Browsing: The Coast

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The stories differ about the origin of the Virgin de Yauca, a religious icon in Peru’s southern desert. (Photos by Pello Echevarria Sanz)

By Pello Uribe Echevarria
Special to

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, my two Peruvian companions and I hopped on an old Canadian school bus from the fifties. Our destination: the procession in honour of the Virgin of Yauca, in the desert province in Ica, five hours southwest of Lima by bus.

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A natural oasis in Peru’s desert region in Ica. (All photos by Carsten Korch)  See more photos.

By Carsten Korch

Of the dreams I’ve had about real life experiences, now big wave surfing with my car has been fulfilled. Powering to the crest of a 120-foot dune at full throttle to avoid tumbling back, then balancing the car on the lip of a giant sandy wave to see the horizon – an ocean of other oversized waves of sand – this is where decisions are made.

Where do we head next? A GPS arrow is pointing the way and saying another 20 kilometers. Do we follow the arrow, or route around for an easier path? Is there an easier path?

I was with a professional off-road driver searching for natural oases in Peru’s southern desert.

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Expensive botique hotels and chic restaurants are one way of vacationing in the beaches of Máncora, Peru. But a traveler can also squeak by on one-dollar ceviches in markets and lodging for $10. Read more about the inexpensive side of Máncora.
Photo: Walter Hupiu/Promperu

By Luis Davelouis Langua, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Unlike what many think, a vacation to Máncora is not terrible expensive: Most basic services are cheap because labor is cheap. Like in many places, prices vary depending on quality and the type of customer it is directed to. That is why you can find hotels from 30 soles to $120 a night. (Those prices can doubl during high seasons.)

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In 2006, archaeologists in Peru found the 1,600-year-old remains of a warrior woman and leader in northern Peru. They call her la Señora de Cao, and she is now housed at El Brujo Archaeological Complex, where visitors can see the tattoos on her well preserved arms.

In this interview, Régulo Franco, head of the project at El Brujo, talks about the significance of the Lady of Cao’s discovery and how tourists can enjoy a visit to the ruins and museum.

El Brujo Archaeological Complex is the site of ruins, a museum and the mummy of a 1,600-year-old female leader.

By Milagros Vera Colens,
El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Why should we visit the El Brujo complex?

Régulo Franco: Because you will find a cultural sequence of 5,000 years, from preceramic times to the European occupation in the 16th century. We also have one of the main sanctuaries of the Moches, with reliefs of magical and religious images. And also because we have a museum — the Cao museum — which contains jewelry and relics found in these 20 years of management [of the El Brujo archaeological complex] and which has the mummy of a female ruler in an extraordinary state of preservation, along with her personal jewelry and clothing.

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By Gabriela Machuca, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Over eight days this June, nine riders rode Peruvian Paso horses from Lambayeque to La Libertad in the Second Bicentennial Cavalcade. This wasn’t the typical horse show of competition. The trip was about rediscovering the Paso horse as a traditional way to travel.

The beauty and elegance of the Peruvian Paso horse is much talked about (see related article), but people forget about another vital aspect of this noble animal: its great strength, which was used by riders getting from one city to another a long time ago. 

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A view from a restaurant in Pocitas, a relaxed beach vacation spot in Peru’s north.

By Kelly Giem
Photos by Mirella Astolfi

Las Pocitas during the off season: I’m not sure it’s a secret that I want to let out.

I didn’t spend much time in the town of Mancora itself, but rather down by the old Panamerican highway south of town in a section called Las Pocitas. Go down the road past the pier and there are a series of hotels and beaches that truly surprised me.

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Deborah Charnes was recently in Peru and quenched her thirst for archaeology with a lesser-known site in Peru: Tambo Colorado, located in the southern coastal region of Ica.

Tambo Colorado. From an altar at sunset, you can see over the Peruvian desert to the Pacific Ocean 22 miles away. (Photos by Deborah Charnes)

By Deborah Charnes

Caveat 1: I was an anthropology student.

Caveat 2: I have gotten dirty at “digs” in North and South America. I climbed up and down the pyramids at Teotihuacán many times in my life. Mitla and Monte Alban will always be special to me. I’ve traipsed up foggy Huayna and Machu Pichu.

Caveat 3: I don’t get tired of seeing more dirt and more ruins.

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Buen Abrigo Hotel is part of a new wave of lodgings for surfers in Chicama.

By Maria Helena Tord, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Surfers in Peru are famous not only for their great deeds on the waves, but also for being big adventurers and travelers who, in search of the best pipes, find rough beaches ideal not only for surfing, but also for the quiet enjoyment of the sun and sea.

Chicama is one of the beaches that have become legendary among local and foreign surfers who, back in the seventies, made it an obligatory stop on any trip to the north.

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Dancing to the rhythm of the cajón in Chincha, Peru in the house of the Ballumbrosios, an influential musical family. (Photo: Emily Wabitsch/El Comercio)

By Marisol Grau, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

The night is black. At the head of the celebration are the Ballumbrosio brothers. Rythm, movement and tradition is everywhere. Today in El Carmen, it’s yunsa night.

So, while I enjoy this carnival celebration, I invite you to retrace my steps in a destination that, because of its proximity, needs to be dusted off, or at least, rediscovered. Welcome to Chincha…welcome back.

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By Yadira Salazar

When does beach season end in Lima, Peru? Usually the end is Easter weekend in March or April. I’m not sure why, but the weather during following weekends is always unpredictable.

Staying in bungalows at Organos beach, Peru's quiet vacation spot.
Beach side pool at Órganos beach. (All photos by Yadira Salazar)

At least, this happens in Lima and on most of the coast, but not in Peru’s north, where sun always shines. It was already late March and I went north looking for beach and sunny days.

After a one-hour flight to Piura and three-hour drive, we arrived in Máncora, which was very quiet compared to the party town it usually is. The reason: low season has already started which means plenty of accommodation available, plus lower prices. It was nice there, but I wanted to try something new. So we went to Órganos, seven kilometers from Máncora, a 15-minute drive.

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