The 8 Most Relevant Natural Regions of Peru

The eight natural regions of Peru they were the product of an investigation that was in charge of the Peruvian geographer Javier Pulgar Vidal and that was formulated in 1938.

The author divided the Andes into regions and classified them according to climate, relief, soil, human groups, latitude, altitude, flora and fauna.

The 8 Most Relevant Natural Regions of Peru

The ancient cultures of the Peruvian Andes had geographical knowledge but with different names. After the arrival of the Spaniards, they imposed geography, zoology and toponymy on this culture.

Their regions were cataloged in three ways: the plains or coasts, which were the flat lands; the mountain ranges, of great length and elevation; and the mountains, which were the highest, forested regions with rivers.

Toponymy is the science that studies the names of places. Pulgar did a thorough job of all the regions and identified them according to their characteristics.

From there arise the names of the regions Chala , Yunga , Quechua , Suni, Puna, Janca or Cordillera, Rupa-Rupa or Selva Alta, Omagua and Selva baja.

Peru is located in the tropical region, but at the same time it has diverse climates that go from warm to cold temperatures in different regions.

This happens thanks to the complexity of the mountain ranges that make up the Peruvian territory.

The 8 natural regions of Peru

1- Chala or Costa Region

Among the diverse meanings of Chala are"region of mists"and"corn that grows crowded".

It is also known as"thick or quilted". These names are given due to the dense clouds of their skies and the abundance of pebbles in the ground.

Its coastal relief is flat and at the same time undulating, with mountainous areas in the part of the coast.

There are dunes and deserts that cross rivers, as well as species of oases that descend from the Andes, promoting agricultural activities and generating a large production of cotton and sugar cane.

The climate of Chala is warm, rainy and humid, totally tropical; and it is conformed by several types of vegetation, among them are the marine vegetation, the mangroves, the bushes, the ferns and the vegetation that floats on the water.

There are few animal species on the coast. Among these are the huanay seabirds, which contribute to agriculture due to their payment. There are also sea lions and anchovy fish.

Yunga Region

The name yunga or yunca means in Quechua"warm valley"; thus the Incas called to this region and they refer to the native inhabitants as yuncachos.

In addition, the inhabitants of Cusco also used the term yunga to refer to a high forest or mountain.

The relief of Yunga is mountainous and rocky, formed by narrow fertile valleys of deep ravines and steep.

It was not a very populated region due to its steep forests, and is characterized by its two types of altitudes: maritime yunga and fluvial yunga.

The climate of Yunga is rainy, with dense fogs and a temperature of 22 ºC. It has a spring-like climate all year round and is considered an area dominated by fruit crops such as guava, cherimoya, cucumber, apple trees, among others.

In the yunga there are several animals such as the red weasel, the cay monkey, the mountain fox, the tapir, the Andean condor, the cat of pajonales and different types of birds.

Quechua Region

Its name is translated in Quechua as"land of temperate climates". This is the most populated region of the Andes of Peru. Its important cities are Cusco, Huancayo, Jauja, Canta, Tarma, Arequipa and Ayacucho.

The relief of these lands is mountainous, but at the same time there are flat areas with gently sloping hills.

These areas are called hills and are made up of canyons and plains that interlock with rivers.

The climate of Quechua is temperate and rainy. In the months of spring and winter there is intense sunlight caused by the transparency of the atmosphere.

On the other hand, there is an intense contrast of the climate: by the day there is a radiant sun and at night a strong cold.

This soil is rich for agricultural production because of its abundant medicinal vegetation and its animals.

In this region corn, wheat, potatoes, beans, olluco, oca, barley, peas and fruits are grown; You can find more than 300 plant species, as well as a great variety of birds such as hawks, huipicho, harriers and other specimens.

Suni or Jalca region

This name comes from the quechua that means"high region", due to its enormous extension.

The natives are known as shucuy, and most are dedicated to the reproduction of animals.

