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Map showing 15 most visited tourist destinations in Peru[1]

Tourism in Peru makes up the nation's third largest industry, behind fishing and mining.[2] Tourism is directed towards archeological monuments, ecotourism in the Peruvian Amazon, cultural tourism in colonial cities, gastronomic tourism, adventure tourism, and beach tourism. According to a Peruvian government study, the satisfaction rate for tourists after visiting Peru is 94%.[3] Tourism is the most rapidly growing industry in Peru, growing annually at a rate of 25% over the past five years.[4] Tourism is growing in Peru faster than any other country in South America.[4] The most popular countries of origin for tourists are the United States, Chile, Argentina, Peru, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Canada, and Italy.[1]

Contents

Transportation

PeruRail train en route to Lake Titicaca
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Air

Peru does not have one clear national airline,[5] but rather various different airlines offering service to Peru from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Some of the most popular airlines are LAN Perú (domestic and international), TACA Peru (international), and Star Peru (domestic). The country's airports are also served by many international airlines from other nations. The Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima is the nation's leading international airport and received 7,507,811 passengers in 2007. Domestic air travel serves as a major method for tourists to traverse the country with multiple airlines offering service between many of Peru's cities.

Highways

Additionally, Peru has land borders with five countries and has highway connections with all but Colombia. International bus routes are operated on each of these highways providing service from Peruvian cities to other South American cities. Domestically, the highway system is extensive and covers nearly the entire country excluding the department of Loreto which can only be accessed by boat or airplane. There are frequent buses traveling throughout the country. These buses range in size and comfort but usually contain cushioned reclining seats and a form of onboard entertainment such as a movie or music. Many offer bus-camas or sleeper buses with seats that recline to become beds.

Rail

Another major form of transport in Peru is rail. There are two major railway systems in Peru, one in the central part of the country and the other in the south. The central railway starts at sea level in Lima and transverses the Andes crossing through the Junin and Huancavelica departments. The southern railway is the one most commonly used by tourists as a segment of its route goes from the city of Cusco to the citadel of Machu Picchu, a major tourist attraction. This route offers seating options ranging from economy class to first class. This railway originates in the city of Mollendo in the Arequipa Department and goes through the Puno and Cusco departments, passing through the cities of Arequipa, Puno, Juliaca, the citadel of Machu Picchu, and ends at Cusco. The railway is operated by PeruRail, the largest railway manager in Peru.

River

Another important mode of transportation in Peru, particularly in the Amazonian area is river transport. River transportation companies operate routes between the cities of the Peruvian Amazon. The main hubs of this network are the cities of Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, Pucallpa, and Yurimaguas. Because of the lack of roads in this region, river transport, along with air travel, form the most important methods of transport.

Data

The tourism industry makes up 7% of the Peruvian gross domestic product and is the fastest growing industry in the country. It is regulated by the Commission for the Promotion of Peru (PromPeru) belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Tourism.

Tourism employs 10.8% of the labor force in Peru (484,000 direct and 340,000 indirect jobs) the majority of them belonging to the hotel and transportation industries.

Tourism is the third largest industry in Peru.[6]

Themes

Cultural tourism

Cultural tourism forms the largest sector of the tourism industry in Peru. Pre-Columbian civilizations — most notably the Incan Empire, Chavin, Moche, and Nasca — left a large archeological and cultural impact on the nation. The ruins of Machu Picchu are the most internationally recognized of all the ruins of Peru and therefore receive the most tourists. This is not to say that they are the only ones as there are hundreds of other ruins not popularized to the magnitude as those of Machu Picchu. The next most popular ruins are those of Chan Chan, Sipan, Kuelap, Nazca lines, Ollantaytambo, Caral, Sacsayhuamán, and Sillustani. There are hundreds of others besides these.

The other form of cultural tourism is directed toward the colonial architecture in many cities in Peru. Some of the most astounding examples of Peruvian colonial architecture are in the cities of Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco. These areas, many built over 500 years ago, demonstrate the superb architectural ingenuity of the colonists during the Viceroyalty of Peru. The city of Lima is home to many acclaimed museums holding works of art reflecting the diverse history of the country. These museums include the National Museum, National Museum of Anthropology, Archeology and History, Rafael Larco Herrera Archeological Museum, National Museum of Peruvian Culture, Museum of Italian Art, among many others.

