Overland Journeys: Along the Andes, Gringo Trail

Peru continues to be one of the most popular travel destinations in South America and indeed the world. Few places combine a fascinating historical and cultural legacy so dramatically with a spectacular and beautiful natural landscape. This is best seen of course at Machu Picchu, one of the seven New Wonders of the World and one of the great destinations in world travel, located in a stunning mountain setting and reached by a four day trek through the Andes. Machu Picchu is one of many pre-Hispanic sites, from the Inca and other civilisations, which are located throughout Peru that you could spend weeks exploring. Peru's colonial heritage is equally strong, with beautiful and well preserved historic areas of Lima, Cuzco and Arequipa. As well as the dramatic landscapes of the Andes, Peru has many other natural attractions including the Amazon rainforest in the east of the country, the spectacular Colca Canyon (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon) and the beautiful Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake and home to many indigenous groups. It's little wonder that Peru's popularity shows no sign of diminishing. Explore in depth highlights of Peru.

Travel Information for Peru
Time zone:GMT -5 (Peru standard time) Daylight savings:    None
Main languages:Quechua, Spanish Other languages:    Aymara
Currency: nuevo sol (PEN)

1 = S/.3.87, $1 = S/.3.47, £1 = S/.4.62

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.peInternational Dialling Code:    51

For help planning your trip to Peru including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Peru trip planning page.

Further information on Peru

Discover more about Peru - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of peru

Total area: 1,285,220 sq km (5,220 sq km under water)

Coastline: 2,414 km (Pacific Ocean)

Neighbours (border lengths): Bolivia (1,075km), Brazil (2,995km), Chile (171km), Colombia (1,800km), Ecuador (1,420km)

Climate: Tropical climate in the east, hot and humid with heavy rainfall and rainy season between November and April. Dry and mild desert in the western coast and Lima. In the Andes, the climate varies from temperate to arctic depending on elevation. November to April are the wettest months around Cusco, with the Inca Trail closed in February.

Highest mountain: Nevado Huascaran (6,768m)

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Peru from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldFree -
Democracy IndexFlawed democracy 63/167
Economic FreedomModerately Free 47/179
Press FreedomNoticeable problems 90/179
ILGA LGBT rightsLimited rights -
Corruption PerceptionsMedium corruption 85/174
Overall Ranking:    68/195

Other Data & Links

Full name: Republic of Peru     Status: Independent Country

Population: 30,147,935 (rank: 42/196)     Density: 23.4 people/sq km (rank: 154/196)

Ethnic groups: Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%

Religions: Roman Catholic 81.3%, Evangelical 12.5%, other 3.3%, unspecified or none 2.9% (2007 Census)

GDP (PPP): $344 billion       GDP per capita: $11,100 (rank: 88/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.