The port city of Salaverry, Peru, located about 8 miles (14 km) west of Trujillo, was named after the Peruvian soldier and politician, Felipe Santiago Salaverry. The port was rebuilt in the 1960s by an English company and is able to accommodate large ships, including tourist ships, such as those of the Carnival Company. According to our local lecturer aboard our ship, surfing was invented in northern Peru, near Salaverry, about 1,000 to 2,000 years ago. The striking geological feature of the city is that it is built adjacent to the Pacific Ocean coast on the edge of the vast desert that runs along the ocean all across northern and central Peru. Most of us think of Cuzco and Machu Picchu and the Andes mountains when we think about the geology of Peru; when the lecturer talked about the desert, it was a big surprise. Seeing the desert in person, it was even more striking than the photos (see the last photo in this blog post…).
The dominant structure in downtown Trujillo, across from the Plaza de Armas (the main city square) in the center of the city, is Catedral de Santa María, (Cathedral of Santa Maria), constructed 1647-1666.
Pope Paul VI elevated the cathedral to the rank of Minor Basilica in 1967. Inside there are numerous ornate altarpieces (in Baroque and rococo styles), valuable canvasses from the Cuzco school (Cuzco was the former capital of the Inca empire), and a museum containing religious art.
The local drink, famous worldwide, is the pisco sour — made with pisco, lime juice, simple (sugar) syrup, and a splash of Angostorra bitters. Pisco is distilled grape juice; both Peru and Chile claim to have been the first to create pisco. Being in Peru, first, the locals were quite persuasive that the pisco sour is Peruvian!
This magnificent 16th century mansion (which was carefully rebuilt after being destroyed in a 1619 earthquake) showcases rooms with period furnishings, gorgeous chandeliers, pre-Colombian ceramics, and three lovely courtyards. Of major significance, this home houses the writing desk from where Simon Bolivar worked to orchestrate plans for Peru’s independence from the Spanish empire in 1824.
Within Peru, the Sechura Desert (also Nazca Desert) is described as the strip along the northern Pacific coast of Peru; it extends from the coast 12 to 60 miles (20–100 km) inland to the secondary ridges of the Andes Mountains.