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Bora group dancing at their Maloca.

Multiple Ethnic and Linguistic Groups

With a population of around 33 million, Peru ranks as South America's fourth most populous nation. Its citizens are predominantly indigenous (nearly half) or of mestizo and European descent, with smaller African and Asian ethnic groups. Peru's rich cultural diversity is reflected in 14 linguistic families and 44 distinct ethnic groups, primarily concentrated in the Amazon. Notably, the largest indigenous population resides in the Andean mountains, including the Quechua-speaking people who trace their origins back to the Inka, along with other Andean peoples during the Spanish Conquest.

Over three million Peruvians speak Quechua as their native language, mainly in the central and northern Andes. Quechua encompasses multiple dialects, varying by region. For instance, Quechua spoken in Cusco differs from that in Cajamarca or Huaraz.

Another significant linguistic group is the half-million Aimara speakers, residing near Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian border. Aymara, like Quechua, is an ancient Andean language.

The Peruvian Amazon Basin is home to diverse indigenous groups such as Aguarana, Shipibo, Yagua, Bora, Machigenga, Cocama, Urarina, and Ashaninka. Peru boasts the third-highest number of indigenous groups globally, with the highest number of 'uncontacted' communities. These rainforest peoples have distinct languages, customs, and traditions influenced by pre-Columbian and Hispanic cultures introduced by visitors. However, the rapid expansion of modern civilization has caused some groups to shrink to just a few hundred members. Some have assimilated with jungle towns, while others have migrated seeking better opportunities. Yet, a few continue their nomadic lifestyle with limited contact beyond their territory.

Meet some of the authentic native peoples of Peru

Would you like to inmerse in the vibrant life of an authentic native community in Peru's mountains or rainforest?

  • Embark on a one, two, or three-day journey immersing yourself in the customs and daily activities of native communities. Our organized approach ensures your enjoyment, safety, and comfort throughout the experience.

  • For further information and to begin your adventure, please reach out to us.

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