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Geography of Peru

General Information

Peru is the 3rd largest country in South America. Peru is on the shores of the Pacific Ocean with a coastline of 2400 kilometers (1491 miles). It borders to Colombia and Ecuador in the north, with Brazil in the East and with Bolivia and Chile in the south.

Peru is divided in 3 different regions:

  • Costa

The costa mostly exists of the desert-like area between the steep coast of the pacific and the high Andes. It is one of the driest places on earth with on some places just two times rain per year.

  • Sierra

The sierra exists of the Andes, the Cordillera Occidental and the Cordillera Oriental. It is about a third of the country. In the north these chains are close to each other, but in the south they are very wide with the altiplanos (high plains) with the Lake Titicaca at a height of more than 3800 meters. In the Cordillera Occidental the mountains go up to almost 7000 meters and also in the andes the mountains go above 6000 meters.

The Andes were once at sea level which is proved by fossils and shells that are found in these mountains. The tectonic activity is still going on and keeps raising the Andes to a higher altitude. Because of this reason there is still a lot of volcanic activity and earthquakes happen also from time to while near Arequipa. Norhtwest of this city is the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest ravines in the world with a depth of 3182 meters.

  • Selva

The Selva is the part of Peru at the east of the Andes. The Selva has to be divided in two parts: the high Selva, on the steps of the Andes and the low Selva, which are the lowlands of the Amazonia. This tropical lowland is more than half of Peru.

Rivers and lakes

The source of the mighty Amazonia River is in Peru, but there is some discussion about the exact source. The total length of the river is 6400 km. Through the Selva lowland of Peru more than 500 rivers meander ending up in the Amazonia river. Important large source branches that start in the high Andes are the rios Marañón, Huallaga, Ucayali,

  • Apurímac and Urubamba

The Río Ramís is the most important source of the Lake Titicaca at 3812 meters high. 4996 km2 of 8300 in total belongs to Peru. More info about Lake Titicaca:

    • Length: 175 km
    • Width: appr. 50 km
    • Average depth: 100 m
    • Largest depth: 283 m
    • Amount of islands in the lake: appr. 30

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