The history of Peru spans several millennia, extending back through several stages of cultural development in the mountain region and the coastal desert. About 15,200 years ago, groups of people are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait from Asia and survived as nomads, hunting, gathering fruits and vegetables and fishing in the sea, rivers, and lakes. Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization, one of the six oldest in the world, and to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. It was conquered by the Spanish Empire in the 16th century, which established a Viceroyalty with jurisdiction over most of its South American domains. The nation declared independence from Spain in 1821, but consolidated only after the Battle of Ayacucho, three years later.
Education and Literacy: Peru has a educational system that is a three-level, eleven-year education system based on reforms made after the 1968 revolution. The first pre-primary level is for children of 3 – 5 years old. The six-year primary education is for children between 6 – 11 years old. Five-year secondary education begins at age 12 – 16 years old. In 2005, only 66 % percent of school-age children attended school. At this time, Peru had 27 national and 19 private universities, all government-regulated and recipients of public funding. The estimated literacy rate in Peru is 85%.
Ethnic Groups: Native American, 45%; Mestizo, 37%; white, 15%; black, Asian and other, 3%
Weather: Weather and climate vary with the regions. The coast has its summer from December to April. In the winter temperatures drop but it's still rainless. In the Andes April to October is the dry season, 20-25°C in the day and cold at night, sometimes below freezing. The rest of the year rain and a slight temperature drop. The jungle has its dry season from April to October with temperatures up to 35°C. During the rainy season there is heavy rainfall and high humidity
What to bring: Passport; travelers checks; first-aid kit; cloths for warm and cool weather; raincoat; personal backpack; money belt; flashlight; needle and thread; hat; sunglasses. Get a copy of your important documents. Peru's electrical current is 220 volts, However, bring a plug converter.
The most important sickness the tourist get on the coastal line is stomach ache. The main reason could be not well boiled food. You also have to be careful with the water you drink. We recommend to drink only bottled or boiled water. In the Andes, the main sickness is the soroche ( altitude sickness), that is the reason why we recommend to drink a lot of water, or get a coramina before start to drive to the Andes. In the jungle you´ll need a vaccine of yellow fever, recommendable is 10 days before arriving at the jungle. You may also ask your doctor about the possibilities of taking a vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid, polio or hepatitis.
Peru has a good reputation because of its food. Tasty, varied, hearty, filling and spicy could be some words to describe it. In Lima there is the criolla food, then the chifa, which is a mixture of peruvian and chinese food, and the regionally diversified native food (from Andes and Amazon area). The "must-eat" of peruvian dishes is the famous Ceviche (lemon-marinated raw fish with onions, red peppers, sweet corn, lettuce, boiled potato, sweet potato (camote) or yam (yuca)). Other ones are escabeche, jalea de pescado, chupe de camarones, arroz con pollo, causa, carapulcra, rocoto relleno, lomo saltado, sopa a la criolla, cuy asado, parihuela, mondongo, papa a la huancaína, ocopa arequipeña, palta rellena, estofado de carne, ollucos con charqui, chicharrón and anticuchos; to mention some of them. Some desserts and confections are picarones, mazamorra morada, arroz con leche, alfajores with manjar blanco, turrón de doña pepa, sanguito de pasas, suspiro limeño, humitas dulces, revolución caliente, tejas and panetón de Navidad.
The pisco sour is the most famous drink of Peru. It is made with pisco (the white grape brandy national drink), lemon juice, egg white, sugar, cinnamon powder and syrup or Angostura bitter. Algarrobina, chilcano and sol y sombra are also good cocktails. Guinda (cherry brandy), aguardiente (sugar cane alcohol), anisado (from anise) and rum are quite good spirits. The best wine options are Tacama and Ocucaje from Ica. Beers are available in lager and dark (known as malta or cerveza negra) types, which the best are Cusqueña and Arequipeña. A traditional alcoholic drink is the chicha de jora (made of andean corn), home-made available in the coast and highlands. In the rainforest, some native tribes prepare the strong masato made of fermented yuca (yam). Chicha morada is a refreshing drink made of purple corn, common at lunchtime. Herb teas are varied and the most popular are mate of coca (good for altitude sickness), manzanilla, anís, hierba luisa, boldo, mint and eucalyptus. The best known of soft drinks (gaseosas) is Inca Kola and Cola Escosesa in Arequipa. Fruits are of good quality and you can drink juices of naranja (orange), piña (pineapple), Papaya, fresa (strawberry), maracuyá (passion fruit), sandía (watermelon), toronja (grapefruit), chirimoya (custard apple), guanábana (soursop), lúcuma (eggfruit), mango, mora (blackberry), and uva (grape). Coffee is widely available in restaurants, pubs and cafés; con leche (with milk), espresso, capuccino, decaf, moka, amaretto and others of your choice. The local tea (from jungle farms) is tasty and good; also available as té canela y clavo de olor (flavored with cinnamon and clove), té naranja (flavored with orange), té frutal (flavored with fruits essence) and black té. Hot chocolate is very popular at Christmas dinner.
MATE OF COCA
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