Peru General Information

Peru, the largest area in the Andean countries, was the cradle of the most advanced indigenous civilizations and most powerful empire in South America pre-Columbian cultures. Peru was also the focus of Spanish colonial domination for its first two hundred years of rule. What remained of pre-Columbian America with regard to people, culture, and settlements is perhaps better represented in Peru than in any other country.

The country has a 2,400 kilometer (1,500 miles) long coast on the Pacific Ocean and bordes Colombia and Ecuador in the North, Brazil and Bolivia on the east, and Chile on the south. It is the only country that borders all the Andean state.

Language: the official languages of Peru are: Spanish which is used on a 73% of the population; the Quechua or runasimi, spoken for a 24% of peruvians. Some specialists recognise to especific variations of quechua on the national territory : the huáihuash, which is quite popular on the central part of Peru and the huámpuy, spoken by the rest of the country. Most of the quechua-speakers are bilingual and have spanish as their second language. The same thing happens with the Aymaras, whose language extends strongly over the Altiplano. There are also over 55 amazonic languages spoken by tribes on the peruvian jungle such as: asháninka, aguaruna and machiguenga.

Religion: The official religion is the Roman Catholic. Over an 80%ofthe population practice it with deep devotion, However there is a freedom of cult in this country, nobody is compulsed to believe in what others say, besides some people from the Andes and the Amazonia practice the Catholic Religion mixed with some old traditions such as the cult to the Pachamama (the mother earth) and the natural phenomenons
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Currency: The Official currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol and its symbol is S/. It is divided in 100 centimos (cents): with coins valued at S/.5 , S/.2 , S/.1,and 50, 20, 10 centimo pieces, although the latter is being phased out as it is virtually worthless. Notes in circulation are S/. 200 , S/.100 , S/.50, S/.20 and S/.10. The economy of Peru goes side by side with the American dollar, that’s why many businesses are treated with the use of both currencies.

Exchange Rates: The easiest foreign currency to exchange is the american dollar, very common on the tourism issue, most of the entrance fees, tickets and and fares are given in american dollars. There are plenty of Exchange Houses and you could also exchange your money with the cambistas people on the street who are usually walking up and down Sol Av. Hotels and credit card may do that for you even though they are extremely reliable their exchange rate is very low which makes you lose a fair bit of money. The exchange rate varies everyday on a consider difference.

Travellers Checks: Travellers checks are not very used, it gets a bit problematic even in some banks, and especially because the loss of porcentage is about 2 to 5% of the total value of your check.
Money Transfers: You can do some movements on your accounts from Peru with no problems at all, it is just a matter of time, which could take from three days to more in case they are of international matter, if it is a national transfer it should take no longer than one day. There is also the use of ATMs which are easy to reach and located on the main avenue , Av. Sol.
Credit Cards: The most popular and accepted credit cards are: Visa, Dinners, Mastercard and American Express. However the use of these is not very popularing some provinces in Peru.

Banks: Generally the banks in Lima and another cities are open to the public from 09:00 until 18:00 from monday to friday and saturdays and sundays only until midday in capital, However in some other cities like Cusco some banks close at midday or lunch time for about three hours and start again.

Time: Peruvian time is located five hours after the GMT (Greenwich Mean time) and it’s similar to the EST (Eastern Standart Time) time in the U. S. A..
Referencial Times: when it is noon in Peru, in Santiago de Chile and Caracas is 13:00; in Rio de Janeiro and buenos aires it is 14:00; in New york it is 12:00 , and in Tokyo it is 03:00 on the day after .

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