The Peruvian Coast

THE COAST OF PERU

The Peruvian Coast - The cost of Peru

The Peruvian west coast bordering the Pacific Ocean is a long desert strip that stretches from the departments of Tumbes in the north bordering Ecuador, to Tacna in the south bordering Chile for a total length of 1,555 miles or 2,500 km. The average temperature from December to April is 25 to 28C or 53 to 59F and the average temperature from May to November is 12 to 15C or 53 to 59F.

The coast covers about 10% of the territory but is home to more than 50% of the population. Large cities such as Lima, the capital, Trujillo, Chiclayo and Tacna are located in the coast. Cities along the coast are the center of economic activity attracting people from the interior of the country looking for economic prosperity.

The desert varies along the coast, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish where the desert ends and the beach starts. The width varies from 10 to 100 miles or 16 to 160 km. The widest part of the desert is the Sechura desert located in the north between the towns of Piura and Chiclayo. Few people live in this area and its rich in phosphate rock used in fertilizers.

In the winter months it is covered with a thick fog or mist called garua which prevents the sun from penetrating and makes everything look gray. This is the result of the Humboldt Current, discovered in 1802 by scientist Alexander von Humboldt. He found that the temperature of the sea along the coast measured -13F or 8C lower than in similar latitudes elsewhere and that the air over land was warmer than over the sea. When the flow of cold water along the Pacific coast comes in contact with the dry desert air it forms a dense fog. Vegetation is also very diverse because of the different microclimates created by sea currents.

The dryness of the dessert makes agriculture a difficult task. Pre-Columbian civilizations such as Chimu, Lima, Paracas and Nasca flourished in small areas and were supported by rivers coming from the mountains. They were able to channel the water from the rivers that created the valleys that we know today. This source of water relies on rain in the Andes and makes these valleys subject to drought or flood. Other than these valleys most of the coastal landscape is dry and dusty. The dryness of the coast has preserved mummies, ruins and pre-Columbian art such as textile and pottery made by these ancient pre-Inca civilizations that flourished in the coast of Peru. However, in some parts of the coast known as lomas the fog is so dense that water condenses enough to support the local vegetation.

The Peruvian Coast: Lima, Piura, Tumbes, Ica, Trujillo, Mollendo, arequipa, tacna,la Libertad. Back to top


The Peruvian Amazon

THE AMAZON OF PERU

the amazon of peru - Peruvian Amazon - Jungle trips

The Peruvian Amazon The selva or Peruvian jungle covers nearly 60% of the country and is sparsely populated with only 5% of the country's inhabitants.

Pucallpa Five hundred thirty three nautical miles from Iquitos (there is no road), Pucallpa is a rapidly expanding jungle town and capital of the Department of Ucayali. Accessible by plane from Lima (1 hr.) and Iquitos (20 min.), there are several well-run jungle lodges nearby which offer a close up look at life in the Amazon. Most popular excursion is to Lake Yarinacocha and the Moroti-Shobo Indian market.

Iquitos Located on the Amazon 2,300 miles from the Atlantic, Iquitos is Peru's second-largest port. Several hotels in town provide accommodations while a variety of jungle lodges are one to four hours downriver. The jungle accommodations range from cabanas with private bath to more rustic shelters offering camping-style facilities for one or more nights. Camping treks can be arranged and expedition-style boats for 4-12 persons provide multi-day in-depth visits to many Amazon tributaries. Visitors may easily reach the Yagua Indian tribe who lives near Iquitos. Deeper in the jungle excursions can contact the Huitotos and Shipibos.

Puerto Maldonado On the Andes eastern slopes, Puerto Maldonado is reached by plane from Lima via Cuzco. Puerto Maldonado is the gateway to three superb jungle preserves - Manu National Park, Tambopata Wildlife Reserve and Rio Heath Pampas Sanctuary. Within the Tambopata Wildlife Reserve two jungle lodges provide an opportunity to view the 547 species of birds, 1,100 species of butterflies, 150 species of dragonflies and mammals including the giant otter. Yellow Fever Vaccination is required.

