THE COAST (15%) – Population (60%): Composed of beaches and cliffs, this narrow stretch of desert (just 70 miles / 180 kilometers at its widest point) is bathed by the Pacific Ocean throughout its 1 900 mile / 3 080 kilometer length. The desert is broken by 50 fertile agricultural river valleys. Peru’s major cities are situated in coastal river valleys.
Climate: Temperatures range between 14°C / 57°F and 22°C / 71°F, except in summer (December to March), when daytime temperatures can rise to 28°C / 82°F. Light drizzle may occasionally fall on the coast.
Clothing: Light clothing is recommended for the summer months (December to March), and warmer clothing for the winter months (June to September).
THE HIGHLANDS (25%) – Population (25%): This region is dominated by the Andes Mountains, which run through Peru along a north-south axis. Its rugged topography is characterized by deep, fertile valleys, extensive high Andean plains, large navigable lakes and 12 000 smaller lakes. Although the average altitude varies from between 9 840 and 13 120 feet / 3 000 and 4 000 meters the Peruvian Andes are crowned by dozens of peaks more than 19 680 feet / 6 000 meters high.
Climate: Temperatures vary between 3°C / 37°F at night and 18°C / 64°F during the day. Seasonal rains fall from December to March. To avoid altitude sickness, travelers should drink plenty of fluids during the first few days (coca leaf tea is recommended), and eat lightly.
Clothing: Days are usually warm, although it will feel colder in the shade. Nighttime temperatures range from cool to cold (from June to September). Travelers should pack jackets, sweaters and long pants. Those planning to travel between December and March will need windbreakers and waterproof jackets. Don’t forget to pack sunglasses, a hat and sun cream. The sun is very strong in the Andes.
THE JUNGLE (60%) – Population (15%): This is a land of tropical forests, many of them pristine, and winding rivers that flow from their headwaters in the eastern Andes into the forests, where they join the Amazon, the world’s mightiest river, on its course towards the Atlantic Ocean. In the jungle region rivers are often the only way to travel from one remote settlement to another.
Climate: Hot and humid, with average temperatures of 28°C / 82°F and a rainy season from December to March.
Clothing: Travelers are advised to carry a rain jacket at any time of year. Clothing should be very light. Long pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts are essential for protection against insects. Warmer clothing is required at night. Travelers should also use a hat, sunglasses and sun cream, as well as insect repellent.
Peru grows a wide range of agricultural products. It has the world’s greatest varieties of potato, corn, chili and Andean grains. Peru has contributed to the world both the potato and corn, two of the most important crops that now feed people all over the world. For its part, fishing is one of the country’s leading industries, with the oceans off Peru’s coast home to the world’s highest number of marine species. Globally, the fishmeal industry is concentrated in ten countries, of which Peru is the leader, responsible for 30% of all production. The Peruvian economy in general is dominated by small and medium-sized businesses. In the fishing (including fishmeal producers) and mining sectors, large scale modern operations have developed. In the mining industry, Peru is an important silver producer. As well as being the world’s second largest producer of copper, it is also the leading producer in Latin America of zinc, tin and lead.