Peru is situated on the eastern-central part of South America, bound on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil and Bolivia, on the south by Chile and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. It has an area of 1,285,215 square km (approximately 714,008 square miles).


The population of Peru is approximately 23 million.


The official languages of Peru are Spanish and Quechua, the native tongue spoken since Inca times. Aymara and Amazonian dialects are also spoken. English is widely understood in major tourist areas.


The great majority of Peruvians are Catholic. However, since freedom of religion exists, churches and temples of other faiths can be found everywhere.


Peru is divided into three distinct major regions: the narrow desert on the coastal strip, with the exception of the northern end which merges into the equatorial tropical mangroves. The desert holds most of the country's major cities, located on the fertile valleys irrigated by rivers descending from the Andes.

The highlands or Sierra on the Andes Mountains ascends rapidly from the coast to heights of up to 6,782 meters (20,000 feet) above sea level. Most of the area lies between 3,000 and 4,000 meters above sea level with a rough but rewarding landscape of deep canyons and snowcapped mountains. The Amazon Basin lies east of the Andes and is covered by dense jungle and crossed by countless rivers and streams. Even though 60% of Peru is jungle, only five percent of the population lives there.


The weather varies greatly depending on the geographical region. During summer (December to April), the temperature along the coast reaches up to 82 degrees; the rest of the year, this area is covered by a thick layer of clouds and mist. In the central coast (where it virtually never rains), temperatures may drop to 58 degrees during the winter. In the highlands, it is normally cold, sunny and dry for much of the year, with temperatures ranging from 77 to 82 degrees. Rainy season in the highlands and the jungle is from December to April.


Peru is a Democratic Republic. Presidential as well as Congressional elections are held every five years.


Handcrafted items are very characteristic of Peru. Woven rugs, tapestries, alpaca sweaters, ponchos, jewelry and many other products using materials such as leather, copper, silver, and wood are made by native Indians using ancient methods. These items are displayed at the Indian markets and sold at very reasonable prices. Shopping centers and other stores are also found in the downtown and commercial areas.


Some hotels and many typical restaurants offer folklore shows. Night clubs, Discos and Penas, which feature local food and live Creole entertainment and dancing, are found in every major city, and even in small villages. There are also many cultural and recreational events presented in theaters and coliseums. Casinos are the latest entertainment and widely spread in the best hotels and throughout Lima.

Official Public Holidays:
January 1
New Year's Day


May 1
Labor Day
June 29
St. Peter and St. Paul
July 28/29
Independence Days
August 30
St. Rose of Lima
October 8
Battle of Angamos
November 1
All Saints Day
Dec 8
Feast of Immaculate Conception
Dec 25
Christmas Day

February 14
Virgin of the Candelaria - Puno - Folklore
March 11
Vintage Festival - Ica - Wine Tasting
Peruvian Paso Horse Contest - Lima - Holy Week Processions and Festivities are celebrated throughout the country
June 24
Inti Raymi (Inca Festival) - Cuzco
June 1-30
Cuzco Festival / Corpus Christie - procession

Spring Festival Trujillo Parade

Lord of Miracles - Lima Procession
Bullfight Festival - Lima
November 17
Puno Week - Folklore

Food and Water:

Peruvian food is very good. It is cooked from fresh ingredients and it's tasty and filling. Meals consist of three or four courses and can be overwhelming. Hotels and restaurants that cater to foreign travelers are quite careful to meet high standards of hygiene and to provide foods that suit the northern palate. This does not mean you will be perfectly safe from mild stomach problems.

Never eat foods bought from vendors on the street, or fruits, unless you peel them yourself. Drinking bottled or carbonated water is recommended at all times. You can look forward to a healthy trip by simply following these precautions.


Peruvian restaurants often include a 10% service charge in the bill. However, it is customary to give an additional 5 to 10% of the total bill. Porters expect a $1.00 tip for each piece of luggage. It is not customary to tip taxi drivers.


Peru uses 220 volts, 60 cycles AC

©Yacumama Lodge 2007