Geography of Peru

PERU - SOUTH AMERICA

Peru is situated in the western part of South America. On the north it is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil and Bolivia, and on the south by Chile. The entire west side of Peru is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. Peru's size is 1,285,215 sq. km (496,095 sq. miles). To compare: that is roughly France, Italy and Sweden together. Or the US-states of Texas, New York, California and Maine together.

Geographic regions

Geographically the country is divided into three main parts:

  • La Costa, the long, narrow coastal region, facing the Pacific
  • La Sierra, the mountainous Andes region
  • La Selva, the rainforest region of the Amazon basin.

Geography of Peru

 

 

La Costa, the coastal area, is semi-arid to arid. It stretches the Pacific coastline from north to south. Some parts are extremely dry, and rainfall is very low in this area. However, many rivers from the Andes flow through the region towards the Pacific, thus creating fertile river valleys. The capital Lima is situated in the coastal area.

Parallel and east of La Costa is La Sierra, the central region which is part of the Cordillera de los Andes. The Andes range is a vast mountain area covering not only Peru but also parts of Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina, and even with sub-chains going as far as Colombia in the north and Tierra del Fuego in the entire south of the continent.

Peru's Andes is divided in various cordilleras, mountain ranges. The most important range is the Cordillera Occidental which, in its way, is divided into other chains with towering mountains, like the Cordillera Blanca, the Cordillera Huayhuash and the Cordillera Raura. The other main mountain chains are the Cordillera Oriental and Cordillera Central. La Sierra covers about 30% of Peru. Several of the world's highest mountains can be found here, like the Nevado Huascaran (6768 m) and the Yerupaja (6634 m). A big part of Peru's south eastern highland region, around Lake Titicaca, consists of large plains, called puna or altiplano.

Due to tectonic instability, there are some active volcanoes in the southern Peruvian Andes, like El Misti (5,822 m) near the city Arequipa. Peru is situated at the point where the Pacific tectonic plate (Nazca plate) and the South American plate collide.

East of La Sierra is La Selva, the tropical rainforest region of the Amazon basin. The densely forested eastern slopes of the Andes are considered part of La Selva as well, and are called montaña or cloudforest. In the northeast the sierra goes downwards into a vast tropical plain, dominated by the big rivers Ucayali and Marañon. The Amazon river begins at the point where these two rivers flow together.

Rivers and lakes

There are three drainage systems in Peru. The first one is formed by about 50 rivers flowing westwards from the Andes into the coastal plain and the Pacific. The second is formed by the rivers flowing mostly eastwards from the Andes or the montaña into the Amazon basin. The third drainage system is Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,812 m above sea level. Lake Titicaca drains into Lake Poopó in central Bolivia through the Desaguadero river.

The main source of the Amazon river is the Rio Marañon, which flows from Peru's central Andes northwards through La Sierra, and later eastwards into the Amazon basin. The river Ucayali flows from south to north through the montaña, and joins the Marañon in the north east of Peru, forming the actual Amazon river. The Urubamba river, a second important source of the Amazon, flows from Peru's southern Andes northwards through the montaña where it joins the Ucayali. The rivers Tigre and Pastaza rise in Ecuador and move in south eastern direction into the Marañon. The river Napo also rises in Ecuador and flows directly into the Amazon, in the north east of Peru. The river Madre de Dios rises in Peru's southern Andes and flows eastwards into Brazil, where it joins the Madeira and eventually the Amazon.


Peru Tourist Destinations

LIMA TOURS

Lima the City of the Kings , capital of Peru, founded on 1535, is a modern city which, while constantly expanding, has also managed to maintain the elegance of its Historic Center.

VISIT LIMA PERU

Lima, the capital of modern Peru, –known in colonial times as “The City of Kings”–is more than just a gateway to Peru’s fascinating Andes mountains and Amazon basin. Sitting on top of a cliff overlooking a bay on the Pacific Ocean, the buildings and skyscrapers of modern Lima mix with the colonial palaces and churches of its glorious past making for a colorful and exuberant urban environment.

Come to Peru and visit Lima!

AREQUIPA TOURS

Arequipa known as the White City, is surrounded by some of the wildest terrain in Peru. This is a land of active snowy volcanoes, high-altitude deserts, thermal hot springs, salt lakes and, last but not least, the world’s deepest canyons.

