Operating on “Peruvian time”
I always tell my fellow travellers, “You are on Peruvian time now!” Things don’t always go to plan or on time whilst you are in Peru so you have to learn to adjust your thinking and relax and ‘go with the flow’! In other words, when it comes to social events, the cultural norm is to arrive late. If you make plans to meet your new Peruvian friends for dinner at 7:30 p.m., chances are they will show up closer to 8 p.m. One important exception to Peruvian time is for official business or travel matters, such as a flights, bus departures, or tour schedules, and it’s best to show up on time!!
In terms of greetings, people will shake hands upon meeting for the first time. When you get to know each other better, men will often pat each other on the back and women will kiss each other on one cheek. If you are a man meeting a woman for the first time, let the woman initiate the first greeting: She may offer her hand or approach for a cheek kiss. If you do not know someone really well or are first meeting them, you should address them by Señor, Señora or Señorita and their last name. Only close friends and family use first names, unless they ask you to call them by their first name. Professionals are addressed by their titles and last names.
When communicating, hand gestures are used profusely and the conversation can become very lively and animated, if the person really gets into something. People will stand close to each other and maintain strong eye contact
Peru has three official languages: Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. You can get around speaking Spanish (especially in major cities such as Lima and Cuzco), as people will generally speak both Spanish and one native language.
Spiritual beliefsThe spiritual beliefs of Peruvians, especially those of whom are raised in traditional Andean communities, have deep roots in Inca mythology. (Most Peruvians living in the Cities are catholic - modern Peruvian culture has a strong mix of Spanish colonial practices mixed with the recognition and pride of ancient local cultures and traditions)
One example is the continuing reverence shown to high mountain peaks, which are considered sacred and believed to be the dwelling places of powerful spirits called Apus. Today people make offerings to the apus by gathering food, drink, coca leaves, and other plants as a symbol of gratitude for all that the spirits provide.Cusco, the former Inca capital, has twelve sacred Apus – one of which is Machu Picchu. Many travellers come to Peru to see these impressive Inca ruins but it’s important to remember that for locals, these are more than just ruins, they are sacred, historical places. Being environmentally friendly is not just common sense, it’s also a way to demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity.