Travel in Latin America
Peru is a country in South America, situated on the western side of that continent, facing the South Pacific Ocean and straddling part of the Andes mountain range that runs the length of South America. Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. Peru is a country that has a diversity and wealth little common in the world. The main attractions are their archaeological patrimony (pre-Columbian cultures), their gastronomy (the fifth most important one of the world), their colonial architecture (has imposing colonial constructions) and their natural resources (a paradise for the ecological tourism).
Peru had a rich cultural life thousands of years before Pizarro turned up in funny clothing. Wander around colonial cities that echo the legacy of Spanish conquistadors, explore the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco, visit the lost city of Machu Picchu and ponder the enigma of the Nazca Lines.
Peru also boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in South America. The beautiful Peruvian Andes issue a siren's call to top-class trekkers. These mountains are also home to squillions of indigenous highlanders, who still speak the ancient tongue of Quechua and live a traditional way of life.
Peru's climate can be divided into two seasons - wet and dry - though this can vary depending on the region. Temperature is mostly influenced by elevation: the higher you climb, the cooler it becomes.
Peru's peak tourist season is from June to August, which is the dry season in the Andean highlands. It's also the best time to go if you're interested in hiking or mountain climbing. While travelers visit the highlands year-round, the wettest months, December to March, make trekking a muddy proposition. Many of the major fiestas occur around this time and continue undiminished in spite of heavy rain.
On the coast, Peruvians visit the beach during the sunny, humid months from late December through March. The rest of the year, the coast is clothed in mist. In the eastern rain forests, it naturally rains a lot. The wettest months are December to May, but travelers visit year-round; it rarely rains for more than a few hours at a time and there's plenty of sunshine to enjoy.
All are set in stunning landscapes, whether parched desert costa (coast), soaring sierra (mountains) or remote selva (rainforest) overflowing with wildlife. Such a diverse landscape generates diverse pleasures; the visitor can hike through snowy peaks one day, and relax on the beach the next; paddle a dugout through lowland rainforest or hop on a traditional reed boat on some of the world's highest lakes.
On the way to the low jungle in the Amazon Basin, some tourists will find that the high jungle plateau is a good place for them. Especially since it can tend to have a slightly lower humidity level than the low jungle areas. Tarapoto is the most important city in the area, and it is the trade center for the District of San Martin. Tourists aren't croweded into Tarapoto and surrounding cities as might be found in some other locales in Peru, but they are generally treated very well by the locals who welcome their business.
For meat eaters Peruvian cuisine is among the most varied in the world. Not only does the country grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, but it does so throughout the year. Peruvian geography offers at least 8 different climates (desert along the coast, steep and high mountains, the Amazon basin). In Lima, due to its history as an important Spanish colonial port, the dishes are a mixture of amerindian, spaniard, african, asian and even italian influences that contribute to the ever changing platos creolos (creole dishes). Rice is the staple foodstuff, and expect many dishes to include rice, in the Siera it's corn and potatoes, and in the Jungle yuca. Meat is traditionally included in most Peruvian dishes. Chicken (pollo), pork, sheep and beef are common. Alpacas are actually kept for wool, not for meat. Mostly, you will find that alpaca meat is rather tough. An Andean delicacy is guinea pig (cuy).
Peruvian cuisine includes dishes which use various organs, including anticuchos, a kebab made from a very marinated and spicy cow's heart, and cau-cau (sounds like cow-cow), made from the stomach of the cow served in a yellow sauce with potatoes. Anticuchos are a standard street stall food, be careful with it.
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