Peru has very diverse geographical
regions. From north to south the coastal area is desert or semi
desert. Only where rivers coming down from the Andean range bring
sufficient water to flow through to the sea are lands cultivated.
Invariably the coastal cities grew around these rivers. To the East
of this desert strip (40 kilometres wide on average) is the sierra
of the Andes.
mountains are located in the department of Ancash although in the
south of the country there are also many high peaks. The Cordillera
Blanca of Ancash is the highest tropical mountain range in the World
with 27 snow covered peaks over 6,000 metres in height. Further to
the East the mountains diminish and become the area known as the
Selva Alta - a lush warm area ideal for the cultivation of cocoa,
coffee, and coca. Finally to the East ,and in fact half of Peru's
territory, is the jungle. Only 10% of the population of Peru live in
this region. Transportation here is largely by river. Air
transportation also is important to this area.
Being entirely within the tropics one might suppose that Peru
maintains high temperatures throughout the year, but in fact various
factors contribute to give regions very different climatic
conditions. The northern coastal area receives little rain and in
the south virtually none. The cold Humbolt Current keeps all but the
extreme north relatively cool along the coast (55-80 degrees F.) The
sierra has a rainy season between October and April and the
temperature is directly in relation to the altitude. A town situated
at 3,000 mts above sea level would have an average temperature of
around 70 F during the day, dropping to perhaps 40 F or lower at
night. In the jungle area it can rain at any time and conditions are
of course usually hot and humid. Peru is perhaps unusual, but not
unique, in the sense that one could find a location between these
climatic extremes that be ideal for any personal preference at any
time of the year.
The main national highway is the `Panamericana´ which was completed
in 1941. The entire route of 2,700 kilometres between Tumbes
(frontier with Ecuador) and Tacna (frontier with Chile) is
asphalted. Roads of the sierra however are far more difficult to
maintain because of the climatic conditions and for the difficult
terrain. It can be dangerous to travel on certain routes during the
rainy season due to landslides and rockfalls. According to the
Direcion General de Caminos the road system totals 73,766 kms of
which only 12% is asphalted.
There are two official languages in Peru - Castellano (Spanish) and
Quechua (the Inca language).
The latest consensus establishes that 80% of the population speak
Castellano as the mother tongue, 16% Quechua, and 4% other languages
such as Aymara and tribal languages of the Amazonian jungle. The
country's religion is predominately Catholic.
Peru is one of the top five countries in the World for biological
diversity. Within its territory exist over 40,000 species of flora,
of which only 20,000 have been scientifically registered. Peru has a
variety of 1,700 bird species , 362 different mammals and 296 kinds
The Peruvian people are usually friendly and interested in other
cultures . Many families have a relative or two living abroad. The
main motive for this is for economical advancement although many
young people are studying abroad with the intention to return on
completion of their course.
Official Name: Republica del Peru
Area: 1,285,216 Km2
Population: 27,544,000 (2004)
Currency: Nuevo Sol
Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara and Amazonian languages.
Ethnicity: Indiginous 45%, Meztizo 37%, Caucasian 15%, Negroid,
Japanese, Chinese and other 3%
National Day: 28 July (day of independence from Spain)
President: Alan Garcia Perez (2006+)
Political Divisions: 24 Departments.
G.N.P. 147million $ U.S. (2003)
PBI per capita: $5,200.
Current growth rate: 5.4%
Unemployment: 13% (partial unemployment 35-55%)
Mining, oil, gold , silver , copper, fishing, textile, food
processing, vehicle assembly, ship building (mainly fishing
vessels), steel, clothing, breweries, tobacco, tyres, cement, timber,
coal , natural gas, electrical energy, AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION:
Coffee, cotton, rice, cane sugar, wheat, potatoes, cocoa, maize, meat
products, dairy products and wool.