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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Peru Peru

Country Information & Lifestyle

 Live the Legend

Live the Legend

Live the legend that is Peru. The land of gold and sun-worshipping Incas, Peru was 16th century Europe's major source of treasure and once home to the largest empire in the world. Peru is a country in western South America, bordering Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the south-east, Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

About 45% of Peru's inhabitants are Native Americans, some of whom are descended from the Inca, and around 100 other indigenous groups live in the rain forest of eastern Peru. These tribes live in virtual isolation from the rest of Peru's population speaking traditional languages and retaining lifestyles similar to those of their ancestors, surviving by hunting, fishing and agriculture.

Spanish is spoken by some 70% of the people, English is also spoken in some areas and one of the principal languages of the Native Americans Quechua has been made an official language along with Aymara.

The cuisine of Peru reflects local cooking practices and ingredients, the three traditional staples are corn, potatoes and beans, combined with staples brought by the Spanish, such as rice, wheat and meat. Traditional foods such as quinoa, kiwicha, chilli peppers and several roots and tubers have increased in popularity in recent decades.

Cervice is a classic Peruvian seafood dish consisting of fish, shrimp, scallop or squid marinated in lime juice and chilli peppers then served raw with corn and potato salad. Guinea Pig is the traditional dish most associated with Peru and you can find it in many parts of the country but especially in the mountain regions, where it is likely to be served roasted in the oven with chips.

Mountain food is more basic, a staple of potatoes and rice with meat stretched as far as it will go. One of the specialities is the Pachamanca, a roast prepared mainly in the mountains by digging a large hole, filling it with stones, and lighting a fire over them, then using the hot stones to cook a variety of tasty meats and vegetables. Mestizo is a combination of indigenous Indian cooking with four hundred years of European, mostly Spanish, influence.

In the jungle bananas and plantains figure highly in the diet along with yucca, rice and plenty of fish. There is meat as well, mostly chicken supplemented with occasionally by game deer, wild pig or even monkey. Peru's claim to fame is Pisco, a white grape brandy with a unique, powerful and very palatable flavor,

The sheer beauty of the various landscapes, abundance of wildlife and the strong and colourful character of the people makes Peru one of the most varied and exciting of all the South American nations.

Desert coastline, vast tracks of tropical coastline, chain after chain of breathtaking peaks, the Andes, so distinct are these regions that it is very difficult to generalise, but one thing is sure, Peru offers a unique opportunity to experience an incredibly wide range of spectacular scenery, a wealth of heritage and a vibrant living culture. In the more rural parts of Peru native life can have changed little in the last four centuries.

Peru has three natural regions: coast, sierra and jungle, and the climate varies widely ranging from tropical in the Montana, to arctic in the highest mountains of the Andes. Permanent snow and ice fields cover peaks more than 5,000 m above sea level.

The coastal region is a narrow strip 2,500 km long, but only 19 to 100 km wide, and follows the country's Pacific coastline from north to south. Although the coastal strip is mainly arid, the landscapes can be very spectacular with immense sand dunes and stone deserts.

Huacachina is a green oasis completely surrounded by sand dunes. Seasonal rains occur in the north, especially during the periods of El Nino climatic phenomena.

Some of the 52 valleys are arable and they are farmed using a combination of ancient Peruvian methods and modern technologies. Along the coast there are fascinating archaeological sites, notably the bizarre Nazca Lines south of Lima. Along the border with Chile the Atacama Desert is the driest place on the planet.

Heading east of Nazca brings you to Arequipa featuring the impressive Santa Catalina Monastery and Lake Titicaca, home to the floating islands. The Sierra is the name given to the Andean highland region where the Andes mountain range runs through the country north to south like a backbone, dividing the coastal region from the jungle.

The sierra region has both arid areas and fertile valleys. Vivid blue skies form a stunning backdrop to the soaring peaks and are reflected in many glittering lakes. In the sierra are found the llama, alpaca, vicua, chinchilla, and huanaco. The world's largest navigable lake, Titicaca, is an incredible tourist resource for Peru thanks to its scenery, history, archaeological sites and beautiful colonial towns.

Some of the world's highest mountains can be found here. In the southern mountains lies the mysterious lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Close by is the city of Cuzco, city of the Incas and the beautiful Valle Sagrado, the Sacred Valley. Deeper south is the Colca Canyon; it is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, making it the deepest canyon on earth. In the same region is the beautiful white city of Arequipa.

There are other beautiful cities such as Ayacucho, Huaraez, Cajamarca, and Puno, on the shores of the spectacular Lake Titicaca. Puno is an interesting town as it is the capital of folklore in Peru. It has a beautiful old cathedral and is close to many attractions such as Macchu Picchu and the beautiful, bustling colonial city of Cusco.

