Peru at a Glance
Living in Peru123RF
Machu Picchu, the symbol of Inca civilization, has become one of Peru’s tourism highlights.
The country offers a rich heritage, from folk festivals over culinary delights to astounding landscapes. Thus expats living in Peru are usually very happy to call this Andean country home.
With almost 30 million inhabitants, the country is fast growing to one of the largest in South America. Expats planning on living in Peru will belong to the numerous other people with multiethnic backgrounds. The population is made up of 45% Amerindians, 37% mestizos, 15% white residents, and 3% black, Chinese, or Japanese Peruvians. The main language spoken by people in Peru is Spanish, with many smaller villages still fluent in a native dialect of Quechua. Most residents of Peru are Roman Catholic, with a small percentage (around 13%) following the evangelical faith.
Peru’s government is a presidential representative democratic republic with a multi-party system. In short, this means Peruvian citizens elect a president and prime minister, both of which are to fulfill a five-year term. Voting is compulsory for all citizens between the ages of 18 and 70. The current President is Ollanta Humala; Juan Federico Jimenez is the Prime Minister.
Geography and Climate
On an area of roughly 1.28 million square kilometers (496,255 square miles) you will find a very diverse ecosystem, encompassing mountain ranges, beaches, and rainforests. Expats living in Peru will be able to see such natural wonders as the Lake Titicaca, one of the highest lakes in Latin America, the Alpamayo Peak, considered to be “the most beautiful mountain in the world”, or the Rock Forest of Huayllay in the meseta of Bombon.
Peru’s climate is extremely diverse because of its spread out and varied geographical layout. There are three main climes in Peru: The coastal climate is very subtropical, and expatriates in Peru’s coastal region will be happy to know that it sees very little rainfall! The Andes region in Peru has the characteristic cool rainy summers and very dry winters, while people inhabiting Peru’s eastern lowlands are exposed to the typical equatorial climate of very hot and generally rainy weather. It is important to note that due to Peru’s high altitudes in the Andean region, expats with respiratory complications should consider their move carefully.
The Peruvian culture is very intertwined with its Inca history. In fact, Peru features a combination of Hispanic and Amerindian culture. Most people planning on or already living in Peru will be familiar with the name Machu Picchu. This ancient Inca ruin, built in the 15th century, is considered to be the symbol of Inca civilization. It has been crowned one of the Seven Wonders of the World, as well as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city of Cuzco, where Machu Picchu is located, is now a tourist magnet, which is very helpful to the Peruvian economy.
Expats in Peru who are interested in folklore and traditions are happy to have such a wide cultural repertoire at their fingertips. Peruvians are very proud of their cultural heritage and also enjoy sharing it with others. Monthly festivals are the norm, and Andean music can be heard throughout the streets, especially in the smaller cities and villages. Due to Peru’s geographical diversity, different types of traditions fuelled by the influence of the respective environment are able to coexist peacefully, highlighting Peru’s fascinating culture.