Peru is South America’s third largest country, next only to Brazil and Argentina in land area. The country lies in western South America along the Pacific coast. The long, narrow coast consists of a desert that is even drier than the Sahara. And on the east of the coast, rise the towering Andes Mountains. This region is famous for its grass-covered plateaus, crystal-clear air and sparkling sunshine.
“It is a beautiful country, actually–very ancient, mysterious, rich in cultural heritage and natural resources”, says our friend Jorge de Paula Ugarizza, a 36-year-old jeweler from Miraflores, Lima, capital city of Peru. “You just have to look past through the pueblos jovenes (squatter communities) and the crowded slums in the cities in order to appreciate the real Peru and the real Peruvian people”, he says. Most of Peru’s large cities, commercial farms and factories lie along the coast. “And here about two-thirds of the Peruvian people live in extremely poor condition”, Jorge says.
There are more Indians who live in Peru than in any other country in South America. The Indians make up nearly half of the country’s people and about a fifth of the total Indian population of North and South America. The rest of Peru’s population consists mainly of people of mixed Indian and Spanish ancestry (called Mestizos). Unmixed whites make up only a small 10% of the country’s population.
The Indians make up nearly half of the country’s people and about a fifth of the total Indian population of North and South America.