The 24 Peru Regions, explained [with free map!]

There are three Peru Regions: Coastal (Costa), Highlands (Sierra), and the Jungle (Selva). In this travel guide, we will bring you a detailed travel guide for all the 24 departments in the regions of Peru.

Hola! If you’re planning a trip to Peru, it is easier to do it by region. Each Peru regions has its own unique and exciting travel destinations which makes all of them worth exploring!

First, get to know the three main Peru Regions: The Coastal Region, The Highlands, and the Jungle Region.

The Costa is the coastal region of Peru, stretching over 2,414 kilometers along the Pacific Ocean. This region is characterized by its narrow plains, desert landscapes, and fertile valleys that have been the cradle of ancient civilizations, including the Moche and Nazca cultures.

The Highlands, or Sierra, is the region that encompasses the Andean mountains and highlands of Peru. This region is known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich biodiversity, and deep cultural heritage rooted in the Inca civilization and other pre-Columbian cultures.

The Selva, or Jungle Region, covers the vast Amazon rainforest in eastern Peru, representing over half of the country’s territory.

This biodiverse region is split into two main parts: the High Jungle (Selva Alta) or cloud forest, which includes the eastern slopes of the Andes, and the Low Jungle (Selva Baja), which comprises the vast, flat rainforest of the Amazon Basin.

Peru Regions Map

Peru is politically organized into departments, which are the primary first-level administrative divisions within the country. There are 24 departments in Peru.

Each department is further subdivided into provinces, which are then divided into districts. Here are the 24 departments of Peru including things to do, best time to visit, cuisine, and more!

1. Amazonas Region

Amazonas is a captivating region located in the northern part of Peru, renowned for its lush rainforests, towering mountains, and ancient ruins.

It is known for the Kuelap Fortress, an archaeological site often referred to as the “Machu Picchu of the north,” and its vast biodiversity that includes countless species of flora and fauna unique to the Amazon Basin.

When exploring Peru regions like Amazonas, travelers can immerse themselves in an adventure through the Gocta Waterfall, one of the world’s tallest free-leaping waterfalls.

You can also hike to the fortress of Kuelap to explore the ancient ruins of the Chachapoyas culture and visit the Caverns of Quiocta to marvel at the impressive formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

Amazonas cuisine reflects the diversity of its natural environment, with dishes often featuring fresh fish, tropical fruits, and ingredients found in the Amazon. Juane, a rice dish wrapped in banana leaves, and Tacacho, a mashed plantain ball, are must-try local specialties.

The best time to visit the Amazonas Region of Peru is during the dry season, from May to September, when the weather is more favorable for hiking and exploring the region’s natural and archaeological sites.

REGIONS OF PERU

Amazonas

  • Area Size: 39,249 km²
  • Capital: Chachapoyas
  • Population: About 379,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, indigenous languages
  • Top Cities To Visit: Chachapoyas, Bagua, Mendoza
  • Airport: Chachapoyas Airport (CHH)

2. Ancash Region

Ancash is a region in Peru known for its breathtaking natural landscapes, including the Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain range in the world, and Huascarán National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The region offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and ancient history, with the pre-Inca ruins of Chavín de Huántar serving as a testament to its rich cultural heritage.

Visitors to Peru regions like Ancash can embark on treks through the Cordillera Blanca, including the famous Santa Cruz Trek, ski or snowboard in the Andes, and explore the ancient ruins of Chavín de Huántar to gain insight into the country’s pre-Inca civilization.

Ancash cuisine is known for its hearty dishes, such as Pachamanca, a traditional Andean meal cooked underground with hot stones, and Cuy (guinea pig), a regional delicacy.

The best time to visit Ancash for trekking and outdoor activities is from May to September, during the dry season when the weather is clear and the mountain views are most spectacular.

REGIONS OF PERU

Ancash

  • Area Size: 35,914 km²
  • Capital: Huaraz
  • Population: About 1,083,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Huaraz, Chimbote, Caraz
  • Airport: Comandante FAP Germán Arias Graziani Airport (ATA)

3. Apurimac Region

Apurimac, situated in the southern Andes of Peru, is celebrated for its deep canyons, including the Apurimac Canyon, and its vibrant indigenous culture.

