Cuzco, Peru http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vue_de_Cuzco_%282007%29.jpg Adeimantos
Peru is a country on the west coast of South America. It is a democratic republic headed by a president and a prime minister. The country covers 1,285,216 sq km (496,225 sq mi), making it the 20th biggest country in the world by area.
Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast, and Chile to the south. It has a coastline facing the Pacific Ocean to the west. Peru has a population of 29.5 million people, according to 2011 estimate. The capital and largest city is Lima.
Basilica Cathedral of Lima http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lima_Cathedral.jpg Micah MacAllen
The main language spoken in Peru is Spanish, although the indigenous language, Quechua, is also commonly used among the natives. The country is multiethnic. In addition to the Amerindians, its population also include people of European, African and Asian parentage.
Peru is five hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-5). Its official currency is the Nuevo Sol (PEN). Traffic is driven on the right here. The phone IDD code is +51. In 2010, Peru had an estimated nominal GDP of $153.549 billion, equivalent to a per capita nominal GDP of $5,195. Its per capita GDP at purchasing power parity was $9,281.
Peru is divided into three geographical regions by the Andes mountains. Closest to the Pacific Ocean is the arid coast. Next is the Andes mountain range, which includes the Altiplano plateau and Mount Huascarán, the tallest mountain in Peru, at 6,768 m (22,205 ft). Then finally, to the east of the Andes mountains, is the Amazon rainforest which covers a surprising 60% of the country.
The ruins of Machu Picchu http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:80_-_Machu_Picchu_-_Juin_2009.jpg Martin St-Amant
Human presence in Peru goes back to 9,000 BC. The Norte Chico civilization is the oldest complex society in Peru, dating to between 3,000 and 1,800 BC. Since then, other tribes and civilizations have inhabited Peru including the Cupisnique, Chavin, Paracas, Mochica, Nazca, Wari and Chimú. The Incas were the last major civilization in pre-Columbian America, with their empire covering much of the west coast of the South American continent.
Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro brought down the Inca empire when he defeated and captured the Inca Emperor Atahualpa in 1532. This led to the establishment of the Viceroyalty of Peru ten years later. As with many of its neighbors, Peru declared its independence from Spain in 1821. It followed a period of political instability as different military leaders wrestled among themselves to control the country.
Reed fishing boats at Huanchaco Beach, Trujillo, Peru http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Huanchaco.jpg Melissa Thereliz
As with many of its South American neighbors, Peru is no stranger to coups and the overthrow of the ruling government, as had happened several times in his checked history. The president of Peru since 2006 is Alan Garcia.
Planning your visit to Peru
Please recheck this information with the nearest Peruvian embassy, but at time of writing, visitors from North America, the European Union, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore are able to obtain a visa upon arrival for visits of up to 90 days.
Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima is the main gateway to Peru. It is connected with long-haul flights to major cities in North America including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City. Iberia flies from Madrid to Lima while KLM flies from Amsterdam.
Preparing Money for your trip to Peru
The currency used in Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN).
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