Located between Boliva and Peru Lake Titicaca is one of the most fascinating lakes in the world. It is situated at a very high altitude, over 3800 meters above sea level, and going there is an unforgettable experience.

Lake Titicaca is a scared place for the Inca civilisation as the Inca mythology says that the first Inca King Manco Capac was born here and this is the place where the world was created from, when the God Viracocha came out of the lake and created the sun, the stars and the first people.

On the Bolivian side of the lake you will find the fascinating town of Challapampa home of the famous labyrinth Chinkana. Also on the Bolivian side you can find the biggest island of the lake, Isla de Sol, Island of the Sun. While there are no roads on the island there are over 180 ruins from the Inca period.

Cusco is surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain landscapes and palatial ruins in Peru. From here you can head northwest into the Sacred Valley featuring the Inca ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo and follow the Inca Trail up to the justly famous citadel of Machu Picchu.

The Machu Picchu, Peru's most important tourist destination, is located in this environment in the department of Cusco. The archaeological complex is perched on the eastern slopes of the Vilcanota mountain range at a height of 2,350 meters above sea level. 90 species of orchids are found in the historic Machu Picchu reserve along with spectacled bear, wildcats, and many butterfly species.

The Santa Catalina Monastery, with its brilliant painted adobe walls, was once a miniature town. Visitors can step beyond the barred screens of the entrance parlour into cloisters ornamented with frescoes of birds and Bible scenes. The famous child-mummy Juanita, a girl who was sacrificed on a mountain-top in the early 15th century, is on display, crouched eerily in a freezer at the Museum of Andean Shrines.

From Arequipa you can drive up and over the breathtaking Pata Pampa pass to the Colca Canyon, a dramatic gash of fertile green in the crumpled red moonscape of the highlands. Among this isolated valley, over 3,000 mts deep, the contour-hugging crop terrace of a Pre-Inca culture are still being ploughed by oxen behind twisting stone walls. Giant hummingbirds feed from cactus flowers and if you are lucky you can see condors riding the thermals between the rock walls.

The railway line runs parallel to the river in winding loops that follow the riverbed. From here you can see the typical vegetation of the upper jungle, which climbs up to the top of the steep mountain range that forms the Urubamba Canyon. The train passes through the Chilca train station from where you can see the snow capped peak called "Veronica". The train stops at Kilometre 88, where the Inca Trail begins.

The train then continues on its way, passing through the station of Pampacahua and the town of Aguas Calientes. When the train line comes up against a wall of imposing granite mountains, it then plunges into two tunnels before arriving at the station of Puente Ruinas. From here, minibuses take the travellers up 8 kilometres of roads up to the Tourist Hotel. The entry control to the Inca citadel is done near the hotel.

The Inca Trail

The Inca, sometimes called peoples of the sun, were originally a warlike tribe living in a semiarid region of the southern sierra. From 1100 to 1300 the Inca moved north into the fertile Cusco Valley. From there they overran the neighbouring lands.

By 1500 the Inca Empire stretched from the Pacific Ocean east to the sources of the Paraguay and Amazon rivers and from the region of modern Quito in Ecuador south to the Maule River in Chile.

This vast empire was a theocracy, organised along socialistic lines and ruled by an Inca, or emperor, who was worshipped as a divinity. Because the Inca realm contained extensive deposits of gold and silver, it became in the early 16th century a target of Spanish imperial ambitions in the Americas.

In November 1995 anthropologists announced the discovery of the 500-year-old remains of two Inca women and one Inca man frozen in the snow on a mountain peak in Peru. Scientists concluded that the trio was part of a human sacrifice ritual on Ampato, a sacred peak in the Andes mountain range.

Artefacts from the find unveiled new information about the Inca and indicated the use of poles and tents rather than traditional stone structures. The arrangement of doll-size statuettes dressed in feathers and fine woollens provided clues about Inca religious and sacrificial practices.

The jungle is the country's largest region, covering over 750,000 km of Peru's national territory. Tropical rain forests extend from the eastern Andean foothills to Peru's borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia.

There are two separate and distinct types of jungle, the highland and the lowland. This region is extremely hot and humid, although at higher altitudes it is less so.

The jungle provides startling opportunities for close and exotic encounters with Peruvian wildlife. Pacaya Samiria remote and stunningly beautiful this reserve home to the Cocoma tribe, whose main settlement is Tipishca is one of the least visited and yet the largest protected areas of rain-forest in Peru, 2 million hectares of virgin rain-forest which is a swampland in the rainy season.

The highland jungle, known locally as "ceja de selva", is located on the eastern flank of the Andes. Its average altitude is between 1,600 and 9,200 feet above sea level (487 to 2,804 m).

A variety of tropical and subtropical products (coffee, tea, cocoa, citrus fruits, bananas, pineapples, etc.) grow amidst its luxuriant vegetation. This region, unlike the sierra, has a temperate and humid climate and it is also the smallest region in the country.

La Selva is the isolated rain forest region between the eastern foothills of the Andes and the enormous rain forests of the Amazon basin and takes up almost 60% of the country. Most of La Selva is still unspoiled. Coming from Lima one of the easiest ways to enter the Selva is the Chanchamayo Valley.

One of the biggest nature reserves in La Selva is Manu national Park with 4.5 million acres; it is the bet area for seeing wildlife with over 1000 species of bird. Only a few people live in La Selva, there are some small cities, and the only relatively big one is Iquitos in Loreto district.

The Lowland Jungle also known as the Amazon plain is the largest in the country, made up of lush tropical vegetation and a vast network of rivers. Peru's largest volumes of natural resources, and most important ones, are concentrated here. The lowland jungle lies, on average, between 250 and 1,300 feet above sea level.

The two most majestic rivers in Peru are found here; the Marazon River and the Ucayali River both flow into the Amazon River, which eventually crosses the borders into Colombia and Brazil. Although the lowland jungle is the least inhabited of the regions, it offers a vast array of attractions and resources, particularly for Eco-tourism.

In the low lands of the Amazon Jungle there are thousands of indigenous Amazonian s dispersed over thousands of square miles of inexpugnable jungles in towns and 3 large cities (Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, and Pucallpa) with a population of more than one million and an area larger than the US states of Texas and include the jaguar, cougar, armadillo, peccary, tapir, anteater, several dozen species of monkey, alligator, turtle, and a variety of snakes and insects; among the birds are the parrot, the flamingo, and other tropical species.

Lima the capital is built upon a valley surrounded by an extremely arid desert and fans out in long, straight streets from its heart Lima Centro. The old town focuses on the colonial Plaza Mayor. In the summer the weather is usually beautiful very warm and sunny, in the winter the city is overcast and rainy for days at a time and the city seems dreamlike between May and October as the garua - a mist settles over the city.

Under its blanket Lima's inhabitants meet at the penas(bars offering folk and Creole music), shop in open marketplaces and dine at Lima's celebrated restaurants.

Lima is shrouded in history, gloriously messy and full of aesthetic delights. You will find pre-Colombian temples sitting silently amid condominium high-rises and vestiges of colonial mansions proudly display lavish Moorish-style balconies.

Stately museums display sublime pottery, solemn religious processions dating back to the 18th century, baroque churches ornamented with the skulls of saints and crowded nightclubs swaying to tropical beats.

South of Lima, long white beaches washed by the cold waters of the southern Pacific stretch away in an uninterrupted string, backed by row upon row of huge, brilliant white sand dunes. In contrast to the tourist beaches in warmer climes these shores have few amenities other than small restaurants and cafes.

One of the best of the remote beaches is known as El Silencio. Like Lima itself, these beaches seem to exist in an eddy of time, pleasantly removed from the relentless peace of more frequented destinations.

After seeing Machu Picchu visit one of the small villages to experience the life of the local people, buy their beautiful alpaca made garments, hear them play the yarivi, a love song, on panpipes and watch the huayno, the rapid dance of the highlands.

Peru is enchanting, her people are a joy to meet and the scenery simply amazing. You will be enthralled with this beautiful country and her people.

Purchasing a Property

Foreigners can buy property in Peru without difficulty. There are no restrictions in that sense, except those which state that a foreigner can not purchase property in border zone to 50 km including.

In other cases, a foreigner can purchase property in Peru by meeting the following requirements:

You must enter the country with Business Visa, which lets you sign contracts in Peru. If entering with a tourist visa, must apply to Migration to the passport stamped with the words "working to contract" so that this sign can easily purchase contracts.

If married, your spouse should be involved in purchasing the property since according to Peruvian law, the acquisition of property in the event of a marital requires the participation of both spouses.

The levy of sales tax which corresponds to 3% of the sale of the property. Alcabala word means "tax" and in this case is used to describe the tax on transfers from real estate and buyer pays for everything, be they foreign or Peruvian.

The procedure that follows is the regular, namely: review of documents, signed minutes, writing and recording in public records.

In such cases should always consult with a company that handles retail information and can guide the prospective buyer to make the choice most appropriate and relevant legal advice. in that sense, our company is a leader in the national housing market.

If you do not intend to travel to the country you should grant power of attorney to a lawyer or the consulate near your place of residence. You can give power to a person domiciled in Peru so that they can represent you in the process of the firm. Similarly, if married, your spouse must give the same power and may do so, the same attorney.

Such power will be sent in the form of consular parties to Peru, that the signature of the consul is duly legalised at the Foreign Ministry, after which the registration is sent mandates and powers of the registrar office concerned. Once enrolled in power, the agent will be able to sign documents on behalf of foreign sales. This procedure may take place approximately two weeks.

After that, the agent must follow the regular paperwork to purchase the property, which will register the name of the foreign.

A Property Registry Certificate (CRI, Certificado Registral Inmobiliario) is obtained from the Property Registry to verify the existence and characteristics/description of the property (land and construction), the identity of the owner, and to check whether it is a clean title (free from attachments, mortgages, or any encumbrances of judicial or extra judicial nature).

It is not required, but it is strongly recommended to make a verification of payment of municipal taxes (Property Tax (Impuesto Predial) and Municipal services (public gardening, public parks, municipal police, garbage collection, other services)), in order to check the tax payments history of the property. The information is obtained at the municipality by requesting a cortado at no cost and in 1 day.

The tax amounts to 1.61% of a Peruvian Tax Unit (T.U.). For Fiscal 2009 (calendar year) the TU is PES 3,600.

The notary public executes the sale-purchase agreement.

"The notary public executes the sale-purchase agreement or 'minuta' and can deliver it for registration only through the public deed that the minuta and its legal attachments generate. Since the process to generate the public deed could take some time, principally for the obtaining of the different legal attachments, it is strongly recommended to file for a 'pre-emptive reservation' on the property register.

Known as the 'blocking' of the property registry, this measure protects the purchaser from any third party filings before the public deed is officially filed for registration, and can be requested by the Notary only with a copy of the minute while the public deed does not exist yet. The blocking of the Registry expires after 60 working days as of registration.

The public deed generated is printed by the notary and the transfer tax is liquidated with the instructions for payment. Fees are subject to market values and conditions, the complexity of the transaction, promptness and availability of parties to comply with formalities and signing of the public deed, etc. a reasonably valid estimate could be around one month.

The Transfer tax (Alcabala) must be paid at the Tax Service Administration (Servicio de Administracion Tributaria, SAT). The payment can be made on behalf of a client by the notary instantaneously, and no physical visits or wait time is involved in this process. Options of payment with debit, and credit card, or bank transfers are possible since late 2008.

The tax amounts to 3% of the Municipal value of the property, on the excess of 10 Tax Units (T.U.). The amount of 10 Tax Units (36,000 TU) shall be discounted from the tax basis. This tax is payable by the purchaser. Since January 2009, the TU is PES 3,600.

Even if there is usually a difference between the Municipal and the real value of the property, such differences are not systematic.

Since January 1st 2004, (non-juridical person) vendors must pay a capital gains tax levied on the difference between the purchase price of the (non residence) property acquired as of January 1st, 2004 and the sales price of the same. The tax is 5% of the difference in prices and it is an advance payment on the Income Tax (this only takes places if the property sold was acquired after 1/1/2004).

The public deed is filed for registration with the Property Registry. Normally, it is the Notary Public who carries out this act but it is not mandated by law. Filing is a free act and is not restricted to any Officer in particular.

If the Notary is not in the same jurisdiction of the Property Register, he may engage a Notary with the same Notarial Jurisdiction as that of the Property Register.
The registration fee is 0.15% if the value of the property is below PES 35,000, otherwise it is 0.3% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of PES 3,600 or 1 T.U., if the property value of the property is greater.

When the client submits the transfer to SUNARP, SUNARP checks and verifies if the sale falls into this category. It then assigns the work to the relevant "seccion" (composed of one registrador, two assistants and one apprentice). Some "secciones" are specifically assigned to this type of transactions. Also, standard minutes have been published in the website to promote their use.

Fees & Taxes

If you buy real estate property you must pay a special tax called "Alcabala". This tax amounts 3% of the value of the real estate. In order to asses the amount of what you must pay, you must be firstly deduct 10 UIT from the value of the real estate, which is around US$ 10, 000. ("UIT". stands for "Unidad Impositiva Tributaria". The "UIT" is a fixed amount determined by the government in order to handle payments for taxation purposes, fines, and other payments made to the government).

This is in addition to the fixed sum payable as UIT or "Unidad Impositiva Tributaria". The property tax will come into effect from the year next to the buying year.

You will also have to pay the municipal services tax.

0.4-0.5% for transaction values up to US$30,000
0.1-0.25% for transaction values above US$30,000 on a declining basis as transaction values increase.

This is in addition to the fixed sum payable as UIT or "Unidad Impositiva Tributaria". The property tax will come into effect from the year next to the buying year.


All travellers to Peru must be in possession of a valid passport with at least six months left beyond the intended stay.

Tickets and Documents for return or onward travel.

No Visa required for stay up to 90 days for nationals if USA, Canada, Australia, Britain and EU countries )including Switzerland), travelling as tourists for stays of up to 180 days, nationals of Latvia, Albania, Armenia and Bosnia who do require a visa.

Note: Nationals not referred to above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

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