Peru is known for many things, for example, the food and that Peru has won best international food destination for the past 5 years. Also for the Incas and the other many ancient cultures that have resided in the country over the centuries. The country is also known for the spectacular Andes Mountain that run the entire length of the country from the north in Piura to the South in Puno.
So where is Peru? Peru is located on the west side of South America between Ecuador in the north and Bolivia in the South. The Pacific Ocean is in west and to the east, you will find Brazil. The place everybody knows about Peru is that Machu Picchu is located in the highlands of Peru and everyone that visits Peru travels to Machu Picchu.
Some of the things that you might know about Peru and some interesting facts to learn are the following.
- Although Spanish is spoken by over 80% of the population there are two other official languages, Quechua and Aymara, mostly spoken in the south of the country. Once you head into the jungle regions of Peru there are another 13 languages spoken.
- Potatoes originated in Peru and there are over 3000 varieties grown in Peru. In the country regions of Peru, you will find 55 varieties of corn.
- Two thirds of Peru is covered by Amazon rainforest, the Pacific Coast is a surfer’s paradise. Peru is also home to the world’s largest sand dune at 3860 feet and is located near Nazca.
- Without a doubt, Machu Picchu is the most popular tourist destinations in Peru. In the Quechua language, which is one of the ancient languages of Peru, Machu Picchu means Old Peak or Old Mountain, Huayna Picchu that is the peak in front of Machu Picchu mean Young Mountain or Peak.
- The Incas were some of the best masons in the world, the structures they built without technology need to be seen to be believed, they used a technique called ashlar, and this means that the stones were cut to fit together without mortar.
- Unfortunately, most of the Inca temples were lost when the Spanish conquered Peru, but Machu Picchu survived as it was hidden for centuries by lush jungle. This makes Machu Picchu the best example of Inca architecture we are able to visit today.
- Machu Picchu is made up of 150 buildings featuring baths, houses, temples and sanctuaries. The compound contains more than 100 separate flights of stairs most made from a single piece of stone.
- Machu Picchu was thought to be an astronomical observatory and the sacred Intihuatana stone indicates this. Twice a year, the sun sits directly over the stone creating a shadow.
- The location of Machu Picchu is located on the eastern Andes Mountains in a tropical mountain forest; the site is 7970 feet above sea level and looks like it has been cut into the side of the mountain.
- The Incas arrived at Machu Picchu by a great network of roads and pathways. Today you can use some of these to visit other sites in the area like Winay Wayna.
- Thought to be the first white man to see Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham discovered the site in 1911, the Yale professor was looking for another famous site, when a local boy lead him to the site. Some believe that he was not the first but a German businessman discovered Machu Picchu in 1874, it is thought that the German took many artifacts from the site, but this has never been proven.
- There are many theories as to why the Inca abandoned Machu Picchu, like that there was no water and that it had to be carried from the river below, or there was an outbreak of disease but as there were nearly no corpses found at the site this seems unlikely. We may never know why it was deserted so it remains a mystery.
- What is the best time to visit Peru, there is not a best time to travel to the Andean country. The highlands of Peru have two seasons, wet and dry. Most people prefer the dry season but the wet has some advantages.
- Over recent years, Peru has become one of the top destinations for food. Thousands of people every year for the food experience. In the large cities like Lima and Cusco, you will find many great restaurants to tantalize the taste buds.
On a Peru tourist map you will find all the places you will want to visit in Peru. Take the time to study the marvelous destinations you will not want to miss out on something important. When to travel to Peru is a great question, depends on your vacation time, the weather that you prefer and many other factors. However, do not miss out on your Peruvian holiday.