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Peru Travel guide

The floating islands of Urus on Lake Titicaca Cuzco, Machu Picchu Colonial architecture in Trujillo
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Peru : Michelin's recommendations

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Peru, the third largest country in South America (two and a half times France), is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the south by Bolivia and Chile , and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.
By the time the Spanish reached Peru in 1532 the Incas controlled an empire stretching from Colombia to Chile and Argentina whose fame had given rise to the myth of Eldorado.
Lima, the capital of Peru surrounded by the Pacific, the mouth of the Río Rímac and the Cerro San Cristobal, was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro. Today, this former "city of kings" contains one third of the country's population.
Peruvians tend to make allowances for the tourists' little shortcomings, given their long experience with the Anglo-Saxons' excessive sanitary precautions and inability to speak the slightest word of Spanish, the Spaniards' haughtiness and the impatience of the French. Peruvians are quite attached to certain basic forms of courtesy, such as not using the familiar "tu" with an adult right away, except in the case of children; and in a hotel, restaurant or café, you should use señor, señora, or señorita rather than "hey!" when calling a server.
To dispel one preconceived notion, traditional Peruvian cuisine, or comida
criolla, is not as spicy as Mexican or Caribbean cooking. Its subtlety is indeed unrivalled in Latin America, blending the best of the sea, the earth (potatoes, corn and grains) and the many varieties of fruit brought in from the Amazon region.

Peru - See all cities and regions

Peru : Must-see towns and regions

  • Lima

    Almost one-third of Peru's population lives in Lima, the Peruvian capital that stretches between the Andes cordillera and the Pacific coast. Founded by the Spanish in the 16C, the city has a number of...

  • Cuzco

    Although Cuzco is mainly renowned as the ideal departure point for a trip to the Machu Picchu and the Inca valley, the town is also known for its distinctive architecture. Built on the foundations of ...

  • Trujillo

    The third largest town of Peru, Trujillo is also one of the most welcoming of the northern coast. Famous for its graceful wrought-iron windows, carved wooden balconies and brightly coloured façades, t...

  • Cajamarca

    Although Cajamarca was named by the Indians that occupied the region for several millennia (4CBC – 15C), the town is above all renowned for having been where the Spanish assassinated Atahualpa, the la...

  • Iquitos

    Iquitos, erected on the shore of the famous Amazon River, cannot fail but appeal. From the vestiges of wealthy mansions, built near the Plaza de Armas at the time of the rubber explosion at the end of...

  • Ollantaytambo

    At Ollantaytambo, an entire Inca village has been astonishingly well preserved. The paved lanes and all the lower parts of the houses, grouped together in canchas, are original, the waste water system...

  • Arequipa

    Arequipa, birthplace of Mario Vargas Llosa, is more than worthy of a visit. A listed UNESCO site, the town is strewn with Baroque and crossbred architectural edifices, such as the immense Santa Catali...

  • Ayacucho

    Famous for its lively Holy Week, Ayacucho is home to many magnificent colonial buildings and it is a pleasure to explore its beautiful churches, convents and homes around the Plaza de Armas. The town ...

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