Affordable Travel Guide to Peru

Moving Forward, Looking Back

Peru

Peru’s history is fairly divided in half: ancient and post-Spanish invasion. As such, its distant past is preserved in native locales like Mach Picchu, and its more modern olden days in cities like Lima. This collision of cultures and times only serves to make Peru, South America a fascinating place to visit.

Lima is a surprisingly modern city, caught in the strong thrust of making a better future for Peru (the result being one of the world’s fastest growing economies), and yet there remain many vestiges of Spanish Colonial influence in art and buildings. A walk through older sections of the city will reveal the past through a sequential tale of architecture, particularly in the churches. The Spaniards, devout Catholics, brought a Baroque slant to the religious art; it is part of what makes for a culturally rich city.

There are just over 30 million residents of Peru, most of which live in Lima, on the west coast (Pacific Ocean) and in the “selva” or jungle region to the east. Because of Peru’s location in the northwestern area of South America, its jutting into the Pacific, and its inland regions bordering on the Brazilian Amazonian rainforest, the climate varies wildly. On the “costa” or coastal area, the climate to the north is just south of the equator, and borders on tropical, but as you travel down the coast to Lima (which is roughly half way) and beyond, the climate shifts to become more temperate and arid. And in the “sierra” or Andres Mountains region, it can be outright cold, especially in the southern part of Peru.

Peru’s situation at the western edge of the Amazon basin ensures it role in the preservation of the rainforest, and helps to boost its economy, which is based on agriculture and fishing, plus mining, textiles and tourism. It gained independence in 1821, and while Peru has struggled to establish itself as a going concern by modern world standards, its efforts are beginning to pay off.

No trip to Peru is truly complete without a tour to Machu Picchu, but, unfortunately, too many wishful tourists think they can rent a car and drive up the mountain, and boom, they arrive in Machu Picchu, take a photo, and drive back down to their luxury hotel. It’s not like that. While there is a train, it grinds slowly upward, and while there are lodges nearby, this trip is mostly done in a four-day hike while camping. For more about Machu Picchu, see the other articles on our website that look at hiking there, and the history of the site.

If you want something different, try Peru. The cultural mix has resulted in a varied and delicious cuisine, plus art and architecture that is high-impact and thought-provoking. If you’re fit enough and ready for a Latin-style luxury, too, then our advice is to fly to Lima, book a room in one of the top hotels (JW Marriott Hotel Lima is a 5-star property!) such as www.hilton/com/lima, and take a week of your stay to venture to Machu Picchu. Anyone who has ever made this journey has left changed. It’s the perfect balance of pampering and adventure, all in one place: Peru.

Explore Peru

Inca Trail Tours

Inca Trail Tours

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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

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