15 Interesting and Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Peru

Traditional peruvian women with Llama from Arequipa
© Marco Alhelm/Shutterstock.com

Written by Nikita Ross

Updated: February 20, 2024

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Peru is quickly becoming a top spot on travelers’ bucket lists. This incredible country offers a rich history, fascinating culture, and unbelievable biodiversity.

In this article, we’ll cover 15 interesting and fun facts about Peru that you probably didn’t know.

1. The World’s Largest Hummingbird Lives There

The Giant Hummingbird lives in Peru and, unlike other hummingbirds of the world, does not migrate.

©Carlos M. Werner/Shutterstock.com

Peru is home to the Giant Hummingbird, which can grow up to 9.1 inches long! This captivating bird can also be found in the surrounding countries of Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.

2. It’s the Quinoa Capital of the World

Peru is an agricultural mecca and is one of the world’s main producers of quinoa. This purported “Super Food” has been growing in the Andes for more than 5000 years. While other countries now grow this grain, Peru is still the leading producer.

3. It’s Incredibly Biodiverse

Amazon River with Capybaras

The second-largest portion of the Amazon rainforest is located in Peru.

©RPBaiao/Shutterstock.com

Peru has stunning coastlines, sweeping mountain ranges, and sweltering deserts. It also shares a portion of the Amazon rainforest. As you drive through the country, you can watch in amazement as the dry desert environment transitions into lush, humid greenery.

4. It’s Home to One of the World’s Highest Lakes

Aerial panorama of the lake of Titicaca and the town of Copacobana during the sunny calm day, Bolivia

Peru is home to one of the largest lakes in the world.

©Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock.com

Lake Titicaca is considered the world’s highest navigable lake. While other lakes sit at higher elevations, Titicaca is over 120 miles long and 50 miles wide, making it also the largest freshwater lake in South America. The lake spans over into Bolivia and is a lovely stop as you navigate the winding roads through the Andes.

5. It Has a Desert Oasis

Huacachina Desert

Huacachina is a natural desert oasis.

©Iamcu4tro/iStock via Getty Images

If you thought the desert oasis was a Hollywood special, think again. Huacachina is a small town in the middle of the Ica desert, surrounded by sand dunes reaching 1,600 feet tall. Hop in a dune buggy and tour the dunes or experience the thrill of sandboarding.

6. Peru Has Delicious Coffee

Coffee grounds

Farms in Peru grow coffee on the Peruvian slopes of the Andes Mountains.

©iStock.com/Michelle Lee Photography

Columbia often gets the credit for South American coffee, but Peru also makes a great brew, with an annual production of over 4 million bags. Several regions of Peru feature coffee farms, and each region often has a distinct flavor

7. The Nazca Lines are a Great Unsolved Mystery

Some glyphs in Nazca are larger than the Empire State Building.

©Sevenveils / CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original / License

The Nazca lines remain one of the world’s greatest mysteries. Historians still don’t know the original purpose of the lines or how they’ve endured over the millennia. You can see a few from a local tower in Nazca or charter a flight to see them from above.

8. The Ballestas Islands Host Thousands of Penguins

penguins

Numerous penguins live in the protected area of Las Islas Ballestas, and visitors can’t step foot on the islands.

©iStock.com/Leonid Andronov

Did you know you can sail among thousands of penguins in Paracas? One of the little-known facts about Peru is the existence of the Ballestas Islands. The Ballestas Islands are often compared to the Galapagos and contain thousands of endangered Humbolt penguins. You can also see hundreds of sea lions basking on the rocks and another mysterious Nazca line—the candelabra.

9. You Can Sleep on the Side of a Mountain

Skylodge by night, starry and blue sky, Sacred Valley, Peru

Cliff-side hotel, hanging pods on the rocks with spectacular views over the Sacred Valley.

©INKACOLORS/iStock via Getty Images

Peru’s famous Sacred Valley is home to one of the most extreme hotels in the world. Skylodge Adventure Suites offers transparent sleeping pods hanging 400 feet in the air on the side of a cliff overlooking the valley below.

10. It’s the Birthplace of Modern Technologies

The Inca people were centuries ahead of their time. Machu Picchu features some of the world’s first toilets, and their irrigation and water storage approaches revolutionized agriculture. The engineering used by the Inca helped usher in improvements and upgrades of many of the world’s early roads.

11. Peru has Amazing Local Spirits

Cocktail from Chile and Peru: Pisco Sour

Historians believe the Pisco Sour originated in 1916 in Lima, Peru.

©peffan/iStock via Getty Images

Pisco is a wine-like spirit made in Chile and Peru, traditionally formulated in large clay vats. Known as Peru’s national drink, a Pisco Sour is a tangy cocktail with pisco, lemon juice, and simple syrup. You can also visit the vineyards for tastings during your travels.

Chicha de Jora is a corn-based liquor that tastes like juice. It’s delicious, yet deadly.

12. Día de Todos los Santos is a Huge Holiday

Close-up of Peruvian dancers at the parade in Cusco

Peruvian dancers at the parade in Cusco.

©mariusz_prusaczyk/iStock via Getty Images

Like Mexico, Peru celebrates the Day of the Dead and All Saints Day (Día de los Santos Difuntos and Día de Todos los Santos Vivos) with their own cultural flair. It’s collectively referred to as Día de Todos los Santos.

On Día de los Santos Difuntos, families visit memorials of their loved ones and pay tribute. Día de Todos los Santos Vivos is a lively event in which people come together in celebration.

13. You Can Get Your Passport Stamped at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. When you visit, you can get a special stamp on your passport to show you were there. A word of caution: while this is entirely legal, some countries will question it when you go through customs.

14. Cuy Has Been a Staple for 5000 Years

guinea pig pellets

The second Friday of October is National Guinea Pig Day in Peru.

©Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

Cuy has been a traditional dish in Peru for over 5000 years. Visitors typically receive a shock when they learn that guinea pigs are the main ingredient of this dish. However, it’s a custom to consume cuy during festivals and celebrations. Peruvians pay homage on National Guinea Pig Day in October.

15. Driving in Peru is Not for the Faint-Hearted

If you’re visiting Peru, don’t plan to drive around the country yourself. Cities like Lima and Cusco lack the same lights and road signs that make traveling in Europe and North America safe, and the winding roads of the Andes are dangerous, especially after dark. Use a transportation service to get around safely.

Interesting and Fun Facts About Peru: A Summary

RankFun Fact
1The World’s Largest Hummingbird Lives There
2It’s the Quinoa Capital of the World
3It’s Incredibly Biodiverse
4It’s Home to One of the World’s Highest Lakes
5It Has a Desert Oasis
6Peru Has Delicious Coffee
7The Nazca Lines are a Great Unsolved Mystery
8The Ballestas Islands Host Thousands of Penguins
9You Can Sleep on the Side of a Mountain
10It’s the Birthplace of Modern Technologies
11Peru has Amazing Local Spirits
12Día de Todos los Santos is a Huge Holiday
13You Can Get Your Passport Stamped at Machu Picchu
14Cuy Has Been a Staple for 5000 Years
15Driving in Peru is Not for the Faint-Hearted


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About the Author

Nikita Ross is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering plants, gardening, and yard care. Nikita has been writing for over seven years and holds a Marketing diploma from NSCC, which she earned in 2010. A resident of Canada, Nikita enjoys reading in her library, epic beach naps, and waiting for her Coffea arabica plant to produce coffee beans (no luck yet).

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