Peru Tour Operator: Classical Inca Trail, Short Inca Trail, Salkantay trek, Machu Picchu, Amazon tours. Back to top


The Peruvian Highland

THE HIGHLANDS OF PERU

The Peruvian highland - The Highland of Peru

The High Andes: The Andes range from North to South along Peru like a backbone covering 26% of the country. Their soaring peaks and green valleys provide spectacular scenery. Nestled within are some of Peru's most popular and legendary destinations:

Cuzco Ancient capital of the Inca, Cuzco is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Western Hemisphere. At 11,444 ft., it's best to rest upon arrival. Cuzco offers a wide variety of hotels from tourist to deluxe, quality restaurants, and several nightclubs with folklore shows. The city tour of Cuzco includes the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Tambo Machay. Cuzco is also the starting point for excursions into the Sacred Valley of the Incas to visit towns like Pisac - famed for its Sunday morning Indian market, the mountainside city of Ollantaytambo, and highland Chincheros.

Machu Picchu The fabled "Lost City of the Incas." Set atop a mountain peak three hours by train from Cuzco, Machu Picchu is one of South America's most outstanding excursions and requires a minimum of a full day. Here are the remains of a city never discovered by the Spanish Conquistadors - ancient staircases, terraces, temples, palaces, towers, fountains, and the famous Temple of the Sun. A small hotel at the ruins provides hot lunches for day visitors and comfortable overnight accommodations. Advance reservations are required. An overnight here is an unforgettable experience Kuélap and ChachapoyasIn Northern Peru, near the town of Chachapoyas (capital of the State of Amazonas), a great many pre-Inca ruins and sites are now accessible to visitors. The most imposing of all is Kuélap, a titanic citadel, or fortress, that is being called the "second" Machu Picchu. Here there are far more questions than answers. A new road now links the vast complex with Chachapoyas, and a trip to the site can be made in a full day. Also near the neighboring small town of Lamud, treks are now offered to view Easter Island-like statues containing mummies that amazingly stand imbedded in towering canyon walls.

Puno At 12,500 ft., Puno stands upon the shore of the world's highest navigable lake - Titicaca. Legends say the first Inca arose from its depths and went on to found his empire. Most travelers reach Puno by train from Cuzco. Hotels provide comfortable overnight accommodations while travelers explore the area. Boat excursions visit the floating islands of the Uros Indians, the ancient mystery towers of Sillustani and the legendary Island of the Sun. From here one can continue across the lake via scheduled hydrofoil service to Bolivia.

Arequipa Called the "White City" because of many striking colonial buildings made from pearly white volcanic sillar. Arequipa sits at the base of towering El Misti volcano's snow-capped, nearly perfect cone that reaches 19,000 ft. Highlight is the Convent of Santa Catalina, which was closed to outsiders for over 400 years. The walled convent is now open as a museum that exposes the once cloistered world.

Huaraz Eight hours by car from Lima, Huaraz is located in the mountainous heart of the Callejon de Huaylas region. Here a spectacularly beautiful valley runs between the snow-less Cordillera Negra (rising to 13,000 ft.) and the snow-covered Cordillera Blanca, whose highest peak soars to 22,205 ft. Many colorful villages dot the valley. With no less than 23 peaks visible on clear days, Huaraz is the gateway to some of Peru's most scenic and inspiring trekking. From here one may visit the Chavin de Huantar ruins, a fortress temple built around 600 B.C. One may still see marvelous carved stone heads, designs in relief on symbolic stone figures and the famed dagger-shaped monolith.

Huancayo In the Andes east of Lima, Huancayo is reached by one of South America's great train rides. Reaching an altitude of 15,800 ft., the train traverses 66 tunnels, 59 bridges, makes 22 zigzag switch backs and passes the highest standard-gauge rail station on earth at Galera! A Sunday Indian market specializes in food, fresh produce, textiles and handicrafts including carved gourds, ponchos and alpaca goods.

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