Saturday, 13 September 2008

Piura: An Oasis in the Desert


Updated 2 July 2012 

Fresh air, palm trees and a peaceful atmosphere is what makes Piura a perfect place to relax in. Piura's a friendly little town that recently started to grow because of the private university, UDEP. Although Piura’s the fifth largest city in Peru, you it’s still got a small town atmosphere. With the city centre only stretching for about five blocks and the main plaza filled up with people chatting or just passing the day, Piura’s a place where you can go to let all your cares and worries drift away.

Situated in the north of Peru, Piura’s called the city of eternal heat and rightly so. While the summer’s are so hot that they’re stifling, the winter’s are warm and fresh. Piuranos, as people from Piura are called, are friendly and helpful. Piura still keeps the tradition of having two to four hours off for lunch, so the majority of schools, businesses and stores shut down in the middle of the day. If you’re not used to an afternoon siesta, don’t fear as the larger shops and grocery stores, as well as some banks don’t close down during lunch.

One tip to remember is that speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate, and you'll usually get cheaper prices. If you're looking to learn Spanish, check out Fluenz Spanish, Rosetta Stone, and Synergy Spanish.

If you want to experience Piura, catch a bus from Lima, about 14 hours and when you arrive, take a deep breath and enjoy the pure desert air. Hostels are fairly cheap and you should be able to find a nice room for less than $10 a month. Head off to Avenida Grau, which goes from Ovalo Grau to the Plaza de Armas, where the cathedral is.

Be sure to take pictures of the gorgeous architecture and pop into the cathedral for a visit. Afterwards, you can sit and enjoy the sun in the plaza and eat at any one of the restaurants in the plaza or on the many side streets. At night, you can go to the cinema or shopping at the small mall in the city centre. If you like the nightlife, there are a few discos to choose from, the most popular are Soltimbu or Queen’s. Both have DJs who mix latin music with the latest English hits. You’ll be sure to find yourself dancing to the catchy beat.

After a long day, go back to your hostel, have a good night sleep and go to the nearby beaches the next day. Northern beaches are famous for their cleanliness and great waves, Mancora and Punta Sal are the most popular ones and only about 3 or 4 hours away. After a couple of days in Piura, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to face your hectic schedule once again. Read about other cities in Peru in Popular Peruvian Cities.



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