Atico & La Florida, Peru: population: about 6,000. There are two parts to Atico—the village of Atico sits about 4 kilometers inland in a valley (supposedly has a population of less than 300) and the tiny town of La Florida (the official name, though it is commonly called Atico) sits beach-side. The population number is probably for both combined, but I haven't been able to confirm that. The name 'Atico' is pronounced with the emphasis on the 'i' in the second syllable - Atico.
The history of Atico, well, doesn't exist online. I found that it was founded in 1897. That's all I can find about it. Atico is a tiny agricultural village and La Florida is sustains itself with fishing. While I was in Atico a man I spoke to took me up to the top of the church where I got photos of the new roof work being done and of the two church bells, both bronze, one of which, you can see in the photo album, is dated 1809 and the town name, Atico.
Atico has a semi-arid steppe climate. The Köppen-Geiger climate classification does not match the actual data provided by several different climate history sites. The average daytime high of 20° C (68° F), and the night average low of 15° C (59° F). The city's elevation is 75 meters (246 feet), La Florida sits just above sea level by a few meters (a few yards). Atico averages 287 mm (11.3 inches) of rain per year.
So, my impressions: I met some of the nicest people yet here in these two tiny towns (three of whom speak English conversationally). La Florida is commonly called Atico, but the people who live in Atico proper do not like that and they make jokes about it. I enjoyed my visit to these tiny towns. I was in Atico for a while and talked with several people and they definitely had an attitude toward La Florida being called Atico. It was actually kind of funny. In the photo album, you can see photos of a tree in a plaza, check it out, it's called the "erotic tree" by the locals. See if you can figure out why. Also, the header photo for this blog with the sign "Atico" is only found in the village of Atico, La Florida does not have such a sign. There are also some videos of the surf, and it was big and strong, and something nobody wanted to go into. This is not the norm, it was like this because of the stormy weather to the north causing flooding and worse. La Florida is a decent tiny town, there is one bank and cash machine but no supermarkets, and there are many hostels/hotels/restaurants—it's also a stop-over town for long-haul truck drivers.
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 seven 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 six towns on my Top 10 list - Nazca, Ica, Tingo Maria, Moyobamba, 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 22 towns/cities. At least 3 more to go.
Next up: Camaná, Peru.