Piura is the capital city of the region of Piura in northern Peru. It´s a bit bustly and not overly beautiful, yet still has an attractive air, and is a great place to gobble down some tasty Peruvian cuisine.
The airport (IATA: PIU) has flights to Chiclayo and Lima. Airlines come and go frequently, LAN seems to have the strongest hold. Avianca also has cheap flights to Lima. Flights leave around 6:30am, 2:00pm, and another later in the evening.
ITTSA has luxury buses to:
- Trujillo 7 hours (30/40 Soles in Semi-cama/Sofa-Cama)
- Lima 17 hours. (90/120 Soles in Semi-cama/Sofa-Cama)
Bus lines that run to the north include EPPO and El Dorado.
Some wonderful colonial architecture, gorgeous plazas and parks, a large market, and a museum are all found in Piura.
- Plaza del Sol Shopping Center, Cusco, Ayacucho y Huancavelica (1 block west of Main Square, in the city center). Has cinemas (Cineplanet), a food court, shops, two department stores (Ripley and Saga Falabella) and ATMs Globalnet/BCP Cajero Automático.
- C.C. Plaza de la Luna, Esquina Grau con Gullman. Has cinemas (UVK Multicines), a food court, shops, a supermarket Metro and automatic cashiers.
- C.C. Real Plaza Piura, Av. Sánchez Cerro 234 esq. Av. Vice - Zona Industrial Piura. Has cinemas (Cineplanet), a food court, shops, a supermarket (Plaza Vea), two department stores (Ripley and Oechsle), a homecenter (Promart) and automatic cashiers.
- C.C. Open Plaza Piura, Av. Andrés Avelino Cáceres S/N esq. Av. Guillermo Irazola - Urb. Miraflores - Castilla. Has cinemas (Cinemark), a food court, shops, a supermarket (TOTTUS), a department store (Saga Falabella), a homecenter (Sodimac) and automatic cashiers.
The city of Piura is among the best places to eat in Perú. Try ceviche; fish and other types of seafood are always fresh. Another options are leche de tigre (tiger´s milk, obviously is not made of a tiger), seco de chabelo, jalea, etc. Food is not particularly spicy in the Mexican sense, though there is a good deal of hot onion and citrus juice in ceviche. In Piura city you can visit El Caracol azul restaurant, La Santitos or Cafe Capuchino.
If you want to eat traditional food, you can visit Catacaos city or Sullana city (have a care in Sullana); both have great restaurants, particularly those of Don Carlos in Sullana. In the mountains around Ayabaca it is possible to find restaurants where they serve cuy (Guinea Pig), as well as food with more ají.
- Ganimedes, Jiron Lima 440, ☎ +51 73 329 176. 7am-10pm. This vegetarian bakery and restaurant bakes great breads, and offers healthy breakfast & meals. Granola, yogurt, fresh fruit juices, and friendly help. $2-3.
- Snack Bar Romano, Ayacucho 580, ☎ +51 73 323399. 7am-11pm. Fantastic ceviche and other local specialties abound at this old favorite. S/7-18.
- Matteo's Vegetarian Restaurante (on the main plaza). Good vegetarian food for between 8-15. Wide ranging menu, includes fruit yogurts, soups, etc.
- Don Pareche, one block south of the Plaza De Armas on Jiron Tacna. Good atmosphere, seafood, desserts and friendly service.
- Pizzeria Trattoria La Nonna. Pizzas, starters, pasta, desserts in a very nice place with very good atmosphere and Italian music, in the center of the old town.
In all Piura are options to sleep. See Street View for more hotels.
- Hospedaje Los Cocos Inn, Av. Jose Olaya 197 Miraflores, Castilla. Table Tennis, Table Football, kitchen facilities and outdoor courtyard. Very pleasant family run hostel set in a nicely decorated colonial house with period features as well as lovely outdoor area with large bird cage. Near the centre. Beds were slightly squeeky but comfortable enough. Very good value for money. S/20 Room with TV, fan, Wi-Fi.
- Hostal San Jose, Av. Grau 1737, ☎ +51 73 305865, e-mail: email@example.com. Bookable online. S/60-120.
- Suite Plaza Hostal. Mini breakfast included in price but rooms are basic and the building rather deteriorated. Close to Plaza de Armas. Wi-Fi included but reception is dodgy in some rooms on upper floors. S/55 single room with fan + heavy charge on cards.
- Hostal América. Free 1 Mbps Wi-Fi+computers, no charge on cards, nice and clean rooms. Located in Ovalo Bolognesi, close to most bus offices, and in what some would call a medium safe area but still just 5 minutes walk from Plaza de Armas. Has restaurant with fast food and room service. S/52 a night for single room with fan, more for AC.
Other hotels and hostels exist, including ritzier places where you can pay American prices if you want. For example:
- Rio Verde. Quite nice, located in a residential neighborhood. About US$85 per night.
- Costa del Sol. About US$65 per night.
- Hotel Peru, Arequipa 476, ☎ +51 73 333 421. Check-out: 11am. A decent budget option, ask for a room facing the interior shafts, street traffic is hectic in the area. From S/ 28.
- Algarrobo Inn, Los Cocos 389 (close to Transportes Linea), ☎ +51 73 30 7450. Has reasonable rooms (old but clean) with private bathroom, TV and wifi. Good hot showers. For 10 Soles per person you can use a nearby swimming pool. Also offers breakfast for 7-15 Soles. Double room 80/120 Soles with/without air-conditioning.
Be very careful if you decide to change money with the street changers. They are known to rip off tourists, for example by tampering with their calculators to display a wrong amount, or by exchanging one of your bills with a fake one and giving it back to you, claiming it is broken. Better use an established money exchange (Spanish: casa de cambio) or even banks. Or, if you are on your way south through Peru, wait for Arequipa, which has plenty of money exchanges with great rates.
If you enjoy beaches, you have to visit Mancora, Colán, Yacila, Punta Sal (Tumbes) and Los Órganos.
The city of Colán hosts the oldest church in South America, but has no priest and therefore is only used on Sundays for mass. The beach by this quiet town is much more relaxed than in Mancora. There are bungalows maintained by a retired Belgian man who also runs a restaurant for his guests. Rooms are very cheap at S/20 per night, but food is about the same price. To access Colán, one must get off at where the main highway intersects the road into the city and catch a moto or colectivo into town.
In Ayabaca is the famous statue of Sr. Cautivo, one of the most powerful saints in Peru. Every October thousands of pilgrims walk from as far as Lima and Ecuador to adore this miraculously created image of Jesus, which allegedly was carved by artisans who disappeared from a sealed room after completing the figure, accepting no payment. Ayabaca is also close to Bosque de Cuyas, one of the most accessible remnants of cloud forest on the western slopes of the Andes. To see the forest, which hosts over 140 species of birds in a mere 600 hectares, it is best to employ a guide for S/12 per day from the village of Yacupampa, about 5 minutes from Ayabaca in mototaxi. Lodging can be had in several hotels (S/15-30 per night) around the main plaza in Ayabaca.