Chiclayo, Peru

Spanish missionaries founded a small rural community on this site in the 16th century. Either by chance, or through help from ‘above, ’ Chiclayo has prospered ever since. In one of the first sharp moves in Peruvian real estate, the missionaries chose a spot that sits at the hub of vital trade routes between the coast, the highlands and the deep jungle. Chiclayo’s role as the commercial heart of the district has allowed it to overtake other once vital organs of the region, such as the nearby city of Lambayeque. This bustling metropolis shows few signs of slowing down.

La Ciudad de la Amistad (the City of Friendship) holds a friendly, outstretched hand to the wayward venturer. While it’s shaking hands hello, it will probably slip in a bold mix of unique regional dishes to tickle your taste buds. Known for its brujos (witch doctors), the fascinating market here is a Wal-Mart of shamanistic herbs, elixirs and other sagely curiosities. While the town itself is pretty light on tourist attractions, the dozens of tombs with Moche and Chimu archeological booty surrounding the area should not be missed.

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