Peru Culture

Peru Culture

From the bowler hats worn by women of the sierra to the beautiful geometric designs of Shipibo indian crafts in the central jungle, Peru is a country full of diverse traditions from one corner to the other.

The Island of Taquile on Lake Titicaca is a wonderful example of local tradition, which has persevered many hundreds of years. The tip of a males wool cap (chullo) signifies his marital status: white means single and red specifies that he is married. Men are the wool spinners on the island, not the women. A man will pass many hours spinning wool as he walks, chats with a friend or simply sits on a hill alone taking in the beauty of his island. The boys of Taquile are taught very young how to weave and by the age of ten, can weave their own chullo. There are many places on the island that sell crafts made by children.

In the opposite corner of the country, in the north coastal departments from La Libertad to Tumbes, there is a completely different tradition: the Peruvian Paso horse. The rider of this graceful animal, called a chalan, is never without his white poncho and sombrero (hat).

In the central highlands, you'll no doubt find people dancing to huayno music as they drink and party until dawn. In the Huancavalica department, the Baile de las Tijeras (scissor dance) is a sight not to be missed.

The entire Amazon basin is home to many tribes all with very different customs, traditions, culture and language. Some are very much involved in the expanding tourism industry while others prefer to remain isolated.

From the modern streets of Lima to the most remote jungle village, Peruvian culture and tradition add so much to the experience of visiting this extraordinary Latin American nation.

Official languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. Aymara is spoken in some areas of the Puno department. Many other dialects exist in the Amazon region. English is usually spoken in major tourist areas.

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