Peru is a large, mountainous country on the Pacific coast of South America. Just a few destinations have as much to offer visitors as Peru, an astonishingly varied country. Here you'll find panoramic mountain ranges, vast deserts, beautiful beaches and tropical jungle, not to mention fantastically rich history, archaeology, wildlife and enduring indigenous cultures.
There are three natural zones. The Costa region, which contains Lima (the capital), is a narrow coastal plain consisting of large tracts of desert broken by fertile valleys. The cotton, sugar and rice plantations and most of the so-far exploited oil fields lie in this area. The Sierra contains the Andes, with peaks over 6,000m (20,000ft), most of the country’s mineral resources (silver, zinc, lead, copper and gold) and the greater part of its livestock. The Selva, an area of fertile, subtropical land, lies between the Andes and the border with Brazil. The Amazonian jungle has vast natural resources. The absence of land communications, however, left the area largely uncharted until full-scale oil exploration began in 1973. The population is largely Indian and Mestizo with a noticeable influence from African, Chinese and European (mainly Spanish) settlers.