From below sea level to 22,000 feet: Peru's varied climate

Country has a large north-south range – from within 3km of the equator in the north to 18 degrees in the south

As the third largest country in South America (after Brazil and Argentina), it’s not surprising that Peru has a very varied climate. Peru also encompasses a large north-south range – from within 3km (1.86 miles) of the equator in the north, to 18 degrees in the south – and altitudes ranging from below sea level to 6,770 metres (22,000 feet).

The climate of the capital, Lima, situated on the coast, just below the centre point of the country, is affected by the cold Humboldt current, which keeps temperatures down to the high teens in winter and the high 20Cs or low 30Cs in summer. It also brings plenty of cloud, and less sunshine than might be expected. Rainfall is extremely low, and if it occurs at all, usually does so in late winter or early spring.

Cuzco, in the Andes near the famous Incan site of Machu Picchu, lies at an altitude of 3,230 metres. Temperatures here hardly vary at all throughout the year, with daily maxima in the low 20s; at night, this may fall below freezing at times.

The northern Andes have a similar climate, though being closer to the equator, are a little higher in temperature. The mountains have far more rain than the coast: in Cuzco the annual average is roughly 700mm (just over 27 in).

Contributor

Stephen Moss

The GuardianTramp

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