Peru is the third largest country in South America (after Brazil and Argentina) covering an area of 1,285,215 sq km. It has a population of almost 28 million, the majority of whom are of indigenous descent (this is only the case in Peru and Bolivia). There are three official languages: Spanish (spoken throughout the country), Quechua (spoken in the Andean regions) and Aymara (spoken around Lake Titicaca).
Once the heartland of the great Inca empire, Peru has it all: numerous archaeological sites dotted around the desert coastline and in the highlands (including the world-famous Machu Picchu and the equally impressive lesser known ruins of Kuelap); amazing and varied flora and fauna (including hummingbirds, Andean condors, seals, macaws, jaguars and monkeys, as well as the best preserved stretch of Amazonian rainforest and the impressive Puya Raimondi); the world’s highest tropical mountain (Mount Huascaran, 6768m); some of the best trekking in the world’s second-greatest mountain range – the Andes; impressive colonial architecture (in Cusco and Trujillo, for example); the oldest civilisation of the Americas – Caral; a diverse and welcoming population; and the continent’s best food (including the mouth-watering ceviche).
Such variety undoubtedly makes Peru the most exciting country of all the South American nations. It is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world and can be divided in three major regions: the desert coastline, the Andes and the tropical rainforest, all offering unrivalled opportunities to experience an unusually wide range of fascinating ancient cultures, spectacular scenery, and incredible wildlife.
Our varied trips, ranging from adventure to cultural discovery and wildlife watching, are designed so that you have the chance to make the most of the wonders Peru has to offer.
If you want to discover the fascinating world of the Incas, then have a look at our INCA TRAIL trek.
The Incas were once one of the world’s largest empires. They developed an extensive network of roads known as ‘Capac Nan’, or ‘Royal Road’, covering an incredible 30,000km and connecting all four regions of the empire from Quito in Ecuador, past Santiago in Chile and La Paz in Bolivia to Tucuman in Argentina. These tightly packed stone paths were wide enough for either two or three people, or a llama train, and some scaled heights of more than 5000m. Incas running along the paths as imperial messengers were able to cover more than 400km a day!
The renowned Inca Trail, linking the Inca city of Machu Picchu with the Sacred Valley is just one among a multitude of paths across the Andes. But it is one of the best preserved of these roads and it is also the world’s most famous trek.
The Inca Trail is set in the National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, an area of more than 32,000 hectares established by the Peruvian government to protect the fantastic range of ecological zones from 6271m Andean glacial peaks down to Amazon cloud forest at less than 2000m at the foot of Machu Picchu. The different eco-systems harbour an impressive variety of flora and fauna, including 370 species of birds (such as humming birds, cocks-of-the rock and Andean condors), 47 species of mammals (such as spectacled bears and pumas), 700 butterfly species and 300 different species of orchids.
The 43km-long Inca Trail crosses over three high Andean passes – including the 4198m ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ – and offers splendid views of snowy mountain peaks, distant rivers and ranges, cloud forests, and numerous cliff-hugging Inca ruins, tunnels, stairs and the paved stone paths which are a marvel in their own right.