Peru is a wonderful country. Anyone from an archaeologist to a zoologist will be fascinated by Perù and the discerning traveller cannot fail to be impressed by its cultural and geographical variety and the exciting travel possibilities this country has to offer.
Peru is frequently referred to as the “land of the Incas”, yet or could equally be called the “land of the Moches” (or the Chavin or the Wari). It is true that the Incas formed the mysterious cities such as Machu Picchu, the magnificent ruins of which can be visited today. Less well Known, but equally true, is that the Incas were the last in a long series of Peruvians civilizations spanning several thousand years and that the ruins of many of these earlier civilizations can also be visited.
The Peruvian Andean mountains are arguably the most beautiful and accessible on the continent and the Cordillera Blanca has become world famous among trekkers, hikers and mountaineers. There are several other ranges in Peru which are less visited but no less magnificent. Many of the precipitous glacier-clad mountains have peaks of more than 6,000 metres and the high valleys between are the haunts of a host of rarely seen animals.
But the Peruvian Andes is not just the scene of remote wilderness. It is also home to millions of highland Indians who still speak their ancient tongue of Quechua (or Aymara) and preserve much of their traditional way of life. Town and village markets are thronged with hers of produce-laden llamas lead by Indians wearing the typical ponchos which provide effective protections against the climatic extremes of this environment. The larger cities also preserve the legacy of the Spanish conquistadors, and colonial churches and mansions covered with dazzling ornamentation can also be seen
Visitors may glimpse mammals such as the inquisitive viscacha or the graceful vicuña, and birds ranging from the Andean Condor to the Andean hummingbird, soaring effortlessly in a wings spread that can exceed 3 metres and with a weight of more than 1’ kg. The Condor is the largest flying bird in the world.
The traveller could easily spend weeks or months among the Peruvian highlands and yet would only be visiting a small portion of the country. More than half of the Perú’s area lies in the verdant Amazon Basin where air or river is often the only means of transportation. Exotic plants and animals amaze and intrigue the observant visitor. The dense tropical rainforest on the eastern edges of the Andes houses the greatest variety of birds on earth. Peru although less than twice the size of Texas, is home to more than twice the number of bird species that are in the entire North American continent. It is a naturalist paradise, and because it has been so little studied, a giant natural laboratory as well.