This past Friday, Jan 9th, the New York Times published their yearly list of the best world travel destinations. The good news for Peru is that the northern coast of Peru came in high on their list as number 18 of the “52 Places to Go in 2015.” With a cursory mention of Cusco as the ‘obligatory trip’ in any tourist’s travel plans, the NYT quickly went on to say that the ‘often-overlooked desert region’ on Peru’s northern coast is the new, up-and-coming destination to watch out for in Peru.
The newspaper goes on to list the changes various tourist companies are enacting to make this little known region more tourist friendly and to open up local attractions to tourism.
Trujillo is now a stop for Lindblad Cruises with the close-by archaeological sites at Chan Chan, Sipán, and El Brujo becoming featured destinations. For tourists who want to keep their feet on solid ground, the Libertador hotel recently underwent $2 million in renovation to a Spanish colonial mansion. North of Trujillo outside of Chiclayo, the Chaparrí Reserve is expecting a new wave of interest in their efforts to protect the Andean spectacle bear after the release this year of a Paddington Bear film based on an Andean spectacle bear from Peru. Finally the NYT notes that Inkaterra is beginning work on community-based tourism projects which include sport-fishing and whale-watching in Cabo Blanco, a place frequented by Hemingway.
What the astute reader will pick up from this, is not that tourism has arrived, but that high-end tourism now has arrived. Cruises and hotels in colonial mansions that have undergone a 2 million dollar facelift are not in the typical travel plans for the the low-budget backpackers who are the more frequent visitors to this Peruvian region. As tourism and high-end tourism grow in Peru it will be interesting to see the shape this process takes on the northern coast after such a prominent recognition by a U.S. newspaper.