There are facts about Peru that we all know about: it’s in Central America (duh!). It’s worldly known for its Machu Picchu (duh!). But did you know that it was actually one of the countries with the richest cultural past of America? It has way, way more to offer than what you think and we’ve collected 9 facts about Peru to demonstrate our point.
1. 43 different native languages coexist
Source: Spiritual Travels
Due to how powerful and huge the Inca empire was, nowadays 43 different native languages exist in Peru. Some of them are the Shipibo, Ashaninka and Aguaruna. But the official ones are Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.
Fun fact: Garcilaso de la Vega labeled Cusco “the belly bottom of the world”.
2. 3,000 popular celebrations take place every year in Peru
Peruvian people have a strong spirituality. A part of their beliefs have been inherited from the Spanish Colonisation, which left behind 3,000 popular celebrations per year. The major religion is Catholicism, but they live with freedom of worship, meaning that a lot of these celebrations come from pre-hispanic cultures and are dedicated to nature and “Pachamama” (Earth Mother).
If you make the math, it’s over ten celebrations per day. Really impressive, how’s that even possible?
Curious fact: Inca celebration Inti Raymi, The Festival of the Sun, is one of the most relevant ones. It takes place in Cusco and honors the sun god with colourful parades, dance and music.
3. Peruvian cuisine is one of the best rated in the world
Not many people know, but peruvian cuisine is one of the best rated and varied in the world. Their food is all about mixing different kinds of colours, textures and ingredients (especially potato, corn, fish and seafood). Just in the coastal area, you’ll be able to find more than 2000 typical soups. Would you dare to try them all?
Fun fact: More than 55 varieties of corn are grown just in Peru, including different colours like yellow, purple, black and white.
4. Vendimia Fiesta: one of the most visited festival
Also related to its gastronomy, one of the most visited festivals from all over the country is the one dedicated to the Vendimia, where people get on a barrel full of grapes, smashing them in order to prepare liters and liters of wine – which is a very important product in the region.
Fun fact: This festival is celebrated since 1950 in Ica, the finest wine-producing region in the country. Every year, before starting the festival itself, a “queen” is elected to smash the first grapes.
5. Peru is the oldest South American Civilisation
Peru is the oldest South American civilisation, which was the cradle of most neighbouring countries. Its millennial influence has been incredibly huge in sister cultures, mostly due to their geographical location.
Fun fact: The Inca Empire was actually larger than the Roman’s, stretching over 40,000 kilometres.
6. Traditional crafts as expressions of the everyday life.
The country’s artisans represent a true expression of the everyday life of its people and the traditional arts and crafts that have lived on from the pre-columbian period. They usually use wood, ceramic, silver and colourful fabrics to make really high quality pieces. Between all of them, ponchos of Monsefú and rock carvings from Huamanga are the ones that stand out the most.
Interesting fact: In Ayacucho, many towns (such as Sarhua and Quinua) live out of mastering traditional arts only.
7. Most of Peru is covered with rainforest
Naturewise: 60% of the country is covered in Amazonian rainforest -this figure is only surpassed by Brazil.
Intersting fact: Two of the largest point break beaches in the world (the ones that create multiple waves at the same time) in the world are in Peru. So if you’re a surf lover, don’t miss to visit Chimaca and Mancora. Their sunsets are breathtaking!
8. Traditional dances mimicking Mother Nature
As you may have noticed, traditions and remains of historic past are a big deal in Peru and so is dance. In fact, one of Peru’s national dances is “marinera” and it mimics the mating process of a bird. The woman moves the folds of her skirt to represent the flying of the animal, while the man struts all around to catch her attention.
9. Shamans and the arts to heal
Western medicine is not that commonly used in Peru (maybe due to how expensive it can be, too). Most Peruvians turn to shamans or curanderos, who are spiritual healers, when it comes to finding a cure to their health problems.
Tru fact: Even a former president of Peru, Fernando Balaunde, employed the wisdom of a curandero to guarantee the wellbeing of his family.
Want to know more? It’s endless! Peru is full of wonders. Don’t hesitate any longer for your next destination: if you haven’t been to Peru, you should put in on your bucket list! And to get the best out of your trip, to meet locals and taste their amazing kindness,remember to enrich it using www.u2guide.com, which will allow you to book amazing immersive and memorable experiences in Peru!