Peru’s economic freedom score is 67.4, making its economy the 47th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is 0.8 point lower than last year, with an improvement in trade freedom outweighed by deteriorations in labor freedom and business freedom. Peru is ranked 7th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is above the world average. Over the 20-year history of the Index, Peru has advanced its economic freedom score by nearly 11 points. It has achieved double-digit improvements in half of the 10 economic freedoms, most notably in monetary freedom and trade freedom, which have improved by over 35 points and provide a stable foundation to improve the economy’s engagement in global commerce. Peru’s economy continues to be rated “moderately free.”
Approximately 84% of the Peruvian population speaks Spanish (known as castellano or español), making it by far the most widely spoken language in Peru. It is also the principal language of the Peruvian government, the media and the education system.
Spanish-speaking travelers in Peru will come across some slight regional variations in the language, such as changes in pronunciation and common expressions. As with so many things in Peru, these variations correspond with the nation’s three geographic regions of coast, mountains and jungle. A coastal resident of Lima, for example, can normally identify a Peruvian from the jungle by his or her way of speaking.
The weather in Peru varies according to the area – the changes in altitude are so extreme that the climate goes from freezing snow in the mountains to boiling sun on the coast. The coast covers such a large stretch of longitude that the temperature changes dramatically as you head further south.On the coast winter lasts from June to September. The weather tends to be overcast and slightly damp at this time, but rarely very cold. It hardly ever rains in Lima nor most of the coast, except for Tumbes and Piura, which have tropical climates.During June to September, the mountainous areas are often sunny during the day but cold at night. Rainy season in the Andes starts in September and peaks between January and March, and this is a dreadful and occasionally dangerous time to be hiking.Heavy rains in the mountains and jungle last from December to April. It is rainy and hot for most of the year, but between March and September there are occasional cold surges which might require a jumper.
Peru's constitution provides for freedom of religion. More than four-fifths of Peruvians are Roman Catholic; Protestants, other Christians, and followers of traditional beliefs form small religious minorities.Ancient Peru had various polytheistic and pantheistic religions. The most important gods were Viracocha (lord, creator, and father of men) and Pachamama (Earth mother). .The Hispanic conquest of the Incas brought new religious traditions to the Andean area. The Spanish indoctrinated the Indians and spread Roman Catholicism, built hundreds of churches, and held fiestas for patron saints in each village. The people were not strict in their practices, however. Protestant sects proliferated during the 20th century, and the Indians have mixed many pagan beliefs into the Roman Catholic rituals to produce a syncretic religion rich in traditions.