Touring the Peruvian desert

photo by CC user Carlos Adampol Galindo on Flickr

Many people that think of Peru automatically associate it with Machu Picchu and the Andes when it comes to travel, but touring the Peruvian desert has its own set of experiences that are just waiting for you to discover. Check out a few of the places you can visit in this region below…

1) Mancora

If you are approaching from the north, you will be starting your explorations of Peru’s Desert Coast in Mancora.

A bit ramshackle but lively, this place will give you a rare warm water beach in a part of the world not known for having them.

With water temperatures ranging from the low to mid 20’s, and with the sunshine being out nearly every single day, your days will be filled with suntanning, splashing in the surf, or on days when the waves are being whipped up by the wind, with body boarding/surfing.

In town, a number of beachside bars will provide you the perfect venue for a sundowner drink and a tangy ceviche on the side.

2) Lima

An overnight bus ride will bring you to Lima, Peru’s bustling capital city.

A variety of possibilities are available to you in this metropolis of roughly 10 million people: you can indulge in its colonial past in the historical centre, enjoy the excellent shopping that can be found in Miraflores, or the rollicking nightlife and surfing beaches in Barranco.

No matter what you choose to do in Lima, you’ll be bound to have one of the better urban experiences one can have in South America.

3) Huacachina

Think that desert oases of the type that you have always pictured in your mind can only be found in the depths of the Sahara?

Think again, because the dunes of the Peruvian coastal desert contain such a town that delivers on every aspect of that vision.

Located about three kilometres from the otherwise unremarkable city of Ica, this tiny town is situated around a green lagoon and beneath towering hills of golden sand.

Most come here to go sandboarding on the soft hills that surround this settlement, but you can also enjoy this place by going out on an ATV or dune buggy excursion, or by merely laying out by the pool, or by going for a paddle out on the lagoon.

4) Arequipa

Looking to combine your desert adventures with some spectacular mountain scenery? Arequipa is the perfect place to end the arid portion of your Peruvian travels, as it is ideally situated for excursions into the Colca Canyon, where condors can be sighted.

The architecture and cuisine in this town is also widely renowned, making it a great place to visit in its own right.

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