Population.- Peru had a population of 27,949,639 inhabitants in 2002. Around 45% of the inhabitants were indigenous, some of which descended from Incas, 37% of the country was mestizo, a racial mixture arising from indigenous and caucasian (mainly of Spanish origin) ancestors. Around 15% of Peruvians are of European ancestry. There is also a sizeable black population as well as a significant percentage of individuals of Asian origin.
Economy.- Although the economy is still based primarily on agriculture, the mining and fishing industries have experienced important developments. Most of Peru's exports are raw materials, such as minerals, agricultural products and fish flour. This country imports all types of machinery and manufactured goods.
Unit of currency.- The Peruvian unit of currency is the Nuevo Sol and it consists of 100 céntimos.
. 3.23 Nuevos Soles are equivalent to 1 American dollar (current exchange rate in 2006) .
. 3.76 Nuevos Soles are equivalent to one eurodollar for the European Community (current exchange rate in 2006).
Climate.- The climate in Peru is extremely varied. It ranges from tropical temperatures in the Jungle to artic cold in the Andes.
Main Tourist Destinations.- Important cities incluye Callao, the main fishing port in the country; Arequipa, an industrial and agricultural location; Trujillo, a well-known commercial spot; Cuzco, ancient capital of the Inca Empire and the most important historical and archeological site in the country and Huaraz, the main location for adventure sports and mountain climbing.
Official languages.- Spanish, spoken by 70% of the population, was the only official language in Peru until 1975, year in which Quechua also became recognized as an official language. A second indigenous language, Aymara, is also spoken by many inhabitants. There are up to 51 languages which are spoken by the members of various Amazon indigenous communities.
Religion.- The Peruvian Constitution grants religious freedom. Over 90% of the population is Catholic, although there are also protestant groups of different creeds and minority Jewish, Muslim and Orthodox communities.
Health.- According to the last census, the infant mortality rate was 38 deaths for every 1,000 live births. Although the government has made some progress in terms of providing medical facilities, healthcare is still functioning at inadequate levels. In order to diminish these deficiencies, private investments have created modern clinics which satisfy needs through health or life insurance. Obviosly, the cost is higher for those who do not have access to insurance.