The official name of the country is "The Republic of Peru " It is situated on the eastern-central part of South America bounded on the north by Ecuador and Colombia , on the east by Brazil and Bolivia , on the South by Chile and on the West the Pacific Ocean . It has an area of 1,285,215 square kilometer. (Approximately 714,008 square miles).
Background: Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadores in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency. President Alberto FUJIMORI's election in 1990 ushered in a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround in the economy and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime. FUJIMORI won reelection to a third term in the spring of 2000, but international pressure and corruption scandals led to his ouster by Congress in November of that year. A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government.
Location: Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador
Geographic Coordinates: 10 00 S, 76 00 W
Map references: South America
Area: total: 1,285,220 sq km • water: 5,220 sq km • land: 1.28 million sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Alaska
Land boundaries: total: 5,536 km • border countries: Bolivia 900 km, Brazil 1,560 km, Chile 160 km, Colombia 1,496 km (est.), Ecuador 1,420 km
Coastline: 2,414 km
Population: approximate 23 million persons
Climate: varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes
Terrain: western coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in center (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva)
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m • highest point: Nevado Huascaran 6,768 m
Natural resources: copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas
Geography: Peru is divided into three distinctively major regions: The narrow desert on the coastal strip, with the exception of the northern end which merges into the equatorial tropical mangroves. The desert holds most of the country's major cities, located on the fertile valleys irrigated by rivers descending from the Andes . The highland or Sierra on the Andes mountains ascends rapidly from the coast to heights of up to 20,000 feet above see level (Huascaran peak). Most of the area lies between 9,000 to 12,000 above see level with a rough but rewarding landscape of deep canyons and snowcapped mountains. The Amazon basin lies east of the Andes and it covered by dense tropical rain forest jungles and crossed by countless rivers and streams. Even thought three fifths of Peru is jungle only five percent of the population lives there Climate: The weather varies greatly depending on the geographical region. During summer (December to April), temperature along the Coast reaches up to 82 degrees; the rest of the year, this area is covered by a thick layer of clouds and mist, specially the central coast where virtually never rains, temperatures may drop to 58 degrees during the winter. In the highlands (Sierra) it is normally cold, sunny and dry for much of the year, temperatures range from 48 degrees to 65 degrees. The jungle is hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 77 degrees to 82 degrees. Rainy season in the highlands and the jungle is from December to April. High Season is from MAY to NOVEMBER - even do it my be cooler it will hardly ever rain.
Language: Spanish and Quechua (native tongue spoken since Inca times) are official language. Aymara and Amazonian dialects are also spoken. English is widely understood in major tourist's areas.
Religion: The great majority of Peruvian are Catholic, however since freedom of religion exists, churches and temples of other faiths can be found everywhere.
Shopping: Handcrafted items are very characteristic of Peru . Woven rugs, tapestries, alpaca sweaters, ponchos, jewelry and many other products suing materials such as leather, copper, silver, wood, are made by native Indians using ancient method. These items are displayed at the Indian markets and sold at very reasonable prices. Shopping centers and other stores are also found in the downtown and commercial area. Most store hours are from 10am to 1:30 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm, but my vary in some cities.
Entertainment: Some hotels and many typical restaurants offer folkloric shows. Nights clubs, Discos and Penas (typical food and live creole entertainment and dancing) are found in every major city and even in small villages. There are also many cultural and recreational events presented in theatres and coliseums. Casinos are the latest entertainment and widely spread in the best hotels and through out Lima .
Food & Water: Peruvian food is very good. It is cooked from fresh ingredients it is tasty and filling. Meals are consisting of three or four courses and can be overwhelming. Hotels and restaurants that cater to overseas travelers are quite careful to meet high standards of hygiene and to provide foods that suit the northern plate. This does not mean you will be perfectly safe from mild stomach problems. use the same common sense you would in the US when it comes to foods left standing for long periods at room temperature. Never eat foods bough from vendors on the street or fruits, unless you peel them yourself. Drinking bottled or carbonated water is recommended at all times. You can look forward to a healthy trip by simply following these precautions.
Electricity: Peru uses 220 volts, 60cycles A/C
Taxes: There is $4.00 airport use tax for all domestic flight passengers and $25.00 payment for international departures can be made in US dollars or Soles. Restaurants will automatically included a18% Sales Tax and stores automatically include the tax on the price of the items. Mare sure and always ask for your receipt, it's mandatory.
Measurement: Metric system is exclusively used in Peru . Temperature is measure in centigrade, weight in grams and kilograms, length in meter and kilometers, and liquids in ounces and liters.
Tipping: Restaurants include a 10% service charge, however it is customary to give an additional 5% to 10% of the total bill if and only if you are given good services and you them must measure how much extra tip to give. Porters expect a $1.00 tip for each piece of luggage. It is not customary to tip taxi drivers. It is always good tip your hotel maid specially if you need extra things. We recommend you tip you guide from$5.00 to $10.00 per days per person that is only if he or she does a good job and in order to get the high tips they must do an extra extraordinary service.
Heath & Inoculations: No inoculations are required when entering or leaving Peru . However we recommend you consult your doctor for professional advise. We recommend malaria inoculation at times also yellows fever only when going into the Amazonian area. Should any health problem arise, good medical service and treatment is available at any major city. We highly recommend travel insurance.
Passport & Money: No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days for passport holder of United States and Canada . Tourist cards will be provided on board aircraft prior to landing. Detailed information about other visas can be obtained from the nearest Peruvian Consulate in Washington , New York , Miami , Los Angeles , San Francisco , Chicago . In Canada : Ottawa , Toronto , Montreal and Vancouver . You need a valid US passport to travel to Peru.
Money – Credit Cards - Travelers Checks: The monetary unit is the "Nuevo Sol (S/.)" with a stable exchange rate: coins S/. 1, 2, 5, Bills S/.10, 20, 50,100. Dollars are accepted throughout the country, major credit cards as well as travelers checks are largely accepted. Money can be exchanged at banks, exchange houses or street changers. Banking hours are: 9:00 am to 5 pm. ATM tellers are situated throughout Lima and major cities.
Time Zone: Peru is five hours behind Greenwich Meridian time. Same as USA Eastern time from November to March and Central time from April to October.