Peru Travel Information

Photo After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980. In recent years, bold reform programs and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity and drug trafficking have resulted in solid economic growth. Peru's most famous exports have been gold, silver, and guano. Its gold was taken out on a large scale by the Spanish for many years following the conquest and is of little significance now, but silver remains an important export. Guano served as Europe's most important fertilizer in the mid-nineteenth century and made Peru for a time the largest Latin American exporter to Europe.

The guano boom ran out about 1870, after generating a long period of exceptional economic growth. When the guano boom ended, the economy retreated temporarily but then recovered with two new directions for expansion. One was a new set of primary product exports and the other a turn toward more industrial production for the domestic market Lima, with its Spanish colonial architecture, and Cusco, with its impressive stonework of pre-Inca and Inca civilizations, notably at Machupicchu, are the centers of Peru's ailing tourism industry.

Most Peruvians are "mestizo," a term that usually refers to a mixture of Amerindians and Peruvians of European descent. Peruvians of European descent make up about 15% of the population; there also are smaller numbers of persons of African, Japanese, and Chinese descent. In the past decade, Peruvians of Asian heritage have made significant advancements in business and political fields; a past president, several past cabinet members, and several members of the Peruvian congress are of Japanese or Chinese descent. Socioeconomic and cultural indicators are increasingly important as identifiers.

Important: Travel to Peru may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Peru visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Peru
Capital city: Lima
Area: 1,285,216 sq km
Population: 29,549,517
Ethnic groups: Amerindian 45%, mestizo
Languages: Spanish
Religions: Roman Catholic 81.3%, Evangelical 12.5%, other 3.3%, unspecified or none 2.9%
Government: constitutional republic
Chief of State: President Ollanta HUMALA Tasso
Head of Government: President Ollanta HUMALA Tasso
GDP: 302 billion
GDP per captia: 10,100
Annual growth rate: 6.9%
Inflation: 3.4%
Agriculture: asparagus, coffee, cocoa, cotton, sugarcane, rice, potatoes, corn, plantains, grapes, oranges, pineapples, guavas, bananas, apples, lemons, pears, coca, tomatoes, mangoes, barley, medicinal plants, palm oil, marigold, onion, wheat, dry beans
Major industries: mining and refining of minerals
Natural resources: copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas
Location: Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador
Trade Partners - exports: China 18.3%, US 15.2%, Canada 11.4%, Japan 5.4%, Spain 5.3%, Chile 4.8%, South Korea 4.6%, Germany 4.1%
Trade Partners - imports: US 24.5%, China 13.7%, Brazil 6.7%, Chile 5.9%, Ecuador 4.4%, South Korea 4%