In Tumbes, summer is eternal, and the surroundings resemble Paradise. The fact that it lies so close to the Equator has determined the landscape, which teems in plantlife. Its history dates back centuries, when the Tumpis, a tribe who were excellent sailors, settled in the far northwest of Peru. These were the first natives discovered by the Spaniards in 1532.
The superb beaches of Tumbes and its warm sea are ideal for surfing and underwater fishing. The pure white sands of Punta Sal is considered one of the finest on the Peruvian coast and the sea is ideal for water sports. Puerto Pizarro, the gateway to the National Mangroves Santuary lies north of the city of Tumbes. The mangroves have formed vast clumps of water-borne forests which have created a unique eco-system linking the river and the sea. They are the breeding grounds for black scallops, served up in Tumbes' most famous dish, the ceviche de conchas negras. Other mouth-watering local recipes include ají de langostinos (spicy shrimp strew) and majarisco (plantain served in a shellfish sauce).
Zorritos, the town which received its name from workers involved in drilling the first oilwell in the area back in 1863 lies south of Tumbes. The Bocapan beach, where visitors can swim in Hervideros, natural hot springs bubbling with iodized salts is not far from Zorritos.
A good time to visit Tumbes is in October, when visitors can take part in the local Tourism Week and enjoy the beaches, the local cuisine and above all the warm hospitality of its people.
:: NATIONAL SANCTUARY OF THE TUMBES MANGROVES
The Tumbes mangroves, located on the far northwest Peruvian coast, covering an area of 2.972 hectares are the borderline for many species of flora and fauna associated with this kind of eco-system.
The natural sanctuary protects the country`s largest mangroves, and is a haven for the many varied animal species that feed off of them. Particularly striking are the invertebrates, featuring an enormous variety of mollusks (including black scallops), 34 species of crustaceans, 33 types of snails and more than a hundred fish species. The sanctuary is also a key breeding ground for commercial marine species such as shrimp. Migratory and resident bird species, as well as the endangered black American alligator: unique species and the anteater, are just a few of the more interesting inhabitants of the area.
• Cebiche de Conchas negras. Scallops dug up in the mangroves end marinated in lemon juice, onion and hot chilli pepper.
• Ají de langostinos. Prawns in a cream sauce of breadcrumbs with hot chilli pepper.
• Majarisco. Plantain cooked in a shellfish sauce.
• Cebiche. Raw fish marineted in lemon juice, onion and aji chilli pepper.
• Chifles. Deep-fried banana chips.