3 Places to Experience Peru's Amazon, Desert, and Mountains Peru is a large country that covers a fantastic range of geographical varieties. Because of this, it takes much time to truly gain a sense of it all. Weeks alone could be spent just in Peru's northern and eastern Amazon rainforest of which the mighty Amazon River feeds all life that resides there. In the dry central coastal and desert regions in the west alongside the Pacific Ocean, visitors can find sand dunes thousands of meters high and home to thousands of species of exotic wildlife. Then there are the Andean highlands that stretch the country's entire length that give way to some of the most picturesque views of crystalled mountains and sparkling lakes in the world. So how is a traveler to see all this? Here are 3 great locations to get you started with all the geographic treasures that Peru has to offer: 1. Iquitos (Amazon rainforest) - No trip to Peru is complete without venturing into the Peruvian Amazon. Iquitos, the largest city in the world that can only be accessed by water or air, lies isolated deep in the exotic rainforest between three rivers: the Nanay, the Itaya, and the Amazon. Many excursions into the jungle can be organized out of Iquitos, such as canopy walks among the treetops, nature tours to see a fascinating myriad species of tropical plants and animals, and waterfall visits to swim in some of the most remarkable pools of water in this "land of waterfalls." At night, dine in the city of Iquitos for a taste of what the Amazon has provided for its people for centuries, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in Peru. 2. Nazca (coastal desert plain) - Located about 5 hours south of Lima, Peru's capital, alongside the coast, this small, remote town was virtually unknown before the discovery in 1930's of what came to be known as the Nazca Lines nearby. These massive geoglyphs carved into the arid Nazca Desert take the shape of animals such as hummingbirds, llamas, lizards, fish, spiders, monkeys, and more, some of which span more than 650 feet in length. Anthropologists are still unsure of their original purpose, though it is believed the ancient Nazca people created them around 400 AD potentially to communicate with the gods. Other theories include the designs' role in religious ceremonies or a result of developed manmade flight technologies. A visit to see the Nazca lines can typically be included in even the most basic Peru travel packages and even some Machu Picchu vacation packages (which is just a short trip further south). 3. Cordillera Blanca (high Andes Mountains) - If you get tired of the country's heat, make way to the highlands of the Andes mountain range also known as the Northern Sierra. This set of 663 mountains is the natural barrier between the tropical rainforest to the east, and the coastal region to the west just 60 miles away. The snow-draped beauties command the azure sky and, between them, play host to over 250 lakes, 40 rivers, and 30 archeological sites. Trekking is a popular activity here, of which most trips are conducted around June to August.