Peru is often called “The land of the Incas”. This name is derived from the famous nation which was destroyed during an invasion of the Europeans. It is interesting to think, where this nation, that was able to build monumental structures, read from the stars and manage a huge imperium a couple of hundred years ago, would be today. If you visit the biggest tourist attractions such as the unforgettable Machu Picchu, mysterious Lake Titicaca, figures in the Nazca Desert, or the famous city of Cusco, this unforgettable event will touch your soul.
It is even possible to go deeper into Peru. You can leave the popular tourist routes and find many places where tribes live without an intervention of the civilization, a place where you would be alone, just silence, and snowy peaks of hills which are six thousand feet high. If you like adventure you can get to the heart of the wild rainforest by a canoe carved from a single piece of wood.
This all is Peru, as well as thousands of species of animals that live there, from hummingbirds to huge Andean condors and llamas, lively festivals and celebrations and colorful markets where you can buy anything you can think of. On the top of that local people are ussually dressed in beautiful folk costumes. You should also visit colonial buildings and churches which were built by Spanish conquistadors. Peru boasts not only by countless Inca constructions but also by modern shopping malls. The western part of Peru is surrounded by Pacific Ocean. English is generally spoken in the capital city and larger tourist destinations, but in other parts of the country basic knowledge of Spanish is welcomed and sometimes even necessary.
The climate of the Pacific coast is cool and dry because of the Humboldt Current. The northern coast is much warmer as the cold stream diverges to the west here. The climate of the Andes (the longest continental mountain range in the world) is alpine and differs according to the altitude. In the Amazonian lowlands of the northeastern part of the country the climate is hot during the whole year. In the City of Lima located near the Pacific coast the average temperature in January is 23° C and the average temperature in July is 16° C.
When to go
The best time to visit Peru depends primarily on which climate region you want to visit (The coast – Costa, Ands – Cordillera, or Amazon), and also whether you are preparing for trekking or just a relaxing tour. Either way, the best time to visit Peru is the second half of May.
Machu Picchu has become the most famous monument in South America and remains shrouded in mystery. The starting point for a visit of Machu Picchu is a town called Aguas Calientes. Machu Picchu is named after the mountain, which is located near the town. In Quechua (Indian language) Machu Picchu means “Old Hill”. City on the hill was built by the Incas approximately during the period from 1460 to 1470. It is located 2430 meters above the sea level. Even today, the reason why this city was build on a such remote and hardly accessible place remains unknown. The most logical explanation seems to be that the Incas wanted to be as close to the Sun, which they worshiped as their God.
Cusco, one of the most important Peruvian cities, is located in the southern region of the Andes. Before the discovery of America, Cusco was the center of the great Inca Empire. Today the city is one of the most interesting tourist destinations in Peru. In 1983, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In Cusco there you can find remains of the former Inca fortress Sacsayhuamán. Its purpose was to guard the city, and in the 16th century it became the base of the uprising against the Spanish conquerors.
Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake on Earth. People living around the mystical lake still worship the ancient cults, their ancestors. They are also famous for building reed boats. The spiritual center is the “Island of the Sun” – Isla del Sol, the mythical birthplace of the first Incas. According to legends somewhere on the bottom of the lake there is a great gold treasure, which the Incas allegedly hid during the Spanish occupation.