People and Culture in Peru

1The people of Peru are very warm and welcoming. They are quick to assist if you ask for directions or to recommend a place to eat or visit. A great way to connect with the locals is to speak Spanish with them or at least smile and say, “hola” or “buenos dias” (hello or good morning). It is common there to great people, even strangers.

Remember how your parents used to tell you to keep your elbows off the table during meals? Or that it’s rude to slurp your soup? Well there’s good news guys, these American cultures and customs don’t always translate to other countries! While the local people you meet won’t expect you to be fluent in their language, culture and customs, it is important to familiarize yourself with them.

Do you know how kissing, snoring and other things sound in other languages? That’s right, even sound effects can be translated!


“Do your best to fully immerse yourself in the culture and take advantage of the opportunities abroad. This is your chance to experience many new things: new people, new food, new places, new traditions, new languages, new everything! Even if you feel physically or emotionally tired, get out there, leave your fear at home, and bring a positive attitude. Don’t take anything for granted. Even the most seemingly insignificant experience will become a highly valuable memory in the future.” – Debora C., Intern in Barcelona Alumna.

Speaking of translation…while you probably already know that Spanish is one of the official languages of Peru, you may not be as familiar with Quechua. Check out the video below for a quick introduction to Peru’s second most common mother tongue!

The most important thing to remember while you’re abroad is that things will be different. But, different doesn’t mean wrong. Be open, be curious, and read more about the culture you will be stepping into. Get excited about LIVING the life you’ve only dreamt and read about until now!

There are many parts of Peru, from the jungle to mountains to the coast. Each with its own history, culture, climate, and lifestyle. Many small towns in the mountains and jungle still speak a language other than Spanish!

15366955688_c9b90465a6_m 8475679393_ab4cc51920_m Machu Picchu, Peru

The places in Peru to explore are endless. Lima is a true ‘big’ city and is the capital of Peru. Cusco is where most tourists and ex-pats life as it is the jump-off point for Machu Picchu. Although Cusco is growing, it still feels like a large town most days. Cusco and Lima might be the two most popular destinations in Peru, but there are other large cities and popular destinations including Arequipa, Trujillo, and Chiclayo.

Here are some resources for you to learn more about the local people and culture in Peru