Ecotourism

The jaguar, an animal native to the national parks of Peru

60% of the land of Peru is in the Amazon. Percentage-wise, more land area is in national parks and preserves than any other country in South America. This fact results in the Peruvian Amazon to be one of the most pristine, virgin, and untouched rainforests on the earth. This has led to the increased arrival of tourists and increased tourist infrastructure has followed. The Peruvian Amazon is divided into two areas: the High Jungle and the Lower Jungle. The High Jungle is more easily accessible while the Lower Jungle is more pristine and untouched. In recent times however, accessibility to the Lower Jungle has greatly increased and is now nearly on par with that of the High Jungle. Nonetheless both contain a diversity of animal and plant life unrivaled by any other rainforest on the face of the earth. Large tourist national preserves include the Manú National Park, Rio Abiseo National Park, and the Tambopata-Candamo Protected Area. Tourist agencies in these areas promote eco-friendly tourism so as not to damage the fragile ecosystems of the rainforest.

Adventure tourism

Because of Peru's geographical diversity, it is possible to go surfing, sand boarding, 4x4, dune buggy, alpinism, rafting, rappelling, downhill, rally, trekking, skiing, and mountain climbing. Surfing is extremely popular in Peru, and the country has been host to numerous national and international competitions in the sport.

The Inca Trail is a very popular trail going from Cusco to Machu Picchu. It can be hiked in 3-4 days.

Additionally, the country has produced many world-famous surfers, most notably the world surfing champion, Sofía Mulánovich. The Peruvian coast is known to have some of the best waves in the world.

Peru is divided into three geographical regions: the coast, the sierra, and the jungle. Each one has numerous activities suited to its particular climate and environment. The sport of skiing is developing in the city of Huaraz, and new resorts are created to suit the rising tourist demand. The sand dunes of Ica are popular for dune buggies. River rafting has become very popular among national and international tourists in recent years, and availability in Lima and Cusco is high. Rapids range in difficulty and there is rafting options from novices to experts. Trekking has become the most popular type of adventure sport among tourists in Peru. This is because of the treks offered from Cusco to Machu Picchu, as well as trails in other parts of the country such as Ancash. Mountain climbing is a popular sport among tourists in the sierra region.

For more information on adventure tourism see the Ancash section of this article below.

Gastronomic tourism

Gastronomic tourism, centered around Lima, has become one of the major tourist attractions in Peru in recent years. Peruvian cuisine is considered among the best in the world by internationally renowned food critics.[citation needed] Lima, known by many as the Gastronomic Capital of the Americas, is the melting pot of foods from worldwide cultures that have come together to form a unique blend of Peruvian food. With the arrival of European and Asian immigrants, their foods mixed and combined with Andean cuisine to produce what is now known as Peruvian food. Peruvian gastronomy holds various Guinness World Records for its diversity and quality.[citation needed] An example of a unique style of food brought by immigrants is chifa. Chifa was brought by Chinese immigrants who brought and retained their culinary customs. There are 6,000 chifas scattered all over Lima.[7]

Beach tourism

Ceviche is a very popular Peruvian seafood dish.

Peru boasts a 2,414-kilometer coastline littered with many beaches attractive to any type of traveler. Beachgoing in Peru is extremely popular among domestic and international travelers alike. Beach resorts and towns are abundant along the coast and many are in popular areas which attract visitors. Two of the most popular beach areas are Mancora and Punta Sal in the Piura and Tumbes departments respectively, and Asia in the Lima Department.

The northern beaches of Mancora and Punta Sal have a pleasant beach climate year round whereas Asia is primarily a summertime beach. Because Asia is located near the city of Lima, many beachgoers own houses in that area. In contrast, Mancora is many hours from major cities so visitors usually stay in hotels or resorts.

