Peru is a country located in South America, known for its diverse culture, rich history, and breath-taking landscapes. From the towering Andes mountain range to the lush Amazon rainforest, Peru is home to a wide range of ecosystems and natural wonders.
Peru is also known for its ancient ruins, including the famous Machu Picchu, which attracts millions of tourists each year. But there is much more to this fascinating country than just its historical sites. Peru is also home to a vibrant culinary scene, with dishes like ceviche and lomo saltado gaining popularity around the world.
There are many interesting facts about Peru that make it a unique and special place. For example, did you know that Peru is home to over 3,000 different varieties of potatoes? Or that it is one of the few countries in the world where you can surf and ski on the same day? In this article, we will explore some of the most fascinating facts about Peru that you may not have known before.
Peru is located in western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador. It is the third largest country in South America, after Brazil and Argentina, with an area of 496,093 square miles (1,285,216 square kilometers).
Location and Borders
Peru is bordered by five countries: Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast, and Chile to the south. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire makes it prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.
Mountains and Peaks
The Andes mountain range runs through Peru from north to south, with peaks reaching over 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) in elevation. The highest peak in Peru is Huascarán, which stands at 22,205 feet (6,768 meters) tall. Other notable peaks include Ausangate, Salcantay, and Ampato.
Rivers and Lakes
Peru is home to the Amazon River, which is the second longest river in the world. The river runs through the eastern part of the country, in the Amazon Basin. Other major rivers in Peru include the Marañón, Ucayali, and Madre de Dios. Lake Titicaca, located on the border of Peru and Bolivia, is the highest navigable lake in the world.
Climate and Weather
Peru has a varied climate due to its diverse geography. The coast is mostly arid and mild, with temperatures ranging from 60°F (15°C) to 80°F (27°C). The Andes have a cooler climate, with temperatures ranging from 30°F (-1°C) to 60°F (15°C). The Amazon Basin is hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 70°F (21°C) to 90°F (32°C). Peru has two seasons: the rainy season (from December to April) and the dry season (from May to November).
Peru has a rich history that spans back thousands of years. The country is home to many ancient civilizations that have left behind impressive ruins and artefacts. Here are some key events in Peru’s history:
Before the arrival of the Spanish, Peru was home to many advanced civilizations, including the Inca, Moche, and Nazca. The Inca Empire, which was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America, was based in Peru. The Incas were known for their impressive architecture, including Machu Picchu, which is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
The Moche civilization, which existed from around 100 to 700 AD, was known for their impressive pottery and metalwork. The Nazca civilization, which existed from around 100 BC to 800 AD, is famous for their Nazca Lines, which are large geoglyphs that can only be seen from the air.
In 1532, the Spanish arrived in Peru and began their conquest of the Inca Empire. The Spanish were able to defeat the Inca Empire, but they also brought with them diseases that devastated the native population. Over the next few centuries, the Spanish established a colonial government in Peru and brought over African slaves to work on the plantations.
Independence and Republic
In 1821, Peru declared its independence from Spain, and in 1824, the Spanish were finally defeated. After independence, Peru struggled with political instability and economic inequality. The country has had several periods of military rule, including a violent conflict with the Shining Path guerrilla group in the 1980s and 1990s.
Today, Peru is a democratic republic with a diverse economy that includes agriculture, mining, and tourism. The country is known for its rich culture and history, as well as its stunning natural beauty.
Peru’s culture is a blend of native and Spanish traditions with influences from African, Asian, and European immigrants. The Quechua and the Aymara are the two main native groups of Peru, and both speak their native languages in addition to Spanish. Many Peruvians have Incan ancestry as well.
Language and Religion
The official language of Peru is Spanish, but Quechua and Aymara are also widely spoken. The country has a rich religious history, with Catholicism being the dominant religion. However, there are also significant populations of Protestant and Evangelical Christians, as well as followers of indigenous religions.
Cuisine and Drinks
Peruvian cuisine is diverse and flavourful, with influences from Spanish, African, Asian, and indigenous cultures. Some popular dishes include ceviche, lomo saltado, and ají de gallina. The country is also known for its variety of potatoes and corn. Pisco, a grape brandy, is the national drink and is used to make the famous Pisco Sour cocktail.
Music and Dance
Peruvian music is known for its lively rhythms and diverse styles, including huayno, marinera, and salsa. Traditional instruments such as the charango, quena, and cajón are commonly used. Dance is an important part of Peruvian culture, with each region having its own unique style. The marinera is the national dance and is performed at festivals and celebrations.
Art and Literature
Peruvian art and literature have a rich history dating back to the Inca Empire. The country is known for its textiles, pottery, and silverwork. The famous Nazca Lines, ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert, are also a testament to the country’s artistic heritage. In literature, Peruvian authors such as Mario Vargas Llosa and César Vallejo have gained international recognition for their works.
Peru is a popular tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year. The country’s rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture make it an attractive location for travellers seeking adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both.
Machu Picchu is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Peru. This ancient city, located high in the Andes Mountains, was built by the Inca Empire in the 15th century. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of Machu Picchu and learn about the Inca culture and history. The site is accessible by train or hiking, and visitors are advised to book in advance as tickets can sell out quickly.
Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Cusco is a historic city located in the Andes Mountains. It was the capital of the Inca Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can explore the city’s colonial architecture, museums, and markets. The Sacred Valley, located near Cusco, is home to many Inca ruins and is a popular destination for hiking and outdoor activities.
Lima and the Coast
Lima is the capital city of Peru and is located on the country’s coast. The city is known for its colonial architecture, museums, and culinary scene. Visitors can also explore the nearby beaches and coastal towns, which offer opportunities for surfing, fishing, and other water activities.
Peru is home to a large portion of the Amazon rainforest, which is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. Visitors can explore the jungle and observe wildlife, go on guided tours, and learn about the indigenous cultures that call the rainforest home. It is recommended to book tours with reputable companies and to be aware of potential health and safety risks.
Peru is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $226.9 billion in 2022. The country has a mixed economy based on services, manufacturing, agriculture, and mining.
Agriculture and Mining
Agriculture is a significant sector of the economy, accounting for 7.5% of GDP in 2021. Peru is one of the world’s top producers of asparagus, avocados, and grapes, and it is also a major exporter of coffee, cocoa, and cotton. The mining industry is also a crucial part of the economy, with Peru being the world’s second-largest producer of copper and silver and a significant producer of gold, zinc, and lead.
Textiles and Handicrafts
The textile industry is an essential part of the Peruvian economy, with the country being famous for its high-quality alpaca and vicuña wool. The production of handicrafts is also a significant sector, with artisans producing a wide range of items, including pottery, jewellery, and textiles.
Fishing and Forestry
Peru’s fishing industry is one of the most significant in the world, with the country being the world’s second-largest producer of fishmeal and a significant producer of anchovies, squid, and tuna. The forestry industry is also an important sector, with Peru being one of the world’s top producers of tropical hardwoods.
Services and Trade
The services sector is the largest sector of the Peruvian economy, accounting for over 60% of GDP. The country is a significant exporter of services, including tourism, financial services, and software development. Peru is also a member of the World Trade Organization and has signed free trade agreements with several countries, including the United States, China, and the European Union.