Cultural, historic, and architectural wonders aside, Peru’s natural world is one of the most dramatic on the planet.
Consider this: the mightiest river on earth flows through the northern reaches of the country, moving some 492,126 cubic feet per second through the largest forest in the world. The Amazon and its namesake river actually cut such a huge swath through the continent that they play host to the greatest variety of fauna and flora in the world, the latter of which often holds the key to curing disease.
It’s a privilege to explore this magnificent place and a thrill to experience it all from a forest lodge that we can only access by boat. Visits to riverside villages, sightings of pink dolphins and thrilling walks on rainforest trails bring all the magnificence into sharp focus. What’s more, the birdlife here is unrivalled; all told, Peru is home to some 1,700 species in total, the most of any country, and many of them take wing in the Amazon.
To the south, Lake Titicaca serves as a natural border between Peru and Bolivia. In the shadow of the Andes – the world’s longest mountain range – this unique body of water is the highest navigable lake known to man at 3,810 metres. Like the Amazon has its tribal cultures, Titicaca has the Uru people. Some members of this ancient tribe still live on floating islands, sturdy platforms they’ve woven together from the tortora reeds that grow in the lake. Entire communities exist on these islands, which were originally constructed so that tribes could escape from invaders simply by floating away.
From the highest heights to the lowest depths, another body of water, the Colca River, has carved one of the world’s deepest canyons into the Peruvian plain. At 4,160 metres, the Colca Canyon is more than twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. But it’s not indigenous people that grab our attention here – though our spectacular drive here often passes shepherds tending to their sheep. It’s the Andean condor. These rare birds ride the thermal air that rises up from the canyon floor, and they are a breathtaking sight.
Add Ecuador to Your Peruvian Adventure
If all this natural beauty intrigues you, there’s more magnificence right next door. Gate 1 Travel makes it easy and affordable to complement your Peruvian experience by adding some excitement in Ecuador.
Quito is the highest capital city in the world. Its historic centre is one of the largest and best preserved in the Americas. As such, it was (with Krakow, Poland) one of the first Cultural Heritage Sites that UNESCO put on its list. The middle of the world – la mitad del mundo, also known as the equator – is also here. North of Quito, the Otavalo market spreads its wares. This is the largest and perhaps most charming market in South America. All manner of hats, textiles, jewellery and crafts make for a delightful browsing experience.
Prefer to combine the two countries and still have an Amazon experience? The Ecuadorian Amazon has no shortage of jaw-dropping beauty, thrilling nature walks and visits with locals. We’re also sure to visit the Ecuadorian Highlands with their thermal springs, incredible green vistas, cascading waterfalls, and charming villages.
Offshore, the Galapagos Islands beckon. This self-contained menagerie of unique creatures – blue-footed boobies, land and sea iguanas, sea lions, Galapagos tortoises, and others – served as Charles Darwin’s laboratory and inspired him to pen On the Origin of Species. No matter how you feel about his theory of evolution, these islands are every traveller’s and nature lover’s dream.
Join Gate 1 Travel in Peru!
If you thought Machu Picchu was the only reason to visit Peru, think again. From rich cultural centres and remarkable Inca sites, to breathtaking natural spectacles, there are endless wonders to explore. Best of all, Gate 1 Travel introduces you to this rewarding region in the most affordable way.