The Beauty Of A Holiday In Peru

by : Gordon Warre

Every place on the planet has something of interest, but Peru is undoubtedly a privileged country for its great natural, historical and human legacy. Here, nature lovers will feel gratified by the diversity of environments and scenery.

They will be amazed by the sharp contrast between forests and deserts on the coast; deep ravines and towering snow-capped mountains in the Andean highlands; densely forested slopes and huge plains of thick vegetation in the Amazon jungle; and they will be surprised at the wide variety of animal and plant life, unique in the world, that is characteristic to each of these regions.

Those who admire the remains of the past will find magnificent testimonies to an ancient civilization that dates back six thousand years, with an unmistakable cultural identity that created wonders such as the Royal Tombs of Sipan, the Nazca Lines, Chan Chan and Machu Picchu. And they will be able to see the best examples -in painting, sculpture and architecture- of the fusion of Hispanic and American cultures.

Adventure travelers will be able to ride tall waves and go looking for underwater life along the long stretches of natural beaches; climb high mountain ranges, explore deep caves, run the longest and biggest rivers on the continent, trek along ancient paths that wind through different eco-systems; and observe endangered species up close in natural reserves of indescribable beauty.

Because it is a racial melting pot, Peru is home to a wide variety of expressions of its peoples through their ancient, creative and colorful folk art.

Visitors can join in age-old celebrations, each music and dance retelling its own history. They are welcome to share in the customs and tasks of villagers and witness how farmers have been able to master the difficult terrain of the coast, highlands and jungle. There also will be no lack of oppoortunities for the most demanding of palates to savor the variety and quality of Peruvian cuisine, which offers the visitor the best seasoning in the Americas.

This manual presents the most important tourist offers now available, and together with the activities manual will allow you to easily design and promote programs that will give travelers the opportunity to explore, discover and sense this mysterious and dynamic country called Peru.

Peru has a population of approximately 27 million people. The coast is home to 52% of the total population, while 36% live in the highlands and 12% in the jungle. The population is predominantly mestizo or racially mixed, and most speak Spanish, although there are two important minorities: the Quechua and Aymara, and the native population of Amazonia, which is subdivided into 14 linguistic families and 42 ethnic groups.

Peru is politically divided into 25 regions (Amazonas, Ancash, Apurimac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Callao, Cusco, Huancavelica, Huanuco, Ica, Junin, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Lima-Provinces, Loreto, Madre de Dios, Moquegua, Pasco, Piura, Puno, San Martin, Tacna, Tumbes and Ucayali) as well as the capital, Metropolitan Lima, which has no regional status. Peru is a democracy whose public powers are the Executive, headed by the President of the Republic; the Legislature, which is a one-chamber congress; and the Judiciary. General elections, to elect a President of the Republic and the representatives to Congress, are held every five years.

Regional and municipal elections are held every four years, the most recent held in 2002. Currently, the Constitutional President of the Republic is Dr. Alejandro Toledo, whose mandate concludes on July 28, 2006.