Republic of Peru

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is the third biggest country in South America after Brazil and Argentina. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Currently the population of Peru is estimated at 29.9 million people, of which 45% are so called Amerindian, the Indigenous peoples in Peru. Other ethnic groups are Mestizo 37%, White 15% and Other 3%. Mestizo is a Latin American term for people of mixed heritage, mostly Amerindian with European.

Peru is a big country with a lot of different geographic regions. From the dry forests and the tropical rain forest of the amazon to the desert along the coast, separated by the impressive Andes mountain range with several landscape types and climates. This makes Peru a very diverse and interesting country to visit and famous for its beautiful nature and scenery.

map Peru
Incas Peru

Peruvian history

There have been a couple of ancient civilizations that lived in Peru. The earliest may have been about 6000BC near the borders of the provinces Chilca and Paracas and in the uplands of Callejon de Huaylas. Eventually, they were succeeded by dominant city-states like Chancay, Cajamara and Sipan, and empires of Chimor and Chachapoyas. These kingdoms have built up rather sophisticated methods in cultivation, pottery, gold and silver crafting, knitting and metallurgy. After that, the famous Inca Empire expanded its territory in the Andes. Mid-1400 and early-1500 the Inca Empire was at its peak where it became the largest Empire in pre-Colombian America.

In 1526 the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire begins when Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro make first contact with the Inca Empire at Tumbes, the last Inca stronghold in the North. In 1531 Francisco Pizarro returned to Latin America, after getting the license of the queen of Spain to conquer Peru, to successfully invade Cajamarca in 1532. After this the Spanish re-established the Inca city of Cusco as a new Spanish colony. In 1535, Lima was established as a centre for political and administrative institutions. In 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was built to unite Spanish royal authority over its vast territories across Latin America that includes Colombia, Panama, Ecuador and half of Venezuela.

In the early 19th century there where many uprisings in Peru of people wanting independence. This lead to proclamation of independence of Peru by Jose de San Martin of Argentina on July 28, 1821 in Lima. However it was 1879 when Spain recognized the sovereignty of Peru. Soon after, Peru was involved in many intermittent territorial disputes conflicts with their neighbours Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador. In the early 1900s, after the Pacific war, political and economic stability were achieved.

Politics

The current president of Peru is Ollanta Humala from the Peruvian Nationalist Party. Under the current constitution, the President is the head of state and government; he or she is elected for a five-year term and may not immediately be re-elected. All citizens above the age of eighteen are entitled and in fact compelled to vote. The President appoints the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister.

The politics of the Republic of Peru takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Congress. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

During its more than 180 years of independence, Peru has been ruled by the military leaders who fought for independence, the leaders of the War of the Pacific, representatives of the aristocracy, and democratically-elected leaders. Also, the history of the presidency has involved civil wars, coups and violence. More than once, several individuals claimed the right to be president at the same time. The last military led government of Peru ended in 1980. From 1980 Peru started building up a democratic political system and society. As a relative young democracy, Peru still has a lot of challenges like fighting corruption.

Religion of Peru

Religion is very important in the peruvian society. The main religion is Catholic, brought by the Spaniards. There are many churches and cathedrals, most of them build by the Spaniards. Catholicism is being lived up to strictly, often there will be processions and the catholic holidays are very important to commemorate and to get together with family. The Peruvian government is closely allied with the Catholic Church. The Constitution describes the role of the Catholic Church as an important element in the historical, cultural, and moral development of the nation.

temple of the sun cusco

Culture

The Peruvians are proud of their country. The peruvian people are known for being friendly and hospitable. Family is really important in Peru and is valued very much. They visit each other often and no opportunity is missed to be together.

Lunch is the most important meal of the day in Peru and takes place around 1pm. It´s normal to have a warm lunch and people take their time to have it, minimum one hour also in corporate setting. For this reason it is normal to have a two hour or more lunch break. Dinner consists of a small warm meal and is taken around 8 o´clock. If you happen to stumble into a home while they are eating, you will always be invited to join. Peruvians always cook a little extra, just in case a visitor comes by.

The economic and cultural development in the mountain regions face difficulties. In Lima the division between classes is only getting stronger and a small group of families has a lot of influence.

Economy of Peru

Peru is a developing country with a market economy. The main source of income for Peru is the export of raw materials like gold, copper, iron & steel. The major trade partners are the United States, China, Brazil, and Chile. Peru is a developing country, every year the A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index is made to rate how the developing counties are doing. In the past years the South American countries have taken over this chart by occupying the top positions. Peru was on the 9th position in 2010, the 7th in 2011, the 10th in 2012 and number 12 in 2013. A steady high ranking.

Country 2013 Rank 2014 Rank 2015 Rank
Brazil 1 1 1
Chile 2 2 2
Uruguay 3 4 3
China 4 3 6
United Arab Emirates 5 7 8
Turkey 6 13 9
Mongolia 7 9 Unranked
Georgia 8 6 Unranked
Kuwait 9 12 5
Armenia 10 Unranked Unranked
Kazakhstan 11 19 14
Peru 12 10 7

Source: http://www.atkearney.com

The GDP per capita is estimated at $ 4252.50 USD (2012) in Peru and it has a high Human Development Index score of 0.741 based on 2012 data. The Peruvian economy is and has been driven by exports and the economy did suffer from a decreasing demand during the financial crisis but managed to restore fairly quickly.

