In the popular imagination, Peru conjures up images of mysterious ancient civilisations, awe-inspiring Inca cities, conquistadores risking all in their search for gold, spectacular Andean scenery, incredible biodiversity, and colourful woven textiles. There is much more to it than this.
This is a land of huge contradictions. It has plentiful natural resources, from which the majority of Peruvians derive relatively little benefit. It is a country that was the basis for the largest empire in the Americas, but which has seen nearly two hundred years of political chaos; a country with a long Pacific coastline, yet is half-covered with tropical rain forest.
In Peru the two distinctive cultures that first encountered each other five hundred years ago have progressively integrated. However, this mixing of races and cultures raises questions about the nature of Peruvian identity, and the society remains somewhat divided.
Culture Smart! Peru introduces you to the complex realities of modern Peruvian life. It describes how history and geography have helped to shape contemporary values and attitudes. The chapter on customs and traditions gives an insight into religious and public life, while others reveal what people are like at home, in business, and in their social life. Peruvians are outgoing and sociable, so the more effort you make to meet and understand them, the more you will find them welcoming, generous, and hospitable.