When you learn Spanish in Peru, you can’t spend all your time in the classroom. The Andes Mountains, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Pacific Ocean are all begging to be explored. By taking trips to these varied regions, you will be able to experience the many faces of Peru, as each region has its own distinct culture, cuisine, scenery, and wildlife.
Luckily, the government protects many of the country’s amazing resources. In fact, in 1993, the constitution actually recognized the diverse ecosystem and natural resources. The government has declared that certain areas in the country are special for their natural or historical cultural heritage. There are eight national parks, and eight national reservations in Peru, in addition to a variety of national sanctuaries, national forests, and reserved zones. When an area is designated as a national park, this means that people cannot build on it and all of the plant life is protected.
As far as animals go, Peru also offers amazing diversity. There are over 1800 types of birds, 500 types of mammals and 300 reptile species. Of course, there is also sea life in the Pacific Ocean including flounder, anchovies, tuna, and shellfish as well as whales and sharks.
Unfortunately, about 100 types of mammals in Peru are considered endangered or threatened including the Spectacled Bear and Woolly Monkey. However, even as existing species are struggling, new ones such as the Spiny Rat are still being discovered.
If you love birdwatching, there is a great deal to see when you are not busy attending your Spanish classes in Peru. The country is renowned for its large bird population, and it has the second highest amount of any country. There are more than 1800 types of birds, and new species are still being found. In fact, over the last 30 years, there have been 42 new species added.
The country’s national bird, the Andean Cock-of-the-rock has beautiful orange or scarlet plumage and is about 12×12; inches long. It mostly lives in streams and ravines throughout Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Reptiles and amphibians are also plentiful. There are about 300 species of reptiles, including anacondas and caimans, and about 380 species of frogs including monkey frogs and tree frogs.
So where should you head to see all of this wildlife when you are not in your Spanish classes in Peru? Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in southeastern Peru is one of the country’s most popular destinations for wildlife viewing. Encircled by rivers, this lovely national park contains diverse ecosystems such as tropical forests, tropical foothills, and dwarf forests. There are about 20,000 plant species and 600 bird species.
Another recommended place to visit is Colca Canyon, which is in southern Peru as well. This area gets a lot of tourists, and there are about 160,000 annual visitors. Only 100 miles from Arequipa, Colca Canyon makes a good weekend trip. Arequipa is the second most populated city in Peru. Amazingly, Colca Canyon is about twice as deep as the Grand Canyon! You will also found that fascinating people live in the Colca Valley as the towns were founded in the times of Spanish colonials. A great many ancestral traditions remain.
If you decide to learn Spanish in Peru, you will find that spending time in this country offers many benefits outside of just learning the language. Be sure to bring along a good camera, as the wildlife in the region will provide you with beautiful photographs to show to your friends and family when you return home.