Beachgoing in Peru is affected by fads: Beach homeowners moved from beach to beach resulting from the oversaturation of one beach. In previous years, the beach of Ancon was the most popular of Lima; it became oversaturated and beachgoers moved south of the city to the beaches of Punta Hermosa, San Bartolo, Santa Maria and Pucusana. In the last decade, these beaches have become oversaturated as well and beachgoers have moved further south to the development of Asia, which has now become extremely popular and is the primary beach destination for Limeans.

Mancora, 17 hours north of Lima by bus and 1.5 hours by plane from Talara, is older than Asia but still a relatively new development. In recent years it has experienced a tourist boom and beachgoers flock there. Its beaches have white sand and the town has many nightclubs and bars frequented by thousands of tourists. The popularity of this beach has become so great that a movie has been made about the beach: Mancora. Punta Sal is another beach a half hour north of Mancora, less popular among young people, and the destination for older people seeking relaxation.

A beach in Mancora, Piura, Peru

Nonetheless it remains a large tourist attraction and is characterized by its white sand beaches and turquoise color waters.

Peruvian beaches are popular places for surfing and their waves are world reknown.

Luxury travel

Peru has also been experiencing a continuous growth in luxury travel. This niche of tourists seeking high-end hotels in unique destinations, travel mainly from the U.S. and Europe to visit Cusco, Urubamba, and Machu Picchu. Recently this segment has been expanding to other area such as the Puno region and Lake Titicaca, as well as Iquitos and the Colca Canyon in Arequipa, as local and international tourism firms have made large investments in hotels and tourism development.

Destinations by department

The two most frequented areas by tourists in Peru are the cities of Lima and its historic centre, and Cusco whose principal attractions are the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu, and incan and colonial architecture.

Amazonas

The region of Amazonas is a land of microclimates each containing an extensive amount of biodiversity. Additionally, the department was home to pre-Columbian civilizations that have left stunning remnants of their once great culture. The capital of the department, Chachapoyas, adds to the diversity of ecology and culture as it is home to picturesque colonial architecture. The streets of this city are narrow. It contains a main square as common throughout Peruvian cities and maintains colonial mansions and balconies which add to the flavor of the area's mixed culture.

Arguably the most impressive destination of the department is the ancient fortress of Kuélap. Often referred to as the Machu Picchu of the north, Kuleap was built by the Chachapoyas civilization, an ancient tribe of warriors who resisted the Incas imperial expansion. The Gocta Waterfall is in this department and is the third highest waterfall in the world. As it was only recently discovered in 2005, the Peruvian government is making plans to develop it for tourism.

Ancash

The region of Ancash his home to the Cordillera Blanca, the highest mountain range in Peru. The department is the epicenter of Peru's adventure tourism sector and attracts visitors seeking to participate in all sorts of activities. The department is a paradise for trekkers and hikers as there is a vast network of trails. The benefit of trekking in Ancash is that only a select few trails have been commercialized. The scenery along these pre-Columbian trails is spectacular and there are more than 12,000 lakes. Picturesque villages are scattered throughout the department and are very hospitable. The most popular treks in the department are that of the Llama trek, the Cordillera Blanca, and the Cordillera Huayhuash.

The capital city, Huaraz, has a small but reasonably developed skiing industry. Mountain biking is the fastest growing sport in the region. Mountain bikes are available to the traveler at each level of expertise. White water rafting is a significant activity in the department. Rapids range in difficulty from novice to expert. Mountain climbing is a very large industry in the area. The department has a high concentration of peaks and is not very crowded. The weather is mild year-round and is easily accessible from Huaraz. Twelve of Peru's twenty tallest mountains are located in the department ranging from 5,000 to 6,700 meters (15,000 to 22,000 feet).

To the cultural tourist Ancash also has much to offer. The Callejon de Huaylas is home to Chavin de Huantar, an ancient archeological complex built over 3,200 years ago. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Picturesque cities litter the Callejon such as that of Recuay, Carhuaz, Yungay, and Caraz. These cities retain a unique blend of European and Andean architecture. One of the principal attractions of the department is the Huascaran National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is home to Peru's highest mountain, Mt. Huascarán.

