After several hours of crossing the vast emptiness of the Sechura Desert, Piura materializes like a mirage on the horizon, enveloped in quivering waves of heat. It’s hard to ignore the sense of physical isolation forced on you by this unforgiving environment; the self-sufficiency imposed upon early settlers may explain why they identify as Piuran rather than Peruvian. Being so far inland, the scorching summer months will have you honing your radar for air-conditioning, as you seek out chilled venues in which to soothe your sweltering skin. But the lovely narrow cobbled streets and charismatic colonial houses of central Piura make up for the fact that there’s little else for tourists to do here. Its role as a hub for the spokes of the northern towns means that you’ll probably end up spending some time here, sighing in relief at the occasional afternoon breeze.
If so, you have dinner to look forward to: Piura is one of the best towns on the coast for eats.