Peru covers an area of 1,285,000 square kilometres (about 5 times the size of the UK) and is the third largest country in South America. It is one of the most spectacular countries in the world and its extremes of geography and variety and friendliness of its people is quite astonishing. Scientists have categorized 103 ecological zones on earth, of which Peru has an incredible 83 of them within its borders. Geographically it is divided into three very different regions: the coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazonian lowlands. travel to peru you will find a population of about 25 million. 43% of the population are indigenous Indians who mainly inhabit the highlands and speak Quechua although a few speak Aymara in the Lake Titicaca region. Although the Amazonian lowlands make up more than half of Peru only about 6% of the population live there. People of mixed indigenous and Spanish blood (known as metizo) make up about 38% of the population, 15% white and the remaining 4% are black, Asian or from other backgrounds.
Cusco is a gateway to the other main Inca Sites, the Sacred Valley and a good place to acclimatise before hiking the famous Inca trail or white-water rafting. Alternatively the train to Machu Picchu starts here. Whichever way you go the arrival will be impressive. The citadel lies atop a precipitous mountain with white waters of the Urubamba far below.
Coastal Region: The Humboldt Current is a deep upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water that sweeps northward along the Peruvian coast hosting a rich and varied population of sea and bird life. Islas Ballestas and the Paracas Bird Reserve are the coast's wildlife sanctuaries. They are home to communities of sea lions and scores of sea and land birds, including Guanay cormorant, Peruvian and brown booby, Chilean flamingo, seaside cinclodes, and Peruvian pelican. The brilliantly-coloured Inca tern and the Humboldt penguin - a rarity this far north -are also found here.
Lima's international airport, Jorge Chavez, is the main hub for flights to the Andean countries from North America and Europe, and has plenty of connections to neighboring countries. Some international flights land at Iquitos, in Peru's Amazon region. Peru's major International Airline is Lan Peru, the only other being Taca. For flights leaving the country there is an airport departure tax of approximately US$30.
Lima is a dusty city that sprawls along the desert coast, but has plenty to offer the adventurous traveller; interesting museums, a vibrant cafe scene, striking architecture and genuinely friendly people. Lima's archaeology museums have fine collections. The charming restored colonial centre, centred on the Plaza de Armas is well worth a visit, preferably with a guide. Its churches provide a welcome refuge from the outside clamour, and its many markets overflow with exotic goods and handicrafts. There are also plazas, lovely old buildings and a zoo. Live music of African and Andean roots can be heard in the bars of Miraflores and Barranco.
The source of the mighty Amazon lies in the remote highlands of the east. Below the glacial melt-waters, streams collect as they pass through the cloud-forest, home to the spectacled bear, rare orchids and hummingbirds. The rivers swell and reach the lowland rainforest on their way to Brazil. The region is the most biological diverse area on the planet. It is the land of reclusive creatures such as the jaguar, Andean, giant otter, and tapir. The bird population of surpasses the rest of the world. With 1,700 species of birds, the country is an unparalleled destination for bird enthusiasts. Peru has two distinct regions of Amazonian rain forest, one in the north and one in the south. Iquitos, situated at the Amazon headwaters the north, is the point of entry for northern Amazon, while the southern regions are best accessed from either Cusco or Puerto Maldonado. The Peruvian jungle is an ideal place to visit the rainforest.