Apurímac

Apurímacis in the southern Andes of Peru and is home to many villages and towns characterized by uncommercialized natural beauty. In addition to natural beauty, the cities of Abancay and Andahuaylas are home to Spanish colonial architecture each with a main square and narrow cobblestone streets. The main tourist activities in this area are hiking and white water rafting. Since the regions are close to Cusco, many tourists make offshoot trips from Cusco to Apurímac.

Arequipa

The cathedral of Arequipa in the Historic centre of Arequipa.

The Arequipa region is one of the most geographically, culturally, and socially varied of Peru. Main attractions of the department are the city of Arequipa, the Colca Canyon, adventure tourism, and wildlife observation. The city of Arequipa, the second largest in the nation, is known as the "white city." The name comes from the colour of the city's buildings which are made of sillar that comes from the volcanoes in the area.

The city is overshadowed by the El Misti volcano which adds to the city's charm. It is the most developed city in Peru after Lima. The Historic centre of Arequipa was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations for its abundance of baroque colonial churches and mansions, and the Santa Catalina Monastery, a city within a city with cobblestone roads, plazas, and patios. Arequipan cuisine is among the best in Peru and has spread throughout the country and the globe. The Colca Canyon is 100 miles northwest of Arequipa and is double the depth of the Grand Canyon in the United States. The Cotahuasi Canyon, located nearer to the city but considered less picturesque, is the deepest in the Western Hemisphere.

Ayacucho

Cathedral of Ayacucho

The Ayacucho department is in the southern Andes and contains a number of tourist sites attracting many visitors. The capital city, also known as Ayacucho, is said to have a church on every corner. These churches were built by the Spanish in the colonial period and contain much artwork. The department is home to various Wari archeological sites. The cities and towns of Ayacucho specialize in creating and selling handicrafts. Many of the handicrafts are created in Huamanga stone which is native to the department. The Vilcashuaman archeological site is an important Incan site.

Cajamarca

Mountain climbers in Ancash

The region of Cajamarca is a melting pot of colonial architecture, historical significance, and a beautiful countryside. The city played an important part in South American history as it was an Incan stronghold that was taken by the Spanish who eventually conquered the continent and formed the Viceroyalty of Peru. From the conquest of the area, the city of Cajamarca ceased to be Incan and the Spanish imposed their magnificent colonial architecture upon the city. The city retains this architecture and it is a focal point to tourism in the region.

The area has many tourist destinations. These are Inca Baths, medicinal hot springs that were built by the Incas; the Ventanillas de Otuzco, an Incan cemetery carved into volcanic rock; Cumbemayo, a pre-Incan hydraulic engineering complex still working today; a picturesque hacienda called La Colpa; Kuntur Wasi, a commercial centre dating to 1100 B.C. containing a museum thought to have the oldest gold artifacts known to man; and a zoo. The city of Cajamarca is home to the Ransom Room, an Incan room that the Spanish ordered to be filled with gold and silver to secure the release of the Incan ruler Atahualpa. The ransom was met but the emperor was still killed.

Callao

The Constitutional Province of Callao is really a city rather than a political entity. It forms part of the Lima Metropolitan Area and is the transportation hub of the country. It is the location of the Jorge Chavez International Airport, the largest in the country. Callao is Peru's largest maritime port and was founded in 1537. During the Viceroyalty of Peru, all wealth extracted from the South American Continent had to pass through this city. This wealth is evident through the remaining colonial mansions and elaborately carved balconies which characterize the city.

The Real Felipe Fortress is an important tourist attraction which was built in 1747 to protect the city from pirates such as Sir Francis Drake. The fortress played a key role in the Peruvian War of Independence. Chucuito, a neighborhood of Callao, is known for its Gothic and neo-Renaissance houses as well as brightly colored homes. The district of La Punta was once home to the beach houses of Lima's aristocracy and contains stately homes dating back to the early 19th century. The La Punta district is characterized by an ocean boardwalk, pebble beaches, and elegant mansions. The islands of El Camotal, San Lorenzo, El Frontón, Cavinzas and Palomino are just off the coast and home to sea birds and sea lions. The island of El Fronton once housed some of Peru's most dangerous criminals.