The region is a hidden gem, offering visitors the chance to experience traditional Andean life and breathtaking landscapes away from the crowds.

In Peru regions like Apurimac, tourists can trek through the Apurimac Canyon, explore the Saywite archeological site with its mysterious monoliths, and visit the Ampay National Sanctuary, home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Apurimac’s cuisine is characterized by its simplicity and the use of local ingredients, with dishes such as Chupe de Olluco (a tuber soup) and Kapchi (a bean and cheese stew), highlighting the region’s agricultural products.

The best time to visit Apurimac is from April to October, during the dry season, when the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities and exploring its natural beauty.

REGIONS OF PERU

Apurimac

  • Area Size: 20,895 km²
  • Capital: Abancay
  • Population: About 405,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Abancay, Andahuaylas, Chincheros
  • Airport: Andahuaylas Airport (ANS)

4. Arequipa Region

Arequipa, known as the “White City” for its stunning colonial buildings made of sillar, a white volcanic stone, is a region that blends natural beauty with architectural elegance.

It is home to the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world, and the Misti Volcano, offering outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike a wealth of exploration opportunities.

Peru regions like Arequipa are perfect for visiting the Colca Canyon to witness the flight of the Andean condors, exploring the historic city center of Arequipa, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and hiking up the Misti Volcano for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Arequipa’s cuisine is among the most varied in Peru, with dishes such as Rocoto Relleno (stuffed spicy peppers) and Chupe de Camarones (shrimp soup) showcasing the region’s culinary diversity.

The best time to visit Arequipa is from May to September, when the weather is sunny and dry, ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

REGIONS OF PERU

Arequipa

  • Area Size: 63,345 km²
  • Capital: Arequipa
  • Population: About 1,382,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Arequipa, Camaná, Mollendo
  • Airport: Rodríguez Ballón International Airport (AQP)

5. Ayacucho Region

Ayacucho is a region steeped in history and culture, known for its 33 colonial churches and as a center for traditional Peruvian folk art, particularly retablos (intricate wooden altars).

It played a significant role in Peru’s struggle for independence, with the Battle of Ayacucho marking the end of Spanish rule in South America.

Visitors to Peru regions like Ayacucho can explore the vibrant Wari ruins, an ancient pre-Inca civilization, participate in the Holy Week celebrations, renowned as one of the most elaborate in Peru, and browse the local markets for handmade crafts and art.

Ayacucho’s cuisine reflects its rich cultural heritage, with dishes such as Puca Picante (a spicy stew made with potatoes and peanuts) and Mondongo Ayacuchano (a soup made with cow stomach) offering a taste of the local flavors.

The best time to visit Ayacucho is during the dry season, from May to October, or during Holy Week when the city comes alive with religious processions and festivities.

REGIONS OF PERU

Ayacucho

  • Area Size: 43,814 km²
  • Capital: Ayacucho
  • Population: About 616,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Ayacucho, Huanta, San Miguel
  • Airport: Coronel FAP Alfredo Mendívil Duarte Airport (AYP)

6. Cajamarca Region

Cajamarca is a region in the northern highlands of Peru, renowned for its rich history, beautiful colonial architecture, and therapeutic hot springs.

It is most famous for the Battle of Cajamarca, where the Inca emperor Atahualpa was captured by the Spaniards, marking a turning point in the history of the Inca Empire.

In Peru regions like Cajamarca, tourists can visit the historic Inca Baths, known for their medicinal hot springs, explore the Ransom Room, where Atahualpa was held captive, and enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Cumbemayo aqueduct, an ancient engineering marvel.

Cajamarca’s cuisine offers a variety of flavors, with dishes such as Caldo Verde (a green soup made with potatoes and herbs) and Cuy al Horno (roasted guinea pig) being local favorites.

The best time to visit Cajamarca is during the carnival in February or March, when the city bursts into color and festivities, or from June to September, during the dry season.

