Capital | Lima
Population | 29,248,943 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 1,285,220 SQ KM
Official Language | Spanish, Quechua
Holidays | Independence Day, 28 July (1821)
Currency | Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time Zone | UTC -5
Best Time to Visit | June to August (the dry season)
Connecting with the Culture | Arriving at Huayna Picchu, above Machu Picchu, just as the sun rises. Sinking into the hot springs at Augua Calientes after hiking to Machu Picchu. Getting a bird’s-eye view of Nazca Lines. Visiting the islands of Lake Titicaca. Hiking in the Cordillera Blanca. Walking through Cuzco over ancient cobblestones and past walls built by the Incas.
Read | The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder, an examination of 18th-century colonial Peru.
Listen | to Afro-Peruvian Classics: The Soul of Black Peru, on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label.
Watch | Fitzcarraldo, directed by Werner Herzog and featuring a particularly maniacal Klaus Kinski in an epic film about an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the jungle.
Eat | ceviche- fresh seafood marinated in lemon juice and chilli peppers, and served with corn on the cob or yucca.
Drink | Inka Kola, bubble-gum flavored fizz; chicha morada, a non-carbonated sweet drink made from purple corn; papaya fruit juice.
In a Word | La noche es larga (the night is long)
Characteristics | Pan pipes; quirky hats; religious iconography; Incan ruins; Llamas; the Andes; colourful textiles; old black Dodges with Madonna painted on the side; jungles; mysterious biomorphs and geoglyphys etched into the land; 16th-century Spanish architecture and artifacts.
Surprises | Dnow and skiing, sand boarding, multiple petticoats under brightly coloured taffeta dresses, villages squares filled with schoolchildren and marching bands.
NEWS ABOUT PERU
Peru: Dolphins Die in Mystery
(HN, 4/19/12) - Since mid-January, an estimated 3,000 dolphins have been found dead along the shores of northern Peru, in what has become 1 of the largest marine mammal mortality events ever reported. No cause has been determined, tho evidence of middle & inner-ear damage, lung lesions & bubbles in the blood are consistent with acoustic impact & decompression syndrome, leading to speculation that oil exploration in the region may be to blame. Persistent organic pollutants that accumulate in organisms further down the food web also tend to become more concentrated in top predators such as dolphins.
In a statement released earlier this month, BPZ Energy confirmed that it was conducting acoustical, seismic studies in the area, but that the dolphin deaths began more than 2 weeks before their exploratory activity began. Much of the information about the current stranding comes from an investigation conducted by Dr. Carlos Yaipen Llanos, from the marine mammal rescue team ORCA Peru, & Hardy Jones of BlueVoice. Traveling 135 km along the coast of northern Peru in late March, Llanos & Hardy noted approximately 600 dolphins stranded, some pregnant. Hardy Jones has produced this video about their trip. Research into the die-off will continue. (Read more at Ecology Global Network)
Peru Nobel laureate donates library to hometown
(HN, 3/22/12) - 2010 Peruvian Nobel laureate for literature, Mario Vargas Llosa will donate more than 30,000 books from his personal library to his hometown of Arequipa, where he was celebrating his 76th birthday on Wednesday. 'A first installment of the books, properly classified' will be donated in 2013, the writer said during a ceremony in his honor. The author of `The Dream of Celt' said he decided to donate his library after 'feeling very dedicated' to Arequipa for the love its people had shown him.
The books are planned to be delivered to Arequipa's Cultural Center, which administers the house where Vargas Llosa was born & will convert it into a museum in 2013. Arequipa was founded on August 15, 1540 by a handful of Spanish conquistadores & is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Read more at Peru This Week)