Peru, the largest in area in the Andean countries, was the cradle of the most advanced indigenous civilizations and most powerful empire in pre-Columbian South America-that of the Incas. Peru was also the focus of Spanish colonial domination for its first two hundred years of rule. What remained of pre-Columbian America with regard to people, culture, and settlements is perhaps better represented in Peru than in any other country. The country has a 2,400 kilometer (1,500 miles) long coast on the Pacific Ocean and borders Colombia and Ecuador in the north, Brazil and Bolivia on the east, and Chile on the south. It is the only country that borders all the other Andean states.
Three main natural regions are distinguishable: the coastal zone (Costa); the hoghlands (Andes or Sierra); and the eastern hills and lowlands (Selva).
The coastal zone
The Costa is an arid, mistly hilly region between the Pacific shore, much of which is bordered by high cliffs, and the Andes farther east. In the north, it is characterized by a low, extremly faulted plateau, a substantial part of which is an almost flat, arable land where water for irrigation is available. Because of the nature of the terrain and its aridity, settlement is almost enterely confined to river valleys and small sections of the coast, mostly near the mouths of rivers.
A narrow coastal mountain range rises steeply just behind the Pacific shore in the southern part of the Peruavian coastal zone. It is composed mainly of a very rugged surface, much of which is covered by bare hard rocks with deeply incised narrow gorges. Troughlike basins running parallel to this range separate it from the Andes. These flat-bottomed basins are covered with a thick mantle of sediment in which rivers have cut deep valleys. Agricultural settlements that irrigate and cultivate small areas of these valleys are actually oases in this desertlike environment. Unlike other parts of the coastal belt, most of the population in the south resides along its eastern margins, away from the coast and close to the foot of the Andes.
PERU ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. You may enter Peru for short-term tourist- or business-related visits of up to 90 days; however, the actual period authorized is determined by the Peruvian immigration officer at the time of entry into Peru. After admission, travelers may apply to extend their visa for an additional three months. Persons who remain beyond their period of authorized stay without obtaining a visa extension or a residence visa will have to pay a fine to depart Peru. Visitors for other than tourist or short-term business visit purposes must obtain a Peruvian visa in advance. Business workers (under contract) should ascertain the tax and exit regulations that apply to the specific visa they are granted. Peru does not require any immunizations for entry, although it recommends vaccination against Yellow Fever.
An international flight airport fee, payable in U.S. or local currency and assessed on a per-person basis, must be paid when departing Peru. There are also separate airport taxes for domestic flights charged at most domestic airports that must be paid before embarking. For further information regarding entry requirements: http://www.peruvianembassy.us.