REGIONS OF PERU

Cajamarca

  • Area Size: 33,318 km²
  • Capital: Cajamarca
  • Population: About 1,341,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Cajamarca, Jaén, Celendín
  • Airport: Mayor General FAP Armando Revoredo Iglesias Airport (CJA)

7. Cusco Region: most visited of all Peru Regions

Cusco is a region in Peru that serves as the heart of the ancient Inca Empire, known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture.

It is most famous for the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and the Inca Trail, making it a central hub for exploring the rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes of the Andes.

In Peru regions like Cusco, visitors can marvel at the architectural wonder of Machu Picchu, immerse themselves in the vibrant culture and history of the Sacred Valley, and embark on the Inca Trail, offering a once-in-a-lifetime trekking experience through stunning mountain scenery.

Cusco’s cuisine is a delightful reflection of its cultural heritage, with dishes such as Cuy al Horno (roasted guinea pig) and Chiri Uchu, a spicy and diverse dish, showcasing the regional flavors.

The best time to visit Cusco is from May to September during the dry season, which offers clear skies and more comfortable conditions for hiking and exploring the outdoors.

REGIONS OF PERU

Cusco

  • Area Size: 71,986 km²
  • Capital: Cusco
  • Population: About 1,207,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Cusco, Sicuani, Calca
  • Airport: Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ)

8. Huancavelica Region

Huancavelica, in the heart of the Peruvian Andes, is a region known for its rugged landscapes, colonial history, and rich indigenous culture.

It is one of the most unspoiled and least visited areas in Peru, offering visitors a glimpse into the traditional Andean way of life and the opportunity to explore its natural thermal baths and colonial churches.

In Peru regions like Huancavelica, tourists can enjoy the tranquility of the thermal baths in Churcampa, visit the colonial churches and historic centers in Huancavelica city, and explore the surrounding Andean landscapes, known for their natural beauty and cultural significance.

The cuisine of Huancavelica is hearty and nourishing, with dishes like Pachamanca, a traditional Andean meal cooked underground, and Caldo de Cabeza, a soup made from sheep’s head, offering a taste of local culinary traditions.

The best time to visit Huancavelica is during the dry season from May to October, when the weather is more favorable for outdoor activities and exploring the region’s attractions.

REGIONS OF PERU

Huancavelica

  • Area Size: 71,986 km²
  • Capital: Cusco
  • Population: About 1,207,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Cusco, Sicuani, Calca
  • Airport: Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ)

9. Huanuco Region

Huanuco, a region in central Peru, is characterized by its diverse ecosystems ranging from high Andean mountains to the Amazon rainforest.

It is known for the archaeological site of Kotosh, the Temple of the Crossed Hands, and its pleasant climate, often referred to as the “best climate in the world.”

In Peru regions like Huanuco, visitors can explore the pre-Inca site of Kotosh, enjoy outdoor activities in the Tingo Maria National Park, home to a variety of wildlife and natural wonders, and visit the city of Huanuco to enjoy its pleasant climate and colonial architecture.

The cuisine of Huanuco is rich in flavors, with dishes such as Pachamanca and Juanes, rice wrapped in leaves with chicken or fish, highlighting the region’s agricultural produce and culinary traditions.

The best time to visit Huanuco is between April and October, when the weather is drier, making it ideal for hiking and visiting the region’s natural and archaeological sites.

REGIONS OF PERU

Huanuco

  • Area Size: 37,722 km²
  • Capital: Huanuco
  • Population: About 721,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Huanuco, Tingo Maria, Ambo
  • Airport: Alferez FAP David Figueroa Fernandini Airport (HUU)

10. Ica Region

Ica is a region in southern Peru known for its vast sand dunes, vineyards, and the mysterious Nazca Lines.

It is a hub for adventure seekers and history enthusiasts alike, offering a mix of outdoor activities, archaeological sites, and the chance to sample some of Peru’s best wines and piscos.

