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.
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)
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
Take a look at our adventure tours in Peru:
Jaguar Ultimate Peru Adventure
10 Days |
Experience the very best of Peru in ten days on a multi-activity adventure you'll never forget. Hike in the footsteps of the Incas, cycle through Andean villages and explore the Amazon jungle.
Alpaca Peru Lodge to Lodge Trek
10 Days |
Immerse yourself in Peru's cultural richness, explore the Pisac Ruins, Rainbow Mountain and take a comfortable alternative route to Machu Picchu, via the Classic Inca Trail.
Chinchilla Titicaca and Bolivia Adventure
10 Days |
There's so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu - the Chinchilla is our multi-activity, cultural immersion of Peru and its beautiful neighbour - Bolivia.
Capybara Peru Family Adventure
11 Days |
Adult: US$4299 , Child (15 & under): US$3799 |
Don’t let people tell you Peru isn’t suitable for families! Venture into the Amazon to view an array of wildlife and soak up the Inca history as you explore Peru with your family.
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.