Facts



Population: 31.38 million(2015)
Area: 496,200 mi²
Capital City: Lima


About Peru

Peru officially the Republic of Peru (Spanish: About this sound República del Perú (help·info)), is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is an extremely biodiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.
Peruvian territory was home to ancient cultures spanning from the Norte Chico civilization in Caral (one of the oldest in the world with settlements as old as 3200 BC) to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty with its capital in Lima, which included most of its South American colonies. Ideas of political autonomy later spread throughout Spanish America and Peru gained its independence, which was formally proclaimed in 1821 after the occupation by military campaigns of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar and only after the battle of Ayacucho, three years after proclamation, Peru ensured its independence. After achieving independence, the country remained in recession and kept a low military profile until an economic rise based on the extraction of raw and maritime materials struck the country, which ended shortly before the war of the Pacific. Subsequently, the country has undergone changes in government from oligarchic to democratic systems. Peru has gone through periods of political unrest and internal conflict as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.
Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. It is a developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 25.8 percent. Its main economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.


Currency

The sol is the currency of Peru; it is subdivided into 100 céntimos(“cents”). The ISO 4217 currency code is PEN. Coins: Freq Used: S/.1, S/.2, S/.5, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50. Banknotes: Freq Used: S/.10, S/.20, S/.50, S/.100, S/.200.

Climate

The combination of tropical latitude, mountain ranges, topography variations, and two ocean currents (Humboldt and El Niño) gives Peru a large diversity of climates. The coastal region has moderate temperatures, low precipitations, and high humidity, except for its warmer, wetter northern reaches. In the mountain region, rain is frequent in summer, and temperature and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The Peruvian Amazon is characterized by heavy rainfall and high temperatures, except for its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.

Language


According to the Peruvian Constitution of 1993, Peru’s official languages are Spanish and Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages in areas where they predominate. Spanish is spoken by 84.1% of the population and Quechua by 13%, Aymara by 1.7% while other languages make up the remaining 1.2%.
Spanish is used by the government and is the mainstream language of the country, which is used by the media and in educational systems and commerce. Amerindians who live in the Andean highlands speak Quechua and Aymara and are ethnically distinct from the diverse indigenous groups who live on the eastern side of the Andes and in the tropical lowlands adjacent to the Amazon basin. Peru’s distinct geographical regions are mirrored in a language divide between the coast where Spanish is more predominant over the Amerindian languages, and the more diverse traditional Andean cultures of the mountains and highlands. The indigenous populations east of the Andes speak various languages and dialects. Some of these groups still adhere to traditional indigenous languages, while others have been almost completely assimilated into the Spanish language. There has been an increasing and organized effort to teach Quechua in public schools in the areas where Quechua is spoken. In the Peruvian Amazon, numerous indigenous languages are spoken, including Asháninka, Bora, and Aguaruna.

Economy

The economy of Peru is classified as upper middle income by the World Bank and is the 39th largest in the world. Peru is, as of 2011, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies owing to the economic boom experienced during the 2000s. It has a high Human Development Index of .752 based on 2011 data. Historically, the country’s economic performance has been tied to exports, which provide hard currency to finance imports and external debt payments. Although they have provided substantial revenue, self-sustained growth and a more egalitarian distribution of income have proven elusive. According to 2010 data, 31.3% of its total population is poor, including 9.8% that lives in extreme poverty. Inflation in 2012 was the lowest in Latin America at only 1.8%, but increased in 2013 as oil and commodity prices rose; as of 2014 it stands at 2.5%. The unemployment rate has fallen steadily in recent years, and as of 2012 stands at 3.6%.
Peruvian economic policy has varied widely over the past decades. The 1968–1975 government of Juan Velasco Alvarado introduced radical reforms, which included agrarian reform, the expropriation of foreign companies, the introduction of an economic planning system, and the creation of a large state-owned sector. These measures failed to achieve their objectives of income redistribution and the end of economic dependence on developed nations.
Despite these results, most reforms were not reversed until the 1990s, when the liberalizing government of Alberto Fujimori ended price controls, protectionism, restrictions on foreign direct investment, and most state ownership of companies. Reforms have permitted sustained economic growth since 1993, except for a slump after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Services account for 53% of Peruvian gross domestic product, followed by manufacturing (22.3%), extractive industries (15%), and taxes (9.7%). Recent economic growth has been fueled by macroeconomic stability, improved terms of trade, and rising investment and consumption. Trade is expected to increase further after the implementation of a free trade agreement with the United States signed on 12 April 2006. Peru’s main exports are copper, gold, zinc, textiles, and fish meal; its major trade partners are the United States, China, Brazil, and Chile.

