You only have to switch on the radio or television to see that Peru is a country of great cultural diversity. This is demonstrated in its dances, customs, dishes and even the costumes worn by the fans that accompany their football team. In a megadiverse and multiethnic country like Peru, its culture cannot be separated from this rich variety of features that appear to have impregnated all aspects of this great nation.
Peru is one of the twenty largest countries in the world and its territory is home to a surprising diversity of languages, religious beliefs, music, social structures and even ecosystems. All these aspects are part of an immense range of cultural diversity which is one of Peru's greatest attractions, and which makes it one of the ideal destinations for millions of people from the whole planet.
If that were not enough, and in addition to the 24 departments that make up Peru – and within which there are diverse ethnic groups – it should be mentioned that many colonies have settled in the country throughout history: Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese and French, in addition to the Africans that arrived in Peru during the colonial period, and who made this country their new home over the last three centuries.
The customs of the migrants were mixed with those already existing in the country, and they forged a priceless mixture that makes Peru one of the most diverse countries in the world. Cooking techniques and Chinese ingredients were therefore mixed with home-grown products from Peru, such as ají amarillo (yellow pepper), to give life to the one of the most emblematic dishes of Peruvian cuisine: Lomo Saltado. The "cajón" brought by the Africans also became one of the most important elements of Creole music. These fusions are nevertheless continuing and they make Peru the richest country in the world: enjoying makis with salsa acevichada, listening to rock 'n' roll in Quechua and trying spectacular risottos based on quinua (better known as quinotos) are just some of the customs that combine the best of our country with the influence of other cultures.
The enormous cultural diversity in Peru is a fact. It is also true that this attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. Aware of this, the Peruvians have turned the craft markets into large multicolor embassies that house the charms of Peru. You can find beautiful examples of this diversity in these picturesque places, such as crafts, textiles, artworks, antiques, chullos, hats and even jewelry that represent the art of each of the 24 regions of Peru.
Some of the main craft markets in Peru are:
Located at the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in Cusco, Pisac is a marvelous place that was one of the most important points for entering the Antisuyo (rainforest) in the Inca period.
San Pedro Market
Located in the city of Cusco, and designed by Gustave Eiffel himself, this market offers excellent examples of Peruvian folklore to visitors.
Miraflores Indian Market
Located in the cosmopolitan neighborhood of Miraflores, in Lima, this place offers crafts, jewelry, ornaments and clothing, among other things. There are prices for all pockets and souvenirs for all tastes.
San Juan Craft Market
This market, located in the Iquitos rainforest, produces and markets a great variety of crafts from the region, such as vegetable fiber fabrics, carved wood, various ceramics with typical motifs and paintings on “llanchama” (a tree bark), among others.