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The Interesting Culture of Peru

Diversity at it's Best!

The culture of Peru is by far one of the most diverse in South America. Owing thanks to the natural isolation of the region (the Andes mountains to the West of Peru and the Amazon River Basin both discourage travel by foot into Peru), Peruvians have been successful at preserving the culture of Peru for thousands of years. Even after the invasion by the Spanish conquistadors, the ancient culture of Peru is still evident today.

Over half of Peru's population lives on the coastal areas of Peru, whereas the rest mainly live in the mountain areas. Less than 5% of the natives live in the jungle areas of Peru. Approximately 45% of the people of Peru are indigenous, and about 37% is mestizo (a combination of both indigenous and of Latin descent). The rest of the population of Peru is Indian, African, Chinese, or of some other descent. The national language is Spanish, but also Quechua is spoken. The cultural capital of Peru is seen by many as Cuzco, where the foundation of traditional Incan heritage and culture is the most evident. In addition, many villages located in the highlands of the Andes mountains also display the most preserved of heritage.

Peru also has an interesting blend of both Inca and Spanish influences with it's art. Peruvian art is known for it's deep ties throughout Peru's history, well distinguished by it's pre-Hispanic shapes and symbols. This ancient Peruvian art has merged with the art style that was brought across the world by the Spanish conquistadors. The resulting art style is known as naf, and it gives Peru an interesting diversity with it's local arts and crafts that is like no other.

Music within Peru dates back literally thousands of years, preserved by the local community. Music plays a large part of the culture of Peru, where many locals build their own instruments. Ancient Peruvian instruments were made from a variety of materials including cane, conch shells, horns, precious metals, and even mud!

The culture of Peru is also diverse in the way of festivities. Peru celebrates about 3,000 festivities per year, most of which are related to the Christian religion that was brought over by the Spanish conquistadors. However, there are still some festivals which take a Pagan-like twist (such is common among nations which had an existing religion before Christianity). Also, some ancient Inca celebrations are also still practiced. This blend of Christianity and the ancient beliefs are yet another example of the diversity of Peru.

The modern culture of Peru combines all of the best features of it's ancient heritage, with a dash of Spanish and modern influences. In modern Peruvian society, men have an average literacy rate of 92 percent, and women have an average literacy rate of 79 percent. In Peru, children are required to attend school until the age of fifteen. The average life expectancy in modern Peru is 63 years for men and 67 years for women. Peru also has the largest illegal abortion rate, and as a result an estimated 43 percent of all maternal hospitalizations were the result of abortions that were not properly done. Peru also has an extremely high infant mortality rate, at 69 per 1,000 births. Peru's major need at this point is for better healthcare, and for better economic growth. Those needs aside, Peru has an excellent culture, and it's culture is bound to be just as diverse for many years to come.


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Entrance and Exit Requirements

A valid passport is required for entrance and exit from Peru. Additionally tourists must also be able to show evidence of return or onward travel. U.S. citizens may enter Peru for tourist or business reasons for up to ninety days. Keep in mind that the actual amount of time authorized is determined by the Peruvian immigration officer upon entry into Peru.

Peru Medical Information

The medical care can be described as generally good in Lima and as adequate in other major cities. Outside the major cities facilities are very limited. Urban private health care facilities are better staffed and equipped than public or rural ones. Unfortunately the public hospital facilities in Cusco, are regarded as inadequate to handle serious medical conditions.

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Peru's economy is varied depending on the geographical region one looks at. It has an arid coastal region, the Andes further inland, and tropical lands bordering Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil. It has abundant mineral resources in the mountainous areas. Additionally the coastal waters of Peru have excellent fishing grounds.

In the past the overdependence on minerals and metals has subjected the economy to fluctuations. When commodity prices rise and fall along with it goes the economy. Peru has bee criticized for a lack of infrastructure that deters trade and investment from international organizations.