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Peru Travel: Guide to Peru's Northern Treasures

Most travelers to Peru tend to focus on a few well known destinations, such as Cusco and Machu Picchu, or Puno and Lake Titicaca. Of course, these are incredible places that are without a doubt the highlights of any travel to Peru, but if you have a little more time on your hands, and wish to stray away from the crowds to experience the real Peru, a visit to the northern parts of the country is a must.

Many have heard of Chiclayo and Trujillo, the most accessible cities in northern Peru. These two coastal towns boast a laid-back atmosphere as well as architectural and archeological treasures which make them worth a visit. One of the most important remnants of Peru’s pre-Colombian civilizations, dating back to long before the reign of the glorious Incas, lies in the area. Known as the Chan Chan site, located a mere 5km away from Trujillo, this archeological gem is a testament to the ancient Chimu civilization.

Another impressive archeological site lies not far from Chiclayo, the Sipan complex. Pyramids hold ancient treasures dating back to pre-Colombian times. You will see here fine objects of art by the talented and technologically advanced Moche culture as well as Moche tombs. One of the latest finds, in 2007, which can be admired here, is the 4,000 years old Ventarron temple and its beautiful murals.

Fairly unknown compared to the towns of Chiclayo and Trujillo, yet just as pleasant to visit and teeming with interesting sights, is the historic city of Piura. Founded in 1532 by Spanish conquerors, the city is home to beautiful and well-maintained parks as well as historic buildings from the colonial era. Even new buildings that are constructed in town are made to blend in with the dominant Spanish architecture and make for a cohesive and charming ensemble.

Among the most interesting attractions in Piura, you will find many on the city’s main square, Plaza de Armas. The Cathedral with its golden altar and striking paintings is a sight to behold. So is the San Francisco church, only a few block away, where independence from Spain was declared on 4 January 1821. Located right next to the Museo de Arte Religioso (Museum of Religious Arts), the church Maria Auxiliadora is also noteworthy. Finally, make sure to stop at the bustling Mercado Modelo to browse the stalls of local handicrafts. There are plenty of lodging opportunities as well as excellent restaurants in Piura, which make it an excellent spot to spend a few days on your Peru vacation.

Original Author: Hortense Soulier Full Bio

This guide to visiting the north of Peru on your Peru trip was written by a travel expert at Peru For Less available to help you design your customized Peru travel packages.

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