Day 253: Piura, Peru
But Northern Peru has a lot to offer and I took a few weeks to find its highlights:
It’s a typical surf town but the weather is fantastically delightful. If you can’t stand the barefooted backpackers just head 15 minutes along the coast with the locals to find chilled beach time.
This city is noted for thieves so keep your valuables close. There’s no reason to stay a long time but you must visit the nearby exhibit in Lambayeque.
The Lord Sipan collection is considered the “King Tutankamon of the Americas” and lives up to the hype with a vast collection of copper, old and silver in impeccable condition.
Unfortunately you cannot take photos as National Geographic owns the rights but you can also take a day trip to the actual tomb which is currently being excavated.
I stumbled upon Cajamarca by accident. On the way to Chiclayo the woman sitting next to me on the bus insisted that I head here and wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it.
A beautiful town in the mountains famous for cheese and chocolate, the altitude did bother me for a few days but what I loved was that I only saw one other backpacker while there, almost all the tourism consists of people from neighboring towns.
There are great $5 half-day tour options to nearby wonders such as natural hot springs and a number or archaeological sites. I’m not much of a hiker and found it quite enjoyable. I really enjoyed Cumbe Mayo with its king and queen natural rock formations (above) a pre-Columbian aqueduct and Ventanillas de Otuzco, a pre-inca necropolis.
One of the prettier colonial cities in the area that is somehow unmarred by the proliferation of casinos in the area. The city is safe and a great base for visiting more ancient ruins.
Although I dont like tours, I could not pass up the convenience of another $5 tour. The big draw is Chan Chan (above), ruins of an ancient Chimor mud city, but I really enjoyed the Moche Pyramids (lead photo).
One of the few ugly cities that I had trouble finding beauty in. Hostels are hard to find and decent internet is impossible. But I refused to pass up this city as it is known for its culinary prowess in Northern Peru. Residents take food seriously and often complain that Lima has stolen its cuisine and is now selling it as its own.
I visited La Casa Tejas, a famous cevicheria on the outskirts of the city and was not disappointed. Conchas negras is now on my top 10 food I’ve eaten.
Now if that isn’t a reason to come here I don’t know what is…