Peru, one of 12 sovereign nations in South America, sits just south of the equator on the western half of the continent. Known worldwide for the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu, Peru also attracts travelers with an expansive coastline, Amazon rainforest, and the western portion of Lake Titicaca.
The CIA World Factbook places the center of Peru at the following geographic coordinates: 10 degrees south latitude and 76 degrees west longitude. Latitude is the distance north or south of the equator, while longitude is the distance east or west of Greenwich, England.
Each degree of latitude equals about 69 miles, putting the top of Peru at about 690 miles south of the equator. In terms of longitude, Peru sits roughly in line with the east coast of the United States.
Peru, the third largest country in South America, contains three distinct geographic zones: the coast, mountains, and jungle -- or costa, sierra, and selva in Spanish.
Peru’s coastline stretches for about 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) along the South Pacific Ocean, where you can find beaches in varying states of resort development and world-class waves that support surfing's alternative origin story.
The Andes spread across Peru, and contain the densest collection of snow-capped peaks in the Americas.
Peru has a total area of approximately 496,224 square miles or 1,285,216 square kilometers.
Five South American countries share a border with Peru:
- Ecuador to the north, which shares an 882-mile border
- Colombia to the north, which shares a 1,119-mile border
- Brazil to the east, which shares a 1,861-miles border
- Bolivia to the southeast, which shares a 668-mile border
- Chile to the south, which shares a 106-mile border