Summer in Peru is spent mostly in the coastal regions as the highlands don’t really experience the warm summer months.
Lima, the capital of Peru can reach temperatures of up to 32 degrees Celsius, with very high humidity, providing perfect beach weather in the months of December, January, February, March and April. Most of the savvy people of Lima head to the beaches that scatter along the coast, to pass the day and cool down, making the beaches in Lima, very crowded. But don’t let this discourage you, the beaches of Lima are not to be missed, with local people selling everything you could ever need or want right there on the beach, including, sunglasses, bathing suits, food and much more. If you need anything at all, you can purchase it from one of the friendly ladies on the beach.
Down the Coast
Further down the coast from Lima, is the coastal beach town of Plaza San Pedro. If you want to get away from the crowds of Lima, then this is the place to do go. This beach is incredibly quiet as the surf can be quite dangerous, so if you wish to swim do so with great caution. Further south, are the beaches of El Silencio which have great restaurants for all of the seafood lovers out there. Nearby is San Bartolo, which has hostels, restaurants and is very popular within the surfing crowd. Not far down the road, is a fishing village of Picasona, which is now home to a fashionable resort for the people of Lima. Further south, is the resort town of Asia, full of trendy nightclubs and hotels, it was formerly an agricultural town and is now, the place to be where the rich are concerned. Another 20 kilometers down the coast is Cerro Azul, which is also becoming popular with surfers for its excellent waves.
North of Peru
Let’s move to the North of Peru, which hold the most beautiful beaches in the country. Firstly, no visit to the beaches of Northern Peru is complete without a visit to Mancora, this once sleepy town has transformed into the most famous town of Northern Peru, attracting crowds from Brazil and Ecuador, Mancora and pretty much all over, this town is full of bars and restaurants and is very popular during the summer months, so if you’d like to visit during your trip, you will need to book early. Close to Mancora, is the town of Vichayito, and it is the perfect place if you are looking for a relaxing peaceful get away, with its deserted beaches, the wind and waves will be the only thing to hear.
If the beach is not your cup of tea, than head inland to the Andean town of Cajamarca, which is filled with some of the most beautiful colonial buildings and best mountain views anywhere in Peru. At 2720 meters above sea level, Cajamarca has a lovely temperate climate during the day but at night can get a little cooler. Fun fact: Cajamarca is the place where the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured, tortured and ransomed the last Inca lord Atahualpa for gold and when the Spanish received the priced gold they proceed to kill him anyway. There are many attractions in and around the center of Cajamarca, like the ransom room near the main plaza, the pretty Plaza de Armes, also worth a visit is the Banos del Inca, which dates back to pre Inca times, visiting the Cajamarca is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.
North of Lima is not usually on the tourist track but would be well worth your time should you choose to visit, as there are many a thing to see within this region. For example, The Trujillo has beautiful Spanish style streets, colonial houses and many churches. Nearby, ruins such as Chan Chan can be reached from by taxi, and the ruins stretch across the Moche Valley and include a variety of complexes to visit. If you are looking to fill your time, then visiting Trujillo is a great way to spend half a day exploring.
Approximately a four hour drive from the South of Lima is the town of Paracas, a fishing village with access to the famous Ballestas Islands. Accessible by speed boats which dock at the harbor, this small visit is well worth a visit for the many different varieties of sea birds and sea lions alone, that rest on the islands during the day. Just south of Paracas is the small town of Ica, well known as a wine growing region of Peru and not far from Ica is the desert oasis of Huacachina, where sand boarding on the desert dunes has become quite popular amongst locals and tourists alike and is a great way to pass the time, after which you can take a refreshing dip in the desert lake.
A 3-hour bus journey from Ica will take you to the town of Nazca; a small town in the middle of the desert where the famous Nazca lines can be found. One of the great mysteries of the Americas, the lines are a series of animal and geometric shapes some up to 200 meters in length, drawn into the deserts rocky floor. The best way to experience the lines is by plane, which leave from the local airports most mornings and provide you with a perfect bird’s eye view.
The city of Arequipa lays is a day’s journey from Lima. Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city, and has a population of almost 900,000, surrounded by four volcanoes; the biggest and most famous amongst them being El Misti. The city features a dry warm climate, and beautiful white buildings, made from local quarry stone. The main square features lovely gardens, beautiful churches and many restaurants where you can sit on a balcony looking over the city and enjoying a delicious meal.
Probably the most famous attraction in Arequipa is the Monasteries de Santa Catalina. Just two blocks north from the Plaza de Armes, this monastery was opened to the public in 1970 and is the most prestigious religious building in Peru. This grand building is a hive of plazas that you will need at least three hours to explore. There are also many other churches and museums to explore. With everything on offer, a visit to Arequipa is a must for any summer vacation to Peru.
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