The wonderful realm of Guinness World Records provides a wealth of interesting, weird and fun facts about Peru. From giant pies to uncontacted tribes, Peru’s world record-breaking achievements — past and present — provide plenty of “did you know…?” conversation starters…
Peru and the World’s Largest…
- Fruit Salad (former Peruvian record) – Peru held the record for the world’s largest fruit salad. Made and displayed in Chanchamayo on 27 July 2003, the healthy concoction weighed a hefty 4.02 tons (8,866 lb). Peru lost the record in 2014 to a group from Austria.
- Parade of Honda Motorcycles — On July 15, 2012, Naysha Racing of Peru claimed the record for the largest parade of Honda motorcycles, with a total of 1,180. The record, which still stands, was made in Pucallpa.
- Peruvian Folk Dance — Perhaps unsurprisingly, the largest ever Peruvian folk dance was held in Peru. The event featured 1,247 couples, all dancing in the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa on August 24, 2014. The record still stands.
- Marinera Dance — The largest Marinera dance involved 653 couples in an event organised by Pilsen Trujillo (one of Peru’s beer brands). The record, which still stands, was made in Trujillo in January 2013.
- Seafood ceviche (former Peruvian record) – Up until 2006, Peru laid claim to the world’s largest ceviche (4.1 tons). Mexico then shook Peruvian national pride with a fishy feast weighing in at 4.5 tons. Not to be outdone, Peru struck back in December 2008. In an open-air stadium in Callao, 450 students and chefs gathered to create a monster ceviche that would blow the Mexicans out of the water. Final weight: a massive 6.8 tons. Mexico has since reclaimed the record.
- Collection of Saint Seiya (Knights of the Zodiac) memorabilia — Excuse me, what? It’s something to do with a Japanese manga series. And memorabilia. Whatever it is, the 1,792-item collection is owned by Jorge Luis Vásquez Flores of San Luis, Lima, Peru. The record was made official on April 14, 2014.
- Toilet roll (former Peruvian record) – The Kimberley-Clark Corporation, famed for modern essentials such as Kleenex, Kotex and Huggies, chose its Peruvian branch for a hefty world record attempt. In June 2008, Kimberley-Clark Peru unveiled the world’s largest toilet roll, a whopping 1.7 m in diameter. The record was beaten by Charmin (Procter & Gamble) in Cincinnati in 2011, with a roll of 2.97 m in diameter.
- Potato pie – In July 2004, the District Municipality of Carmen de la Legua Reynoso added weight to Peru’s sizeable potato-producing reputation. As it turned out, they added exactly 5.37 tons with a gargantuan potato pie (almost as heavy as an adult African elephant). The record still stands.
- Serving of baked potatoes — More potatoes, this time 1,716.6 kg of baked potatoes served in Juliaca in June 2012.
- Centipede (South American record) – Scolopendra gigantea, also known as the Peruvian giant yellowleg centipede, is a beast of a bug. Recognised by Guinness as the world’s largest, this particular centipede regularly reaches lengths of 26 cm and can grow in excess of 30 cm. The giant yellowleg is found naturally in Peru and other tropical and sub-tropical regions of northern and western South America. It’s also a carnivore with a passion for reptiles, mice, birds and bats (and tarantulas, as this video graphically demonstrates).
- Manmade floating reed islands — Yep, you guessed it: the Uros Islands of Lake Titicaca. Despite being one of Peru’s most irritating tourist traps, the Uros Islands are undeniably impressive.
- Sweater/Jumper (former Peruvian record) – If you’re in need of some plus-size clothing for those chilly Andean nights, consider Coats Cadena S.A of Lima, Peru. In June 2010, the company set a new world record for the world’s largest sweater (jumper). The sweater measured 10.16 m at the chest with a body length of 13.60 m and a sleeve length of 6.60 m. The record was beaten by a Turkish company in 2013.
- Cajón ensemble – In April 2009, Lima bore witness to the world’s largest ever cajón ensemble (a cajón is a box-shaped percussion instrument of Afro-Peruvian origin). Rafael Santa Cruz, one of Peru’s top cajón players, led the 1,050-strong band of percussion players. The record was beaten at the 2012 International Festival of the Peruvian Cajon in Lima, when 1,476 participants played together in the capital’s Plaza de Armas. The record still stands.