VISIT AREQUIPA PERU

The city of Arequipa is located in a fertile valley at the feet of Mt. Chachani and Mt. Misti volcanoes. Arequipa’s city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers beautiful colonial architecture, an attractive colonial style Plaza de Armas, wonderful churches and monasteries, shops, and exquisite restaurants offering the best of local cuisine –one of Peru’s finest.

Come to Peru and visit Arequipa!

ICA, NAZCA  & PARACAS TOURS

In this desert area of Peru we can find traces of the Paracas (700 - 200. BC) and Nazca (200. BC - 700 AD) cultures, Inca ruins and Spanish architecture as well as the desolate beauty of the desert running into the sea.

VISIT ICA PERU

Nazca is located in the central-southern Peru, capital of the province of Nazca, located on the right bank of Aja River, a tributary of the Rio Grande. It is located 450 km south of Lima in a narrow valley. It is a very active city, due to the daily influx of tourists visiting the ancient Nazca Lines, and mining development, agriculture and trade in the area.It is also known for producing Pisco at Hacienda Cahuachi.

Come to Peru and visit Ica!

HUARAZ TOURS

Huaraz is a popular base for expeditions into the Cordillera Blanca and the Huayhuash south of the Callejon del Huaylas. The peaks of the region have for many decades have been the testing grounds for mountain climbers.

VISIT HUARAZ PERU

Located 400 km north of Lima, Huaraz is accessible via a nicely paved highway and can be reached by public bus in a 7 hour journey. Although the city itself is not a major attraction, it offers a great starting point from which to explore the spectacular mountain ranges of the Cordillera Blanca in the Huascaran National Park –home to Peru’s highest peak, Mt. Huascaran at 6,768 m/ 22,205 ft above sea level, the largest Mountain Protected area and a UNESCO World heritage Site.

Come to Peru and visit Huaraz!

CUZCO TOURS

Cuzco is situated at 3,400 meters (11,000 feet) above sea level, surrounded by Andean mountains and green valleys. Visit Machu Picchu, by Inca Trail or by train, and enjoy the Sacred Valley.

VISIT CUZCO PERU

The ancient capital of the Inca Empire and one of 24 Departments it is the most popular destination by far, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Steeped in history and archaeological sites, surrounded by marvelous Andean mountain landscapes and with easy access to the lowland Amazon basin, it is undoubtedly a monumental gateway to many great adventures, of which the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is only the tip of the iceberg.

Come to Peru and visit Cuzco!

PUNO TOURS

The small port of Puno is departure point to make tours to Lake Titicaca’s various islands or to surrounding archaeological sites. The Puno town was founded on November 4, 1668, near the site of the colonial silver mine of Laykakota.

VISIT PUNO PERU

Is the gateway to some of southern Peru’s most awe-inspiring natural scenarios, traditional towns and fascinating local cultures. It’s most famous attraction is Lake Titicaca where one can visit the Uros on their floating reed islands, the traditional communities of the Islands of Taquileand Amantani, and the coastal community of Llachon from where you can launch unique sea kayaking adventures on the highest navigable lake in the world.

Come to Peru and visit Puno!

MACHU PICCHU TOURS

Some of the most unspoilt yet accessible jungle locales in Peru, Puerto Maldonado gives the traveler the chance to see, feel and hear the Amazonian jungle like nowhere else in Peru. Nearby are the Manú National Park, and Tambopata National Reserve.

VISIT MACHU PICCHU PERU

Machu Picchu is one of the top tourist destinations in all of South America. This stunning set of Incan ruins has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was also classified as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

Come to Peru and visit Machu Picchu!

Pto. MALDONADO TOURS

Some of the most unspoilt yet accessible jungle locales in Peru, Puerto Maldonado gives the traveler the chance to see, feel and hear the Amazonian jungle like nowhere else in Peru. Nearby are the Manú National Park, and Tambopata National Reserve.

VISIT Pto. MALDONADO PERU

Some of the most unspoilt yet accessible jungle locales in Peru, Puerto Maldonado gives the traveler the chance to see, feel and hear the Amazonian jungle like nowhere else in Peru. Nearby are the Manú National Park, and Tambopata National Reserve..

Come to Peru and visit Pto. Maldonado!

