Quechua originated with the Inca empire and is one of the Peruvian languages that spread across the country before the Spanish colonised Peru in 1532.
Other secluded communities also developed their own types of Peruvian languages. So, Quechua wasn’t the only native language spoken in Peru before the 1500s.
Here’s a list of some of the other native Peruvian languages that are still spoken today.
What languages do people in Peru speak today?
1. Quechua and Aymara are spoken in Taquile
If you’re travelling to Peru to see Lake Titicaca, you can stay in Taquile and catch a view of the water from your bedroom window.
Located along the southernmost stretch of the Andes mountain range, this island can be spotted poking out from the surface of the lake.
Because of its position, the people who called Taquile home in the past would have lived in close proximity to the Inca Empire. So it’s no surprise that Quechua is one of the most commonly spoken Peruvian languages here.
But, there’s another language of Peru that you may hear the local people chatting in – Aymara.
Aymara is a language spoken in Peru by people who live around Lake Titicaca, as well as those who settled along the Peru–Bolivia border. This Peruvian language gives us a good sense of how some languages are still restricted to certain areas today.
2. Jaqaru in the Tupe District
While variations of Quechua and Aymara are still commonly heard while travelling in Peru, languages like Jaqaru are at risk of extinction.
When travelling in Peru, Jaqaru is a language you’ll hear spoken in the inland regions. It’s the language of the inhabitants of the Tupe District.
Those who speak this native language of Peru are said to be descendants of the Wari people – a civilisation that was around even before the Incas.
We understand that you may have questions about how COVID-19 will affect your travel plans. Visit our FAQs page which explains our latest safety protocols in response to COVID-19.
Disclaimer: The images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.
By Tasneem Johnson-Dollie
Tasneem Johnson-Dollie is a travel writer living in South Africa. She has experience in public health nutrition and worked as a dietician before launching her writing career. She loves bringing her passion for public health and sustainable development to every article she writes. Her travels around South Africa as well as to India, Australia, and Saudi Arabia have fueled her passion for exploration.