45 Interesting Facts About Peru

Last updated on November 1st, 2018

29. Ever wondered why the climatic condition El Niño was named that way? Well, it was named this way because it hits Peru during Christmas and thus, they decided to name it after baby Jesus (El Niño Jesus).

30. For thousands of year, ancient Peruvians used the coca plant which cocaine comes from for medicinal use and during religious occasions.

31. Did you know that Peruvians love bullfighting? It is said that is was introduced by Spaniards in 1538.

32. Another fact related to bullfighting in Peru is that the bull-fighting ring that stands in Lima was built in 1766 is the oldest bullring in the Americas and the second-oldest in the world after La Maestranza in Spain.

Peru on the Map

33. The ancient Peruvian Empire of Inca was ones the largest empire in the Americas.

34. The world’s tallest flowering plant–Eucalyptus–is found in Peru.

35. If bird droppings are no issue for you, you would have survived Peru. There was a period in the 1800s when these droppings were among Peru’s greatest exports to Europe to be used as fertilizer.

36. Peru has some of the driest deserts in the world. For instance, the Atacama Desert which it shares with Chile has some points that have never seen rainfall in 400 years.

37. The Peruvians had invented nearly all weaving techniques used today by 2,500 B.C.

38. There is plenty of asparagus in Peru, so much that it was the world’s second largest exporter in 2017 ($409.1 million – 33.5% of total asparagus exports.)

39. You will be surprised to learn that some Peruvian tribes used wines know as yagé administered by a shaman to promote healing and knowledge. The wine has hallucinogenic properties.

40. A surprising fact about Peru’s culture is trial marriage. This type of marriage exists in the Quechua tribe whereby men and women are allowed to marry freely and end their marriages whenever they like.

41. A person is given one poncho (an outer garment designed to keep the body warm) to last a lifetime. This may be because one poncho takes up to 600 hours to complete.

42. Marriage in Peru is not a joke. The couple must enter a period where they serve each other. The woman works with the mother-in-law and the man with the father-in-law.

43. Did you know that Peru has the second-largest portion of the Amazon rainforest after the Brazilian Amazon?

44. If you think that shamanism (a shaman is a healer who moves into an altered state of consciousness to access a hidden reality in the spirit world for purposes of bringing back healing, power, and information) is an old thing, then think twice. It is still used in Peru to date. This may be because most of the population cannot afford modern doctors, and it is not a bad thing as the country’s former President, Fernando Belaúnde Terry, employed a shaman to treat them.

45. For the Peruvian tribe of Inca, the sign that two people are married was not an exchange of rings but of sandals.

Peru – country at a glance

Independence28 July 1821 (from Spain)
Capital CityLima
(12°2.6′S 77°1.7′W)
Largest CityLima
(12°2.6′S 77°1.7′W)
Areatotal: 1,285,216 sq km
land: 1,279,996 sq km
water: 5,220 sq km
Population31,914,989 (July 2020 est.)
DemonymPeruvian
Official LanguageSpanish, Quechua, Aymara
BordersBolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador.
CurrencyNuevo sol (PEN)
ReligionCatholic, Protestants
Literacy rate94.2%
Life expectancy at birth74.7 years (2020)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatevaries from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes
Terrainwestern coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in center (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva)
Mean elevation1,555 m
Lowest pointPacific Ocean 0 m
Highest pointNevado Huascaran 6,746 m
Natural resourcescopper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas
Agricultural land18.8%
National anthem"Himno Nacional del Peru" (National Anthem of Peru)
Government typepresidential republic
PresidentMartín Vizcarra
Prime MinisterVicente Zeballos
Birth rate17 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate6.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio0.96 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Literacy94.5%
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory until the age of 70
National symbolvicuna (a camelid related to the llama)
National colorsred, white
Industriesmining and refining of minerals; steel, metal fabrication; petroleum extraction and refining, natural gas and natural gas liquefaction; fishing and fish processing, cement, glass, textiles, clothing, food processing, beer, soft drinks, rubber, machinery, electrical machinery, chemicals, furniture
Exports$44.92 billion (2017 est.)
copper, gold, lead, zinc, tin, iron ore, molybdenum, silver; crude petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas; coffee, asparagus and other vegetables, fruit, apparel and textiles, fishmeal, fish, chemicals, fabricated metal products and machinery, alloys

Imports$38.65 billion (2017 est.)
petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, plastics, machinery, vehicles, TV sets, power shovels, front-end loaders, telephones and telecommunication equipment, iron and steel, wheat, corn, soybean products, paper, cotton, vaccines and medicines
GDP - per capita (PPP)$13,500 (2017 est.)
Time ZonePET (UTC−5)
Internet country code.pe
Calling Code+51
Drives on theRight
Table last updatedApril 15, 2020