Peru has a pretty sound economy at the moment. They have been able to achieve this because of the following aspects:
• Macroeconomic stability
• Prudent fiscal spending
• High international reserve accumulation
• External debt reduction
• Achievement of investment grade status
• Fiscal surpluses
Because of this Peru has been able to make important steps in their development, mainly improvement of government finances, poverty reduction and process in social sectors.

lima peru

Practical tips Peru

Weather & Climate

The day temperature is year round about 20º C in Cusco. Due to the high altitude, between May and October (winter), temperature can drop to about 3º C or even colder at night. In the summer from December to April, it is a little warmer, but there may be heavy rains. Generally speaking, Cusco can be cold, especially in the shadow and at night. There are no heating systems, so bring warm clothes. The sun is extremely strong, so use a really good sunscreen.

Altitude

Some areas of Peru are situated at extreme heights. Cusco, for example, is situated at 3,360 meters. Most people are not used to such altitude, so you need to take care the first few days. Take it easy when you arrive. Don’t drink any alcohol and don’t eat big heavy meals. Drink tea extracted from the leaves of the coca plant instead. Coca tea is common in the Peruvian Andes and helps reduce the negative effects of altitude sickness and stomach problems. You can buy pills in Cusco if you feel sick due to the altitude. At 3,000 meters or higher the air is dry and thin. This can make skin and especially lips dehydrated. If you feel this occurring, apply some cream or lip balm.

lama cusco

Peru Currency

Peru's currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.). One Nuevo Sol is broken down into 100 centimos. Banknotes currently circulating include 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Nuevos Soles. Coins come in 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles. Smaller coins include 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimos.

Currency Exchange

There are no restrictions for changing currency in Peru. US dollars are commonly accepted in most hotels and tourist shops. Local shops and markets only accept Soles. We recommend exchanging money in banks, because they offer more security and guarantees. Be wary of counterfeit banknotes. If you bring US Dollars, make sure the banknotes are new and without any damage. If the banknote is not perfect, it will not be accepted in Peru.

Credit Cards

Visa, Master Card and American Express are accepted in Peru. Credit cards can be used in high range establishments. In case you need cash, use one of the numerous ATM’s located all over the country, especially in larger cities. In Cusco there are many ATM’s in the city centre. Proyecto Peru accepts Visa credit card payments. For further information or to cancel your credit card, contact: Visa: (511) 372-5808 Master Card: (511) 444-3366

tradicional clothes

Transportation

You can use public transport buses and mini-buses to get around Cusco with a charge of less than one Sol. On the other hand, taxis have a fixed urban tariff of S/. 3 soles (about $ 1 USD) possibly rising to five Soles if you're going to the airport. If possible, use registered taxis; a sign and a phone number on the roof identify them.

Communications

One hour in an internet cafe costs about one Sol. There are many throughout the city. Proyecto Peru has a Wi-Fi connection in the Spanish school which is free for all interns. Also most of our accommodations have internet access. For phone services you can use a phone card with one of the hundreds of public phones located all around the city. Probably the best way is to simply buy a prepaid sim card and put it in the mobile phone you bring from home. You can also rent a local phone at Proyecto Peru to use during your stay.

Safety and Security

Wherever you go, always keep the following rule in mind: don’t let your money, backpack, documents or camera out of your sight. It is not necessary to become paranoid while travelling in Peru, it is not dangerous, but be aware of pickpockets.

Tourist Protection Service

The Tourist Protection Service (SPT) has been created to protect your consumer rights by helping you to solve any problems that may arise regarding the tourist services you contract in Peru. The SPT intercedes on behalf of tourists to obtain immediate attention from the individual or company that fails to provide optimal and timely service, or does not comply with contractual terms or advertised conditions.

You can reach the SPT by telephone or fax the 24 hour Hot Line: +511 421-1227. Call toll free: 0800-4-2579 (not available by pay phone). When calling, kindly give the operator your full name, explain your problem briefly, and identify the individual or company involved. For further assistance, there is a team of assistants that will be able to help you by phone or in person, as required. The service is available in Spanish or English. If you may encounter any problem, of course Proyecto Peru will assist you to resolve it.

Tourist Visa

Most European and North American visitors with a valid passport are permitted to stay in Peru for a maximum of 183 days without any visa requirements. However, travelers from all African countries (except South Africa), Middle Eastern and Eastern European countries must pre arrange their tourist visas. An exit ticket is officially required to enter the country.

Local Peruvian people

As in most countries, in order to visit Peru, any traveler must show his or her passport upon entry. If you leave the country you can enter Peru again without any problems as long as you don't exceed the maximum total stay of 183 days.

You can do your internship on a tourist visa. On a tourist visa you can't do any paid work, but an unpaid internship is allowed.

Health and vaccinations

Concerning the vaccinations, we recommend you to ask your doctor, especially if you are planning to visit the Amazon jungle. No vaccination is obligatory, but Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Yellow Fever (for the jungle) are recommended. If you have any sort of allergy, please let us know at the beginning of your programme.

Do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, treated with iodine, or purified. This includes ice cubes or anything that has come into contact with untreated water (like lettuce). If you are bitten by a dog (or any animal), get a medical check-up immediately to ensure you don’t get rabies. Proyecto Peru works together with a medical clinic in Cusco. If there is anything concerning your health during your stay in Cusco, they make sure you will be treated well.

Airport pick-up

With our accommodation options (homestay or flat), the pick-up service from the airport in Cusco is included free of charge. Please remember to tell us your flight details at least 5 days in advance to assure the pick-up. When you step out of the airport building (after you pass through customs) you will see somebody waiting for you. We will have a sign with your name written on it. If you miss your flight please call us at (0051) 84 240278 during office hours or (0051) 950301317 out of office hours and we will do our best to have somebody pick you up at the time of your arrival.

Proyecto Peru Centre on Facebook Proyecto Peru Centre on Google Plus Proyecto Peru Centre on Twitter Proyecto Peru Centre on Instagram Proyecto Peru Centre on Linkedin Proyecto Peru Centre on Vine Proyecto Peru Centre on YouTube Proyecto Peru Centre on Tripadvisor Accreditation