San Ignacio, Perú, has a population of about 35,000 and is in the northcentral Andes Mountains, fairly high at more than 4300 feet elevation.
San Ignacio was founded in 1557, but there is nothing truly historical old left in the town. Many houses and buildings date back to the 1800s, but they're nothing special. It wasn't until the mid-1800s that it was recognized with legal status as a district. It was in 1944 that the town was finally recognized as an official city. Unlike the previous few towns I visited, San Ignacio has very few tour agencies if I remember correctly, I saw one while out exploring the town. But, there are many, many buyers of coffee, cacao, and corn. The coffee-growing industry is very big here in these mountains. I also saw several coffee exporters. The town has no supermarket of any kind.
San Ignacio has a tropical climate. The average daytime high of 25° C (77° F), and the nightly average low of 17° C (62° F). The city's elevation averages 1324 meters (4344 feet). The average yearly rainfall amounts to 1784 mm (70 inches) of rain. The humidity is typically between 75% - 85%.
So, my impressions: This town is built in and on the mountains, literally every street goes up or down, even the ones that appear to be level aren't. And, like all the other mountain towns I have visited, there are those awful tiny, biting flies here, I think they're called midges. So, is San Ignacio worth a trip here to visit? Unless you are planning on taking this route from/to Ecuador, no, don't go out of your way, it's not worth it.
My goal is to find a new place to live. So to reach that goal, I am traveling most of South America, visiting the countries of Ecuador, Perú, Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay, passing through a bit of Brazil, and finally visiting Uruguay. I have a list of towns, about 70 that meet these qualifications: Cities with average day temperatures of 22-28° C (72-83° F) and night temps of 14° C (57° F) and higher; and a population between 28,000-300,000. I analyzed climate and population data of around 700 towns in the countries mentioned above and then pulled out the ones that meet the previously mentioned criteria, which leaves about 70. My preference leans towards towns of less than 100,000 people. And, now that I have visited more than 130 towns/cities (not including more than 70 in Colombia), I've decided I will want an inland town. I love the beach and walking in the warm water, but getting sunburned is just too easy, even on a cloudy day. At least here in Ecuador. I've also decided that any town with more than 100,000 population will be too big. I've decided that any small town/city (less than around 80,000 population) that meets the temp specifications and has a supermarket and ATM is one worth considering to live in.
My goal is to visit those towns and discover which one calls out to me - "Chip, Chip, make your new home here, this is your new home town". That hasn't happened yet, but the towns listed below are very close to giving me that feeling. At any rate, I have visited very few tourist attractions and archeological sites, etc., those will have to wait for another trip through South America.
My Top 10 list has these towns on it:
- Moyobamba, Perú
- Puyo, Ecuador
- Catamayo, Ecuador
- Encarnación, Paraguay
- Formosa, Argentina
- Roldanillo, Colombia
During my travels in Ecuador I visited 32 towns/cities. In Perú, I visited 38 towns/cities; in Chile, only five towns; and in Argentina, I visited 16 towns. In Uruguay, I visited five towns, and in Brazil, three. And in Paraguay, I have visited 26 cities. That's 125 towns/cities outside of 77 I visited in Colombia while living there for 9 1/2 years.
Next up: Loja, Ecuador.