- Knitted hat — In April 2015, workers from Industrias Textiles de Sudamerica created the world’s largest knitted hat in Lima. The hat is 17.34 m (56 ft) tall and 20.2 m (66 ft) in circumference.
- Collection of candy wrappers — Milan Lukich Valdivia of Tacna, Peru, has amassed a collection of 5,065 chocolate wrappers during the last three decades. His wrappers come from about 50 different countries across the globe.
- Quinoa salad — Weighing in at 760 kilograms and 700 grams, the world’s largest quinoa salad was created by Peruvian chefs and students, with help from some other nations, in October 2015.
Peru and the World’s Longest…
- Marathon TV talk show (former Peruvian record) – Sergio Galliani Chavarry, a Peruvian actor, producer and TV presenter, entered the Guinness Book of World Records after completing a marathon TV talk show. The show, broadcast from the TerraTV studios in Lima, lasted a total of 50 hours and 9 minutes. The record was beaten in 2013 when Rabi Lamichhane of Nepal completed 62 hours and 12 minutes on News 24 TV in Kathmandu.
- Human tunnel traveled through by a dog skateboarder — Few Peruvian records have enjoyed as much global public attention as the record set by Otto the Skateboarding Bulldog. Otto set his record in November 2015 when he successfully skateboarded through the legs of 30 humans in Lima. You can see Otto in action here — he really is quite sensational.
- Marathon harp playing session (former Peruvian record) – Born in Arequipa, Laurita Pacheco is Peru’s “Queen of Harps”. In May 2004, Pacheco set a new world record when she played for 24 hours 30 minutes to patient onlookers at the Bolivar Hotel in Lima. The record was beaten in 2010 by 17-year-old Carly Syta of the USA (25 hours and 34 minutes).
- Career as a radio presenter/DJ (female) — Maruja Venegas Salinas has presented the radio show Radio Club Infantil on Radio Santa Rosa in Lima, Peru, since December 1944, the longest such run currently on record.
- Journey by canoe – Peru has provided the starting point for two of the world’s longest solo canoe journeys. Helen Skelton, a BBC TV presenter, began her 2,010-mile voyage at the confluence of the Maranon and Ucayali rivers in Peru’s Loreto department and finished at St. John in the Amazon Delta, claiming the world record for the longest solo journey by canoe (kayak). Her record was beaten in September 2015 when Marcin Gienieczko of Poland completed his epic 3,462-mile solo voyage from Atalya in Ucayali, Peru, to Belém in Brazil.
- Raft race competition — The 112-mile Great River Amazon Raft Race began in 1999 and remains the longest distance raft race competition in the world.
Peru and the World’s Highest…
- Tropical mountain range – The Cordillera Blanca is the highest mountain range within the Earth’s tropical zone. A stunning area of glaciers and glacial lakes, the Cordillera Blanca is home to 33 peaks of more than 5,500 m above sea level as well as Peru’s highest mountain, Mount Huascarán (6,768 m).
- Bike race – For lung-bursting bicycle action, nothing beats the I Ruta Internacional de la Alpaca road race. First staged in November 2010, the race begins in Oquepuño, Peru at a height of 4,873 m (15,987 ft) above sea level.
- Gas pipeline – Peru is home to the world’s highest gas pipeline. The pipeline runs from Chuiquintirca, Ayacucho to Pampa Melchorita on the Peruvian coast. It reaches a maximum height of 4,900 m (16,076 ft)
- Sand dune – Despite not being listed on the Guinness website, Peru’s Cerro Blanco is considered to be the highest sand dune on Earth. The dune, located in Nazca’s Sechura Desert, measures 1,176 m (3,860 ft) from base to peak, making it one of Peru’s sandboarding hotspots.
- Navigable lake – Shared between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world (navigable by large vessels, not canoes and pedal boats). Titicaca sits at 3,811 m (12,500 ft) above sea level. Lake Ccascana, at 4,920 m (16,142 feet) above sea level, is the highest in Peru (you can see a full list of the world’s highest lakes here).
