The country of Peru offers a wealth of attractions for tourists. Whether itís adventure, culture, history, nature, or a combination of them, Peru affords its visitors plenty to choose from. The capital city, Lima is well worth any touristís time to see. Itís location on the northwest side of the countryís Pacific coast, boasts of long stretches of beaches, ranging from the serene and secluded to the crowded and lively. No other city presents Peruís diversity of attractions to a greater degree than Lima. It features churches, homes and other architectural structures from the colonial period, a beautiful skyline configured of modern skyscrapers, a rich array of parks and gardens and a thriving cultural arts community. The dynamic blend of old and new gives the city a uniquely charming feel, complemented by the multi-ethnic influences seen in the cuisine and cultural goods.

In what is the most popular tourist destination in Peru, the Machu Picchu Ruins, visitors can get an up-close experience of the ancient Incan civilization. Lying well-preserved high in the Andean mountains, the ruins can be reached by way of the Incan Trail, a pathway that was constructed by the Incans hundreds of years ago. Trekkers can select from several different courses, distinguished according to level of difficulty. The trail winds through the vibrantly green Andean Mountainís high valleys and hills, where small villages, cloud covered forests and various Incan remnants mark the way. Trains and buses also provide access to the vicinity of the ruins.

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For the true adventurer at heart, the Peruvian Amazon rainforest offers up a nice opportunity to rough it. Second only to the Brazilian Amazon in terms of area, the Peruvian jungle covers half of the country. The cities that surround the rainforest are relatively devoid of those modern conveniences that have come to characterize modern society. Some highly isolated tribes still survive deep in the jungles. Though it is everyday being threatened by industrialization, much of the rainforest continues to accommodate a rich storage of biodiversity. The city of Iquitos, located on the Amazon River, is a good place to begin tours of the rainforest. The open air market there is particularly worth seeing. It has a large area devoted to natural medicines taken from the rainforest.

Trujillo, the third largest city in Peru, behind Lima and Arequipa, is largely known for its popular beaches, colonial architecture and seafood. The nightlife is also noted for being particularly exciting. Just on the outskirts of the city, the famous Huanchaco Beach is a surfing haven and also accommodates a thriving fishing community where visitors can see the unique boats that the fisherman still use from pre-Incan times. Chan Chan, also lying just outside of Trujillo, hosts the largest sample of Pre-Columbian ruins in South America. Designed completely out of adobe in 850 A.D. and covering 20km2, the site is still wonderfully intact. Temples, homes, tombs and religious structures, all adorned with carvings in relief, make up the site.

The city of Huaraz is a first-rate place for enjoying the outdoors. Situated at the base of the Cordillera Blanca Mountains, the city provides inspiring views of over 20 snow-capped mountain ranges, including the highest mountain in Peru, Huascaran. Everything from mountain biking, mountain climbing, skiing and rafting are available through different tour packages. The city itself, while great for its views and outdoor activities is aesthetically bland after having suffered a devastating earthquake in 1970. However, a growing number of restaurants and hotels are beginning to add some color to the city.

General advice to travellers

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