Everything about Peru

By Emma Nylen

Macchu Picchu

Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.

Traditional dish of Peru

Ceviche is found in almost all Peruvian restaurants on the coast, typically served with camote (sweet potato). Often spelled "cebiche" in Peru, it is the flagship dish of coastal cuisine, and one of the most popular dishes among Peruvians.
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Ceviche recipe

Ingredient

  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 8 limes, juiced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 5 green onions, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Rinse scallops and place in a medium sized bowl. Pour lime juice over the scallops. The scallops should be completely immersed in the lime juice. Chill the lime juice and scallops all day or overnight until scallops are opaque (you cannot see through them).
  2. Empty 1/2 of the lime juice from the bowl. Add tomatoes, green onions, celery, green bell pepper, parsley, black pepper, olive oil, and cilantro to the scallop mixture. Stir gently. Serve this dish in fancy glasses with a slice of lime hanging over the rim for effect
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The weather

There is little rainfall along the coast, although the winter is foggy, humid, and cool. Temperatures vary significantly between the rugged Andes and the eastern jungles. In the capital city of Lima, the temperature is moderate year-round, averaging 65°F (18°C). The El Niño weather phenomenon periodically has a dramatic impact on Peru, causing flooding and mudslides.

Manners

In Peru, it is thought polite to greet all people that you come into contact with, including shop assistants and bar staff, however long or short your acquaintance might be. Learning some simple Spanish phrases will enable you to do this, as it is considered good manners to greet someone with a salutation such as “buenos dias” (good day). Smiling is also important in making a good first impression. Don’t be surprised if you are addressed as “gringo/gringa” (meaning foreigner) or “mister” – these are not derogatory terms in Peru and shouldn’t be taken as such.


Peruvians tend to be formal and conservative, and this is especially so around the Andes region. The indigenous Amerindians are particularly reserved in their demeanour, and can often come across as shy or aloof. Eye contact with visitors to the community will often be minimal. It is therefore bad etiquette to stare or make continual eye contact. You should respect the modesty and reserved nature of many Amerindian communities, so adhering to similar behaviour and modest dress codes would be seen as a sign of respect. Outlandish, forthright and boisterous conduct within such groups would be considered quite offensive and completely out of place.

Handshaking between men and women is the most common form of meeting and greeting in Peru. Women may give and receive a kiss on the right cheek, however this is a slightly less formal sort of greeting and should only be initiated by your Peruvian counterpart. During introductions you should expect to be asked seemingly personal questions regarding your relationship status, marriage and family. You might even be asked about your job and subsequent financial status. Although these questions might be construed as invasive and even nosey, you should understand that in Peru it is considered polite to show an interest in such matters. However, try to answer such personal questions with a degree of modesty, as boastful and ostentatious behaviour – particularly where financial status is concerned - is frowned upon and considered quite vulgar.

Celebrations and traditional music

Traditional Song, Dance and a Religious Festival in Lima, Peru