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Peru is at the heart of South America. The center of the once-mighty Inca Empire, this post-colonial country stretches from the Amazon jungle over snowy Andean peaks and across the bone-dry Atacama Desert to the Pacific Ocean. Explore the baroque capital city of Lima, where Spanish bullrings and cathedrals coexist with prehistoric pyramids. In this vivacious place the arts, music, and cuisine scenes are also thriving. During summer, clubbers and surfers throng the beaches strung along the country's coast. Head to the highlands of Peru for colorful highland festivals and handicrafts. Whatever you do, don't miss walking the narrow cobblestone ...

Peru is at the heart of South America. The center of the once-mighty Inca Empire, this post-colonial country stretches from the Amazon jungle over snowy Andean peaks and across the bone-dry Atacama Desert to the Pacific Ocean. Explore the baroque capital city of Lima, where Spanish bullrings and cathedrals coexist with prehistoric pyramids. In this vivacious place the arts, music, and cuisine scenes are also thriving. During summer, clubbers and surfers throng the beaches strung along the country's coast. Head to the highlands of Peru for colorful highland festivals and handicrafts. Whatever you do, don't miss walking the narrow cobblestone alleyways of the high-altitude Andean city of Cuzco. It's also the jumping-off point for visiting the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Elsewhere, planes, boats, and buses escort journeys to tribal villages and wildlife preserves along the mighty Amazon River.

Sara Benson
About the Expert

Sara Benson was the coordinating author for Lonely Planet's Peru and wrote the Peru chapter for South America on a Shoestring.

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Sara Benson for Triporati

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