Situated on the western coast of South America, Peru is home to more than 32 million people, nearly half of whom are of Amerindian descent. The country takes up almost 500,000 square miles of land, land that is recognized globally for its ability to sustain crops and for its picture-perfect quality that year after year tends to draw in tourists in droves. The climate is extremely varied, and there are areas where the temperatures can be moderate and even cold at times. In Peru, the Amazon is a place where the rain falls often and in large amounts, the sun beating down relentlessly as well, creating an environment that is at once wet and warm. There are extreme lows and extreme highs, both valleys and mountains, and because Peru sits at the crossroads of two ocean currents, diversity is the norm.
Bordering Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile, Peru is a country that is easily accessible essentially no matter where you happen to be on the continent. Manu National Park is famous as a biosphere reserve, and in Huascaran National Park, the mountains rise high into the sky to create sights that are just breathtaking.
Arabica coffee is the specialty in Peru. A top-20 producer of the coffee beans, Peru has a strong reputation for excellent roasts and for ethical sourcing. Whereas other countries have faced criticism for their failure to ensure fair business practices, Peru’s CENFROCAFGE cooperative has united more than 80 farmers’ associations in order to guarantee 92% organic production and 100% Fair Trade certification. Overall, the demand for Peruvian coffee has risen drastically in recent years because of these efforts.
The Nore Chico Civilization thrived on the Peruvian coast around 5,000 years ago, and in the 15th century, the Inca created the largest empire in pre-Columbian America, basing their capital in Cusco. The Spanish did not conquer present-day Peru until 1572, after which the indigenous population fell sharply. One of the last royalist countries in South America, Peru remained largely loyal to Spain until the 1820s. Sites of the former Incan Empire in Peru are a major draw for tourists who want to experience firsthand the wonders of pre-Columbian America. The legacy of the Incas lives on in the statues and artifacts they left behind. Continuing to shape the country’s culture, much to the delight of those who take the time to see Peru completely.
There is always something else to do in Peru, always some new sight to take in, great fun in Lima, fascinating history in Cusco. To be there is to comprehend on a higher level that civilization really did develop over time: it didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. Take in a cup of Peruvian Coffee and see it for yourself!