World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of South America

Peru Travelling Guide
Peru Travelling Guide

General background: Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency. President Alberto FUJIMORI's election in 1990 ushered in a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround in the economy and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime. FUJIMORI won reelection to a third term in the spring of 2000, but international pressure and corruption scandals led to his ouster by Congress in November of that year. A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Alaska.

Climate: Varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes.

Terrain: Western coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in centre (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva)

Population: 27,949,639 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Amerindian 45%, Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and White) 37%, White 15%, Black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%

Religions: Roman Catholic 90%

Language: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara

Government type: Constitutional republic

Capital: Lima

Legal system: Based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Economic overview: Thanks to strong foreign investment and the cooperation between the government and the IMF and World Bank, growth was strong in 1994-97 and inflation was brought under control. In 1998, El Nino's impact on agriculture, the financial crisis in Asia, and instability in Brazilian markets undercut growth. And 1999 was another lean year for Peru, with the aftermath of El Nino and the Asian financial crisis working its way through the economy. Political instability resulting from the presidential election and FUJIMORI's subsequent departure from office limited growth in 2000. The downturn in the global economy further depressed growth in 2001. President TOLEDO, who assumed the presidency in July 2001, is working to reinvigorate the economy and reduce unemployment. Economic growth in 2002 is projected to be 3 to 3.5%.

Communication/Telephone system: Adequate for most requirements.

Places of interest: The verdant Amazon Basin, which occupies half of Peru, is one of the world's top 10 biodiversity 'hot spots' - a species-rich area of tropical rain forest. And the coastal deserts, with their huge rolling dunes, farmland oases and fishing villages are all worth experiencing.

Travel tips: The US and UK governments have issued alerts on the potential for further terrorism in the region.