Peruvian Capital versus Peruvian Rural Towns
Which one would you prefer?? 10 million metropolitan city or 25 thousand beach town??
To make your answer easier I am gonna compare Peruvian capital Lima with beach towns located in the north of Peru such as Mancora & Los Organos, with Ica and its paradise desert oasis „Huacachina“ located 5 hours south of Lima and with small, by tourists unknown village called Aplao located in the middle of the valley “Majes” 3 hours from Arequipa …
But first of all, I would like to mention my first impression on Peru and a great difference between this country and countries I have already visited in South America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador). Peruvian coast up from Mancora down to Arequipa has specific characteristic flora – desert! I have travelled hundreds and hundreds of kilometres by bus up from Colombia down to Peru and I had the chance to observe that everything looks so DRY in PERU! Dry mountains, no green vegetation, truly desert flora… It cannot be compared to amazing green mountains and rich & varied flora of Ecuador or Colombia… Some pictures to compare!
Now let´s be more specific and let me begin with LIMA – capital of around 10 million inhabitants, city of NO rain all year long, city with NO green vegetation, city of dry mountains, city of terrible public transportation with NO system of subway transportation. Doesn´t it sound that great, right?! Well, on the other hand I have to mention delicious Peruvian food which Lima offers on each corner, Lima´s beautiful historical centre, its square “Plaza de las Armas”, its breathtaking cathedral and San Cristobal viewpoint from where you can see “Lima on a palm” and its really dry flora.
I spent three full days in Peruvian capital in the house of my new CS host Jose who also worked in the cruise ships as I did, therefore, we had a lot to talk about. Jose is also owner of the travel agency “Dream Destination Peru” (FB page – https://www.facebook.com/drem.peru?__mref=message_bubble ) for which we made a short promotion video in the historical centre of Lima which you can watch here – https://www.facebook.com/drem.peru/videos/1660637187481260/?__mref=message_bubble . In these three days I got the chance to explore the historical centre, try new delicious Peruvian food such as “causa rellena”, sweet “mazamorra morada”, “butifarras” and much more. The Peruvian cuisine is truly delicious, no doubt about that…
Moreover, I visited by tourists very popular city part called “Miraflores” and its charming “Park of the Love”. My last day I got the chance to observe Lima from the “top” – by visiting San Cristobal viewpoint place and to say good-bye to Jose who gave me really nice good-bye card made in a form of Slovakian flag with beautiful and very creative poem in Spanish. Muchas gracias Jose!
Now, let´s continue with a short description of Peruvian smaller beach towns located in the north of Peru – Mancora & Los organos. Mancora is a small beach town located only two hours from Ecuadorian frontier, very often compared to Ecuadorian party town “Montanita”. I spent three nights in this charming village, enjoying SBS – sun, beach & sea! My new Peruvian CS host and his kids were truly sweet and gave me really nice private room in their hostel “Casa Mancora” located close to the beach. Actually, almost everything is located close to the beach as Mancora is truly small. I met my new CS friend Paulo who made me company almost every day and with who I went for “swimming with the turtles” (nice experience but probably never ever more as I was afraid of getting bitten any minute while swimming with them haha) in village called “Ňuro” from where we walked for hours along the beach till we reached simply beautiful beach town “Los Organos” where I tried my first “CEVICHE” – typical Peruvian dish consisting of pieces of fish, onion, sweet potato “camoze” and corn called “cancha”. Mancora also offered me amazing sunset views which could be observed directly from the beach or from the Lighthouse viewpoint …
Another smaller town which I would like to mention in this article is called “ICA”, which is visited by tourists only because of the desert oasis “Huacachina” located around 15 min from Ica.
However, because of my new sweet CS host Jorge I stayed three full days in this charming place and got the chance not only to explore truly amazing Huacachina oasis and its typical crazy buggy car ride and SANDBOARDING (ou yeah, really – SANDBOARDING – awesome experience!) but also to visit bodega “Lazo” where I got the explanation how the famous typical Peruvian alcoholic drink “PISCO” is made and of course I got the chance to degust different type of wine (my favourite “Perfecto Amor” – which should help me find my perfect love) and pisco!!
Second day of my stay in Ica Jorge took me to the place called “Parque de las Brujas Cachiche” – park of witches which is famous for the statue of the witch who lived more than 100 years, had 16 sons and practised “good” white magic helping people. This place also has a special tree which a visitor should hug strongly and wish three wishes which should become true. I did it so let´s see if my wishes come true…
My last, but not the least, description in this article is devoted to the small village “Aplao” located around 3 hours from Arequipa in the middle of the beautiful valley “Majes”. My CS host Amaru contacted me already in July, in the beginning of my travelling, that I MUST visit this charming place, completely abandoned by tourists (especially this idea – not seeing any tourists and only meeting the locals made me accept his offer without hesitation) in order to explore the beauty of the valley Majes. During my stay in Aplao I got to visit Jurassic Park in Querulpa (around 10 min from Aplao) with more than 150 million year old footprints of dinosaurs with amazing views over the valley Majes. Next day I visited petroglyphs of “Toro Muerto” which were made by Inca people more than 1000 years ago. My CS host Amaru also took me for typical shrimp lunch “chicharron de camaron” as Aplao is famous for its fresh river shrimps. My visit in Aplao gave me the opportunity to experience rich history of this country and to relax completely without any sign of tourism!!!
So which one you would prefer is really up to you but I would definitely go for smaller Peruvian towns which offered me relax, peace, no stress from public transportation and the opportunity to experience real Peruvian culture and get to know its people better….
Next article will be devoted to my travel dream coming true – MACHU PICCHU!!!! 🙂