Cusco

The citadel of Machu Picchu, Peru's largest tourist attraction.
The city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire.

Cusco is the most visited department in Peru. It is home to the city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and the citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The city of Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire and was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1983.

Incan monuments are throughout the city and are some of the most impressive in Peru. Additionally, after conquest by the Spanish, they attempted to bring their architectural and cultural influence to the city and rid of the Incan presence. Their goal was only partially successful as their architecture and culture did remain. With the occurrence of earthquakes and other natural event over the centuries, the more well-built Incan buildings also remained. This is what has given Cusco its unique blend of culture.

It is the most touristically developed area in Peru; tourism is by far the largest industry and infrastructure is extremely well developed. The city has thousands of hotel rooms ranging from hostels to five-star hotels. Gastronomy is representative of all of Peru as well as local cuisine. International cuisine is also largely present in the city's many restaurants. The city has a wide variety of languages due to the large tourist presence with many common languages spoken other than Spanish being English, German, and French. In addition to these languages, Quechua is spoken by many residents of the city along with Spanish. Most tourism agencies have offices in this city.

Major attractions include the historic downtown with colonial architecture and the main plaza, Sacsayhuamán, the palace of Inca Roca, neighborhood of San Blas, and the archeological sites of Qenko, Pukapukara, and Tambomachay. The Sacred Valley has a multitude of picturesque towns such as Písac, Maras, and Chinchero. Additionally, a variety of archeological sites such as Ollantaytambo are located in the valley. Arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Peru is located a few hours from Cusco by train: the citadel of Machu Picchu. These ruins are beyond description and are the most beautiful and important legacy of the Incan people. The site is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Machu Picchu can be accessed by the PeruRail train or a hike on the Inca Trail.

Huancavelica

The Nazca lines are a popular tourist attraction and can only be viewed from the air.

The Huancavelica department is the least developed and poorest department of Peru. Despite this, the department has a rich history and maintains evidence of it through beautiful colonial architecture and archeological monuments. This department was inhabited by the Wari and the Chancas before being conquered and incorporated into the Incan Empire. Following this, with the Spanish conquest of Peru, Huancavelica became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The Spanish established themselves in this area because of silver and mercury mines found here. They left magnificent colonial mansions and churches in the capital city, also known as Huancavelica.

Huánuco

The Huánuco region is divided into two distinct geographical regions, the sierra and the jungle. The capital city, also known as Huanuco is in the Andean sierra. It was founded in 1539 by the Spanish and ever since it has been a site of colonial architecture typical of the Peruvian Andes. On the opposite side of the department, in the jungle area, is Tingo Maria, the department's second largest city. It is home to the Tingo Maria National Park which contains a variety of flora such as orchids, cat’s claw, and dragon’s blood, as well as animals such as ‎little spotted cats, jaguars, reptiles, sachavacas, oilbirds, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, and the howler monkey. A tourist destination in this area is the Owl's Cave home to nocturnal birds and the Turkey's Cave home to abundant vegetation.

Ica

The Ica region was the location of various ancient civilizations that literally left their mark. One of the most popular attractions of this area are the Nazca lines, an enigma that modern archeologists have not been able to figure out. These lines stretch for miles in the desert and form pictures of animals and figures only viewable from the air. The Paracas National Reservation is another point on this circuit which attracts many ecological and cultural tourists alike as it is a refuge to sea lions, otters, penguins, dolphins, more than 200 species of birds from flamingos, waders, and guano birds. Additionally in the preserve, there are magnificent beaches and beautiful rock formations. Elsewhere in the department there are a variety of vineyards which produce pisco and wines. Wine tasting in this area is among the best in Peru. Another popular destination is the oasis of Huacachina which is visited by tourists on behalf of its beauty and for the fact that it was the birthplace of Afro-Peruvian music.

