Peru Overview

Peru is the third largest country in South America. Peru is a land of enormous contrasts in landscape and climate. The country lies in western South America along the Pacific Ocean. The long, narrow coast consists of a desert even drier than the Sahara. Most of Peru’s large cities lie in this region, including Lima the capital and largest city. The towering, snow-capped Andes Mountains rise east of the coast and extend north and south down the entire length of the country. This region is famous for its grass-covered plateaus, crystal-clear air, and sparkling sunshine. Thick rain forests and jungles cover most of the hot, humid region east of the Andes.

The modern gateway to the Inca Empire is less majestic than you might expect, but a visit to some of Lima’s museums will add another dimension to Peru’s extensive ruins.

The world-renowned Inca Trail leads to the most impressive site in South America, Machu Picchu, passing through high cloud forests and over hair-raising mountain passes. Village life in the Andes is very traditional, as you’ll experience when trekking through the beautiful mountains around Huaráz.


Peru lies entirely within the tropics. But the Peru Current, an unusually cold ocean current, makes the coast cooler than is normal for a tropical region. Coastal temperatures average 73 °F (23 °C) from November through April and 61 °F (16 °C) from May through October. Because of the high altitudes, temperatures in the highlands range even lower than coastal temperatures. At the highest elevations, the temperature never rises above freezing. Most of the selva has high temperatures throughout the year. In many places, the temperature averages nearly 80 °F (27 °C).


POPULATION: 29.1 million
LANGUAGE: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
ELECTRIC CURRENT: 240V, 60Hz. To power any electrical item an international adapter or a three pin plug is required.


Street demonstrations and protests are commonplace in Peru, frequently occurring suddenly and sometimes turning violent. You should take care to avoid any area in which large crowds are gathering. You should seek advice before travelling by road between Cusco and Puno.

There is also a risk of “express kidnappings.” You should exercise general caution when travelling around Peru.

Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK