high quality accommodations, Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco was named "Best in South America" by Conde Nast Traveler's Readers’ Choice Awards in 2005.
36 airports equipped to receive commercial flights and 9 ready for international flights including Lima and Iquitos service Peru. 19 airlines operate international flights to and from Peru including Copa,Continental, American Airlines, LanChile, LanPeru and Avianca, and 7 airlines offer domestic flights within the country.
Over 40,000 restaurants across the country reflect the diversity of a nation that has mixed its native traditions with the cuisines of Europe, Arabia, China, Africa and Japan offering visitors unique flavors that make Peruvian cuisine one of the best and most varied in the world. Peru boasts one of the most exquisite culinary offerings in Latin America. The cuisine is as flavorful and diverse as the country itself, utilizing ingredients from Peru's biodiversity and varied geography. Rare and varied spices, aromatic herbs, succulent fruit, fresh meat and seafood are among the elements that have helped to make Peruvian cuisine one of the most unique in the world. One of the great secrets to Peruvian cooking is the ability to absorb the many different culinary traditions and to add a touch of Peru's own natural and cultural wealth.
Peru has a tourist information and assistance service called iperÃº, which offers visitors information and assistance concerning traveler
services that fail to meet contract terms. Assistance is available 24 hours daily nationwide by dialing (01) 574-8000 or visiting email@example.com.
Information: For more information about planning a visit to Peru, call 1 -866-661-PERU (in the U.S.) or visit www.peru.info.
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