The Republic of Peru is one of the most important tourist attractions in the world. It has a stunning landscape predominated by the majestic Andes mountain range, in whose peaks are the source of mighty rivers which flow through the Amazon rainforest, and end in the Atlantic Ocean. Ancient Peru was the land of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was conquered by the Spanish in 1533.
NAME: Republic of Peru
LAND AREA: 1 285 215,6 square kilometers, the third-largest country in South America.
POPULATION: 30 million.
CAPITAL: Lima; population of 10 million.
DENSITY: 23.1 per sq km
LANGUAGE: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara are the official languages.
CURRENCY: It is the “sol” and its symbol is s/.
INTERNTIONAL COUNTRY PHONE CODE: +51
INDEPENDENCE DAY: July 28th
TERRAIN: Varies widely between western coastal plains, central Andean highlands, and eastern tropical lowlands in the Amazon Basin.
CLIMATE: Arid and mild in coastal areas, temperate to frigid in the Andes, and warm and humid in jungle lowlands.
ETHNIC GROUPS: Indigenous (45%), mestizo (37%), European (15%), African, Japanese, Chinese, and other (3%).
LITERACY: 95% in urban areas, 77% in rural areas.
NATURAL RESOURCES: Copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas.
AGRICULTURE PRODUCTS: Coffee, cotton, sugarcane, rice, potatoes, corn, plantains, grapes, oranges, coca, poultry, beef, dairy products, fish.
INDUSTRIES: Mining and refining of minerals and metals, petroleum extraction and refining, natural gas, fishing and fish processing, textiles, clothing, food processing, steel, metal fabrication.
Peru is a large mountainous country located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in South America. It has borders with Ecuador and Colombia in the north, Brazil and Bolivia in the east, and Chile in the south. The limit to the west is the Pacific Ocean.
Peru is a democratic republic. The president and members of Congress are elected every five years. The current constitutional president of Peru is Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2021).
Roman Catholic: 89% Protestant: 7% Other religions: 4% Peru is a religious country. Its diversity of beliefs and freedom of worship can be seen from the wide range of festivals and rituals that feature both Catholic fervor and the mysticism of ancient pre-Hispanic cultures.
BEST TIME TO VISIT PERU
The high tourism season starts in June and ends in in late September. Trekking activities are very enjoyable during the high season, which fortunately matches North American and European holidays. During this season, the days are sunny and clear, although the nights and morning tend to be extremely cold at high altitudes.
THE THREE NATURAL REGIONS
Temperatures and weather varies greatly depending on which of Peru’s three distinct climatic regions you decide to visit.
The coastal region, where Lima is located, is a narrow, arid coastal plain crossed by fertile valleys. Agricultural plantations, such as cotton, sugar-cane and rice as well as the majority of oil exploitation, occurs on the coast.
In the coastal cities, the average temperature is always mild and pleasant and it almost never rains. From December to April is summertime, when temperatures rise to 35°C/95°F. It is mainly hot and dry, perfect for sun bathers and swimmers, especially in the northern beaches. Wintertime is from May to November. The temperature tends to drop a bit or is sometimes extremely cold when it is cloudy, although the northern region is still warm with minimal rain due to its proximity to the equator.
The highlands of the Andes Mountain have some peaks above 6000m/19,600ft in altitude. Rich mineral resources, such as silver, zinc, iron, copper and gold, are located in this area as well as the main valleys for agriculture.
In the highlands, the temperature is fresh, with some extreme cold areas, but in general temperatures are moderate, with a rainy season from December to March with average day temperatures of 18°C/64°F and not much difference at night (15°C/60°F). From April to October is the dry season, hot and clear during the day, around 20° – 25° C/68° – 77°F, and cold and dry in the early mornings and at night.
The Amazon jungle, located on the eastern side of Peru, is the largest rainforest in the world. It is frequently called the “lungs of the world” due to its ability to produce oxygen. It also has a great number of natural resources. The lack of communication and transportation infrastructure kept this region unexploited until the 70’s, when oil extraction started on a large scale. Now the animals, plants and communities of this fragile, marvelous eco-system are in jeopardy due to a variety of threats such as illegal logging and mining.
