Peru is a multilingual country with three official languages: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara. About 84% of the Peruvian population speaks Spanish. Quechua was the language of the Inca Empire and is spoken today by 13% of the population. The third most spoken language is Aymara at about 1.7% of the population, which is less than half a million people. There are at least 13 ethnolinguistic groups that live in the Peruvian Amazon Basin who speak native languages. These languages are spoken by less than 1% of the population, and most Peruvians are bilingual and also speak Spanish.
Phrases in Peru:
- Habla Hello, casual greeting for an old friend
- Bacán/ChévereCool, great, awesome
- La chamba es chamba Work is work
- ¡Qué roche! What a shame!
- Soroche Altitude sickness
- Pata/Pata del alma Friend/best friend
- Bamba A fake, knock off
- Estar CocaCola A phrase used to say someone is a bit crazy
- Ahí nos vidrios See you in a bit
- Lechero A lucky or fortunate person
In 1983, UNESCO declared Machu Picchu a Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity. This Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is visited annually by one and a half million people. It was designed by the Inca civilization and placed in the middle of a tropical mountain forest in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. It was built in 1450 and was not discovered until 1911. It is nicknamed “The Lost City of the Incas” because it survived the pillaging of the Spanish conquerors and is believed that they never set foot on the grounds. Here you will see temples, palaces, terraces, monuments, ramps and giant walls. There are over 150 buildings and a staircase with 100 steps that were carved out of a single piece of stone. It is considered to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World due to the impressive architecture, engineering, value, and significance of Machu Picchu. It holds many mysteries about what the significance is and how they built it.
Cerro Blanco Sand Dune
This sand dune is located in the south of Peru and is also known as Duna Grande. It is the highest sand dune in the world, measuring to 3,860 feet! Tourists can see the Nazca Valley and the Pacific Ocean when standing from the top. You can ride dune buggies, however most vehicles have a hard time reaching the top! Sandboarders will walk all the way to the top just to ride down the sand dune. The descent takes about 4 minutes at full speed.
In 1972, a collection of more than 70 giant human and animal geoglyphs were first noticed from the air. There are 10,000 lines total, with some running up to 30 miles long. Today researchers still do not know the meaning behind the lines. These mysterious geoglyphs created by the Nazca are thought to be a ritual to the gods. Another guess from the show Ancient Aliens is it was an alien landing strip.
Manú National Park
In 1987, the Manú National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is 1.5 million ha and located in southeastern Peru. It recently set a biodiversity record after more than 1,2000 species of butterflies, 1,000 species of birds, and 287 species of reptiles were found in the park. Rare species are also found here, including the giant otter and giant armadillo. Another cool animal that has been spotted is the jaguar. The Machiguengas people live at this sanctuary and are very friendly and curious about outside customs. It is very hard to visit if you are not part of an organized tour and can take months to plan due to the permits that are required to enter the sanctuary.
- Peru produces over 162 tons of gold each year, which is worth over 7 trillion dollars. This makes Peru the 6th largest producer of gold in the world.
- Machu Picchu has survived thousands of years worth of earthquakes due to its intelligent design and sturdy materials. It sits on top of two fault lines.
- The Incas were polytheistic, in other words they believed in many gods.
- The Incas mummified their dead and placed them standing up with gifts to take with them to the afterlife.
- There are over 3,000 different varieties of potatoes grown in Peru. Proud Peruvians use the phrase “Soy mas Peruano que la papa” (I am more Peruvian than the potato).
- The Giant Andean Condor is the largest flying bird on earth. It stands up to 4 feet tall and has a wing span of 14 feet, weighing 27 pounds. It was considered a sacred bird by the Incas. The World Conservation Union has it listed as a vulnerable species.
- Peru is one of the 10 most biologically diverse countries in the world. It has 90 distinct microclimates and is home to 25,000 plant species and about 5,000 species of fish and animals.
- The Cuy (aka the guinea pig) is a traditional dish eaten in Peru.
- Native Quechua women wear different hats that symbolize their relationship status. A woman who is single wears a knitted cap, whereas a woman who is married wears a straw hat. They are also free to end relationships whenever they want. If a marriage is ended, the kids belong to the community instead of the couple.
- The Puya Raimondii is the world’s tallest flowering plant. This relative to the pineapple can take up to a century or more to bloom! Each plant has up to 8,000 white flowers that look similar to lilies. It blooms once a lifetime and dies after the bloom ends.
Prevention Medication for: Malaria
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (TDAP)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow Fever