Peru is a country in South America, home to the largest population of indigenous language speakrs. Amayra and Quechua boast over 5 million native speakers. Lima is the capitol of Peru, and is located on the Pacific coast. The beaches in Lima are not so nice. Better beaches are found to the North and South of Lima.
Lima does offer a wonderful metropolitan life style, that rivals that of the best in South America. Lima has many 5 star restaurants and hotels, so bring your Visa.
The main attraction in Peru is Machu Picchu, followed by Lake Titticaca and then the Nazca Lines.
Peru has a very rich culture and history, and there are many different aspects of this to sample, from the food, to the music, to the architecture. There's something for just about everyone in Peru. There's white water rafting and jungle tours and hardcore ecotourist resorts. There's also shopping and museums to visit.
The people of Peru are very formal, and do not like slang. They expect your Spanish to be very polite and give you back the same.
There is a huge problem with poverty in Peru. There are homeless children in Lima that juggle at stop lights for tips, and squatters who build towns out of corregated zinc on base of mountains near the desert, where the land is not fit to be inhabited.
After I hiked the Inca Trail, I went sand boarding in the desert, and then surfing in the Pacific. I wanted to go snow boarding, too, but I couldn't fit in! There's just too much to do in Peru!
Costa Rica... A land of beautiful beaches, untouched cloud forests, and home to over 90% of the world's biodiversity. A peaceful land, also known as 'the Switzerland of Latin America' as it abolished its standing army long ago. Costa Ricans, or Ticos as they call themselves, are predominantly white, and very friendly people.
Yes, that's what the Costa Rican tourist office would like you to believe. Now here's the truth.
Ticos are the Argentinians of Central America; they think their poo doesn't stink. They want you to think that they're very white. They claim that the reason they are so much 'lighter' than the rest of Central America is because they did not have so many indigenous people to start with. There are indigenous people in Costa Rica, it's just that they're treated like poo, and there is absolutely no way to go visit them unless you are ready to hike for a few hours.
But that's not the half of Costa Rica's problems.
They're also infamous for their sex trafficking, particularly that of children. Go anywhere in downtown San Jose after dark, and you will be startled by the number of trans sexual prostitutes you will see, and prostitutes in general.
Prostitution isn't limited to San Jose, it's also rampant in Jaco, a popular beach town, and Manuel Antonio, a very popular tourist attraction. The people in the neighboring town of Quepos are some of the most hardened and mean spirited people you will encounter in Costa Rica. I have seen full grown adults step on a dog's tail solely for the purpose of hurting the animal, and the children here are no better.
Costa Ricans also hate Nicaraguans, and treat them like the United States treats Mexicans. Costa Ricans claim Nicaraguans, or Nicas as they are called, have darker skin then them, and that the Nicas are a war-like people because that is all they have ever known. Nicas are blamed for everything that is wrong with Costa Rica: unemployment rates, crime rates, prostitution, etc. The Nicas are the Costa Rican scape goat of choice.
Also, rich Costa Ricans have a particular distaste for America and Americans. Yes, they'll wear trucker caps, mini skirts and uggz, and watch MTV til the cows come home, but ask them what they think about America, and they will tell you how much they hate it and all the fat Americans in it.
Rich Costa Ricans tend to go to the Universidad Latina, because they did not have the test scores to make it to the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR). The U Latina is a particularly horrible school, filled with particularly horrible Costa Ricans. It is not uncommon to have your laptop stolen in the U Latina outdoor cafe area. It is also not uncommon to be assaulted on the train tracks that go from the U Latina to the UCR after dark.
Chauvinism in Costa Rica is also very rampant. The men make chittering noises at women when they walk by, hoping to gain their attention. They also call women by a slew of derragtory names to get their attention. If all else fails, they will resort to grabbing body parts. Breasts and buttocks are fair game in the courtship rituals of the Costa Rican. This can happen anywhere, anytime, any place, under any circumstance. Wearing modest clothing does not deter courtship rituals. While beach towns are supposed to offer a more relaxed atmospher than San Jose, do not be fooled by this, as courtship rituals are still practiced similarly in beach areas.
Costa Rica, nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there! (Read: Don't stay here for more than 2 weeks)