Southern Explorations

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Peru Information and Interesting Facts

Peru, the third largest country in South America and nineteenth in the world is slightly smaller than Alaska. It is located in the central part of the continent bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, Chile to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Peru claims the 200-mile wide corridor along its 1,544-mile Pacific coast as one of its natural regions. Seventy percent of the people live in urban areas. Peru has a large indigenous population and contains the most famous of the Inca Empire's ruins. English is spoken in all major cities.

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Peru at a glance

OFFICIAL NAME
Republic of Peru
GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE
Democracy
PRESIDENT
Ollanta Humala (2011)
Peruvian Nationalist Party
Retired Army officer who held military attaché posts in Paris and Seoul
Attempted coup near end of Fugimori presidency
Master’s Degree in political science
POPULATION
27,968,000 (2005 est.)
CAPITAL
Lima
Population 8.4 million
OTHER MAJOR CITIES (ranked by population)
Piura
Arequipa
Chimbote
Iquitos
Trujillo
Chiclayo
Cusco
ETHNICITY
Amerindian 45%
Mestizo 37%
European descent 15%
African descent 2%
LANGUAGES
Spanish
Quechua
Aymara
Amazonian dialects
LITERACY
87.7%
LIFE EXPECTANCY
Men 67.9
Women 72.81
RELIGION
Roman Catholic 81%
Christian other 3%
None/unspecified 16%
AREA
496,222 square miles
PROTECTED AREAS (10% of its territory)
National parks 8
National reserves 9
National forests 4
National sanctuaries 28
NATIONAL FLOWER
Kantuta (also spelled Cantuta and Qantuta), it is called the Inca Magic Flower. (Cantua buxifolia or Fuchsia buxifolia).
NATIONAL BIRD
Andean Cock of the Rock (Rupicola Peruviana)
NATIONAL ANIMAL
Vicuna
MAJOR INDUSTRIES
Mining
Steel
Petroleum
Fishing
Textiles
Tourism
MAJOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Coffee
Cotton
Sugarcane
Rice
Coca
HOLIDAYS
1/1 New Year's Day
March-April Holy Week
5/1 May Day, Labor Day
6/29 Saint Peter and Saint Paul's Day
7/28-7/29 Peruvian Independence Day
8/30 Saint Rose of Lima
10/8 Battle of Angamos
10/20 Lord of the Miracles
11/1 All Saints Day
12/8 Day of the Immaculate Conception
12/25 Christmas
CUISINE
The New York Times calls Peruvian cuisine the best kept secret in South America. Lima has over twenty cooking schools and is at the heart of the new Andean food movement called Novandina, today considered Latin America's most sophisticated cuisine. The diversity of Peru's cuisine naturally lies in its mixture of indigenous and European culture. That blending is enhanced by its many varieties of ahi peppers, some found nowhere else in the world, the abundant species of fish caught off its long coastline, the tropical fruit, lucuma, its wheat staple, quinoa, and over 2,000 varieties of potatoes. Lomo Soltado combines strips of tender steak, sauted with tomatoes, onions, rice and believe it or not, French fries, a divine mixture. Peru's indigenous method of earth pot cooking called Pachamanca is considered a cultural treasure. Staple foods in the highlands include meat dishes, often with a spicy sauce. In jungle areas, fresh fruits, fried plantains, and vegetables are also common. Peruvian vegetarian dishes typically just leave out the meat rather than substituting a vegetarian protein source such as tofu, beans, or nuts. This is the place to experience the pisco sour, a heavenly concoction of lime, whipped egg whites and the country's native grape liquor, pisco.
CURRENCY
Nuevo Sol (PEN)
INTERNATIONAL DIALING CODE
51
TIME ZONE
Same as US Eastern Standard Time, no daylight savings
ELECTRICITY
220 V, 60 Hz

SOUTHERN EXPLORATIONS
IS A PROUD
MEMBER / SPONSOR / AWARDEE OF THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS

The International Ecotourism Society Leave No Trace American Whitewater Ecuadoran Rivers Institute Adventure Travel Trade Association KEXP 90.3FM Seattle International Galapagos Tour Operators Association Washington Wilderness Coalition Headwaters Institute La Pagina en la Puerta (The Page in the Door) Cascadia Wildlands Project
International Rivers
National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth 2009 National Geographic Traveler -  Tours of a Lifetime 2011 World Wildlife Fund - 50 years of environmental conservation

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