In Peru regions like Ica, tourists can take a flight over the Nazca Lines to marvel at these ancient geoglyphs from above, go sandboarding or take a dune buggy ride in the Huacachina Oasis, and visit the local wineries to learn about pisco production and taste the regional varieties.

The cuisine of Ica is influenced by the coastal, mountain, and desert landscapes, with dishes such as Carapulcra, a spicy stew made with dried potatoes, and Sopa Seca, a Peruvian noodle dish, showcasing the diversity of local ingredients.

The best time to visit Ica is from April to October, when the weather is mild and conducive to exploring the outdoors and participating in the grape harvest season.

REGIONS OF PERU

Ica

  • Area Size: 21,328 km²
  • Capital: Ica
  • Population: About 850,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Ica, Pisco, Chincha Alta
  • Airport: Capitán FAP Renán Elías Olivera Airport (PIO)

11. Junin Region

Junin is a diverse region in central Peru, boasting a rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and a variety of climates from tropical rainforests to snowy mountain peaks.

It is known for the Chanchamayo Valley, with its coffee plantations and waterfalls, and the Junin Lake, an important birdwatching site.

In Peru regions like Junin, visitors can explore the natural beauty of the Chanchamayo Valley, visit the historic site of the Battle of Junin, and enjoy birdwatching and wildlife observation at Junin Lake.

Junin’s cuisine reflects the diversity of its geography, with dishes such as Papa a la Huancaína, a spicy potato dish, and Trout Ceviche, reflecting the region’s rich agricultural and aquatic resources.

The best time to visit Junin is from April to October, during the dry season, ideal for hiking and exploring the region’s natural attractions without the hindrance of rain.

REGIONS OF PERU

Junin

  • Area Size: 44,197 km²
  • Capital: Huancayo
  • Population: About 1,246,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Huancayo, Tarma, La Merced
  • Airport: Francisco Carle Airport (JAU) in Jauja

12. La Libertad Region

La Libertad, located in the northwestern part of Peru, is a region with a rich pre-Columbian history, beautiful beaches, and a thriving agricultural sector.

It is famous for the archaeological site of Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, and its capital city, Trujillo, known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its pleasant climate.

In Peru regions like La Libertad, tourists can visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chan Chan, surf at the renowned beaches of Huanchaco, and explore the colonial architecture and vibrant cultural scene of Trujillo.

The cuisine of La Libertad is a blend of marine and agricultural bounty, with dishes such as Ceviche, fresh fish marinated in lime juice, and Shambar, a hearty wheat soup served traditionally on Mondays, showcasing the region’s culinary diversity.

The best time to visit La Libertad is from December to March, when the weather is warmer and the surf conditions are at their best.

REGIONS OF PERU

La Libertad

  • Area Size: 25,500 km²
  • Capital: Trujillo
  • Population: About 1,778,000
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Trujillo, Pacasmayo, Chepén
  • Airport: Cap. FAP Carlos Martínez de Pinillos International Airport (TRU)

13. Lambayeque Region

Lambayeque, located in the northwestern part of Peru, is a region rich in archaeological sites and cultural heritage, making it a significant area for understanding ancient Peruvian civilizations.

It is particularly known for the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, which houses some of the most important archaeological discoveries in Peru, including the tomb of the Lord of Sipan.

In Peru regions like Lambayeque, visitors can explore the fascinating Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, marvel at the ancient adobe city of Tucume, and enjoy the biodiversity of the Chaparri Ecological Reserve, a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts.

Lambayeque’s cuisine reflects its coastal and agricultural richness, with dishes such as Arroz con Pato (rice with duck) and King Kong, a sweet made of layers of cookies filled with pineapple jam and manjar blanco (dulce de leche), showcasing the local flavors.

The best time to visit Lambayeque is from May to September, during the dry season, when the weather is pleasant for exploring outdoor sites.

REGIONS OF PERU

Lambayeque

  • Area Size: 14,231 km²
  • Capital: Chiclayo
  • Population: About 1,197,260
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Chiclayo, Lambayeque, Ferreñafe
  • Airport: Capitán FAP José A. Quiñones Gonzáles International Airport (CIX)

14. Lima Region

Lima, the capital and largest city of Peru, serves as the cultural, economic, and political center of the country.

