Cañete, Peru

Feb. 24, 2023

San Vicente de Cañete, Peru: population: about 60,000. San Vicente de Cañete is a small town also known as the "Cradle and Capital of National Black Art." The history dates back to pre-Inca times. The leader of the original inhabitants, Chuqui Manco, resisted the Incas for four years before finally succumbing to the conquerors. Then the Spanish explorer Mendoza arrived and founded the town of Villa de Cañete. During the following years, the rich built haciendas and brought slaves from Africa to work in the fields and orchards. Slavery was abolished in 1854 so the slave owners had to find new slaves. They brought in people from China. And that's the end of the history I can find including two Wikipedia pages. I found a trails website that talks about a path/trail that can be hiked, ridden on a mountain bike, or possibly driven (not sure about that) from Cañete to Huancayo in the Andes. Supposedly it's a beautiful ride. I imagine it probably is.

Imperial, Peru: population around 30,000. Imperial is a neighboring town to Cañete. I walked from Cañete to Imperial in no more than 20-25 minutes. I don't like Imperial. It's a world different from Cañete - very sandy, dirty streets, awful traffic, ugly old buildings. Granted, there is a lot of road construction, especially in the area of the huge Mercado. The marketplace is huge! Especially compared to the tiny size of the town. And it is just about surrounded by road construction which makes for some absolutely gawd-awful traffic problems.

San Vicente de Cañete (and Imperial) has a dry desert climate. The average daytime high of 24° C (76° F), and the night average low of 19° C (66° F). The city's elevation is 40 meters (131 feet). San Vicente de Cañete averages, based on the little info I can find, 0mm or only in the low single-digit mm, of rain per year. Now that I wrote all that about how rare the rain is here, just tonight when I was walking back to the hotel after eating in a downtown restaurant, it started to rain. Very light and not enough to even stream up on the streets or flow off the roofs, but it was actual raindrops that got me a little wet. That lasted no more than 10 minutes. Probably not even enough to be measurable.

So, my impressions: Cañete is a decent enough town, Imperial I don't like. As with many small towns along the coast of Peru, the climate is unbeatable, unless you actually like rain and cold. There are a few nice parks and a new 'mall' which is a large shopping center with several large 'big box' stores (Falabella, Sodemac, Tottus, and a movie theater), a food court, and a few small stores. The town is generally clean and has a lower volume of noise compared to many other towns I've visited, including Imperial.

This is my goal: to find a new place to live. So to reach that goal I am traveling most of South America, visiting the countries of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, passing through Argentina, visiting Paraguay, passing through a bit of Brazil, and finally visiting Uruguay. I have a list of towns, about 70, that meet these qualifications: Cities with average day temperatures of 22-28° C (72-83° F) and night temps of 14° C (57° F) and higher; and a population between 28,000-300,000. I analyzed climate and population data of around 700 towns in the countries mentioned above and then pulled out the ones that meet the previously mentioned criteria, which leaves about 70. My preference leans towards towns of less than 100,000 people. And, now that I have visited more than 30 towns/cities, I've decided I will probably want an inland town. I love the beach and walking in the warm water, but, getting sunburned is just too easy, even on a cloudy day. At least, here in Ecuador. I've also decided that any town with more than 100,000 population will be too big. I've decided that any small town/city (less than around 80,000 population) that meets the temp specifications and has a supermarket and ATM is one worth considering to live in.

My goal is to visit the towns and discover which one calls out to me - "Chip, Chip, make your new home here, this is your new home town". That hasn't happened yet, but the six towns listed below are very close to giving me that feeling. At any rate, I am not visiting tourist attractions or archeological sites, etc, those will have to wait for another trip through South America.

At this point in my journey I have four towns on my Top 10 list - Tingo Maria, Moyobamba, La Merced, Cañete, Peru, and Catamayo and Puyo, Ecuador. In my travels in Ecuador, I visited 31 towns/cities. At this point in my journey through Peru, I have visited 16 towns/cities.

Next up: Chincha, Peru.