Languages


According to the Peruvian Constitution of 1993, Peru’s official languages are Spanish and Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages in areas where they predominate. Spanish is spoken by 84.1% of the population and Quechua by 13%, Aymara by 1.7% while other languages make up the remaining 1.2%.
Spanish is used by the government and is the mainstream language of the country, which is used by the media and in educational systems and commerce. Amerindians who live in the Andean highlands speak Quechua and Aymara and are ethnically distinct from the diverse indigenous groups who live on the eastern side of the Andes and in the tropical lowlands adjacent to the Amazon basin. Peru’s distinct geographical regions are mirrored in a language divide between the coast where Spanish is more predominant over the Amerindian languages, and the more diverse traditional Andean cultures of the mountains and highlands. The indigenous populations east of the Andes speak various languages and dialects. Some of these groups still adhere to traditional indigenous languages, while others have been almost completely assimilated into the Spanish language. There has been an increasing and organized effort to teach Quechua in public schools in the areas where Quechua is spoken. In the Peruvian Amazon, numerous indigenous languages are spoken, including Asháninka, Bora, and Aguaruna.


Economy


The economy of Peru is classified as upper middle income by the World Bank and is the 39th largest in the world. Peru is, as of 2011, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies owing to the economic boom experienced during the 2000s. It has a high Human Development Index of .752 based on 2011 data. Historically, the country’s economic performance has been tied to exports, which provide hard currency to finance imports and external debt payments. Although they have provided substantial revenue, self-sustained growth and a more egalitarian distribution of income have proven elusive. According to 2010 data, 31.3% of its total population is poor, including 9.8% that lives in extreme poverty. Inflation in 2012 was the lowest in Latin America at only 1.8%, but increased in 2013 as oil and commodity prices rose; as of 2014 it stands at 2.5%. The unemployment rate has fallen steadily in recent years, and as of 2012 stands at 3.6%.
Peruvian economic policy has varied widely over the past decades. The 1968–1975 government of Juan Velasco Alvarado introduced radical reforms, which included agrarian reform, the expropriation of foreign companies, the introduction of an economic planning system, and the creation of a large state-owned sector. These measures failed to achieve their objectives of income redistribution and the end of economic dependence on developed nations.
Despite these results, most reforms were not reversed until the 1990s, when the liberalizing government of Alberto Fujimori ended price controls, protectionism, restrictions on foreign direct investment, and most state ownership of companies. Reforms have permitted sustained economic growth since 1993, except for a slump after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Services account for 53% of Peruvian gross domestic product, followed by manufacturing (22.3%), extractive industries (15%), and taxes (9.7%). Recent economic growth has been fueled by macroeconomic stability, improved terms of trade, and rising investment and consumption. Trade is expected to increase further after the implementation of a free trade agreement with the United States signed on 12 April 2006. Peru’s main exports are copper, gold, zinc, textiles, and fish meal; its major trade partners are the United States, China, Brazil, and Chile.

Religion

In the 2007 census, 81.3% of the population over 12 years old described themselves as Catholic, 12.5% as Evangelical Protestant, 3.3% as other Protestant, Judaism, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and Jehovah’s Witness, and 2.9% as non-religious. Literacy was estimated at 92.9% in 2007; this rate is lower in rural areas (80.3%) than in urban areas (96.3%). Primary and secondary education are compulsory and free in public schools.
Amerindian religious traditions also play a major role in the beliefs of Peruvians. Catholic festivities like Corpus Christi, holy week and Christmas sometimes blend with Amerindian traditions. Amerindian festivities which were celebrated since pre-Columbian times are also widespread throughout the nation. Inti Raymi, which is an old Inca festival, is still celebrated.
The majority of towns, cities and villages have their own official church or cathedral and patron saint.

Culture


Peruvian culture is primarily rooted in Amerindian and Spanish traditions, though it has also been influenced by various Asian, African, and other European ethnic groups. Peruvian artistic traditions date back to the elaborate pottery, textiles, jewelry, and sculpture of Pre-Inca cultures. The Incas maintained these crafts and made architectural achievements including the construction of Machu Picchu. Baroque dominated colonial art, though modified by native traditions.
During this period, most art focused on religious subjects; the numerous churches of the era and the paintings of the Cuzco School are representative. Arts stagnated after independence until the emergence of Indigenismo in the early 20th century. Since the 1950s, Peruvian art has been eclectic and shaped by both foreign and local art currents.
Peruvian literature is rooted in the oral traditions of pre-Columbian civilizations. Spaniards introduced writing in the 16th century; colonial literary expression included chronicles and religious literature. After independence, Costumbrism and Romanticism became the most common literary genres, as exemplified in the works of Ricardo Palma.[100] The early 20th century’s Indigenismo movement was led by such writers as Ciro Alegría[101] and José María Arguedas. César Vallejo wrote modernist and often politically engaged verse. Modern Peruvian literature is recognized thanks to authors such as Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, a leading member of the Latin American Boom.

