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Located on the Pacific Coast of South America, Peru is the third largest country by land mass in the continent. Its size and positioning make it one of the most diverse geographical locations in the world, with humid rainforests, sandy beaches, arid plains, and snowy mountains all being found within its borders. More than two million tourists plan a trip to Peru each year, looking to enjoy its cultural and historical elements as well as beautiful scenery, exotic wildlife, and adventure and ecotourism opportunities.
Most overseas visitors arrive at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru’s capital city. A smaller number lands at the nearby port town of Callao. Lima itself offers a wide-ranging selection of attractions and amenities, including picturesque streets and buildings – be sure to check out the San Francisco colonial complex – as well as museums and galleries.
Peru’s top attraction though is the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu, which is nestled on the crest of a mountain 80 kilometers northwest of Cusco, which is southeast of Lima. Machu Picchu makes up part of the Inca Trail, an ancient road system that exists in parts today.
Much of Peru features historic landmarks that hark back to pre-Colombian times. These include the stunning Nazca Lines, found in the Nazca Desert in the south; Chan Chan, the oldest pre-Colombian city known; and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Those planning a trip to Peru should take into account more than just the country’s historical legacy. Visitors can also enjoy Peru’s rainforest, taking a boat trip on the Amazon River. With the Andes Mountains forming a backbone to the country, skiing and snowboarding are popular, while the sandy dunes found in parts of the country are perfect for dune-boarding and off-road driving. There also happens to be 2,500 kilometers of coastline, much of which features some beautiful sandy beaches.
Other popular destinations include Lake Titicaca, which features a number of islands made of reeds, and the Colea Canyon, which is twice as big as the Grand Canyon.