The weekly number of dengue cases in Peru, South America, stratified by province for the period 1994-2006 were analysed in conjunction with associated demographic, geographic and climatological data. Estimates of the reproduction number, moderately correlated with population size (Spearman ρ = 0.28, P = 0.03), had a median of 1.76 (IQR 0.83-4.46). The distributions of dengue attack rates and epidemic durations follow power-law (Pareto) distributions (coefficient of determination >85%, P < 0.004). Spatial heterogeneity of attack rates was highest in coastal areas followed by mountain and jungle areas. Our findings suggest a hierarchy of transmission events during the large 2000-2001 epidemic from large to small population areas when serotypes DEN-3 and DEN-4 were first identified (Spearman ρ = -0.43, P = 0.03). The need for spatial and temporal dengue epidemic data with a high degree of resolution not only increases our understanding of the dynamics of dengue but will also generate new hypotheses and provide a platform for testing innovative control policies. © 2008 Cambridge University Press.