Peru is the third largest country in South America and has a suitably large amount to offer to its visitors. It is a country that should be on everybody’s bucket list, as it is a place of stunning landscapes, variety of outdoor activities and heritage left by the Incan Empire.
In order to better explain the wonders of Peru, we present you a list of 19 interesting facts about Peru as well as accessible adventures to undertake in this unique South American nation.
1. Peru has the highest sand dune on the entire planet! Cerro Blanco is 1,176 m (3,860 ft) tall and it is actually more than twice as tall as the second highest sand dune in the world - Cerro Medanoso – 550 m (1,805 ft) in Chile. By the way, one of the most popular activities on the dune is sandboarding!
2. If sandboarding is not your thing, what about surfboarding? You should definitely check out some beaches in Peru for your next wave to conquer as this country is considered to be one of the best countries for surfing. There are quite a few places with waves reaching up to 3,7 m (12 ft), but if you are ready for a greater challenge you should go to La Herradura or Punta Hermosa, where waves can be as big as 12 m (40 ft). Furthermore, the world’s longest rideable wave has been reported in both Chicama and Pacasmayo also in Peru (1.5 miles/2.2 km long).
3. Peru is famous for the depth of its canyons and while it is debated which canyon is the deepest in the world, there is no denial that two located in Peru are at least in the top 10. Canyon Cañón Del Colca, is 3,501 m (11,488 ft) and Cotahuasi Canyon - 3,354 m ( 11,001 ft) deep, making them almost twice as deep as the famous Grand Canyon in the USA, with the depth of 1,737 m (5,697 ft).
4. Peru’s national animal is a type of camelid, locally called vicuna. It is sometimes compared to lama, alpaca or even antelope. It is actually on the national symbolic emblem of Peru called “The Coat of arms of Peru”.
5. The highest mountain in Peru is 6,768 m (22,205 ft) tall Mount Huarascán, located in the western Andes. It is not only the tallest mountain in Peru, but also the forth loftiest in an entire continent of South America.
6. The highest ice covered tropical mountain chain in the world is also located in Peru - it is called the Cordillera Blanca. This mountain chain has the highest peaks in Peru, around 722 glaciers, numerous lakes, hot springs and a vast diversity of wildlife.
7. As the tropical Andes run through Peru there are plenty of green in this country. In fact, in Peru‘s jungle you can find 1/6 of all plant life in a teeny tiny area – less than 1 % of world’s land.
8. If you are a birder you definitely have heard about the variety of birds in Peru. This country even holds a couple of world records concerning these feathered creatures: first, the biggest number of birds seen in one place (650) was recorded in National Reservation of Tambopata, and, second, the largest number of birds seen in one day (361) has been recorded in National Park of Manu.
9. There probably is an unimaginable number of people who dream to visit Machu Picchu someday. This ancient citadel was built at the elevation of 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) by Incas around the year of 1450 and abandoned in 1572, due to the Spanish conquests. The citadel has not been discovered until the second half of 19th century and it only started dragging world‘s attention since 1912 after Hiram Bingham‘s expeditions to Machu Picchu.
10. As Peru stretches along the west coast of South America for 2,414 km (1,500 mi) it gets its fare share of the Andes. The Andes is actually the highest mountain range outside of Asia and the lengthiest overland mountain range in the world!
11. There is no unanimous agreement on where did the name to the Andes come from. Some historians believe the name originated from the word anti, which means - east, or anta - “copper coloured”.
12. In 1927, an aircraft noticed very large and strange looking drawings in the Nazca dessert. These drawings were later found to be a collection of geoglyphs, including over 70 human and animals figures. It is so grand and precise that world‘s archaeologists still can‘t figure out how and why it was made. Some people even suggest it was drawn by aliens.
13. There are at least 32 volcanoes in Peru, but the highest is the Coropuna - 6,377 m (20,922 ft). Even though this volcano is not active it does impress with its snow white peaks.
14. Even though it is exceeded by height by Mount Huarascán, Mount Yerupaja is considered to be the most spectacular peak of Peru, mostly because of its grandiose posture. With an elevation of 6,635 m (21,768 ft) Mount Yerupaja is the second highest mountain in Peru. It is also believed to be one of the most challenging peaks to climb in the Andes.
15. You have Peruvians to thank for potatoes! In fact, there were no potatoes in Europe until Spanish conquered Peru in 1536.
16. Despite the fact that Peru is considered Roman Catholic, shamanism is a big part of Peru’s culture, for a fact, it has the second greatest number of shamans in the world after India.
17. Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and also the highest navigable lake in the world. On the other hand, mostly only smaller commercial boats are seen in this lake.
18. Peru contains a second largest segment of Amazon rainforest. Yet it can’t compete with Brazil, where 60 % of the Amazon rainforest is located, while Peru only gets 13%.
19. Finally, one of the silliest facts about Peru is the fact that Peruvians have a tradition to give their loved ones yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve. They see it as a gesture to wish luck! Well, we wish you yellow underpants!