Introduction

Patriotism puts up a steely rearguard action in Tacna, Peru’s most southerly settlement, a city that belonged to Chile as recently as 1929 (a young Salvador Allende lived here for eight of his childhood years), but is now proudly and unequivocally part of Peru. Just in case you forget, there’s an earnest flag-raising ceremony every Sunday morning in the main plaza, plus a raft of heroic statues, leafy avenues and hyperbolic museum exhibits all dedicated to Peru’s glorious past.

For outsiders, Tacna’s primary role is as a staging post on the way to or from its former nemesis, Chile. Cordial modern relations between the two countries make the border crossing a comparative breeze. If you’re delayed in town, some small museums and some Europhile bars and restaurants will smooth the wait.