Peru, officially called the Republic of Peru, is a sovereign country located in western South America. The Pacific Ocean borders its coastline and borders Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, and Bolivia and Chile to the southeast. Its territory is made up of diverse landscapes: the valleys, plateaus and high peaks of the Andes unfold to the west towards the desert coast and to the east towards the Amazon. It is one of the countries with the greatest biological diversity and the greatest mineral resources in the world
Peru is the third largest country in South America, after Brazil and Argentina. It is made up of a variety of landscapes, including mountains, deserts, rainforests and beaches. Most people live along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, where the capital, Lima, is located. Peru shares borders with five countries – Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile.
Peru: The territory
Along Peru’s west coast is a narrow strip of desert 2,500km long. This region only makes up around 10 percent of the country, but it is home to more than half of the country’s population. The coastal desert was first inhabited thousands of years ago by Ancient people called the Chimú and the Nasca.
Nearly half of Peru is covered by the world’s largest rainforest – the Amazon. As well as thousands of fascinating plant and animal species, this huge jungle is home to hundreds of Amerindian tribes, some of which may never have seen the outside world. Incredible isn´t?
The Andes mountains – the world’s second highest mountain range – run through Peru, from north to south. These beautiful snow capped peaks are popular with tourists who enjoy hiking and trekking. Peru’s tallest mountain is Mount Huascarán, measuring a massive 6,768 mts.
People: Ethnic groups
There are more than 33 million people currently living in Peru. This population is made up of groups from different cultures and backgrounds – like the Andes mountain communities, and tribes living in the Amazon Rainforest. These communities have inhabited the land for over five centuries.
The people of Peru are a diverse mix of different cultures, including indigenous people, Spaniards and other Europeans, descendants of African slaves and Asians. Until recently, most people lived in the countryside, but now more than 70 percent live in cities. Most Peruvians follow the Catholic religion introduced by the Spanish in the 16th century.
Language in Peru
There are three official languages in Peru: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara. All of them are all official languages in Peru. Spanish is the most widely spoken of the three, with over 80% of Peruvians speaking this language in Lima and main cities of the country. But these languages are only the tip of the linguistic iceberg in this South American country. Once you travel towards the Amazon Jungle, the people local to this region speak an additional 13 languages.
The predominant religion is Roman Catholic, but there is a scattering of other Christian faiths. Indigenous Peruvians, however, have blended Catholicism and their traditional beliefs. An example is the near synonymous association of Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and the Virgin Mary.
Other interesting facts about Peru
MACHU PICCHU IS ONE OF THE NEW SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD: Intrepid travellers flock to Peru every year to tackle the Inca Trail – a well-known four-day hiking trail on the Andes mountain range that leads to Machu Picchu.
PERU HAS THE HIGHEST SAND DUNE IN THE WORLD: The Cerro Blanco sand dune is the highest in the world, towering over the Sechura Desert at 1,176 metres. The sand dune is located 14 kilometres east of Nazca, so excursions to see it are usually organized from there.
LAKE TITICACA IS THE WORLD’S HIGHEST LAKE: Located between Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca has an elevation of 3,810 metres above sea level.
THE DEEPEST CANYON IN THE WORLD IS IN PERU: The Cotahuasi Canyon has a depth of 3,232 metres.
PISCO SOUR IS PERU’S NATIONAL DRINK: Pisco sour is a Peruvian brandy that is mixed with lemons, sugar, water, egg whites, ice, and bitters.