Peru Geography

Peru Geography


Peru is located in the western area of South America between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. It covers an area of 1,285,215 km², making it the twentieth largest country in size on Earth and the third largest in South America. It limits to the north with Ecuador and Colombia, to the east with Brazil, to the southeast with Bolivia, to the south with Chile and to the west with the Pacific Ocean.

It has a huge multiplicity of landscapes due to its geographical conditions, which in turn gives it a great diversity of natural resources. The constitution states that the maritime domain of Peru extends up to 200 maritime miles.


The Andes mountain range divides the country into three geographic regions: coast, mountains and jungle. The coast is a flat desert strip that runs parallel to the Peruvian coast, its width reaches a maximum of 180 km in the Sechura desert. From latitude 6 ° S to the border with Chile, the Peruvian sector of the Pacific Desert extends, which is crossed by valleys originated by short rivers of seasonal regime.

Along the coast you can find sand covered pampas that form the country’s deserts, such as Sechura (Piura) and Pisco (Ica). Among the geographical features that can be found in this region are cliffs, peninsulas, bays and beaches.

The mountain range is made up of the Andes mountain range. These mountains run aligned in parallel chains: three in the north, three in the center, and two in the south. The northern Andes converge with those of the center at the Pasco knot, while those of the center converge with those of the south at the Vilcanota knot.

The northern Andes are lower and more humid than the average, in them is the Porculla pass, which at 2,145 meters above sea level is the lowest point of the Andean mountain range.

The Andes in the center are the highest and steepest, it is here that the highest peak in the country is located, the Nevado Huascarán, with 6768 meters above sea level. The southern Andes are thicker than the northern and central Andes. In this sector is the Collao plateau, also known as the altiplano.

The jungle, located to the east, is a vast flat region covered by vegetation. It constitutes almost 60% of the country’s surface. Two distinct regions can be seen: high jungle and low jungle. The high jungle or yunga is located on the entire eastern flank of the Andes.

Its height varies between 3500 and 800 meters above sea level. It covers from the northern border area to the extreme south of the country. The relief of this area is varied and in the areas where the Andes mountain range penetrates there are areas of steep slopes.

The lowland or Amazon rainforest is located between 800 and 80 meters above sea level. The shape of the relief is flat and highlights the presence of the Contamina mountain range, located on the left bank of the Yavarí River. Its highest point reaches 780 meters above sea level.


Unlike other equatorial countries, Peru does not have an exclusively tropical climate; the influence of the Andes and the Humboldt Current grant a great climatic diversity to the Peruvian territory.

According to, the central and southern coast of the country have an arid subtropical or desert climate, with an average temperature of 18 ° C and annual rainfall of 150 mm, due to the action of the cold Humboldt Sea. On the other hand, the north coast has an arid tropical climate, due to the tropical sea, with an average temperature above 24 ° C and rains during the summer.

When the El Niño phenomenon occurs, the average temperature of the entire coast rises (with maximums of up to 40 ° C) and rainfall increases significantly on the north and central coast.

In the mountains the following climates are observed: sub-humid temperate climate, in areas between 1000 and 3000 meters above sea level, with temperatures around 20 ° C and rainfall between 500 and 1200 mm per year; cold climate between 3000 and 4000 meters above sea level, with average annual temperatures of 12 ° C and frosts during winter; frigid or puna climate, in areas between 4000 and 5000 meters above sea level, with an average temperature of 6 ° C and annual rainfall of 700 mm; and snowy or icy weather in areas above 5000 meters above sea level, with temperatures below 0 ° C and snowfall.

In the jungle there are two types of climate: a very humid semi-tropical climate in the upper jungle, with rainfall greater than 2000 mm per year and average temperatures around 22 ° C; and the humid tropical climate in the low jungle, with rainfall that oscillates 2000 mm per year and average temperatures of 27 ° C.


The majority of Peruvian rivers originate in the Andes and drain into one of the three existing hydrographic basins. Those that flow into the Pacific Ocean are short, steep and seasonal. The tributaries of the Amazon River are longer, much larger, and their course has a lesser slope once they leave the sierra. The rivers that flow into Lake Titicaca are generally short and have great flow. The longest rivers in Peru are the Ucayali, the Marañón, the Putumayo River, the Yavarí, the Huallaga, the Urubamba, the Mantaro and the Amazon.

Political-administrative organization

The departments were initially created at the birth of the Republic, in 1821, to replace the viceregal municipalities. Under successive divisions of these, new departments and provinces of special regime were created. The regions, on the other hand, appeared in the text of the 1979 constitution, were created in 1989 and dissolved in 1992.

In 2002, the regions were added to the constitutional text again and Regional Governments were created for each departmental circumscription (the 24 departments plus the constitutional Province of Callao), in order for them to direct the formation of new regions by merging departments. a initiative of these own governments with approval by referendum.

At present, no region, properly speaking, has yet been formed: The first and only of these popular consultations for the creation of regions, held in 2005, did not obtain the necessary electoral support.

After the creation of the Regional Governments, the 24 departments and the Constitutional Province of Callao, 25 territorial districts that have their own Regional Government, are usually referred to as a region informally. The host province of the capital of the Republic, the Province of Lima, has been excluded from this process and is not part of any region. The departments are divided into provinces and these into districts


  • North of the country
    • Department of Tumbes (Tumbes)
    • Department of Piura (Piura)
    • Lambayeque Department (Chiclayo)
    • Department of La Libertad (Trujillo)
    • Cajamarca Department (Cajamarca)
    • Department of San Martín (Moyobamba)
    • Amazonas Department (Chachapoyas)
    • Loreto Department (Iquitos)
  • To the center of Peru
    • Ancash Department (Huaraz)
    • Lima (Metropolitan Lima)
    • Constitutional province of Callao (Callao)
    • Huánuco Department (Huánuco)
    • Huancavelica Department (Huancavelica)
    • Ica Department (Ica)
    • Pasco Department (Cerro de Pasco)
    • Junín Department (Huancayo)
    • Ucayali Department (Pucallpa)
  • South of Peru
    • Department of Ayacucho (Huamanga)
    • Apurímac Department (Abancay)
    • Arequipa Department (Arequipa)
    • Department of Moquegua (Moquegua)
    • Tacna Department (Tacna)
    • Cusco Department (Cusco)
    • Puno Department (Puno)
    • Department of Madre de Dios (Puerto Maldonado)

Peru Geography