Driest climate, sun, sand, salty breeze from the Ocean.... this is the result! The desert area around Piura, Chiclayo and Paita is rich in zoological findings! Cows, small ruminants, birds, seagulls, turtles: their skulls may be found in the sands, perfectly cleaned and may be artistically arranged.
The Peruvian coast is very very dry due to the coldest water of the Humboldt stream ,coming upwards from the South Pole, the rainfall along the coast is almost zero. The dry strip is relatively narrow along the southern coast (Nazca) and the central area, but in the North the strip widens so that Piura is literally in the middle of a desert. The desert becomes rocky going North, towards Tumbes and Ecuador. Tumbes itself is the Northern limit of the desert and the capital of an important oil extraction area: you may very easy travel from Piura to Ecuador, passing through Tumbes and reaching the border in Aguas Verdes, during the travel you will pass among hundreds of oil pumping stations, endless tubes
coming from nowhere and going in the same direction. The scene is somewhat dramatic, it happens that trucks may also be attacked by armed people, but you shouldn't consider this as normal.
In Tumbes, the collective taxi coming
from Piura will stop and you have to find a new one, if you want to reach the
border. From Tumbes onwards the road runs along the coast, the sea is incredibly
quiet in that area, small villages made of wooded huts are built rignt on the
beach, where tiny fishermen boats try to make a living out of the sea catch.
The border crossing at Aguas Verdes/Huaquillas
is an astonishing experience. First of all, one must know the Ecuadorians (well,
the military men in Ecuador, not really rthe common people and not even remotely
the indigenous people) are still quarreling about the exact position of the
border with Peru. In Ecuador you nay still look at map where the Northern
departments of Peru (Tumbes, Jaen and Iquitos) are considered to be part of
Ecuador - as you con easily imagine this has nothing to do with people, but it's
just a matter of oil production areas. Knowing this, the funny thing is that
Peru and Ecaudor have different economies and priorities, so that a lot of
popular items are cheaper in one country or in the other alternatively; the
result is that the border area is a huge street market - please, note that if
you're not a national of Peru/Ecuador you have to formally cleear the customs
and you will neeed someone to explain you where the check-.points are, because
you need to have the right stamps in your passoport - where the goods are
bought on the cheaper side of the border and immediately exported in the other
country. Sometimes you will find fruits, fish and clothes in Ecuador, with
hundreds of Peruvian buyers; a few months later, the same items are to be found
in Peru, with screaming Ecuadorians buying them.
Calle Libertad 875, Piura, PE
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
Av. Grau 1737, Piura, --, Peru
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples