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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in South America - Peru

Where to Go - South America

Click on the links below to view information on a specific country.

Argentina | Brazil | Chile| Colombia
Ecuador | Guyana| Peru | Venezuela


Population: 27,012,899

Literacy rate: 88.7%

Life expectancy at birth: male –67.63 yrs, female –72.5 yrs

Infant mortality rate: 40.6 deaths/1,000 live births

Population growth rate: 1.75%

GDP growth rate: 2.4%

GDP per capita: £4,000

Unemployment: 7.7%; extensive underemployment

Inflation: 5.5%

Climate: varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west

Time: GMT - 5

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 60Hz.


For travel and other info

The Peruvian embassy in London can be found at

Country Guide

The political situation here is confused (massive understatement).

Peru is not universally Spanish speaking – Ayamara and Quechua are also spoken. The country is divided into three areas: the Sierra (highlands), the Montaña or selva (the vast forested eastern foothills and plains) and the Costa (coast). The Costa is a long belt of desert lowlands and contains most of the chief cities of Peru. The Sierra is the Peruvian portion of the Andes and contains its highest mountains and also the active volcano Sabayanca, which is the cause of frequent earthquakes. The Montaña is a humid region that consists mostly of the tropical rainforest of the Amazon basin. In this region can be found the world’s furthest inland port – Iquitos. From here one can travel down the length of the Amazon, into and through Brazil to the Atlantic. In the south there is the world’s highest navigable body of water – Lake Titicaca. Obviously, of all things to see in Peru, Machu Pichu (113km from Cuzco – itself a place worth visiting) should not be missed. Don’t be adventurous and spurn the mule ride in favour of a healthy walk up the mountain. Remember the altitude. Take the mule.

The Quechua Indians are the largest ethnic group in Peru making up almost 50% of the population; 30% are mestizos, or mixed race, and lastly there are the whites and the Ayamara Indians. There is a minority population of blacks and Asiatics, particularly Japanese. Two fifths of Peru’s population is less than 15yrs old.

Land reform has only been half-heartedly attempted (which has contributed to unrest) and, although the country has oil, copper exports earn four times more foreign exchange.

Local food is good, with many interesting dishes. The local spirit, pisco is quite acceptable, particularly in cocktails.

Entry requirements

Working on a tourist visa is the usual thing. Swapping a tourist visa for a work permit while in the country is out, but as work visas are very difficult to get this is not too much of a problem. Do the usual nipping back and forth across the border when the tourist visa runs out. You can renew a two or three-month visa for up to five more months, a month at a time.


Hepatitis A, Polio, Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Malaria.

Tax and Insurance

16% tax, health insurance a very good idea.

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in Peru

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