DIVERSITY Peru is one of the most diverse and fascinating countries on the planet. Of the 117 life zones on earth, 84 can be found here. Because of this, Peru’s flora and fauna is some of the most rare and unusual on earth. Scientists are only beginning to grasp just how many species exist and how many are still likely to be discovered. Large areas of rainforest and mountains remain unexplored. It was only in the past few decades that research began on the canopy tops, the upper levels of the rainforest, which have opened up a whole new world of plant and wildlife.
HISTORY In regards to history, there is more here than anywhere else in the Americas. Most have heard of the Incas and Machu Picchu, but there were many large civilizations here long before the Incas: the Chavín, Chimu, Moche, Wari, Nazca and Paracas. Each group left their mark on the country in some way and their achievements, artifacts, and architecture are more impressive in many aspects than of the Incas.
ADVENTURE The adventure possibilities here are endless. Each region offers an array of unique activities. On the desert coast try surfing, paragliding, fishing, and even sand-boarding. In the mountainous Andes, you can hike, climb, raft, bungee jump, fish, or ride horses. In the Amazon rainforest, there is fishing, wildlife spotting, camping, hiking, and more. There’s also Wine and Pisco (a type of grape brandy that is Peru’s national spirit) tasting, taking part in Andean festivals, dancing the marinera, touring ancient ruins, and sampling the finest cuisine on the continent.
A DESTINATION ON THE RISE Frightened by years of terrorism and economic upheaval, tourists and foreign investment kept clear. Now, with terrorism long gone, the tourist infrastructure is growing and the economy is booming. World class new hotels and restaurants are popping up everywhere, with clever new styles and international flair. New tours are being developed to what were once little-known natural and archeological sights. Roads are being built or improved and flights within the country are increasing. Each year the number of tourists grows. The circuit that was once limited to a few spots such as the capital of Lima, the Inca heartland surrounding Cuzco, the white city of Arequipa, the mysterious desert in Nazca, indigenous cultures on Lake Titicaca, and the Peruvian Amazon’s largest city of Iquitos is expanding far beyond the traditional gringo trail. Now visitors are hiking in the cordillera near Huaraz, relaxing on the beaches of Mancora, exploring the desert and wildlife rich islands near Paracas, staying in ecolodges near Puerto Maldonado, snapping photos of remote archeological sites like Kuelap near Chachapoyas, and tasting cheese in the highland city of Cajamarca or Austro-German villages of Pozuzo and Oxapampa. It is becoming, if it isn’t already, one of the world’s most sought after destinations.