It is a vibrant metropolis that beautifully blends colonial heritage with modernity, offering a rich array of museums, historical sites, and a renowned culinary scene.

In Peru regions like Lima, visitors can explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage site, enjoy the culinary delights in some of South America’s top restaurants, and visit the Larco Museum to see a vast collection of pre-Columbian art.

Lima’s cuisine is a reflection of its diverse cultural heritage, with dishes such as Ceviche, Lomo Saltado (stir-fried beef), and Aji de Gallina (chili chicken), showcasing the fusion of indigenous, Spanish, African, and Asian influences.

The best time to visit Lima is from December to April, when the weather is warmer and sunnier, making it ideal for exploring the city and enjoying its beaches.

REGIONS OF PERU

Lima

  • Area Size: 2,672 km²
  • Capital: Lima
  • Population: About 9,751,717
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Lima, Callao, Barranco, Miraflores
  • Airport: Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM)

15. Loreto Region

Loreto, located in the northeastern part of Peru, is the largest region in the country and is predominantly covered by the vast Amazon rainforest.

It is known for its rich biodiversity, indigenous cultures, and the Amazon River, offering unparalleled opportunities for nature and adventure travel.

In Peru regions like Loreto, visitors can embark on a cruise along the Amazon River, explore the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, the largest protected area in Peru, and visit Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon, accessible only by river or air.

Loreto’s cuisine is influenced by its tropical location and indigenous traditions, with dishes such as Juane (rice with chicken wrapped in bijao leaves) and Tacacho (mashed plantains with pork) reflecting the local flavors.

The best time to visit Loreto is during the dry season, from May to October, when water levels are lower, making it easier to hike and explore the rainforest.

REGIONS OF PERU

Loreto

  • Area Size: 368,851 km²
  • Capital: Iquitos
  • Population: About 883,510
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, indigenous languages
  • Top Cities To Visit: Iquitos, Yurimaguas, Nauta
  • Airport: Coronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport (IQT)

16. Madre de Dios Region

Madre de Dios, located in the southeastern part of Peru, is a region characterized by its pristine rainforests, rivers, and biodiversity, making it a vital part of the Amazon Basin.

It is renowned for the Tambopata National Reserve and Manu National Park, both of which are biodiversity hotspots attracting researchers and eco-tourists from around the world.

In Peru regions like Madre de Dios, visitors can explore the diverse ecosystems of Manu National Park, go wildlife watching in the Tambopata National Reserve, and visit the city of Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to the region’s natural attractions.

The cuisine of Madre de Dios is based on the rich variety of Amazonian produce, with dishes such as Juane and Tacacho, as well as fish dishes like Patarashca, showcasing the region’s culinary traditions.

The best time to visit Madre de Dios is during the dry season from May to October, when there are fewer mosquitoes and the rivers are low enough to explore the forest trails.

REGIONS OF PERU

Madre de Dios

  • Area Size: 85,182 km²
  • Capital: Puerto Maldonado
  • Population: About 141,070
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, indigenous languages
  • Top Cities To Visit: Puerto Maldonado, Tambopata, Manu
  • Airport: Padre Aldamiz International Airport (PEM)

17. Moquegua Region

Photo: ptorrodellas

Moquegua, located in southern Peru, is a region known for its beautiful landscapes, vineyards, and rich history dating back to pre-Inca times.

It offers a tranquil retreat with its colonial architecture, archaeological sites, and a reputation for producing some of Peru’s finest wines and piscos.

In Peru regions like Moquegua, visitors can tour the vineyards and pisco distilleries to learn about the production process and taste the local varieties, explore the pre-Inca site of Cerro Baúl, and enjoy the natural beauty of the beaches and coastal areas near Ilo.

Moquegua’s cuisine features dishes such as Cuy Chactado (fried guinea pig) and Chupe de Camarones (shrimp soup), which reflect the region’s agricultural diversity and coastal influence.

