Peru is located in the western and central part of South America. Its territory borders Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south; covering an area of 1’285,215 km2. Additionally, the Peruvian maritime domain covers as many as 200 nautical miles in the Pacific Ocean, as well as 60 million hectares in Antarctica.
It is the third largest country in South America and one of the 20 largest countries in the world. It has sovereignty over 200 nautical miles. Being a consultative part of the Antarctic Treaty, it has a Scientific Station called Machu Picchu on this continent.
Peru is an extremely diverse country, with 11 ecological regions and 84 of the world’s 117 different types of “life zone”. It has a huge variety of scenery thanks to its geography, which also provides it with a wide range of natural resources. The country has 3 main regions according to the traditional method of dividing the country by altitude: coast, mountains and jungle.
Characterized by a narrow band of deserts and fertile valleys alongside the Pacific Ocean. The fertile valleys spring from the rivers that flow down from the Andes mountain range itself, as opposed to the lower-lying sierra, and into the sea.
The coast has a warm-temperate climate, without extreme heat or cold but with high humidity and dense fog that makes it feel extremely cold in winter. In the summer there is very little fog and temperatures reach 30°C. In the north, the coast is hot almost all year round, with a short rainy period in November and December. The central and southern coast has two distinct seasons, winter (April to October) and summer (November to March).
This is the mountainous region of Peru, where the Andes mountain range dominates the landscape and contains various ecological regions and altitudes. The northern Andes are lower and more humid than the rest, while the central Andes are the tallest and steepest, and it is here where you find the country’s highest peak, Huascarán, at 6,768 meters above sea level. The southern Andes are wider, and are also known as the altiplano, or high Andean plateau.
The sierra has two seasons: summer (April to October) with sunny days, cold nights and little rain – this is the perfect time to visit; and winter (November to March), when it rains heavily. During the day, temperatures can reach 24°C, and at night they can fall to -3°C.
Located in the east, this is a vast region of plains covered by vegetation in the Amazon River basin, which begins at the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers. It is Peru’s largest region, and consists of highland jungle, or ceja de montaña – the mountain’s eyebrows, (over 700 meters above sea level), which is characterized by its cloud forests, and lowland jungle (less than 700 meters above sea level).
Like the sierra, the jungle has two distinct seasons. From November to March it rains frequently, while from April to October it is fairly dry, making this the ideal time to visit as the rivers subside and the roads are easily accessible. There is high humidity all year round.
Occasionally, between May and August, there are “friajes” or “surazos”, cold snaps caused by winds from the extreme south of the continent, during which the temperature can fall to between 8 and 12°C.