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The city of Piura is such a merry city that its inhabitants talk in singsong tones. It was here that Spanish Conqueror Francisco Pizarro founded the first Spanish city in Peru, San Miguel de Piura, in 1532.

The city's colonial churches house valuable collections of colonial art, while the town of Catacaos is very famous for its fine straw , cotton arts

Catacaos Cathedral

and crafts , gold and silver filigree and delicious dishes served up at local eateries called picanterias.

The coastal stretch of the department of Piura provides a variety of circuits for visitors. Near Tumbes lies Mancora, a beach resort with pure white sand and a tranquil sea. Further south is Cabo Blanco, an ideal spot for surfing as it boasts some of the best waves in the Pacific Ocean. Cabo Blanco was famous amongst the US jetset in the 1950s for its world records in deepsea fishing, which attracted regular visitors such as novelist Ernest Hemingway. Colan is the beach resort for the city of Piura, a resort where the homes stand on stilts by the sea.

Higher up in the Piura highlands lies the town of Chulucanas, which is famous for its superb pottery. The province of Huancabamba, meanwhile, is home to Las Huaringas, a chain of lakes whose waters are believed to have medicinal properties. The area is the capital of folk healing and traditional medicine.

Any time of year is a good time to soak in the Piura sun and taste the local fermented maize beer chicha de jora. Visitors can gaze out over the Sechura desert, the largest in Peru, and practice water sports on rivers and lakes.

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