Geographical position: situated on the west/Pacific coast of South America, between longitude 81º 19` 35" and 68º 30´ 11" west; and between latitude 0º 01´48" and 18º 21´05" south. The whole territory lies in the tropical zone south of the Equator, which passes through Ecuador, and north of the Tropic of Capricorn, which passes through Chile.
Land area: 1,285,216 km² [6th largest in all America, 3rd largest in Latin America, 19th in the world, 9 x size of UK, smaller than Alaska].
Frontiers: to the north with Ecuador (1,529 km: 3 sections in dispute) and with Colombia (1,506 km); to the south with Chile (169 km); to the east with Brazil (2,822 km) and with Bolivia (1,047 km); to the west the Pacific coast (3,080 km).
Terrain: the Andean Cordillera runs from north to south, forming three principal natural regions: La Costa - the coastal region (a narrow coastal desert ribbon where 52.1% of the population live); La Sierra-huge Andean mountains and narrow valleys (36.9%); La Selva-the jungle area forming part of the great territory of the Amazon region (11%).
Eco diversity: In Peru there exist 84 of the 115 world's ecological zones and it ranks among the first in the world in biodiversity. It is the 1st in birds, with 1,701 species, 2nd in primates with 34 species, 3rd in mammals with 361, 5th in reptiles with 297 and 5th in amphibians with 251. The Manu National Park and the Tambopata-Candamo National Reserve on the southern Amazon, are a paradise of megadiversity. In just one tree "shihuahuaco" (Asterix) of Madre de Dios, entomologists found 5,000 specimens of insects, 80% of them new to science. A first Peruvian genetic catalogue of 3,000 plants has classified 90 of ornamental value, 100 useful for making tools, 110 for dyes and tints, 35 for drinks, 36 for essential oils and waxes, 334 toxics for use as organic insecticides, 401 timber yielding, 524 edibles and 213 for medicinal use. See also flora and fauna.
Elevation extremes: 0 m at Pacific Ocean to 6,768 m at the peak of Huascaran. Lima is 153m above sea level.
Climate: varies from tropical in the east to dry desert in the west and it depends, too, on altitude. Coast: (la costa) equable temperatures, normal annual average about 20ºC (about 68ºF), moderated by winds blowing from the cool offshore Peru or Humboldt Current. Rainfall- less than 51mm (2") of rain each year. Mist-laden clouds known as la garua cover much of western slopes of the Sierra (and Lima) from June to October. Mountains: (la sierra): temperature ranges seasonally from about -7 to 21ºC. Rainfall is usually scanty especially on western slopes, but in some localities heavy rains fall, mostly from October to April. Jungle: (la selva) extremely hot and humid. Annual rainfall in some districts averages as much as 3810mm (150"), principally falling from November to April.
Population: 29.4million (2010 UN estimate).
Gender balance: 50.4% women; 49.6% men.
Life expectancy: 72 years - men, 77 years - women (2010 UN estimate).
Urban/rural divide: 72.3% live in urban areas; 27.7% live in rural areas; 7,497 million (29.2%) live in Lima & Callao; 22.2% live in other main cities; 20.9% in smaller towns.
Local / regional Government: divided into 24 Departments and one Constitutional Province (El Callao). Each department is divided into provinces: there is a total of 180 provinces (including El Callao); these in turn are divided into districts (totalling 1,747). One of these districts is Puente Piedra, where our refuge is situated.
Head of State: President Ollanta Humala.
Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Currency: Nuevos soles. [S/1 New sol= 100 centavos]. For precise daily currency rates use currency converter.
National Holiday: 28 July celebrating independence from Spain in 1821.
International time zone for Peru: GMT-5
International dialling code: 00 51