Junín

The ancient Chimu city of Chan Chan is located in the La Libertad

The region of Junín, just as Huánuco, is divided by the sierra and the jungle. The western side is made up of steep mountain ranges, and the east is made up of jungle vegetation. The capital city, Huancayo, is one of the largest of Peru and is in the Mantaro River valley. The area in western Junín was one of the first settled by the Spanish and preserves much of the colonial architecture from that time. Tourist attractions include the Convent of Santa Rosa of Ocopa which contains a library with over 25,000 volumes. The city of Jauja was the first capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru and still contains many of the remnants of its important colonial past. The city of

Tarma, known as the city of flowers, has a spectacular climate and a picturesque countryside. Other important attractions are the Junin National Reservation and the Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary.

La Libertad

Located in the region of La Libertad, the city of Trujillo is known as the city of eternal spring and tourists are attracted to its pre-Incan monuments such as the Huaca of the Sun and the Moon temple, El Brujo, and most notably the ancient Chimu city of Chan Chan. To the west of Trujillo is the beach resort of Huanchaco which is famous for the caballitos de totora — reed boats used by local fisherman since ancient times. Trujillan colonial architecture is some of the finest in Peru. The historic centre contains magnificent examples of colonial architecture and ambiance including various churches, the main cathedral, the main plaza, and 100-year-old colonial houses.

Lambayeque

The Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum in the city of Lambayeque
The skyline of Lima

The department of Lambayeque is one of the most touristic in the nation. It was home to the ancient civilization of the Moche who created some of the most ingenious monuments and works of art known to ancient Peru. In 1987, royal tombs of ancient Moche rulers were excavated. The artifacts found in the tomb were transferred to the Royal Tomb of Sipan Museum in the city of Lambayeque. Also there are the Brunning Museum and the Sicán Museum in Ferreñafe. These museums display the magnificent ancient artwork produced by the ancient Moche. The pyramids of Túcume are also in this area. In 2007, more than 306,000 tourists visited the museums of Lambayeque.[8] There are more than 20 adobe pyramids all of which are 40 meters (131 feet) in height and are in an abundance of vegetation and wildlife. Also in the area is the Chaparrí Ecological Reserve which has abundant biodiversity.

The department of Lambayeque boasts some of the best cuisine in Peru. The most popular dish in this area is duck with rice. The city of Chiclayo, the capital of the department, is the second largest in the Peruvian north and has a vibrant nighlife.

Lima

The department of Lima is the most populous of Peru since the city of Lima is there. The city of Lima is the transportation, cultural, economic, social, political, and touristic hub of the nation. Because Peru is a highly centralized nation, much its organization and commerce are centered on this city.

Lima was founded in 1535 by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro. What he founded is now known as the Historic Centre of Lima which contains much of Lima's colonial architecture which is known to be arguably the best in South America. During the colonial era, Lima was the centre of Spanish rule in South America and administration of the continent passed through this city. Because of this, a large colonial presence was built up until independence. After independence, cultures from all over the world began to melt together until creating what Lima is today.

An example of this union of cultures is the city's gastronomy. Lima's cuisine is a combination representing all the groups of people who are part of the city. European, Asian, and Andean cuisine was mixed together to create what is now known as Limean cuisine. The food sector is an extremely important part of Lima's tourist economy as many of South America's best restaurants and chefs are there.

Not only is the mixing of cuisines evident in Lima but the mixing of cultures is as well. Nothing exemplifies this more than the multiple museums found throughout Lima. Among these, the largest and most recognized are the National Museum, National Museum of Anthropology, Arqueology and History, Rafael Larco Herrera Archeological Museum, National Museum of Peruvian Culture, and the Museum of Italian Art. The district of Miraflores is one that is frequently appealing to tourists because of the multitude of restaurants, hotels, parks, events, and attractions in the area. The Barranco District along with the Miraflores District has a vibrant nightlife with various nightclubs and pubs. Peñas a special type of venue are popular in Barranco among tourists.

The Park of the Reserve and the Park of the Exposition are in the city and are one of Lima's main greenspaces. Lomas de Lanchay National Reserve is 105 kilometers north of Lima and is home to a variety of wildlife and vegetation. Caral, located in the middle of the desert, is the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere as it was built 5,000 years ago.

Lunahuana, to the south of Lima, is a centre of adventure tourism with white water rafting and other activities. The beach of Asia, 100 kilometers to the south, is popular among residents as a summer getaway.

