45 Interesting Facts About Peru

Last updated on April 19th, 2022

A lot can be told about South America and specifically Peru, but one thing is for sure, it is among the most beautiful countries in the world. With beautiful coastlines that span thousands of miles and an awesome weather for tourism, there is nowhere else you would wish to spend your vacation. With these facts about Peru, let us explore more about it.

45 Interesting facts about Peru

1. For someone who loves ocean surfing, you will be impressed to learn that Peru is one of the best surfing locations in the world. With a 1.5 mile long tidal wave that you can surf, be sure to hit its coastlines and surf the wave.

2. This one is an interesting one, and it probably will make you laugh. In Peru during New Year’s Eve, it is a normal tradition for your friends and even family to give you a gift of yellow underwear!

Interesting facts about Peru: Yellow underwear as a gift in Peru
Interesting facts about Peru: A hanging yellow underwear

3. And what about the oldest university in the Americas? Yes, The National University of San Marcos, which was founded in the year 1551, is the oldest university in the Americas. It is also known as the “Dean University of the Americas”.

4. The government of Peru banned prisoners from using chili sauce in 1973 claiming that it increased their sexual arousal.

5. If you think that soccer riots are only common in the UK then think twice. A soccer match between Peru and Argentina in 1964 is recorded as being the worst in soccer history. 500 people were injured, and more than 300 lost their lives.

6. It is said that the word Peru was a product of mispronunciation of the word pelu that means a river.

Flag of Peru

Flag of Peru
The national flag of Peru. Image credit – CIA

7. In 2013, the United Nations declared Peru as the largest producer of cocaine in the world, with over US$1 billion in revenues and employing over 200,000 people.

8. Peru is ranked as the sixth largest producer of gold. Remember, this is not in the Americas, but the world. Peru produced 162 metric tons of gold in 2017. The nation is also number three in the world for copper production.

9. Peru has its fair share of oldest things; this time around, it is not about the oldest university. The sacred city of Caral-Supe is said to the oldest residence of our ancestors as human beings in the Americas, and it is over 5,000 years old.

Sacred City of Caral-Supe
Interesting Facts About Peru: Sacred City of Caral-Supe. Photo by Christopher Kleihege

10. Talk about accounting and record keeping. The Incas of Peru had one of the most complex record keeping methods ever to exist. Because they did not know how to write or read, they used to tie knots on a rope that varied in size and color. Each knot was unique and thus represented the number of items recorded.

11. Their national dance is an amazing thing to see. The dance known as the coquettish marinera is choreographed to mimic the mating ritual of birds.

12. The world has a population of 10 million Alpacas, but more than 3.5 million of them are found in Peru.

An Alpaca. It is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance. Image credit – Wikipedia.org

13. Ever asked yourself where John Wayne met his third wife. Well, wonder no more. Wayne met her on the edge of a Peruvian jungle where he was on a set in 1952.

14. From the longest tidal wave to the highest dune, is there anything massive that does not exist in Peru? Located in the Sechura Desert, Cerro Blanco is one of the tallest dunes in the world standing at 1,176 meters tall.

15. Ever wondered where potatoes came from, wonder no more. It is said that the Spaniards in 1562 brought this precious commodity from Peru to Europe.

16. You think that the Grand Canyon is deep. Then you are in for a shock. Peru’s Cañón Del Colca is the second deepest Canyon in the world after Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, Tibet, China. It is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Peru also has the world’s third deepest canyon – Cotahuasi Canyon.

Cotahuasi Canyon Peru. Image credit – http://www.willyadventureperu.com/packages/arequipa

17. In honor of Spanish settlers who were forced to eat cats the first time they arrived in Peru, a festival by the name of La Festival del Gastronómico del Gato is held each year where 100 cats are barbecued. But if you are a cat lover worry not for a judge banned this practice.

18. By the way, about the yellow underpants for a New Year’s Eve present, it is given to a person for good luck.

19. For someone into living and eating healthy, you will love Peru. Camu-Camu fruit which freely grows in Peru is a healthy alternative for oranges with the highest concentration of vitamin C compared to none other food.

20. If you love eating fish, you will love Peru, with the second largest fish catch in the world every year, Peru is a fish lover’s paradise.

21. Ever asked yourself what ancient Peruvians used for currency? Wonder no more. They used corn. Peru produces more than 55 varieties of corn in a wild range of colors.

Variety of corn - Peru. Image credit
Interesting Facts About Peru – Variety of corn. Image credit

22. And do you want to drink a lot of coffee? Move to Peru. Being the ninth largest producers of coffee in the world in 2017, you will love Peru.

23. Another addition to the list of interesting facts about Peru is looking at the Nazca Lines from the sky. The Nazca line consists of geoglyphs that have the impression of gigantic humans, plant, and animals like creatures. These impressions are so great that they have been named to be among the greatest archeological mysteries in the world.

Nazca Lines, Peru. The Fact File
The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Image credit – nwhitford

24. Have you ever wanted to see so many birds in one place? Well, Peru is the place to be. With a world record for 650 birds seen at one place, this is a bird lover’s paradise.

25. There is no need for a freezer and dryer as the ancient Peruvians already devised a way to do that, and it is still in use today. This method is used to freeze dry potatoes by leaving them to be frozen by frost at night then drying them in the sun during the day.

26. Hiram Bingham discovered the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu in 1911.

27. The word jerky, which is lean meat, was originally the Quechua word Charqui.

28. The highest growing tree that also has a copper-colored bark that is consistently peeling grows in Peru.

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