In the jungle (Amazon Region), it is always hot and humid with rainfalls almost all year round. From April to October, we enjoy the dry season, with temperatures up to 35°C/95°F. This is the optimal time to visit the Amazon. The Amazon’s rainy season runs from December to March, when the rainforest receives heavy rainfalls at any time of the day. During this season, it is always humid and hot, and the rain usually lasts only a few hours. However, weather conditions are unpredictable at this time of the year. This unpredictability might not ruin your trip, but it might present challenges such as closed roads, detours or large landslides.
PERU’S TOP ATTRACTIONS
There are many reasons to travel to Peru; your travel organizer will help you decide between Peru’s many famous destinations. Cusco is the capital city of the Inca empire, therefore, this region mostly offers attractions from Inca times. In addition, you will find historical constructions representing colonial architecture as well. Some of the following destinations are considered some of the best in the country.
This Incan city was declared a World Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO in 1983, describing it as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization.” It is located in the province of Urubamba, in the department of Cusco, on the eastern slopes of the Vilcabamba Mountains at 2440m/8,000ft. This historical site is surrounded by several mountains, including Waynapicchu to the north, Machu Picchu to the south, Putucusi to the east and Pumasillu to the west.
Machu Picchu was built by the Inca king Pachacuteq around 1450. It was inhabited by the priest caste who were responsible for the ceremonies and rituals of sun worship. It was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 when he was informed by the educator Albert Giesecke of this spectacular archaeological site.
This complex is located 97km/60mi west of Cusco at an altitude of 3050m/10,000ft above the Apurimac River. Known as the little sister of Machu Picchu because of their architectural similarities, Choquequirao is a 15th-century construction made by the Incan Empire.
This lake is located on the border between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes Mountains at 3820m/12,500ft. It is the largest, highest navigable lake in the world. Commonly known as the birthplace of the first Incas, it is now home to the legendary floating Uros Islands, as well as other islands with distinct cultures and customs.
This emblematic attraction is located about 163km/100mi northwest of Arequipa and 75km/45mi, from Chivay. It’s one of the world’s deepest canyons and home to the giant Andean condors. This canyon also shelters traditional villages and incredible landscapes with pre-Hispanic agriculture terraces. Nowadays it is considered Peru’s third most-visited destination.
These enigmatic lines are located 400km/248mi south of Lima in the province of Nazca. The geoglyphs of Nazca cover about 450km2/170mi2. These lines, which were etched on the surface of the ground between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, are among archaeology’s greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity. The geoglyphs depict living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures that are several kilometers long. These images can only be viewed in their entirety by airplane.
OVERALL QUESTIONS ABOUT PERU
How is the climate in Peru?
It depends on which part of our country you visit. Peru is divided up into three specific geographical zones and each region has its own climate. The high tourism season starts in June, and then the low season arrives in the late September. Trekking activities are very enjoyable during this period, which fortunately match with North American and European holidays. During this season, the days are sunny and clear, although the nights and morning tend to be extreme cold at high altitudes.
The Coast: In the coastal cities the average temperature is always mild and pleasant, and it almost never rains. From December to April is summertime, temperatures go up to 35°C/95°F. It is mainly hot and dry, perfect for swimmers and sunbathers on the northern beaches. Wintertime is from May to November; the temperature tends to drop a bit. It sometimes can be cold when it’s cloudy, although the northern region is still warm with infrequent rain due to its proximity to the equator.
The Highlands: In the highlands, the temperature is fresh, with some extreme cold areas, but in general temperatures are moderate with a rainy season from December to March with temperatures of 18°C/64°F and not much difference at night, 15°C/59°F. From April to October is the dry season, when the weather is hot and clear during the day (around 20° – 25° C/68° – 77°F), and cold and dry in the mornings and nights.
The Amazon Jungle: In the Amazon, it is usually hot and humid with rain all year round. From April to October, we enjoy the dry season, with temperatures up to 35°C/95°F. This is the best time to visit the Amazon. From November to April, the Amazon rainforest receives heavy rainfalls at any time of the day. It is almost always quite humid and hot. However, cold fronts can move in from Antarctica, and temperatures can drop suddenly for a week or more. The rain typically lasts only a few hours, but it is difficult to predict weather conditions during this season. The weather might not necessarily ruin your trip, but it might close roads or even cause large landslides.
How is the food on the treks?
Peruvian cuisine has been awarded four times in a row as the best food in the world due to its ingredients, unique spices and decorations. We are very proud of our ceviche, grilled alpaca and baked guinea pig. During the treks, the cooks like to impress and surprise passengers with delicious, abundant meals. Some of you might say it’s a waste, however, they are used to making that much food.