Loreto

Loreto is the largest yet least-populated department in Peru. Its geography is made up of dense Amazonic vegetation characterizing the type of tourism that occurs there. Iquitos, the capital, is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon and has various tourist attractions. The city is home to European architecture brought by the rubber boom at the end of the 19th century. One of the main attractions is the Iron House, a building designed by the French architect Gustave Eiffel who designed the Eiffel Tower. The city has buildings constructed during the Art Nouveau era.

The Belen district of Iquitos is in sharp contrast to the Art Nouveau architecture of other parts of the city. Belen lies on a series of canals and is often referred to as the Venice of the Peruvian jungle. Buildings are built atop rafts and other flotation devices to protect from flooding. Loreto's rivers contain many beautiful beaches that serve as day trips from Iquitos. The region of Loreto contains numerous national parks as well as private reserves. These protected areas are home to an extreme diversity of animal and plant life unmatched in the world. These areas are served by organized guides many of which can be obtained in Lima or Iquitos.

Madre de Dios

The river banks of Lake Sandoval in Madre de Dios

The Madre de Dios department contains some of the most pristine virgin rainforest on the earth. The department is criss-crossed by rivers; boats are the primary mode of transport in the region. The capital, Puerto Maldonado, is the tourist hub of the department and is a necessary stop to gain access to the department's national parks.

The Manu National Park is the largest protected area in the department and the most diverse. It is home to 800 species of birds and 200 species of mammals. This park set the record for the greatest amount of bird sightings in one day with 324 species of birds seen.

The Tambopata-Candamo National Park is the most biodiverse area in the world with the world record for the greatest diversity among species of butterflies. Another protected area in this department is the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. One of the reasons for tourist attraction is the lack of population in the department. The Madre de Dios department is the least populated in Peru. Because of this, the rainforest has remained almost untouched. Accessibility to the department is easy as there are daily flights to Puerto Maldonado from Lima and Cusco. There is a road connecting it to the Cusco department that is being repaved as part of the Interoceanic Highway.

Moquegua

The department of Moquegua in southern Peru is an area characterized by picturesque towns whose charm is that they retain their centuries-old traditions. Moquegua is a wine growing region and wine tasting is activity which can be enjoyed by tourists. The region is also a producer of the Peruvian beverage, Pisco.

The pink dolphin is native to the rainforests of Peru

The quaint capital city, also known as Moquegua, is characterized by traditional houses with slanted roofs. The main square of the city contains a fountain designed and built by Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower. The main cathedral, known as the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, is home to the remains of Santa Fortunata, an early Christian martyr. Outside of the city, beaches along the coast have white sand and beautiful rock formations. The port of Ilo, a commercial centre, is west of the capital on the coast.

Pasco

The geography of the Pasco department is as varied as its people. The western half of the department is characterized by the Andean Mountain Range while the eastern half is made up of Amazonic tropical rainforest. In the 19th century, German and Austrian immigrants populated the area and brought their Central European architecture with them. Oxapampa and Pozuzo are picturesque towns and are beautiful examples of Austrian and German architecture. Further adding to their charm is their jungle setting. The descendants of the immigrants still live much how their ancestors lived, cultivating crops. Pasco is home to the Yanachaga–Chemillen National Park which contains 350 species of orchids, more than 520 species of birds, and nearly 125 species of mammals like the otter, the jaguar, the spectacled bear, and the dwarf brocket deer, all of which are endangered and nearing extinction.

Surfing is a popular type of adventure tourism in Peru

Piura

The department of Piura is one of the most touristical in the country. The department is characterized by the Sechura Desert in the west and the Andes in the east. The capital city, also known as Piura, was the first city founded by the Spanish in Peru. Catacaos a town 12 kilometers from the city has a beautiful main plaza and a magnificent cathedral. This town has many works of pottery and its restaurants are exquisite. The Piuran coast is home to many attractions and receives tourists from all over the world.

