Summertime on the Peruvian Coast!

Different from the countries in Europe and North America, the Peruvian summer starts in December and lasts until March. However as Peru only knows two seasons and is incredible diverse when it comes to climate types, the Peruvian summer is not as straightforward as in European or North American countries. Peru can be divided into three different areas when it comes to climate and geographical regions; the coast, the highlands and the jungle. Talking about the summer and wintertime is something that is often done on the Peruvian coast as this is where one can find the largest fluctuations in temperatures between these seasons. The rest of Peru, the highlands and the jungle are not refered that much by summer and wintertime but more often by the dry and rainy season. In these regions, the dry season falls together with the Peruvian wintertime and the rainy season with the Peruvian summertime. Therefore for this article about the Peruvian Summertime, we will focus on the Peruvian Coast. 

The Peruvian Coastline is over 2,400 kilometers long and home to 11 of the 24 departments of Peru. The coast is also the most populated area of the country with about 60% of the country's population. Due to its geographical character of large flat areas, the coast is home to the largest cities in the country; the capital Lima and other cities such as Arequipa, Trujillo, Ica and Chiclayo.
The coastal region is almost entirely made up out of different types of desert and plains. This makes that the region is easier to develop than the rugged highlands and therefore also relatively easy to travel. The Pan-American Highway, the longest in the world, runs alongside the entire coastline from the border with Ecuador in the north to the Border with Chile in the far south of the country. The Peruvian coast is also economically seen paramount to the country as Peru is home to several of the largest harbors on the continent; the most important being the harbor of Callao in Lima. Other harbors are the ones of Chimbote, Moquegua and Piura. These harbors are the main points of departure for Peru's exportations such as textiles, natural resources, fruits and vegetables. 
From a tourist point of view the Peruvian coast also has plenty to offer. The Peruvian coast is scattered with unsurpassed historical sites, vibrant cities, new cultures and of course beaches. When it comes to famous historic sites on the Peruvian Coast the most famous are without a doubt the mysterious Nazca Lines about 300Km south of Lima and the ancient city of Chan Chan, the largest mud brick city in the world, located close to Trujillo about 500Km north of Lima. 
Vibrant cities that can be found on the Peruvian coast are first and foremost, Lima, the proud capital of Peru and home to almost 30% of the country's population. Lima is filled with history such as the ancient site of Caral, the oldest discovered society in the Americas and Pachacamac a pre Inca site. Lima also has numerous great museums, a fascinating colonial center, great shopping with products from all over the country and finally is renowned as the culinary capital of South America.  Lima also offers some beaches in the summermonths (in the wintertime the water is too cold). These are mainly located about 50-100Km south of Lima, the best known being the hip and trendy Asia Beaches. 
Just south of Lima one can find the smaller cities such as Ica, Pisco and Chincha perched in between some of the highest sand dunes on the continent. These cities are not only known for their impressive sand deserts but are also home to National Parks such as the Ballestas and Paracas. Both of these parks can be visited and are home to hundreds of bird species, sea lions, whales and penguins. The region is also home to the Peruvian national brandy; Pisco. It is here that one can find the largest Pisco Bodegas and wineries. Finally the area is known for its strong afro Peruvian culture. This culture can not only be seen in the everyday life on the streets but also felt in the music and art of this region. 
North of Lima is the lesser known Peruvian coast but does not mean its not worth a visit. The main city of northern Peru is without doubt Trujillo. Trujillo is home to one of the most beautiful colonial centers in Peru and is known for its friendly inhabitants, amazing seafood and of course the Marinera; one of Peru's national dances. 
Further north, close to the border with Ecuador one can find the Tumbes region. This region is best known for having the best beaches in Peru. Mancora, Zorritos and Punta Sal are all famous places for travellers to spend some time on the beach. Apart from having great weather all year round, these destinations are also known for having some of the best waves for surfing on the continent. 
All of the above sites and interests combined with temperatures around 30ºC make that the Peruvian coast makes for a great vacation destination. Therefore, instead of getting stuck on the "gringo trail" as most people do, why not try something new and discover the vibrant Peruvian Coast!!!

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