The best time to visit Moquegua is from May to October, during the dry season, when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities and exploring the region’s attractions.

REGIONS OF PERU

Moquegua

  • Area Size: 15,734 km²
  • Capital: Moquegua
  • Population: About 174,863
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Moquegua, Ilo, Torata
  • Airport: There are no major airports; nearest major airport is in Arequipa.

18. Pasco Region

Pasco, situated in the central highlands of Peru, is a region known for its rich mineral resources, diverse ecosystems, and Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park.

It offers visitors a mix of natural beauty, history, and adventure, with opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and exploring its cultural heritage.

In Peru regions like Pasco, tourists can explore the Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park, known for its biodiversity and scenic beauty, visit the mining town of Cerro de Pasco, one of the highest cities in the world, and discover the pre-Columbian ruins at Huayllay National Sanctuary.

Pasco’s cuisine is hearty and reflects the Andean tradition, with dishes such as Pachamanca and Carapulcra showcasing the local ingredients and culinary techniques.

The best time to visit Pasco is from April to October, during the dry season, when the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities and exploring the natural attractions.

REGIONS OF PERU

Pasco

  • Area Size: 25,320 km²
  • Capital: Cerro de Pasco
  • Population: About 280,449
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Cerro de Pasco, Oxapampa, Villa Rica
  • Airport: There are no major airports; nearest major airport is in Lima.

19. Piura Region

Piura, located in the northwestern part of Peru, is a region celebrated for its long stretches of beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and historical significance.

It is known for being the first Spanish city founded in Peru, offering a rich blend of history, tradition, and natural beauty.

In Peru regions like Piura, visitors can relax on the beaches of Máncora, known for their excellent surfing conditions, explore the colonial architecture and vibrant markets of the city of Piura, and visit the Cerros de Amotape National Park, a haven for biodiversity and adventure activities.

Piura’s cuisine is characterized by its seafood dishes, with Ceviche and Tiradito being local favorites, reflecting the region’s coastal influence.

The best time to visit Piura is from December to March, when the weather is warm and sunny, making it ideal for beach activities and exploring the region’s natural attractions.

REGIONS OF PERU

Piura

  • Area Size: 35,892 km²
  • Capital: Piura
  • Population: About 1,856,809
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Piura, Máncora, Sullana
  • Airport: Cap. FAP Guillermo Concha Iberico International Airport (PIU)

20. Puno Region

Puno, situated in the southeastern part of Peru, is a region renowned for its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes, including Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechua cultures, offering visitors unique insights into indigenous traditions and festivities.

In Peru regions like Puno, tourists can explore the floating islands of Uros, made entirely of reeds, visit the pre-Incan burial grounds of Sillustani, and participate in the vibrant Virgen de la Candelaria festival, a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Puno’s cuisine reflects the Andean tradition, with dishes such as Trout Ceviche and Quinoa Soup showcasing the region’s agricultural and aquatic resources.

The best time to visit Puno is from May to October, during the dry season when the weather is clear and cool, ideal for exploring the lake and its surroundings.

REGIONS OF PERU

Puno

  • Area Size:71,999 km²
  • Capital: Puno
  • Population: About 1,268,441
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, Aymara, Quechua
  • Top Cities To Visit: Puno, Juliaca, Yunguyo
  • Airport: Inca Manco Cápac International Airport (JUL)

21. San Martin Region

San Martin, located in the northern part of Peru, is a region known for its breathtaking landscapes of highland and lowland rainforests, making it a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

It is celebrated for its conservation efforts and the promotion of eco-tourism, with attractions such as the Ahuashiyacu Falls, the Tingo Maria National Park, and the Tarapoto lakes.

In Peru regions like San Martin, visitors can enjoy the lush greenery of the Amazon rainforest, embark on bird watching and hiking expeditions in the national parks, and explore the vibrant city of Tarapoto, known as the “City of Palms.”

The cuisine of San Martin is a blend of jungle and Andean influences, with dishes such as Juane and Tacacho, as well as regional specialties like Cazuela, a type of stew, offering a taste of the local culinary diversity.

