If you thought Peru was all about its big city Lima and historical sites such as Machu Picchu think again. This is a country that was colonized by the Spanish for hundreds of years. While colonization is always tragic, demeaning and exploitative, it leaves behind grand buildings, an infusion of cultures, and stories that are told for hundreds of years. Sometimes, it is helpful to look at colonization from this perspective, and admire all those beautiful towns and buildings which are vestiges of a violent past. These pretty colonial towns of Peru will teach you a lot about the country’s history and culture, while you can immerse yourself in Peruvian culture at a relaxed pace.
This town was founded in 1538 by the Spanish and is located in the highlands of Peru. You can expect cold climate and rarified air, due to the altitude. However, the beautiful scenery and colonial buildings make up for the chill which can get to your bones. Take a walk around the old town and soak in the atmosphere which is created by pretty red roofs and white plastered walls. This city once also houses the Incas but there is hardly anything Incan here to find.
General Santa Cruz officially acknowledged this once fishing village in 1835, and is now one of the most important centers of fishing industry in the world. With more than 30 fish factories and several beaches, this is the perfect town for someone who wants to understand history, but also wants to gorge on delicious seafood and laze on the sand. You can spend time hopping from one beach to another, and discover various kinds of fish, all served to you on a platter after being grilled luxuriously. You can also take trips the mountains, which are close by. Isla Blanca Boulevard is known for its beautiful marble sculptures and fountains. So, that is something you need to checkout too.
If colonial churches are what you want, you should be heading straight to Ayacucho. This town is located in the Central Highlands and is easily accessible from Lima. The town has several colonial buildings, churches and monuments. The town also features several bars and cafes which you can visit and spend your time at. Do not forget to mix with the locals, who are always ready to help you with your questions.
Another highland colonial town is Cajamarca. This town is cold too, and does not receive many tourists. However, if you wear those woolen clothes and are prepared for the chill, this town can be a beautiful place to visit. The historic city centre is filled with colonial buildings and the city’s elegance will surprise you. There are several archaeological sites, bars and cafes which will keep you occupied when you are here.
Mancora has always been one of those towns that were favored by the hippies, who were drawn to its beaches, surfing waves, and bars. However, the town is increasingly becoming the next big tourist sport of Peru. Before the town’s colonial charm is ruined, you better visit it and discover a Peru that once existed. This beautiful colonial town is on the cusp of becoming too modern for those who love colonial towns, but it still has a lot of beautiful buildings and places to explore.