Multiple Ethnic and Linguistic Groups
Peru has a population of approximately 33 million people, thus being the fourth most populous nation in South America. Nearly half of its citizenry is indigenous and the rest is primarily divided into those of mestizo ancestry or European and even small African and Asian ethnic groups.
This high cultural diversity is represented by 14 linguistic families and 44 distinct ethnic groups that -with the exception of two- are all found in the Amazon. However, the most numerous indigenous population is located in the Andean mountains, amongst the Quechua-speaking people who trace back their origins to the Inka – as well as other peoples who lived in the Andes at the time of the Spanish Conquest.
The native tongue for more than three million Peruvians is Quechua, mostly in the central and northern Andes. Quechua is in fact a family of languages, with four recognized regional dialects, which means that natives from Cusco will not exactly speak the same Quechua as Cajamarca or Huaraz natives.
There are also the Aimara speakers that account half a million people approximately, living in the Lake Titikaka region and the Bolivian border. Aymara, just as Quechua, is an ancient Andean language.
The Amazon Basin in Peru homes various indigenous groups, including the Aguarana, Shipibo, Yagua, Bora, Machigenga, Cocama, Urarina, and Ashaninka. Actually, Peru has the third-highest number of indigenous groups, after Brazil and Papua New Guinea, in the world; and surprisingly the highest number of ‘uncontacted’ indigenous communities in the world. Many of these rainforest peoples do not only have their own languages but also their own customs and traditions, some of these inspired by pre-Columbian and Hispanic cultures introduced to them by visitors from the Highlands and the Coast.
As modern civilization expands deeper and faster into the Amazon Rainforest, some of these jungle groups have been reduced to a couple of hundred people. Some have experienced a lot of mixing with people of developing jungle towns, and some have also migrated to the Highlands and the Coast seeking for better living conditions and job opportunities. Yet, others have followed their nomadic ways, and have little or no contact with the world beyond their range.
Meet some of the authentic native peoples of Peru
Vinicunca Mountain, Cusco
Colca Valley, Arequipa
Alto Amazonas, Loreto
Paranapura River, Loreto
Bajo Amazonas, Loreto
San Andres, Momon River, Loreto
Would you like to be part inclusive of the life of an authentic native community in the mountains or the rainforest in Peru?
You may like to spend one, two, or three days experiencing their customs and daily activities in an organized way that will guarantee your enjoyment as well as your safety and comfort.
If you wish to learn more about this, please contact us.