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Peru is characterized by diverse cultures and one of the most varied geographies in Latin America.  Its half-million square miles are divided into three distinct zones:  the arid coastal desert, the rugged Andean mountains, and the tropical Amazon jungle.  The differences are most pronounced between the coastal desert, which covers only 16 percent of the territory but holds 60 percent of the population and 70 percent of the wealth, and the Amazon Basin, which covers 50 percent of the territory, yet contains only 12 percent of the population and 7 percent of the wealth.  The varied terrain, cultures, and rich natural resources present both opportunities and challenges for Peru’s development.

Last updated: August 31, 2018

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