Here goes my list of amazing facts about Peru. All of them are based on my own experiences and observations during my trip in Peru.
1. Alpacas and Llamas
Like many other countries in South America, in Peru, you will see these lovely animals called Alpaca and Llamas. At first glance, they look so alike. Actually, they both come from camelid family but they are two different genus / kind. Let’s say they are cousins. These animals are being bred for their meats, fiber, and transportation. Alpacas are more preferred for their finer fiber.
2. Chifa Cuisine
I never thought that the Peruvian cuisine is influenced by Chinese cuisine so much. Chifa means Chinese cooking by using Peruvian and Chinese ingredients. Chifa is more influenced by Cantonese culinary cooking which is brought by Chinese immigrants that had come to Peru in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chifa restaurants and meals are one of the most popular types of food in Peru.
3. Pisco Sour
There is a never ending debate between Chile and Peru about the origin of Pisco and whose Pisco is better. Pisco Sour is a South American cocktail. Pisco is referred to grape brandy and sour refers citrus or lime juices. Peruvians use Peruvian pisco as the base liquor and add lime juice, syrup, ice, egg white and Angostura bitters.
Ceviche is another one of my favorite dishes in South America. In simple terms, it is a marinated raw fish. Actually, it is an old method of cooking. People used to cook by adding acidic juices instead of heat. It is generally served with sweet potato, lettuce, corn, avocado and green banana. To read more about Ceviche, check out this post for my whole article about it.
5. The Mysterious Nazca Lines
The Nazca Desert or as also known the Sechura Desert is located in the southern Peru where the famous Nazca Lines are located. The ancient geoglyphs are in the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites since 1994. There are many different shapes like hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, and lizards. The total area is around 450 square kilometers. You can watch this enormous lines by taking a private flight tour.
6. Huacachina- The Oasis of America
Only 115 people live in this small village that is built around a small natural lake in the desert. You may feel yourself like in the Sahara desert. It is located just 10 minutes away from Ica center. It takes 5 hours to reach Ica from Lima by bus. The picturesque village is on the back of the 50 Nuevo Sol banknote.
Since 1990’s it has become popular with rides of 4-wheel-drive dune buggy and sand boarding. It is a real fun activity, you shouldn’t miss this if you are traveling to Peru. To read about our sandboarding adventures, check out this post.
7. Machu Picchu Sacred City
The famous Inca city Machu Picchu is in the list of The New Seven Wonders of the World. It is discovered by the American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911, 400 years after the Incas abandoned it. Machu Picchu is more than a city, it was a development center or a university campus. Because people live in here were not relatives and they were doing botanical and genetical researches on the plants.
8. The Colorful Corns
In Peru, you can find 55 variety of corn; yellow, white, purple and even black.
9. The Homeland of Potato
It is believed that potato is coming from southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia. There are more than 3000 different types of potatoes in Peru and Bolivia. Peruvians like potato a lot and have a famous saying “Soy mas Peruano que la papa” (I am more Peruvian than the potato).
10. The Deepest Canyon
I bet many people think that the Grand Canyon in the United States is the deepest canyon but it is not. Cotahuasi Canyon near the city of Arequipa in Peru is the deepest canyon in the world. Its depth is around 3354 meters. That’s twice as the depth of the Grand Canyon!