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Monthly Archives: March 2016

4 Cities in Peru You Have to Visit


4 Cities in Peru You Have to Visit

Peru is too big and too wonderful a country for visitors to keep their travels contained to Machu Picchu and Lima. You may not have heard of the cities listed below before, but your trip to Peru won’t be complete unless you take the time to visit at least one of them before you leave.


Iquitos is one of the most unique cities in the world. The sixth most populous city in Peru, Iquitos is the largest city in the world that is completely inaccessible by road. Thanks to its location in the Peruvian Amazon, Iquitos is like an oasis of modernity in the middle of the wild South American jungle. The city can only be reached by plane or boat, any inconvenience involved in getting there is more than cancelled out by the chance to see a bustling modern city in the middle of one of the wildest places left on Earth, and for the opportunity to journey out onto the Amazon River and the surrounding jungle.


Arequipa is the home of the Constitutional Court of Peru, and the country’s second most populous city. Arequipa has such an important place in Peru’s culture and history, the city itself has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. The city’s importance comes from its history a national hub of both art and science: fairytale writer Mariano Melgar, poet Mario Vargas Llosa, and pioneering rocket scientist Pedro Paulet all worked and lived in Arequipa, and the city is now home to many museums featuring important works of art, archaeology, and religion.


Puno isn’t a bustling cultural center or a large modern metropolis, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most interesting places in Peru. The first great feature Puno has to offer is its cultural history sites, including many ancient churches that date back to the first century of European settlement in the area. Secondly, Puno is one of Peru’s most important agricultural centers, meaning visitors can go there to see locals raising and tending to llamas and alpacas on the plateaus and vistas surrounding the city. Lastly, Puno’s location on the shores of Lake Titicaca make it the perfect launching point for travelers who want to see the lake’s famous floating islands.


Máncora used to be a sleepy beach town, but over the last few decades it’s been transformed into one of the hottest beach cities in the western hemisphere. The city features more than 30 beach resorts, as well as a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and other tourist attractions. Best of all, Máncora is surrounded by some of the best beaches in the world. If your main reason for visiting Peru is to relax and soak up some sun, Máncora is the place for you.

4 Cities in Peru You Have to Visit-2

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Peru’s Hidden Languages


Peru's Hidden Languages

Like the majority of South American countries, Peru’s official language is Spanish, which was brought to the area by European settlers in the 1500s. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, however, the area we now know as Peru was home to at least 300 aboriginal languages, with some researchers estimating the number might have been as high as 700. Though many of these languages are now extinct, there are still as many as fourteen distinct language families spoken within the borders of modern Peru, a legacy of the country’s rich aboriginal heritage that persists to this day. Of all the unique reasons to visit Peru, getting the chance to hear these languages spoken by the ancestors of the cultures they came from is one of the most rewarding.


Though few people outside of South America have heard of it, Quechua is spoken by as many as 10 million people, the majority of whom live in Peru. Quechua (also known as runa simi, or “people’s language”) has an important place in Peruvian history, as it was the official language of the Inca Empire. Even after Spanish colonization, Quechua remained the official language of the region, and the main language with which Europeans and natives spoke to each other. Until the late 18th century, the Catholic Church even conducted all of its evangelization efforts in the native language. Though the European powers eventually tried to eliminate Quechua from the official vocabulary, it remains the widest spoken Native American language to this day.


While not as widely spoken as Quechua, the Aymara language is still spoken by as many as 3 million people in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. Taken from the name of a local tribe, Aymara is most heavily spoken in the regions around Lake Titicaca in southern Peru, though in past centuries it was more widespread and may have been almost as popular as Quechua during the time of the Incas. Some linguists and anthropologists even believe that the Incan noble classes were Aymara speakers who switched to Quechua as their empire expanded and the need for a common language arose.


Like Aymara and Quechua, the Zaparoan language family was once widespread throughout the area that makes up modern Peru. Unlike those languages, Zaparoan is now in very real danger of disappearing; according to recent reports, only one hundred people alive today still speak the language. As recently as the beginning of the 20th century, there were as many as 39 separate tribes that spoke a variation of Zaparoan, but most of them have since gone extinct due to war, disease, or cultural assimilation. Though it may be rare, it is possible to hear people speaking Zaparoan in parts of southeastern Peru.


Though not as endangered as Zaparoan, Aguaruna is another of Peru’s indigenous languages which is now isolated to a small region within the country. Aguaruna in particular is contained to the area of the country along the Marañón River, near Lima. Despite only being spoken by about 45,000 people, there’s little chance that Aguaruna will go completely extinct anytime soon. In the areas where the language is spoken, the local schools hold classes in both Aguaruna and Spanish in order to help the language continue to survive.

These four languages are only a small selection of the many native languages that are still spoken in Peru today. Getting the chance to hear these unique, history-rich languages spoken in their native environment is one of the many things that makes Peru one of the most interesting and singular places on Earth.

Best Peru Tours offers great deals on tour packages to Peru. To book your trip, visit us at or call us toll-free at 866-788-5647.

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