19th century explorer, Antonio Raimondi, once referred to Peru as a “beggar sitting on a bench of gold.” Indeed, Peru’s riches include more than just gold. The richness and diversity of the Amazon rainforest, the fabulous cuisine and textiles of Cuzco, and the wonder and magnificence of Machu Picchu are only some examples of the culture, beauty, history, and nature that make up Peru.
The first decade of the 21st Century saw Peru’s economy expand dramatically - averaging about a 6% rate of growth per year, it was one of Latin America’s fastest growing economies. Poverty was cut in half, falling from 59 percent in 2004 to 26 percent in 2012, and millions have moved into the middle class, nearly doubling the middle class from 2007-2012. However, despite these changes, troubling issues still remain. Many have left the ranks of poverty, but not everyone has cashed in on the 21st century growth. New wealth has been highly disproportionately distributed, limited mostly to urban and coastal areas. The gap between rich and poor is significant, and more than half of the rural population still lives in poverty, particularly in the highland Andes and lowland Amazon, while slums sprawl from the outskirts of Lima. Additionally, the education system remains marginal, infrastructure poor, and many people still lack proper access to water and sewage.
Come visit Peru with Global Exchange and experience its splendors first-hand while forming an understanding of issues such as globalization and trade, wealth disparity, resource allocation and privatization, rainforest conservation, and community development. Meet Peruvians from various social and economic backgrounds and visit historic sights along the Inca trail, including Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.