It is estimated that around two million people visit Peru each year, many seeking to experience the country’s beautiful sites of natural and historic wonder. Few countries the world over can claim to have a landscape and history as incredible as Peru’s, and the two often collide in harmonious and spectacular fashion at some of Peru´s top places to visit. It is therefore comes as no surprise that the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has placed eleven of Peru’s most incredible places on the World Heritage List. In this post we are taking a look at three of Peru’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beautiful National Parks.
The Natural Parks of Peru
Rio Abiseo National Park – the Amazon
This national park is both a mixed natural and cultural World Heritage Site, awarded in 1985 in order to protect the unique eco-system and pre-Incan structures that have been uncovered there. The rainforest is home to a large number of endemic wildlife species, including a range of fauna and flora, and a few species of monkey that were previously though extinct. Some animals notable to this part of the Andes rainforest are the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, longer haired spider monkey, spectacled bear and the giant armadillo. The pre-Hispanic constructions found in the Rio Abiseo National Park include caves, tombs, and ceremonial and residential structures; these monuments have shed much light on human activity dating back to 6000 BC and their ability to survive at incredible altitudes. Rio Abiseo is closed for tourists due to the fragile nature of both the natural and archaeological environment and is nowadays mostly used for scientific study.
Huascaran National Park
Huascaran National Park covers the entire Cordillera Blanca, a range of snowy peaked mountains and pristine lakes in western Peru. The area boasts incredible panoramic sights and the park was invited into the World Heritage Trust in 1985 in order to protect the area’s natural beauty. Huascaran National Park has the world’s highest snow-capped mountains within a tropical zone at around 6000m above sea level, and over one hundred glacial lakes. UNESCO monitors and protects all the Park’s fauna, flora, geology, archaeological sites and natural beauty. Many indigenous species are noted in the area, such as rare deer, the Andean huemul, the cordillera hawk and the giant condor, to name but a few. Huascaran National Park has a very well organized infrastructure making it very popular amongst hikers and mountaineers.
Manu National Park
The Manu National Park has an incredible biological diversity right across its vast jungle stretch. There are a range of ecological zones, altitudes and landscapes, including Andean cloud forest and lowland tropical rainforest with many swamps and lagoons along the way. The Manu National Park was awarded the Natural World Heritage approval in 1987, which ensures the preservation of the incredible wildlife that is found there. Over 800 species of birds can be found in the park, as well as 200 mammals, many reptiles, insects and thousands of plant species. Besides the animals and wild vegetation of Manu Park, UNESCO also protects the nomadic Indian tribes that inhabit parts of the jungle.