Tumbes, Peru

Jan 18, 2023

Tumbes, Peru: Population: around 115,000. The entire metropolitan area has a population of about 171,000. The town sits at the high elevation of 6 meters (20 feet). Alongside the town runs the Tumbes River. The photo above is a monument to lovers, this is something you'll never see in public in North America.

The origin of the town dates way back to the pre-Inca era when it was inhabited by the Tumpis people. At one point they had a population of about 178,000. Then after the year 1400, the Incas came in and took over the area and made it an important political center. Then a later Inca emperor started the construction of roads, houses, and palaces. The Spanish conquistador Pizzaro conquered the Incas and took over Tumbes in 1532. Then ensued fights over the Tumbes region starting with the Republic of Gran Colombia claiming it, then later Ecuador claimed it, then came the Peru-Ecuador war in 1941-42. Peru eventually won and was given the region of Tumbes. That was a long time in coming, actually, and occurred in 1998.

Tumbes has a hot arid climate. The daytime average high of 29° C (84° F), and the night average low of 21° C (70° F). Tumbes receives an average of 308 mm (12 inches) of rain per year. The elevation of the city is 6 meters (20 feet).

So, my impressions: Ugly, sandy, dusty, terrible traffic in the city center. Part of the ugliness is due to a huge amount of road construction, but still, the town is ugly. I left a day earlier than planned. I didn't even try to find the Tumbes city name letters, which I try to find in every town I visit. Oh, and when I walked to the bridge to cross the river into Peru, I asked a Tourist Security person for the location of the immigration office so I could get my passport stamped with the exit stamp of Ecuador. She told me it was way outside the city and I would need to take a taxi. I did that, and she was right, it is waaaay outside the city at a different border crossing. I got my exit stamp and my Peru entry stamp easily in the same office, which was nice. And while there I met a family, the husband, Brad, was from New Zealand, and his wife, Melissa, is from Peru. They and their son and daughter live in Peru. At any rate, Brad told me the woman at the other border crossing was wrong about the location to get my exit stamp. At the main border crossing where I was is an immigration office just for that purpose. The time and taxi were basically time not well spent. But, Brad and Melissa offered me a ride from there to Tumbes, which saved me from using a bus. So, that was nice, and they are great people, very friendly. So, anyway, I'm now in Peru. I'll probably have to skip visiting the towns in the interior areas (the eastern side of the Andes Mtns) because of the political unrest (roadblocks, protests) which are not happening along the coast.

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 towns, 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.

At this point in my journey I have three towns on my top-20 list - Catamayo and Puyo Ecuador. In my travels in Ecuador, I visited 31 towns/cities.

Next up: Corrales, Peru.