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Peru is an amazing holiday destination where most visitors can find something for their interest. 84 of the world’s 117 different types of “life zones” exist while 28 climates are present from the 32 in the world's total. This diversity in climate makes it possible to visit the country all year around.
Peru is divided into 3 main vertical regions from the west to the east: coast, mountains and jungle.
The Coast: Is a narrow band of desert stretching along the Pacific Ocean with fertile valleys on the banks of the rivers that flow down from the Andes Mountain. It has a warm-temperate climate, without extreme heat or cold but with periods of high humidity and fog that can make it feel cold in winter from April to October. In the summer November to March 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 Andes: Contains various ecological regions and altitudes. The northern part is lower and more humid than the rest. In the central area you find the highest and steepest peaks while the southern part is wider, and is also known as the Altiplano, or high plateau. The Andes has two seasons: summer (April to October) with sunny days, cold nights and little rain, and winter (November to March), when it can rain heavily. During the day, temperatures can reach the mid-20s in °C and at night they can fall into the minus territory.
Jungle: It is Peru’s largest region, and consists of highland jungle (over 700 meters above sea level), which is characterized by its cloud forests, and lowland jungle (less than 700 meters above sea level). It has two distinct seasons: from November to March it rains frequently, while from April to October it is fairly dry. There is high humidity all year round.
The different seasons in different parts of the country makes it possible to escape from coastal Lima during its foggy winter to the summer climate in the mountain area traveling only few hours by bus, or people from the rainy winter of the Andes region can travel down and enjoy the sunny summer beaches of the coast.
Peru is stretching out on a large territory and distances between tourist destinations can be large. From the capital, frequent domestic flights operate to most regional centers of the country. A cheaper but time consuming alternative is taking one of the modern interprovincial buses where the view from the top floor can be a holiday highlight itself.
Luckily the road network of Peru has improved a lot in the recent years connecting the main cities with good quality roads but during the rainy season road closures occur mostly due to landslides and high river levels, at times of heavy rain. These destinations are served by companies using the latest, safest buses with seats sometimes reclining up to 180 ° to convert it to a bed. If curvy mountain routes and changing altitude do not make you sick these journeys can be a great option to observe the changing scenery from the comfort of your seat. Further away from main routes transport and tourism infrastructure can get more limited.
Weather can be a problem to reach or get out of rural destinations in the Andes accessible by dirt roads only. In the rainy season for long periods many parts of the jungle is accessible by flights only. When traveling away from the coastal area it is always good to have a plan-B in mind.
In my experience the Andes can be enjoyed even during its rainy period. Many days start sunny and rain clouds only arrive in the afternoon making half of the day still enjoyable. Though bear in mind, rain can fall heavily and you need good waterproofs if you are outdoors.
Because first time visitors to Peru mostly travel across the southern part of the country to include Machu Picchu in their trip, the northern part of the country is less discovered for foreign travelers. It hides real treasures like Cordillera Blanca (a snow capped mountain range with the highest peaks in Peru) a real mecca for climbers and high altitude trekkers from all over the world. The cloud forest in the high jungle is home to the deepest waterfalls of Peru with a special flora and fauna. You can also find countless archaeological sites in each region from Kuelap to Chan Chan and the Royal Tombs of Sipan.
Peru can hide some unexpected events to influence your holiday. Roads can be blocked by protest of locals, sever weather conditions,..or simply your vehicle might brake down. Part of the country is in seismically active area with occasional volcanic activity. But it can also hide nice surprises from finding yourself in the middle of a local festival or event to discovering unknown places during an unplanned stopover. Many times these hidden places are the best where you can observe real life of the local people.
If you are more flexible with choosing the dates for your vacation best time to travel is out of the USA/European summer holiday season (July/August) and South American summer holiday months (Christmas till February). Some places can get very crowded and prices can spike during these periods. Also international flights to Lima tend to be much higher for whole July and August.
For holiday vaccinations please consult your doctor a good time ahead of your holiday. Generally for the Coast / Andes Mountain / Highland / Cusco / Machu Picchu / Lake Titicaca area no special vaccination is needed. If visiting jungle area, prevention against malaria is recommended and yellow fever vaccination is compulsory. Please note that some people are more other less resistant against higher altitude so will need more time for acclimatization. Herbal tea (mate) from coca leaves and "soroche" pills sold in local pharmacies can help to prevent and fight altitude sickness . Please make sure that your travel insurance gives you a cover up to the highest altitude you are planning to travel through.
Lately the first direct flight started to operate by British Airways from London Gatwick Airport to Lima making it possible to make a flight from the UK without intermediate stops.
Do you need further information? Have you got any unanswered question regarding Peru? Drop me a line using the form in the "Get in Touch" section or email me to email@example.com . Thank you for visiting my website.