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The ornate 19th century
Correo Central in Lima.
Peru Travel Fast Facts
Getting there: regular flights from major cities to Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima
What to see: Lima, Cusco, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu
Currency: Nuevo sol
Official language(s): Spanish
Evoking images of friendly locals, Incan ruins and historic treasure, with sun-drenched mountains inhabited by native llamas ... Peru along with neighbors Brazil and Chile
is the one of must-see countries in all of South America.
Located along the western Pacific coast lies the capital city of Lima, where many travelers touch down for their first look at the country.
Lima's coastal location makes it an important fishing center, so begin your journey by filling up with the city's world-famous cuisine, most noted for top-notch (and outrageously affordable) seafood restaurants.
Then, take a walk around Lima to discover historic riches from the city's importance as a center of early 16th century Spanish rule, providing visits to lovingly preserved churches and monasteries from the era.
The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
Pre-dating the Spanish invasion by centuries, Peru also boasts its importance in connection with the Incan empire. Therefore, a trip to its once-mighty capital, Cusco, remains at the top of the 'to do' list for millions of visitors a year.
Mysterious Machu Picchu, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From Cusco, grab your backpack and book a trek along the Inca Trail that crosses the Andes mountain range and sections of the Peruvian jungle and rainforest. Seeing the Inca Trail often means making reservations months in advance for the most popular eco-tours in all of Peru,
The traditional 4-day trek along the trail is an unforgettable experience that ultimately wends its way to another of Peru's more spectacular sights -- the wondrous Incan ruin Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu, only discovered in 1911, sits amid natural flora and fauna 8,000 feet above sea level shrouded in mysteries that are still being unraveled by archaeologists.
Llamas grazing at
On a more practical note, if booking popular passage by train from Cusco to Machu Picchu be sure to plan months in advance to secure tickets and, if at all possible, secure them yourself! This will avoid the quick tours to the historic site offered by travel companies that leave little time to truly experience it.
(INSIDER NOTE: avoid the crowds by planning an early morning visit or, better still, a later afternoon tour to catch a spectacular Machu Picchu sunset.)
DID YOU KNOW? Peru Travel Fun Facts
Also comes in 12-packs ...
• Don't look for Coca Cola in Peru! You won't find it. Instead, ask for Inca Kola, the most popular drink soft drink in the country which comes in convenient 12-packs along with an "Inca Zero" calorie-free version.
• One of the most popular parks in the upscale Miraflores district is Lima's cat park. The beautifully manicured urban garden has been taken over by dozens of cats that the locals play with, groom and feed daily.
• Featured on many drink menus throughout Peru is the Pisco Sour (made with Pisco brandy), Peru’s national drink invented by a bartender in Lima.
• A favorite of white water rafters, Cotahuasi Canyon in the Arequipa region is one of the world’s deepest canyons with a depth of 11,597 feet -- twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
• Peru has 1625 types of orchids. Of that number, more than a quarter can be found growing naturally near Machu Picchu.
More about Peru travel & tourism around the Web:
Peru Tourism Bureau - The official site, offering information on top attractions throughout the country including Lima, Amazon river trips, Incan ruins and more, suggested itineraries, a guide to Peruvian crafts, hotels & restaurants, event & festival calendar, photo gallery, free travel kits & brochures.
Peru Travel & Tourism - A colorful online tour told in
photos, video clips and guides to major attractions by region or area of interest, including a searchable database of top hotels,
plus weather facts, travel tips, festival calendar.
Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru - A virtual Peru travel encyclopedia
with photos & information on top destinations, museums, national parks and outdoor adventure, with links to major tour operators, hotels, restaurants, online Spanish lessons, travel planners and practical tips.
Travel Blogs - Get been-there advice from fellow travelers with pictures & first-person accounts from major travel spots around Peru.