Camaná, Peru: population: about 13,000. "La Villa Hermosa" or "The beautiful town," also "El valle más fértil de América" or "The most fertile valley in America".
The history of Camaná, well, there's very little online. The Spanish founded the town in November 1539 with the name Villa Hermosa. Then in 1540, they moved on to the area of Arequipa, about 180 kilometers southeast. In September, Camaná was founded a second time, this time with the name "Villa de San Miguel de Ribera." Camaná has a series of more than 10 beaches to its claim.
Camaná has a dry arid cold climate. I guess the 'cold' part is relative to something but I don't know what, because it certainly never gets cold here, according to the historical weather data. The average daytime high of 23° C (74° F), and the night average low of 17° C (62° F). The city's elevation is 15 meters (48.2 feet) and averages 160 mm (6.3 inches) of rain per year.
So, my impressions: I like this little town, it has everything needed to live here. There are multiple banks and many cash machines, countless restaurants, and a couple of ice cream shops. I even found a couple of coffee shops but they're not all that good. The coast of Peru has no coffee culture, so it's just about impossible to get good coffee anywhere outside of Lima, along the coast. On the other side of the mountains in the Selva region - that is where you'll find good coffee. Anyway, Camaná has a few nice parks and beaches. The valley is very pretty and loaded with agriculture, especially rice. I took a few pics that show the rice ponds in their various states - after harvest, dry, filled with water growing rice, and almost ready for harvest. Check out the photo album. The only complaints I have are the same for all coastal towns - the dusty sandy salty air. Everything is coated with dust or sand and the salty air causes terrible corrosion. As much as I like coastal towns, I still think I'll be living in a mountain valley somewhere.
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: Arequipa, Peru.