Peru is a country in South America, situated on the western side of that continent, facing the South Pacific Ocean and straddling part of the Andes mountain range that runs the length of South America. Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. Peru is a country that has a diversity and wealth not common in the world. The main attractions are their archaeological patrimony of pre-Columbian cultures and the hub of the Inca’s empire, their gastronomy, their colonial architecture (it has imposing colonial constructions) and their natural resources (a paradise for ecological tourism).
Although Peru has rich natural resources and many great places to visit, the poverty scale reaches around 19% of the population and there exists a medium level of inequality. The rich, consisting mostly of a Hispanic (or “Criollo”) elite, live in the cities. Nevertheless, most Peruvians are great nationalists and love their country with pride (largely stemming from Peru’s history as the hub of both the Inca Empire and Spain‘s South American empire). Also, many Peruvians separate the state of Peru and its government in their minds. Many of them distrust their government and police, and people are used to fighting corruption and embezzlement scandals, as in many countries. The Peruvian economy is healthy and strong with a high level of human development and an upper middle income level. Also, tourism to Peru is growing faster than any other country in South America.
The word gringo is used commonly but is not generally intended as offensive. The original meaning encompassed all white people who do not speak Spanish. Many people use the word gringo exclusively for Americans or American look-alikes. It’s not uncommon for blonde people to be called gringo. Peruvians do not hesitate to greet you with “¡Hola, gringo!“.
Generally, people are very friendly, peaceful and helpful. When in trouble, you mostly can rely on getting help. But as with any setting, it is always good to watch out for yourself and try to avoid bad situations. If you get into an argument, it is a good idea to remain amicable, but firm. Most of the time, you can find a compromise that satisfies everyone.
Peru is not exactly a haven for efficiency. Do not expect things to be on time, or exactly as they intend to be. Outside of the more upscale tourist services and big cities like Lima, English is uncommon outside major cities and the people, trying to be friendly, can give wrong or inexact advice, a translator can always be helpful in this cases. Plan ahead and leave plenty of time for traveling. Indeed, in recent years English is being taught in most of the schools as a requirement of the Peruvian government, most people can understand English but they do not speak it. As in other Latin and European countries, Peruvian people prefer that tourists use their language. The Mobile Technology and the internet ease the learning of the English language nowadays.