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Piura

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 sweltering skin. It's not a hugely attractive city, a fact not helped by severe flooding in 2017 that damaged some urban areas, but remnants of narrow cobbled streets and some colonial houses make up for the fact that there’s little else for visitors to do here.

Its role as a hub for the northern towns means you’ll probably end up spending some time here.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Piura.