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About Peru: Maps, Facts and More

Study up on the map of Peru, flag and interesting Peru facts before you go.

Peru Inca heritage: past meets present

In the 15th century, the Inca state conquered and assimilated several other cultures to become the most powerful empire in the New World, stretching from what is now southern Colombia down through Peru to central Chile at its peak. Although they didn't have the wheel or iron tools, the Incas were expert stonemasons and their work including the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman still puzzle modern archaeologists. But the Inca emperors ruled for only about a century before the violent arrival of Pizarro and other Spanish conquistadors.

It's the multiple layers of great civilisations, literally built upon the ruins of the last, which makes Peru so fascinating. Today you can wander through colonial cities such as the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco, where you can see architecturally as well as culturally, how the Spanish conquistadors built on top of old Inca foundations. For example, a colonial church sits on the walls of the Inca temple Koricancha (Temple of the Sun). Luckily, the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu was spared any remodelling due its remote location high in the mountains and remains a dramatically powerful glimpse of this ancient civilisation.

A land rich not only in history but natural beauty

All of this exists in a country with some of the most spectacular and varied scenery in South America. The Peruvian Andes are arguably the most beautiful on the continent and the mountains are home to millions of highland Indians who still speak the ancient tongue of Quechua and maintain a traditional way of life. The verdant Amazon Basin, which occupies half of Peru, is one of the world's top ten biodiversity 'hot spots' - a species-rich area of tropical rain forest that will make your head spin when you start to learn about its ecology. And the coastal deserts, with their huge rolling dunes, farmland oases and fishing villages offer the opportunity to get off the beaten trail in a big way. But you don't have to be a zoologist, an anthropologist or a mountain climber to enjoy Peru, all you need is a keen eye, a love of landscape and an interest in history.

Peruvian food

The main staples of traditional Peruvian food are rice, potatoes, chicken, pork, lamb and aji (Peruvian hot pepper). Peruvian food also features all kinds of seafood, especially fish. The Spanish introduced chicken, pork and lamb to Peru 500 years ago and took potatoes, which have been grown in the Peruvian Andes for centuries, back to Europe. Today over 200 varieties of potatoes are grown in Peru, ranging in size and even color.

Interesting Peru facts and stats

Full country name: Republic of Peru
Area: 1,285,215 sq km (501,234 sq mi)
Population: 30,000,000
Capital city: Lima (pop. 7,600,000)
People: 54% Indian, 32% Mestizo (mixed European and Indian descent), 12% Spanish descent, 2% Black, Asian minority
Language: Spanish, Quechua (Inca language), Aymara
Religion: Over 90% Roman Catholic, small Protestant population

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Take a look at our adventure tours in Peru:

 

 

 

 

 

Trip Reviews

  •   4.50 out of 5 (from 1973 reviews)

    Awesome Jaguar

    This trip was flat-out amazing! Peru is incredibly beautiful and its climate diverse, and we saw so much and we did so much. Our traveling companions were terrific and we laughed a lot. Our guides were so capable and so knowledgeable that we felt immersed in the culture. We could really feel the magic of the Incas and the reverence for Pacha Mama which continues to this day.
    Jackie Olson Review Image
    – Minnesota, United States
    Jaguar 2017, February 2017
  •   4.55 out of 5 (from 1341 reviews)

    Fantastic Adventure!

    This trip was wonderful on so many levels. It was a perfect experience for our family of three college "kids", my husband and me. We traveled with two other families- a total of eight kids and six adults, a good group size. There was lots to see and do and we appreciated the opportunity to be active! Seeing the wildlife and learning about the Galapagos Islands was fantastic!! Zambo, our naturalist was terrific and related well to children and the adults. One of the unexpected pleasures my husband and I experienced was hearing our children utilize their seven years of middle and high school Spanish as they communicated with locals. Also, needless to say, they were pleased that the drinking age on the Islands is 18. We all enjoyed having a beer at the end of each wonderful day. The December weather was lovely. Comfortably warm and the water was beautiful!! We took full advantage of any extra snorkeling and swimming opportunities.

    Our family had an extra day in Quito. We took the opportunity to hire a guide to take us around the city. What a great opportunity it was to learn about so many aspects of Ecuador's capital city. The Equator Museum was great and we enjoyed walking around the Plaza and seeing a couple of churches. Walking to the edge of the Pululhua crater was awesome! Lenin was a terrific guide!
    Katherine Babbott Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Tortuga, January 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 938 reviews)

    Patagonia at its Best

    This was a fantastic trip which was well planned with quality places to stay, eat, and view the wonders of Patagonia. The guides were all excellent and knowledgeable making the trip super informative. Other activities such as kayaking, glacier hike, and mountain biking added to the exploration of a very unique and diverse environment. The transportation from locations was very comfortable. The Patagonia of Chile and Argentina was stunning and the organization by Active Adventures created the perfect experience.
    Donna Small Review Image
    – Oregon, United States
    Condor, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 938 reviews)

    Awesome

    Just returned from two weeks travelling with Active Adventures in Patagonia and it could not have been better. The scenery was spectacular, the days and evenings varied and interesting and we ate and were treated like royalty. Everything was first class on our trip including our tour leader Arturo Rojas who was professional and just awesome in every way. We had a group of 15 trekkers and we very quickly became fast friends. I'm sure there are many companies out there but from my experience I don't think you can go wrong with Active Adventures. I'm already looking forward to my next trip with them.
    Bill Murphy Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Condor, January 2017
  •   4.23 out of 5 (from 275 reviews)

    Ecuador - August, 2017

    This trip was even more incredible than we thought it was going to be! We met such wonderful people while enjoying phenomenal scenery. We experienced something new each day and will treasure our unforgettable memories of Ecuador!
    Stephanie Smith Review Image
    – Minnesota, United States
    Tapir, September 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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