The best time to visit San Martin is during the dry season from May to October, when rainfall is less frequent, allowing for easier exploration of the rainforests and natural attractions.

REGIONS OF PERU

San Martin

  • Area Size: 51,253 km²
  • Capital: Moyobamba
  • Population: About 813,381
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Tarapoto, Moyobamba, Rioja
  • Airport: Cad. FAP Guillermo del Castillo Paredes Airport (TPP)

22. Tacna Region

Tacna, situated in the southernmost part of Peru, is a region known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and natural hot springs. It is celebrated for its role in the War of the Pacific and as a symbol of Peruvian resilience and patriotism.

In Peru regions like Tacna, you can explore the historic sites related to the War of the Pacific, such as the Campo de la Alianza and the Arco Parabólico, relax in the therapeutic hot springs of Calientes, and visit the Tacna Cathedral.

Tacna’s cuisine is influenced by its coastal and border location, with dishes such as Picante a la Tacneña (spicy beef stew) and Ceviche showcasing the fusion of Peruvian and Chilean flavors.

The best time to visit Tacna is from May to October, when the weather is mild and dry, ideal for sightseeing and exploring the region’s attractions.

REGIONS OF PERU

Tacna

  • Area Size: 16,076 km²
  • Capital: Tacna
  • Population: About 329,332
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Tacna, Locumba, Ilabaya
  • Airport: Coronel FAP Carlos Ciriani Santa Rosa International Airport (TCQ)

23. Tumbes Region

Tumbes, located in the northwestern corner of Peru, is a small but ecologically rich region, boasting beautiful beaches, tropical forests, and mangrove ecosystems.

It is the gateway to Peru from Ecuador and is known for its diverse flora and fauna, including the Tumbes National Reserve and the Mangroves of Tumbes National Sanctuary.

In Peru regions like Tumbes, you can enjoy the pristine beaches of Punta Sal, explore the unique ecosystem of the mangroves by boat, and visit the Cerros de Amotape National Park, home to a variety of wildlife.

Tumbes’ cuisine is heavily influenced by its coastal location, with seafood dishes such as Ceviche and Conchas Negras (black shell clams) being local specialties.

The best time to visit Tumbes is from December to April, when the weather is warm and sunny, perfect for beach activities and wildlife watching.

REGIONS OF PERU

Tumbes

  • Area Size: 4,669 km²
  • Capital: Tumbes
  • Population: About 224,863
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish
  • Top Cities To Visit: Tumbes, Zorritos, Puerto Pizarro
  • Airport: Cap. FAP Pedro Canga Rodríguez Airport (TBP)

24. Ucayali Region

Ucayali, located in the central Amazon region of Peru, is known for its vast rainforests, rivers, and indigenous cultures.

It is named after the Ucayali River, a major tributary of the Amazon River, and is a prime destination for eco-tourism and adventure travel.

In Peru regions like Ucayali, visitors can explore the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Peru, embark on river cruises to observe the rich biodiversity, and visit the city of Pucallpa, which serves as the region’s cultural and economic center.

Ucayali’s cuisine reflects its jungle environment, with dishes such as Tacacho, Juane, and Paiche (a large Amazonian fish), offering a taste of the region’s rich culinary traditions.

The best time to visit Ucayali is during the dry season from May to October, when the weather is more favorable for jungle treks and river tours.

REGIONS OF PERU

Ucayali

  • Area Size: 102,411 km²
  • Capital: Pucallpa
  • Population: About 496,459
  • Closing hoursLanguage: Spanish, indigenous languages
  • Top Cities To Visit: Pucallpa, Contamana, Aguaytia
  • Airport: FAP Captain David Abensur Rengifo International Airport (PCL)

Trisha Velarmino (43)

Trisha Velarmino is the Global Editor-in-Chief of the Insider Media Group operating in Europe, Asia, and North America. She lived in Peru for 1.5 years and has helped thousands of expats, digital nomads, and solo travelers easily visit Peru. Trisha has traveled Peru extensively from North to South.

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