The great chain of the Andes runs through Peru, more or less parallel to the Pacific coast and divides Peru into three broad sections. The largest cities, including the capital of Lima, are concentrated on a narrow coastal plain. Inland, the Andes rise to well over 6000 metres in a number of ranges, or cordillera, of which the most well known from a mountaineering standpoint is the Cordillera Blanca. Huascaran (6768m / 22,199ft) is the high point of this range. East of the Andes, the lowland forest and jungle of the Amazon Basin stretches for over a thousand miles into Brazil. Amongst its high Andean valleys, Peru has a selection of the world's finest trekking itineraries including the Huayhuash Circuit and the Inca Trail. The focus of the latter is, of course, the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Built around 1460 and believed to have been lost for centuries, Machu Picchu is arguably South America's outstanding man-made highlight. Certainly, most visitors to Peru will include it in their travel plans. With its Inca and Spanish colonial history and spectacular variety of environment, Peru is popular with mountain biking and family groups, too.

Geography

Peru has a great variety of geography and landform and a climate to match. The great chain of the Andes runs through the country, more or less parallel to the Pacific coastline and divides Peru into three broad sections. The coastal plain is relatively narrow (between 30 and 60 miles wide) and consists mainly of dry desert, which is only farmed where irrigation is possible. The largest cities and much of Peru’s industry is concentrated on this coastal strip. The Andes, which rise to well over 6000 metres / 19000 feet, are divided into a number of ranges, or cordillera, of which the most continuous and most well known from a mountaineering standpoint is the Cordillera Blanca. Huascaran is the high point of this range, at 6768 meters / 22199 feet. In the high valleys of the Cordillera Blanca, the neighboring Cordillera Huayhuash and in the Cordillera Vilcabamba which lies to the south, the Indian descendants of the Incas continue to farm the land as they have done for centuries, growing crops such as corn and potatoes and herding cattle. On the east side of the Andes is the lowland forest and jungle of the Amazon Basin, which stretches for over a thousand miles into Brazil.

Time Zone

The time in Peru is GMT - 5 hours.