The Peruvian people have retained many of their ancient ways, including the language of their Inca ancestors. There are two large groups, one speaking Quéchua and the other Aymara. Many of the rest of the people are a combination of Inca and Spanish, known as mestizos.
Peruvians are a friendly and welcoming people, happy to lend a helping hand.
Visiting Peru you are likely to hear Spanish and Quéchua, both official languages of the country, as well as Aymara and many minor Amazonian languages.
The majority of Peruvians are Catholic, with other Christian religions following. Different worldwide religions are also represented in smaller numbers.
If there's one thing the culturally-diverse Peruvians can agree on, it's festivals. There are more than 3,000 festivals held throughout the country every year. Many are religious in nature, as the majority of people are Catholic.
Music is another important part of Peru's traditions; however it differs along group lines. You'll hear Andean music, Afro music, Huayno, Marinera, Criolla and others, each with distinct styles. There is a variety of traditional instruments, including harps, lutes, flutes, panpipes, charangos, guitars, bandurrias, zampoñas and vihuelas, some dating back to the time of the ancient Inca civilization.
Peruvian cuisine is a mouthwatering mix of flavors and traditions from the indigenous groups of the country, Europe, Africa and Asia. Traditional ingredients include chicken, fish, lamb, pork, rice and potatoes. Peruvians love spicy dishes, so they use a lot of aji, a hot pepper.
Ceviche, fish or shrimp marinated in lemon juice with onions, celery, cilantro, salt and pepper, is a popular dish. Other favorites include: aji de gallina, shredded chicken in a spicy cheese sauce; carapulcra, possibly Peru's oldest stew, made with pork or chicken, potatoes, hot peppers and peanuts; lomo saltado, marinated steak, vegetables and fried potatoes, served over rice; papa la huancaina, potatoes in a spicy cheese sauce; rocoto relleno, meat, onions, peanuts, milk and eggs baked inside the rocoto (hot pepper) with potatoes and cheese; and seco de cordero, lamb stew.