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  Peru: Handbook : Basic Data


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Basic Data

General Information

Peru is located in the central and western part of South America. Its neighbors to the north are Ecuador and Colombia; Brazil and Bolivia to the east; Chile to the south and the Pacific Ocean along the west coast.   It covers a surface area of 1,285,215.6 square kilometers (803,259 sq. miles), distributed as follows: 12% of the land is coastal, 28% in the sierra, and 60% in the jungle.


The population boasts nearly 24 million inhabitants with 7 million concentrated in the city of Lima.   The Peruvian population is primarily mixed, with a notable indigenous minority that lives mainly in the Andean south and the Amazon.

Politically, Peru is divided into 24 districts, subdivided into 194 provinces and a constitutional province, which is El Callao (the main Peruvian port). Furthermore, the territory is divided into 13 regions, including provinces of one or more districts.

There are two official languages in Peru: Spanish and Quechua which is spoken by 24% of the population. Most of the people who speak Quechua are bilingual, with Spanish as their second language. In addition, there are 55 other Amazon languages in the country, apart from the Aymara, spoken in the high plateaus.

Most of the population is Roman Catholic (80%), the official religion of Peru; however, there is freedom of religion.

The City of Lima


The city of Lima is located on the west coast, along the outlet of the Rímac river. It is divided into 49 districts and it is Peru's largest city: 30% of the population lives there (more than 6 million inhabitants), most of them having emigrated from the provinces. Therefore, it is an overcrowded city, fairly chaotic, and full of contrasts. At every corner you bump into the traditional characteristics of an agricultural society contrasting with the modernity imposed by the market economy.

Lima Map

Spanish Language

Since Spanish is the official language, Peru is the perfect country to learn how to speak. You can find Spanish language schools in Lima and other cities.

  • El Sol Spanish School is located in the city of Lima along a residential street, a few blocks from the heart of Miraflores. More information here.
  • You can also learn Spanish on line. Visit (Learn Spanish)

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