Do I need malaria or yellow fever vaccinations?
No, you don’t, nor do you need to be concerned about these diseases. These seasonal diseases are usually found in the jungle areas and they come out every couple of years. When these diseases are active, all control points are obligated to inform travelers as well as your travel advisor. In any case, consult your personal doctor or travel clinic, but the most common health problems reported in Peru are diarrhea, vomiting, headaches and altitude symptoms.
Do I need to be fit to go one of your treks?
All treks (the Inca Trail, Salkantay, Choquequirao, etc.) are slightly difficult, with long distances, big mountains and steep ascents. We highly recommend that you are in relatively good shape and get acclimatized to Cusco’s altitude at least a couple of days before you begin any trek. One short hike to the Sacsayhuaman complex or around Cusco would be advisable, in order to ensure an enjoyable trek.
How can I book a place on one of your treks or tours?
Mapi Tour Peru’s sales department will respond to your e-mails within 24 hours, or you can chat with us via Skype. We can fit you into our already fixed departures or open a new group with our unique system of “only two persons needed to leave any time you wish.”
Why do I need to send a deposit?
We use your non-refundable deposit to pay fees when you make official bookings. For instance, we need to purchase tourist and porter entrance passes. We also want to ensure the availability of guides, cooks, porters and horses for the departure date of your trip. Most of the cooks and porters work freelance, which complicates the arrangements of tours in peak seasons.
How can I pay my deposit or final balance?
We strongly recommend that you make your deposits via WESTERN UNION which is very quick, easy and efficient for money transfer (especially when availability is changing very quickly or passes are almost booked up and reservations need to be made ASAP). Bank transfers are not recommended as they can take up to 5 working days to clear. Final balances for treks and packages must be paid in cash (US$) in our Cusco office or via WESTERN UNION 48 hours before you begin the tour. If the customer does not pay within this indicated time, the company reserves the right to cancel the trip.
Final balances for our tour packages can be paid via WESTERN UNION up to one week before the tour begins. If the tour starts in Cusco, it has to be paid in our office within 48 hours before you start the tour.
What should I do as my trek date approaches?
You have to come to our office 48 hours before in order to coordinate your pre-departure briefing and pay your final balance. If for health reasons (strong altitude sickness symptoms) you cannot come to our office, give us a call to come to your hotel.
Where are we located?
Our office is located in Calle Nueva N° 625, Centro Comercial Tahuantisuyo Office: 323 – Cusco – Peru.
What are our business hours?
We are open from 9:00am – 8:00pm. In case of emergency, call our 24/7 service phone at +51-984714180
Are there bathrooms facilities on the alternative treks?
The bathrooms have improved a bit in the last five years and all the campsites have bathrooms with flush toilets and running water. Between campsites you won’t find any and in case you need to go to the bathroom, you can step in the bush well away from the trail and streams. Most of the campsites are owned by local families who live along these trails, and they can let you use the toilets for couple of soles. Some other treks do not offer toilet facilities because they are in remote areas or sometimes have no running water.
Is there an age limit for the treks?
There is no age limit on the treks we offer, but if you are over 60, or have had a recent operation and are therefore unable to move freely, we recommend that you have a medical check-up before your trip. Make sure to acclimatize to the altitude at least 2 days before the trek begins. If you have children under seven years old, you should consider the long-distances and steep ascents before reserving a trek. You have to be prepared, particularly for the frequent problem of altitude sickness.
Once I have booked my place, can I change my dates?
You can change dates on our alternative treks as long as you assume the change expenses. Because we’ll need to arrange your trip from the beginning once again, we charge 50% of the total package cost. For further info, refer to our terms and conditions.
What is the difference between private and group service?
This type of service is designed exclusively for small groups such as couples, friends, families and honeymooners. In case you are single or solo, you will be paired with another single traveler but following the initial agreements and requirements. For instance, if you need a single tent, we will provide it at no extra cost.
You and your friend will be more than enough to open a new departure date and leave anytime you wish. Just let us know, that is what we are here for!
This service consists of traveling in a bigger group, where you have a chance to meet people from different nationalities. The group size ranges from 6 to 15 people, and sometimes there are more than that, which creates a good possibility to interact and make friends along the trail.