CAJAMARCA TOURS

Cajamarca is colonial metropolis cradled in a languid valley. The Plaza de Armas is bordered by majestic churches. Not many tourists pass through this way, but dozens of sights from the town’s pivotal past, including the famous Baños del Inca.

VISIT CAJAMARCA PERU

Cajamarca is colonial metropolis cradled in a languid valley. The Plaza de Armas is bordered by majestic churches. Not many tourists pass through this way, but dozens of sights from the town’s pivotal past, including the famous Baños del Inca.

Come to Peru and visit Cajamarca!

TRUJILLO TOURS

Trujillo city is proximity to important ruins of Chimu, which is the world's largest city built out of adobe Chan-chan, also known as "City of the Moon" or "of the Long Walls". Other nearby ruins are the Moche ruins of Huaca del Sol, Huaca de la Luna, and El Brujo.

VISIT TRUJILLO PERU

Trujillo city is proximity to important ruins of Chimu, which is the world's largest city built out of adobe Chan-chan, also known as "City of the Moon" or "of the Long Walls". Other nearby ruins are the Moche ruins of Huaca del Sol, Huaca de la Luna, and El Brujo.

Come to Peru and visit Trujillo!

PIURA TOURS

But the lovely narrow, cobbled streets and charismatic colonial houses of central Piura make up for the fact that there’s little else for tourists to do here. There are also great spots for surfers, like Mancora Beach and Cabo Blanco.

VISIT PIURA PERU

But the lovely narrow, cobbled streets and charismatic colonial houses of central Piura make up for the fact that there’s little else for tourists to do here. There are also great spots for surfers, like Mancora Beach and Cabo Blanco.

Come to Peru and visit Piura!

TUMBES TOURS

Tumbes is in a uniquely green part of coastal Peru, where dry deserts magically turn into mangroves and an expanse of ecological reserves stretches in all directions. It’s also the way for trips to the excellent and popular beaches of Máncora.

VISIT TUMBES PERU

Tumbes is in a uniquely green part of coastal Peru, where dry deserts magically turn into mangroves and an expanse of ecological reserves stretches in all directions. It’s also the way for trips to the excellent and popular beaches of Máncora..

Come to Peru and visit Tumbes!

IQUITOS TOURS

Iquitos is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road. It has a unique personality: friendly, noisy, sassy and slightly manic. Travelers come here for an excursion into the rainforest or a river trip along the Amazon.

VISIT IQUITOS PERU

Iquitos is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road. It has a unique personality: friendly, noisy, sassy and slightly manic. Travelers come here for an excursion into the rainforest or a river trip along the Amazon.

Come to Peru and visit Iquitos!

CHACHAPOYAS TOURS

This pleasant colonial settlement is now a busy market town and makes an excellent base for exploring the awesome ancient ruins left behind by the fierce civilization of the Chachapoyas (‘People of the Clouds’). "Kuelap" the ruined city in the mountains.

VISIT CHACHAPOYAS PERU

This pleasant colonial settlement is now a busy market town and makes an excellent base for exploring the awesome ancient ruins left behind by the fierce civilization of the Chachapoyas (‘People of the Clouds’). "Kuelap" the ruined city in the mountains.

Come to Peru and visit Chachapoyas!

TARAPOTO TOURS

Tarapoto, known as the "City of Palms", was founded in 1782 under the name of Santa Cruz Motilones de Tarapoto. Capital of the province of San Martín and is located in the high rainforest zone, on shore of Shilcayo river, amid dense vegetation.

VISIT TARAPOTO PERU

Tarapoto, known as the "City of Palms", was founded in 1782 under the name of Santa Cruz Motilones de Tarapoto. Capital of the province of San Martín and is located in the high rainforest zone, on shore of Shilcayo river, amid dense vegetation.

Come to Peru and visit Tarapoto!

AYACUCHO TOURS

Ayacucho is very well known for its artisans that have inherited from their ancestors all they know. This city counts with many churches and temples. During the Holy Week the city is crowded with many Christians from all the country.

VISIT AYACUCHO PERU

Ayacucho is very well known for its artisans that have inherited from their ancestors all they know. This city counts with many churches and temples. During the Holy Week the city is crowded with many Christians from all the country.

Come to Peru and visit Ayacucho!

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