Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Patapo Project

Northern Peru has a lot of tourist attractions scattered across the Lambayeque Region, but what it doesn’t have is a legitimate tourist town. I’m talking about a town similar to those in the States who have reinvented themselves to become not just a base for tourists, but have become an attraction themselves. Frankenmuth Michigan and Wisconsin Dells in Wisconsin are just two that come to mind. Their key to success is to develop a common theme throughout a large section of the town and to base that theme on the town’s unique strengths. In our opinion, the town of Patapo, located just 30 minutes by car from Chiclayo has the stuff to duplicate that process and become the tourist destination in northern Peru.

To begin with there is its location. Patapo is bordered on three sides by rice paddies and sugar cane fields. To the north is a range of small mountains. We’ve discovered that many visitors have never seen rice paddies or sugar cane, and enjoy having the opportunity to actually walk among the fields and touch the crops. And seen from the mountains, the fields and town present an impressive panoramic view. If you click on the photo and look closely at the mountains, you may see the outlines of ancient walls and fortifications built by the Moche and Wari cultures. There are hundreds of these ruins scattered from the bottom to mountain top.

The town as it stands now has nothing to offer, and has done nothing to appeal to tourists, but the untapped potential is already there. It has a broad main street running all the way from the highway to nearly the foot of the mountains. There are two equally broad and attractive boulevards branching off the main road; each extending for more than two blocks. The one in the photo is the shorter of the two. Right now they are sterile and lifeless, not even much local traffic can be seen on them. They would be perfect for some type of interactive tourist attractions.

The red line on the accompanying town map is our view of the tourist walking path. The two boulevards are to the left. An attractive ‘farmer’s market’ is included in the tour. The area outlined in green is forested and set aside as an ecological area. We could easily see a zoo with native animals plus goats, sheep, etc, and perhaps burro cart rides. The area outlined in blue is currently where bricks are produced. Everything is done outside and we believe would be of interest to visitors. The walking tour would finish at another spacious park. This would also be the departure point for those interested in continuing on to explore the mountains, where they could walk through ruins or simply hike in the desert.

The buildings on the main street lend themselves to the ‘common theme’ mentioned earlier. The following present/future photos hopefully convey some idea of what could be done. I’m certain that local artists would be much more imaginative than I am.




And speaking of imagination… I’m told that at night there are light shows and reenactments of ancient ceremonies at Egypt’s pyramids. When I sit on a mountain top at Patapo I look at the ruins and envision much the same thing occurring right here. I imagine tourists assembling in the lobbies of Chiclayo’s main hotels, waiting for the busses to take them to ‘Patapo’s Famous Light Show.’

Why not?


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much Tom. I think we need more people who visit, live and write about the territory where we live. It's interesting to hear or to see from other people's point of views. Say hello to your wife.