south america CRUISE TO THE CONVENT: Just a short stroll away from Plaza de Armas sits the Iglesia y Convent de San Francisco. Dating all the way back to the start of the Spanish Conquest, the building now houses famous artwork, an ancient library, and much more. For fans of the macabre, you can even tour the chilling catacombs and witness an artistic display of ancient human skulls. SAMPLE ALFAJORES: Made from two crumbly cornstarch cookies bookending a creamy caramel (or “manjar blanco”) filling, topped o‹ with a dusting of powdered sugar, these desserts are popular throughout Peru and much of Latin America — and it’s easy to see why. Peru’s preferred purveyor of alfajores is La Casa del Alfajor (i.e. The House of the Alfajor), and this is one house with many locations all across Lima. Definitely worth trying — maybe at a few di‹erent locations. WATCH THE WATER FOUNTAINS DANCE UNDER THE LIGHTS: The Parque de le Reserve is a centrally located and massive Lima park whose signature showcase includes hundreds of water fountains. A visit to these fountains at night o‹ers the chance to see streams of water dance and weave beneath a captivating and brilliant light show. Smack in-between the Ecuadorean border, 300 miles to the north, and Lima, to the southeast, is the oft-overlooked seaport of Salaverry. It’s a tiny, dusty little town with a disproportionately large chapter in Peru’s history especially when “Trujillo”, a 30-minute drive away, is spoken in the same breath. Together, these twin cities share an intertwined past that’s revealed to intrepid world travelers including history buffs, cultural aficionados, and others who avidly tick “UNESCO World Heritage Sites” off a very impressive list. Each will discover enough to sate his or her passion and curiosity. Everything here seems to be trapped in time due Aha, it’s the chilly Humboldt sea current that keeps the desert inferno in check. Even so, average rainfall is well shy of one inch per year creating a bone-dry patch of landscape preserved by parched winds. And despite all this meteorological mumbo jumbo, nearby Trujillo is known as the “City of Eternal Spring.” Not Only That … Trujillo’s residents, some 700.000 of them, will boast that their city is also the “Capital of Marinera” (the dance, not the pasta sauce), as well as the “Cradle of the Peruvian Paso Horse” and the “Capital of Culture of Peru.” As Peru’s third largest city, there’s a palpable feeling of history and importance much of it relating to the ancient temples scattered about the region. First among them, Chan Chan, recognized as the “largest adobe city in the ancient world.” No wonder, then, that it’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Six centuries ago, there were 10.000 structures here some 30 feet tall. Football-field size friezes decorated temples and palaces of the enormously wealthy Chimú people whose influence was felt for 600 miles. Ultimately, 60.000 people scratched out their days in this town. Canals brought life-giving waters to irrigate fields where once there was only desert. The Chimú have been dubbed the “first true engineering society in the New World.” Eventually, the Incas conquered this city in 1370, 74 SALAVERRY THE CULTURAL CONNECTION BY KARYN L. PLANETT to the area’s peculiar climate. Curious, that, because Salaverry is a mere 8 degrees south of the equator.