Peru is a country in South America, situated on the western side of that continent, facing the South Pacific Ocean and straddling part of the Andes mountain range that runs the length of South America. Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south.
Peru is a country that has a diversity and wealth little common in the world. The main attractions are their archaeological patrimony of pre-Columbian cultures and the center of Inca's Empire, their gastronomy, their colonial architecture (has imposing colonial constructions) and their natural resources (a paradise for the ecological tourism).
Although Peru has rich natural resources and many great places to visit, many of the people live in poor conditions. 36% of the population live under the poverty line. The rich, consisting mostly of a Hispanic (or "Criollo") elite, live in the cities. Nevertheless, most Peruvians are great nationalists and love their country with pride (largely stemming from Peru's history as the center of both the Inca Empire and Spain's South American Empire). Also, many Peruvians separate the state of Peru and its government in their minds. Many of them distrust their government and police, and people are used to fighting corruption and embezzlement scandals, as in many countries.
The Peruvian economy is healthy and quite strong, however, still some Peruvians see their economy as stuck in a rut. It is indebted and dependent on industrial nations, especially the United States. This dependence, combined with US foreign policy decisions in recent years has contributed to a widely held negative view about the United States government in Peru, but not against individual US citizens.
The word gringo, is used commonly, but is not generally intended as offensive. The original meaning encompassed all white-skinned people who do not speak Spanish. Many people use the word gringo exclusively for Americans or American look-alikes. It's not uncommon for blonde people to be called gringo. Peruvians do not hesitate to greet you with "¡Hola, gringo!".
Generally, people are very friendly, peaceful and helpful. When in trouble, you mostly can rely on getting help. But as with any setting, it is always good to watch out for yourself and try to avoid bad situations. If you get into an argument, it is a good idea to remain amicable, but firm. Most of the time, you can find a compromise that satisfies everyone.
Peru is not exactly a haven for efficiency. Do not expect things to be on time, or exactly as they intend to be. Outside of the more upscale tourist services and big cities like Lima, English is uncommon and the people, trying to be friendly, can give wrong or inexact advice. Plan ahead and leave plenty of time for traveling.
Regions of Northern Peru:
Regions of Southern Peru:
Madre de Dios
Highlights of Peru:
- Chan Chan - Located 5km east of the city proper, Chan Chan is an impressive set of ruins of an ancient Chimor mud city, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Chavín de Huántar - Chavín de Huántar is an archaeological site from the pre-Incan Chavin culture of around 900BC containing ruins and other artefacts. The site is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Huascarán National Park - Huascarán National Park is a high mountain park in Cordillera Blanca range of Peru. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Lake Titicaca - Lake Titicaca1 (Spanish: Lago Titicaca) is located on the border between northern Bolivia and southern Peru. It is considered the highest commercially navigable body of water in the world (3821m).
- Machu Picchu - Machu Picchu is the site of an ancient Inca city, high in the Andes of Peru. Located at 2,430 metres (8,000 ft), this UNESCO World Heritage site is often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", is one of the most familiar symbols of the Incan Empire, and is one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the world — a visit to Peru would not be complete without it.
- Manú National Park - located in the isolated region of Madre de Dios, is one of the most diverse areas in Peru and South America. There is a lot of tropical wildlife to be seen in the National Park, including jaguars, giant otters, several species of monkeys (red howler, black spider, capuchin, squirrel,... monkeys), caymans, turtles. Birds are abundant, including macaws, herons, cormorants, hawks, storks and many more.
- Nazca lines - a mix of long lines, geometrical figures, and giant drawings in the desert sand. Scattered over 500 square kilometers of an arid plateau between the Nazca River and Ingenio River, they are huge representations of geometric patterns, animals, humans figures and thousands of perfectly straight lines that go on for kilometers.
- Paracas National Reservation - is a popular nature reserve on the Southern Coast of Peru.Paracas is also a very popular beach resort destination.
- Río Abiseo National Park - is located in the San Martín department of Peru. UNESCO pronounced it as Natural and Cultural Heritage of Humanity (World Heritage Site) in 1990. The park is home to a large number of species of flora and fauna, as well as the location of over 30 pre-Columbian archaeological sites. Since 1986, the park has not been open to tourism due to the fragile nature of both the natural and archaeological environment.