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Peru

Peru is one of the world’s greatest centers of ancient civilization. It is also one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse countries on the planet. Come join us in this amazing country!

Peru Flag

Peru is located in the west central part of South America, and it is the 19th largest country in the world. It shares borders to the north with Ecuador, to the south with Chile and Bolivia, and to the east with Columbia and Brazil. Peru’s geography, climates, and cultures are very diverse due to the natural variation of its geography, which includes the Pacific coast, the Andes, and the Amazon Jungle.

Peru’s diverse cultures and civilizations were some of the most advanced in the world, culminating in the well-known Inca Empire. These ancient cultures left behind one of the richest collections of architecture, metallurgy, ceramics, and textiles known to man.

Population: 27,483,000
Geography: 1,285,215 km² (494,208 square miles)
Peru is approximately three times the size of California. The highest point is Huascaran at 6,768 meters (4.2 miles) above sea level.
Capital: Lima
Population 7,989,000
Founded: 18 January 1535
Currency: New Sol (S/.)
U.S. dollars are accepted in all places of business and are available at most ATMs. Other currencies can be easily exchanged.
Government: Elected democracy
Languages: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara
Time Zone: UTC -5:00

Cusco Peru

Cusco, Peru

Located in the south eastern Andes Mountains, Cusco sits at an altitude of 3,400 meters above sea level (11,000 feet). Cusco is the historic capital of the Inca Empire and it’s the gateway to the sanctuary-city of Machupicchu. Cusco is one of the most spectacular highlights of South America, and while it’s a city of 400,000 people, the center of Cusco always feels small and historic.

Cusco Taxi

Getting Around

Cusco has very good transportation provided by private “combis” (shared mini buses), and taxis are also readily available and can be flagged down right on the street. That said, Cusco is a small city, and most people walk to wherever they’re going. When using combis, you should pay when you get on and then take a seat or remain standing; note that combis are often very full. Taxi fares are regulated and from 6:00AM to 10:00PM taxis charge only $0.80 (USD) to go anywhere in the city; and $1.25 (USD) between 10:00PM and 6:00AM.

Peru-Food

Food

Peruvian cuisine is probably the most internationally recognized of all Latin American gastronomy. It is very diverse in taste, includes a variety of ingredients, and is highly seasoned. Some of the best dishes that you should be sure and try include ceviche, anticuchos, chicharon, seco, aji de gallina, lomo saltado, pollo a la brasa, and arroz chaufa. Peruvians are very proud of their cuisine and as a visitor it’s important to try their food and to react positively no matter how you really feel about it!

peru-culture

Culture

Peruvian culture is unique, especially in the Cusco area. Traditional customs and indigenous rituals are still present in daily life, and should always be respected. Most Peruvians are Catholic and it is the official government religion. Peruvians are generally conservative and even somewhat formal until they know you, after which they are quite fun loving and very friendly. Some cultural recommendations include:
– Dress conservatively
– Speak politely even if you’re angry
– Ask before taking someone’s picture; tip people wearing traditional dress
– Don’t take long showers—it’s considered rude as it uses lots of electricity
– Wear shoes or sandals at your family-stay
– Understand that “Cusco time” is often flexible
– Avoid topics such as pre-marital sex and teen pregnancy

Peru Shopping

Shopping

Cusco has an abundance of markets and shops where you can buy souvenirs, world-class alpaca products (sweaters, blankets, etc.), and traditional hand-made textiles. The entire Cusco area and the surrounding villages are famous for their handicraft markets. There are also great open-air markets for fresh fruits and vegetables. In recent years, a modern mall was built in the suburbs of Cusco where you can find a movie cinema, clothes, hiking equipment, and anything else you might need.

Peru Food

Eating Out

Cusco has excellent food—much of it is very inexpensive, though Cusco also has excellent higher-end restaurants. By eating in local restaurants, visitors can enjoy good food at very low prices. For example, you can get a 3-course lunch plus drink for as little as $2.00 (USD). At tourist level restaurants and hotels, you can find fine dining, casual bistros and cafes, and excellent wood-fired pizza and pollo a la brasa.

Peru-nightlife

Nightlife

Most clubs and bars in Cusco are concentrated around the Plaza de Armas and in the San Blas district. Cusco has a lively nightlife with a wide variety of clubs and bars; Cusco also has some good places to relax and listen to live traditional and modern music. Cusco is a very safe city, but it pays to be vigilant. You should never walk alone at night, and you should be very careful with your valuables.