A desert coast begs to be explored.
As tourism in Peru expands beyond the obligatory trip to Cuzco, this often-overlooked desert region is opening up. Lindblad Cruises has added stops in Trujillo, near important archaeological sites like the adobe city of Chan Chan and the Moche pyramid complexes of Sipán and El Brujo, which have opened museums in recent years. In town, the Libertador hotel, set in a Spanish colonial mansion, has undergone a $2 million renovation. Farther north, the Chaparrí Reserve outside of Chiclayo, a habitat for highly threatened Andean spectacle bears, will have a bit of pop-cultural relevance this year with the release of a Paddington Bear film, built around a member of the species “from deepest, darkest Peru.” If you’d prefer nature by day and boutique digs by night, the eco-hotelier Inkaterra is following up the opening of the six-room KiCHIC, in the low-key surf village of Mancora, by laying the groundwork for community-based tourism projects like sport-fishing and whale-watching charters at nearby Cabo Blanco, a former Hemingway fishing hangout, while pushing to establish a marine reserve and eventually a hotel. NICHOLAS GILL