Peru has another reason to boast about its natural resources now — a survey conducted by UC Berkeley found that Manu National Park in southwestern Peru has the highest biodiversity currently in the world and on record. Several new critters and plants have been discovered in this lush area for a total of:
- 155 amphibians
- 132 reptiles
- 1,000+ birds
- 1,200+ butterflies.
Manu National Park, also called Parque Nacional del Manu, is a biosphere reserve and has been so recognized by UNESCO since 1977. As the largest national park in the country, it was also named a World Heritage Site in 1987. Even before these designations were given, the area that’s now the park was protected by virtue of how difficult it is to get to.
How is this 7,000 sqft park so diverse? Much of it has to do with the wide range of elevations it covers, from about 500 ft above sea level to about 13,800 ft above sea level. Exploring the park’s interior is difficult because of the terrain and flora, including rainforests, grasslands, and high-altitude cloud forests, but it is possible.
Yasuni National Park in Ecuador was previously the most biodiverse area on record. Now it takes a backseat to Manu National Park. This is even considering that a fungus has taken its toll on local frog populations, along with mining, drilling, and some deforestation in the buffer zone around the park, according to Science Daily.
Want to visit Manu on your trips to Peru? It’s about a two-hour drive from Cusco and offers a beautiful look at Peru’s natural resources. Not all of the areas allow visitors, so be sure to go with a trusted guide if you plan to visit this area.
Photo Credit: Corey Spruit
If you’ve done much traveling, you know the local exchange rate can mean a lot for your travel budget. And recent news out of Peru means that the U.S. dollar can go a little further than it could previously, which is good news for travelers to this South American haven.
According to the Andina news outlet, Peru’s central bank sold $130 million USD in the foreign-exchange market on January 31, which weakened the local currency slightly. Since the beginning of the year, Peru’s currency — called nuevo sol or just “sol” — has slipped 0.82 percent against the dollar. What does that mean to U.S. travelers? Mostly, it means that $1 USD gets you a few more sols.
Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can be the extra little piece your travel budget needs. For any U.S. citizens who were traveling in 2008 when the recession became public knowledge, travel budgets shrank for those who needed to exchange dollars for other currencies like Euros, pounds, or even sols.
But that isn’t to say that Peru is doing poorly. This slight dip is just one piece of the puzzle. Andina also reports that Peru’s exports are on the rise, and that the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism expects a 9-percent growth this year in exports. Tourism is also expected to increase this year, as more luxury accommodations are built and the ever-present allure of Machu Picchu and other sites continues to capture the imaginations of people around the world.
All that being said, now is a great time to book your trip to Peru to take advantage of the dip in currency and the ever-growing features to welcome visitors in the cities and communities of Peru.
Want to know what the exchange rate is for U.S. dollar to Peruvian Nuevo Sol? Type “USD to PEN” into Google for the most current rate.
Photo by Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0
And you, how much do you think you will spend on a one week vacation to Cusco and Machu Picchu?