Peruvian cuisine blends Amerindian and Spanish food with strong influences from Chinese, African, Arab, Italian, and Japanese cooking. Common dishes include anticuchos, ceviche, and pachamanca. Peru’s varied climate allows the growth of diverse plants and animals good for cooking. Peru’s diversity of ingredients and cooking techniques is receiving worldwide acclaim.
Peruvian music has Andean, Spanish, and African roots. In pre-Hispanic times, musical expressions varied widely in each region; the quena and the tinya were two common instruments. Spaniards introduced new instruments, such as the guitar and the harp, which led to the development of crossbred instruments like the charango. African contributions to Peruvian music include its rhythms and the cajón, a percussion instrument. Peruvian folk dances include marinera, tondero, zamacueca, diablada and huayno.

Safety

Street crime, including muggings and thefts, is a significant problem in Lima, Cusco, Arequipa and other major cities. Be vigilant in public places and when withdrawing cash from ATMs. Avoid walking alone in quiet areas or at night.
There have been a number of cases of rape, mostly in the Cusco and Arequipa areas. Be alert to the use of ‘date rape’ and other drugs. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. If you’re in a bar and don’t feel well, try to seek help from people you know. Unscrupulous tour agents have targeted lone young female travellers in the Cusco area. Bogus taxi drivers have also targeted groups with young female foreign travellers in the route Huanchaco-Trujillo in Northern Peru. Criminals have targeted tourists and local people in the San Blas neighbourhood in Cusco including incidents of violent robberies and rapes.
Tourists have been targeted and robbed by bogus taxi drivers. Use a taxi registered at the bus terminal or book one from a reputable company. If you hail a taxi on the street make a note of the registration number before getting in. Be wary of taxi drivers offering cheaper than normal fares, which is often a lure for a robbery. If you have luggage, don’t take a station wagon cab where your luggage can be seen. It attracts robbers who use mobile phones to advise accomplices to hold up the cab. Robberies have been reported in taxis from the airport when luggage/bags have been visible. Put bags in the boot and never leave your luggage in the taxi with the driver behind the wheel.
Be particularly careful when arriving at Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport. Bogus taxi drivers and thieves pretending to be tour operators sometimes approach arriving passengers. If you take a taxi, use one of the three official companies located at desks directly outside the arrival halls. Further details are on the Lima Airport Partners website. When you travel back to the airport, book transport from a reputable company. Don’t use a street taxi.
Provincial and inter-city buses are sometimes held up and the passengers robbed. Passport theft is also common on inter-city buses and at bus stations. Keep your passport with you at all times during your bus journey and take particular care of valuables if you travel on a bus at night.

Transportation

Getting to and around Peru should not be a problem: Peru has over 234 airports, five of which are international, nearly 2,000 kilometers of railways, and over 137,000 kilometers of roads, as well as 9,000 kilometers of navigable waterways.
By far the biggest airport is the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. It is located circa eleven kilometers outside of Lima’s city center. Public transportation and taxis are readily available to take you to and from the airport.
If you are already in Peru and want to explore one of the many beautiful towns and coastal cities, getting around by car is also an option. The Pan American Highway cuts straight through Peru from the Ecuadorian border to the Chilean one. Roads are in good condition and the route also allows you to take in the scenery. Please be aware, however, due to the mountainous terrain, falling rocks may block roads on occasion. You should only drive cross-country if you are an experienced and secure driver. Otherwise feel free to rent a car with a driver, available for reasonable pricing at any number of car hire companies.
You also have the option of taking a train or long-distance bus to most cities across the country. The intercity bus system is quite efficient and not very expensive. Well-known bus lines are Cruz del Sur and Ormeño, both of which also service neighboring countries, and are a comfortable alternative to the car. Rail transport in Peru is not so widely distributed, due to its mountainous geography which complicates construction and service. However, the 20th century saw some major improvements in Peru’s railway system and there are several passenger trains transporting travelers (mostly tourists) across the country.
Larger cities in Peru have a public transportation system. El Metropolitano, the rapid transit bus system in Lima, is the easiest and most reliable form of public transportation. Their website (in Spanish only) gives information on ticket prices, routes, and timetables. Additionally, Lima is trying to finalize the construction of its above-ground mass transit system, the Lima metro. Currently there is only one line in use, which connects the southern part of Lima with the city center.

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