Address: About 39 miles (64 km) from Piura, about an hour by bus. You may find buses bound for Chulucanas in front of Mercado Modelo Piura. The bus ticket varies from 2 to 4 soles, depending on the bus company.

I was on a bus from Lima which is in Central Peru; I had already reached the northern part of Peru. I was close to Ecuador, but I didn’t think it was the right time to cross the border. I considered going to la selva (the Spanish word for “jungle”), but buses that were bound for Iquitos were all fully booked. I had no choice but to stay in Piura for a day or two. I took a mototaxi (a converted motorcycle with an open bench in the back) to the bus terminal. At the bus terminal there were so many people; after all, this was the end of the year. I wasn’t scared; many people tell me I look Peruano. Unless I started talking, most of the local people would think I am one of them. And I tried hard not to look like and act like a tourist. I speak enough Spanish to communicate with the townsfolk, if I needed help.

I saw a sign on a bus for Chulucanas. Truth to tell, I didn’t know exactly where that was, but my cellphone works in Peru’s major cities (indeed, at 4g speed, at no extra cost — thank you, TMobile!), and I learned from Google Maps that Chulucanas is 64 km east of Piura. I took the first bus that left Piura, and in about an hour I arrived at my destination. I took pictures of the Plaza Mayor in Chulucanas; see pictures below. I hoped when I took out the camera from my bag was the only time I was perceived as a tourist.

As I continued walking on a road, away from the Plaza Mayor, I saw some interesting painting on the wall and a small ferris wheel.

I took another mototaxi and pointed to the driver where I wanted to go. I saw some mountains at a distance; they looked gorgeous, and I thought I wanted to get closer. After driving for a few minutes, we reached the end of the concrete road. I prefer walking over riding a vehicle when the road is rough. I saw the comisaria (the Spanish word for “police station”). I got off the mototaxi and started walking. Who would have thought I would be able to take lovely pictures in this dusty, remote place? I found out later that this place is not part of Chulucanas; it is a town called Yapatera.

I even found trees of limón, which is a main ingredient for ceviche. Yapatera is actually known for the quality of its mangos. Too bad I wasn’t able to take a picture of the mango trees.

The colors above are not representative of Yapatera. I thought the town is more monochromatic than colorful, as illustrated in the picture below. Yet it is beautiful.

Yapatera holds the distinction of being the town with the highest percentage of Afroperuanos in Peru, many of whom are descendants of former African slaves who came to work the land.

This is how I travel. I avoid package tours. I love adventure, and I love spontaneity. I like experiencing and learning new things on my own. I try to behave and think like the local people. It is my wish to see this part of the world from the perspective of the people who live here. I love to mingle with the villagers. Yes, every now and then, I make wrong choices, but not being correct all the time is not inconsistent with adventure, spontaneity, or fun.

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