Perú is located in the western coast of South America. Its territory borders Ecuador and Colombia to the north; Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. The South Pacific Ocean lies to the west.
It covers an area of 496,224 square miles. Additionally, the Peruvian maritime domain covers as many as 200 nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean.
Perú is a diverse country, with 11 ecological regions and 84 of the world's 117 different types of "life zone". It also homes a huge variety of landscapes thanks to its climate and geography, which also provides it with a wide range of natural resources. The country has 3 main regions according to its altitude: coast, highlands, and jungle.
Perú is considered the third largest country in South America and one of the 20 largest countries in the world. Its extensive territory occupies an area of 1.285.215 km² and it is divided into 24 departments and a Constitutional Province (Callao).
These departments are also divided into smaller provinces and districts, each with its own regional government, municipality and authority. The 24 departments in Perú are:
Lima (city population 8.574.974 inhabitants) is the chief commercial, industrial, administrative, educational and cultural centre. Cusco (428.450 inhabitants aprox.) has become Perú's prime tourist destination, with at least 80% of all foreign tourists heading there during their stay, regarding figures from the Base de Datos Turísticos del Perú (BADATUR).
In terms of population, Puno only just sneaks onto the list of Perú's 20 biggest cities (128.637 inhabitants). Nevertheless, Puno has attributes that keep the tourists coming, such as: its annual festivities drawing big crowds from across Perú and beyond and Lake Titicaca, a mystical, romantic and altogether stunning body of water between Perú and Bolivia.
Arequipa has turned Perú's second largest city (784.651 inhabitants). The city itself is brimming with colonial, republican and religious architecture, and the Colca Canyon, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, turned one of Perú's most visited attractions.
The small port town of Paracas is big on tourism thanks to the nearby Paracas National Reserve and Islas Ballestas. As well as being a paradise for nature lovers, Paracas has also turned itself into a major beach resort, with Paracas Bay now home to a range of luxurious hotels.
Trujillo (760.436 inhabitants) is the third largest city in Perú and certainly a prime destination for anyone heading north of Lima.
Due to its geographical location in the hemisphere, Perú is considered a tropical country. Consequently, its climate is temperate on the coast, yet humid in the Amazon, colder temperatures in higher altitudes.
Some Andean ranges mountains are covered by snow all year long. Therefore, as you travel through the territory you can notice a variety of climates as the altitude increases, from the warm temperatures to coldest ones.
In the northern part of the country, the warm El Niño current increases the sea temperature and influences the warm and rainy climate of the Peruvian northern coast. On the other side, the cold Humboldt current increases the coldness of the sea that generates an arid climate of the central-southern coast.
For up-to-date weather information, consult the Peruvian Meteorological Service.
Perú uses International Standard Time (UTC-05:00) and it does not change its time zone between the winter and the summer period.
Lima is the capital city of the Republic of Perú and the largest city of the country, and its population is around 8.574.974 inhabitants.
Nowadays, Lima is considered the political, cultural, financial and commercial centre of the country. At an international level, it is the third most inhabited metropolitan area in Latin America, it occupies the fifth place among the most populated cities in Latin America and it is one of the thirty most populated in the world.
The city homes amazing beaches, vast deserts, valleys and green hills, inaccessible mountain ranges, emerald lakes and peaks that struggle to stay snowy white. Although locals tend to envy the mountains and the blue and cotton-coloured sky, the fog that dyes of sadness all winter days has the important function of giving life to a varied flora and fauna located in the nearby coastal hills, such as Lúcumo and Lachay.
In the nearby La Viuda and Pariacaca mountain ranges, which rise to the east of the department and mark the border with Pasco, Junín and Huánuco, the rivers that irrigate the lower fields of the coast are born. In there, the industrial crops such as asparagus, marigold and paprika are developed, as well as various fruit trees.
Lima's coast also stands out for its wetlands, such as the Medio Mundo, Villa, Puerto Viejo, Chilca and Cerro Azul, which are an important refuge for several species of birds. The main coastal features are the bay of Callao and the island of San Lorenzo, the largest in Perú.
Lima is not just the name of the capital of Perú, yet the capital district where the historical city centre is located, it is also called Lima. The region around it is called Lima, as well as the name of the Province, located in the Department of Lima.
Today, the Metropolitan area of Lima is divided into 43 districts (districtos). Thirty of these districts belong geographically to the city of Lima and each has its own flair, charm and character. Nevertheless, the other thirteen districts are surrounding the core of the urban area and are located outside of Lima, in rural zones. Additionally the province of Callao counts with 6 districts that officially belong to the Lima Metropolitan area.
Due to its geographical characteristics, the climate in Lima is very pleasant and humid, with very little changes, so any time of year is the perfect time to visit the city. However, to enjoy Lima at its best it is better to visit it during summer time, since the cloudiness decreases considerably and allows, among other things, visitors to enjoy the sea.
The temperature also varies according to the time of year. There are a couple of seasons especially remarkable: summer and a winter, which even though it does not bring snow, temperatures drop more than usual, especially at night.
Whether summer or winter, it is always important to use sunscreen to care for the skin.
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