- Wind generator — The world’s highest altitude wind generator is located at a height of 4,877 meters (16,000 ft) in Pastoruri, Peru. It was installed by WindAid (Peru) in July 2014. The turbine services a small community of people with no other access to electricity; the community lives next to the fast-receding Pastoruri Glacier.
- Bank branch — The local branch of Banco de la Nación in Macusani, Peru, would be immediately forgettable were it not for one notable detail: at 4,387 meters above sea level, it is the highest altitude bank branch in the world.
The World’s Oldest and Youngest…
- Oldest pyramid – The Step Pyramid of Djoser in Egypt was once believed to be the oldest pyramid in the world. Archeological discoveries along the coast of Peru have since upstaged the ancient Egyptians. Archeologists have dated the pyramids of Caral, located in the Supe Valley, to as far back as 2627 B.C., potentially pre-dating the pyramids of Egypt.
- Youngest mother – Lina Medina, born in 1933 in Ticrapo, Peru, is the youngest mother in recorded medical history. Incredibly, she gave birth to her son at the age of 5 years, 7 months and 21 days.
More Weird and Wonderful World Records From Peru
- The Amazon rainforest is home to the world’s highest concentration of uncontacted tribes. Of the estimated 100 uncontacted tribes in the world today, more than half are believed to live in the Amazon regions of Peru and Brazil, says the Guinness World Records website.
- Peru was host to the first hijacking of an aircraft, which took place in Arequipa in 1931. The pilot, Byron Rickards of the USA, was surrounded by soldiers of “a revolutionary organisation” upon landing. He was held for about two weeks and then released unharmed.
- Peru once co-owned the undeniably boring world record for the most people washing their hands in multiple locations. The event was organized by the Pan American Health Organization and took place in Argentina, Mexico and Peru in October 2011 (on Global Handwashing Day). Peru had the highest number of hand washers, with 604,246 of the 740,870 participants. The record was beaten in October 2014 when 1,276,425 people enthusiastically washed their hands across the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.
- In September 2010, Sport Huancayo (Peru) suffered a 9-0 defeat at the hands of Defensor Sporting (Uruguay) in the Copa Sudamericana. It remains the highest margin of victory in a Copa Sudamericana match.
- In June 2010, Lions Clubs International members teamed up with Peruvian students and local community members for a mass tree-planting session. They managed to set a new world record by planting 27,166 trees in only five minutes.
- Fulvia Celica Siguas Sandoval temporarily entered the record books after undergoing 64 surgical operations to complete her gender reassignment. Fulvia was certainly not afraid of change. She made a name for herself as a TV clairvoyant before deciding to enter Peruvian politics by registering as a mayoral candidate for Lima. Her record was surpassed by Blair Logsdon of the USA, who had 167 surgeries between 1987 and 2005.
- In 1982, Ted Parker and Scott Robinson set a new world record for the number of bird species seen in a single day (without the help of motorized vehicles – the airplane assisted world record stands at 342 species). The two men spotted 331 species while out-and-about in Cocha Cashu in Peru’s Manu National Park.
- Peruvian surfer Cristobal de Col Monge set the world record for the most top turns/carves on a single wave at Puerto Malabrigo in Chicama, Peru, in May 2012.
- On Valentine’s Day in 2013, the Jockey Plaza in Lima hosted a successful world record attempt for the most hugs given in eight hours by an individual. The apparently unnamed hugger hugged 5,174 people in the allotted time.
- I don’t know what the deal is with Peru and hugging, but a second hugging world record was set on Valentine’s Day in 2012, this time in Ayacucho. The gathered crowd of 10,738 engaged in a hug-fest that set the new record for the most couples hugging simultaneously (5,369).
- The record for the most different makes of motorcycle in a parade was set in Lima in 2013. The parade included 31 different makes of motorcycle along a 17-mile course.
The Changing World of Peruvian Trivia
So there you have it: enough trivia from Peru to see you through the day. Some of the records listed above will naturally be ousted, bested or otherwise beaten over time, so this list of Peruvian world records will be updated as often as possible. If you happen to spot an outdated record, or if you hear of a new Peruvian triumph, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!