This region is composed of stone walls that wall the valleys and pampas, and its relief is rocky with broken hills and sharp peaks.

It is considered a mining area due to its soil rich in minerals; therefore, agricultural production is scarce.

The climate of Suni is cold and dry, with an average temperature of 11 ºC, but in winter it can oscillate between -1 ºC to -16 ºC.

Among its flora are various medicinal plants, as well as some products such as rice, cotton, sugar cane, muña, elder, quinoa, mashua and olluco.

In this territory you can find animals such as Andean rabbits, foxes, guinea pigs, hawks, harriers, Andean bears, hummingbirds, hummingbirds and the condor.

Puna or Alto Andean Region

Puna means"altitude sickness", its name is due to the fact that the visitors of this place usually suffer discomfort due to the lack of oxygen in the Andean páramos. Some of the symptoms are headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

The relief of this area is shaped in its widest part by inclined plateaus. Elsewhere there are flat, undulating terrains; Around are several lakes and lagoons.

The climate of Puna is cold, with temperatures ranging between 20 ºC to -0 ºC. Between December and March there are precipitations of hail and snow.

One of the characteristic climatologies of Puna is that it is an almost dry area, which produces dry skin on the outsiders.

The vegetation is wild and is used as food for animals. Livestock is the main economic activity in the area: they raise cattle, sheep and cattle, as well as llama and alpaca.

In terms of agricultural production, bitter potatoes and barley are found in that area.

Region Janca or Cordillera

Janca means"white"because of its steep and rocky relief, which is covered with snow in the glaciers.

The Carabaya mountain range and the Cordillera Blanca are mountains with snow permanently. According to Pulgar Vidal, this is the highest region of the Andes.

The Janca Mountains have a rocky relief, steep, steep and covered by huge blocks of ice.

These glaciers are subjected to erosion processes, which break into many pieces from the bedrock.

The temperature of this region is cold, its climate oscillates between 20 ºC to -0 ºC, but usually it stays at -0 ºC since there is usually snow.

In spite of the intense cold, scientific and tourist expeditions are made to climb the snowy peaks of Huascarán, Alpamayo, Pastoruri and Huandoy.

Rupa-Rupa Region or High Jungle

The word Rupa-Rupa comes from Quechua and means"hot". This region is also known as Selva Alta due to its forests and Amazonian valleys.

Its relief is very complex, between wide and narrow valleys, and extreme slopes, waterfalls and mountains are also found.

The High Jungle has a tropical, humid and hot climate. This region is considered the rainiest in Peru, the temperature remains between 22 ºC to 25 ºC and can reach up to 36 º C.

Agriculture is the great economic power of Peru, given that various crops of coffee, coca, tea, banana and fruits are produced.

In addition, it has a varied fauna that has different types of fish, reptiles, anacondas, birds, insects, tigers, jaguars, sloths, monkeys, manatees, among many other species.

Omagua or Low Jungle

The word omagua is the name of a tribe and means"region of freshwater fish".

This is due to the various fish found in the wide rivers of the area; Omagua is also known as the low jungle or the Amazon plain.

The relief of this region is abrupt, covered with marshy plains with a dense virgin forest that is surrounded by wide rivers.

Oomagua's climate is warm, humid and rainy. The heat is permanent all day; It is considered a region of high temperatures, reaching a maximum of 41 ºC and at the same time it is the rainiest place in the world.

In the lower Jungle you can find more than 200 species of plants, among them mahogany, ceibo, oje and ayahuasca.

As for the fauna, it is recognized for its fish since it gathers more than 600 species, as well as several kinds of turtles.


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  2. Jordana Dym. Mapping Latin America: A Cartographic Reader. Source:
  3. Natural Regions of Peru. (2015). Source:
  4. Jayla Farnum Peru: Eight Natural Regions. (2015). Source:
  5. Helaine Silverman. Handbook of South American Archeology. Source:

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