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Peru is one of the most diverse countries on earth. Peruvian habitats range from the dry plains, to the snow-capped Andes mountains, and the tropical Amazon rainforest. In addition, the Peruvian culture is extremely diverse as it is one of the longest histories of civilization of any country in the world, tracing its heritage back to the 4th millennia BC. The ancient cultures of Peru include the Norte Chico civilization, Inca Empire, Chavín, Moche, and Nasca. Today, there is a wide mix of cultures that make up Peru including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians. The diversity of Peru is reflected in fields such as art, culture, literature, and music.
Those who are interested in cultural tourism, ecotourism, adventure tourism, gastronomic tourism, or beach tourism, will find many exciting options in Peru. The most popular tourist spots in Peru include Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon, Rainbow Mountain, Amazon Rainforest, Huascarán National Park, and the beaches of Máncora and Punta Sal. There is a wide range of activities that are possible including surfing, sandboarding, skiing, mountain climbing, rafting, and trekking.
The geographical diversity of Peru means that the weather is very different across the country. November through March is the best time if you want to visit the coast of Peru or the Amazon rainforest. These are the summer months so it will be warm and sunny. If you are planning to visit Macchu Picchu, then the best timeframe is between April to November as it rarely rains and there is a lot of sunshine. The Inca Trail is closed during February.
The most popular cities in Peru include Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco. The buildings are known for their bright colors and classic Spanish colonial architecture. Lima is world-renowned for its food culture and national museums. Three restaurants in Lima have been listed among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, with two of the restaurants being listed in the top 10. Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th century to the 16th century. Around Cusco, you will find Pachacuti’s winter home, Machu Picchu, the other royal estate of Pachacuti known as Ollantaytambo, and the walled complex of Sacsayhuamán that was constructed in 1100 AD. Arequipa is a beautiful city and is the birthplace of many great intellectual, political, and religious people. The city center of Arequipa was named a World Cultural Heritage site. There are many bus tours to Colca Canyon originating in Arequipa, which should definitely be on your list of things to do.
One thing to note about Peru is that the elevation is quite high. Cusco is one of the tallest cities in Peru at an elevation of around 3,400 m (11,200 ft). According to Peruvian traditions, Coca tea is supposed to help with altitude sickness. It’s not proven if it actually works, but the tea is very tasty and a fun tradition to indulge. Take it easy on your first day in Cusco in order to avoid feeling nauseous. Vaccines are not required for Peru, but the CDC does recommend receiving the Yellow Fever, Typhoid, and Hepatitis vaccines and being up-to-date on all routine vaccines. Contact your local travel clinic to make an appointment to get the correct vaccines.