Mancora, in northern Piura, is one of the largest beach resorts in Peru. It is commonly visited by international tourists as well as domestic tourists. Not only are the beaches known for their quality and secludedness, their waves are a favorite among surfers. The town of Mancora is home to nightclubs and bars frequented by youth throughout the year. Cabo Blanco, south of Mancora, was once home to Ernest Hemingway. Cabo Blanco is known to have some of the best waves for surfing in all of Peru.

Puno

The department of Puno was home to the great civilization of the Tiwanaku who were once the most advanced civilization of all the Aymara people. The area was conquered by the Incas in the 15th century and by the Spanish Empire in the 16th century.

The capital city, also known as Puno, serves as magnificent evidence of the combination of cultures that have left their mark. Puno lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca and is the folklore capital of Peru. The city's beauty is characterized by its location next to Lake Titicaca and its colonial architecture. The nearby city of Juliaca is a transportation hub for the department. Nearby are the Chullpas de Sillustani a monument built by the Collas which is still perfectly preserved today. Lake Titicaca is home to the Uros, artificially made floating islands made of totora reeds. Titicaca National Reservation is refuge to many species of plants and animals, as well as breathtaking stretches of Lake Titicaca.

San Martín

The San Martin department is home to both high and low jungles. One key attraction is the Rio Abiseo National Park. This park is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations and is home to 36 archeological sites. In addition to this cultural aspect, the park contains 980 species of flora, particularly bromeliads, orchids, and ferns, 220 species of birds and over 50 species of mammals such as the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, the Andean deer, the spectacled bear, and the jaguar, all of which are endangered and nearing extinction. The department is dotted with lakes, hot springs with medicinal properties, and waterfalls. In addition to the Rio Abiseo National Park, San Martín is home to the Alto Mayo Protection Forest and the Cordillera Azul National Park both equal in excellence to Rio Abiseo.

Tacna

Monument of Alto de la Allianza in Tacna

The department of Tacna has a mild climate and a strong economy. There are many wineries in the region as well as pisco producers. The capital city, also named as Tacna, is known to be the most patriotic city of Peru.[citation needed] There are many monuments throughout the city honoring the heroes of the Peruvian War of Independence and the War of the Pacific. The city preserves much of its colonial architecture and retains colonial churches, mansions, and other buildings. The beaches of the department are equally popular among tourists and residents alike and become popular during the summer.

Tumbes

The Tumbes region is the smallest in Peru and also the northernmost. It is near the border with Ecuador. Despite its size, it is home to extremely varied terrain which attracts equally varied tourists. The coast of the department is defined by white sand beaches such as Punta Sal and Zorritos. The protected areas of Cerros de Amotape National Park, Tumbes Reserved Zone, and the Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary are all visited by tourists worldwide. The Cerros de Amotape National Park is home wildlife such as the Andean condor, the little spotted cat, the red deer, the peccary, the northern anteater, the spectacled bear, the grey deer, and the Guayaquil squirrel. The mangroves forests are home to birds such as black hawks, egrets, and other types of birds. The swamps contain American crocodile farms, a species nearing extinction. The department’s cuisine is exquisite and uses local resources such as black scallops and crabs. More than 50% of the land area of this department is in national parks.

Ucayali

The region of Ucayali is in the Peruvian Amazon. Its capital, Pucallpa, is the second largest city in the Peruvian Amazon after Iquitos. The department is home to a variety of geological monuments such as waterfalls. Tourist lodges are abundant, allowing visitors to experience the Peruvian Amazon firsthand. The large bodies of water such as the jungle rivers and lakes are perfect for aquatic sports such as water skiing, rowing, and fishing. The Ucayali river passes through the department and is the most important mode of transportation.

Tourist information and assistance

The Peruvian national tourist office, iperú, gives free and neutral information for travelers that covers destinations, attractions, street maps, recommended routes, and recommended tourism companies in Peru. It provides assistance on procedures and helps tourists who have problems (complaints, claims and suggestions for destinations and tourism companies (lodging, travel agencies, cruisers, airlines, buses, etc.).)

World Heritage Sites

The following monuments are designated as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations organization, UNESCO. These monuments receive many tourists due to their uniqueness, aesthetic attraction, and cultural significance.

The city of Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

See also

References

External links


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