Population: 9.2 million souls, mostly living in the highlands
Religion: 95% Catholic, 5% Protestant
Government: Left-leaning corrupt ‘democracy,’ with a propensity for exacerbating internal ethnic conflict.
Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, and other tribal dialects in the jungle
Visas: Most countries get 30 days on arrival; ask for 90 days if needed.
Climate: Widely varied depending on altitude and latitude. Mountains and Altiplano are cool in the day with intense sunlight and freezing cold at night. Temperatures can drop below 20 degrees centigrade in places. The Yungays are the foot lands of the Andes, and much warmer in the day, though the nights are comfortable. The jungle and deforested lowlands are extremely hot and humid.
When to go: High season is May to September in both the mountains and jungle, as the weather during this period is drier and cooler. The rest of the year sees substantial tropical rains which wash out roads and make travel in some areas impossible, though the temperature in the mountains is somewhat higher during the rainy season. Typically, April and May are the best months to go hiking in the mountains, as wildflowers are in bloom and the weather is better, but not as cold as in the heart of the dry season.