(Altitude: 1,410 m / 4,625 ft, Population: 170,480, City Code: 053)
Amidst crinkled desert hills lies the oasis city Moquegua. This little-visited town on the RĂo Moquegua is a refreshing break from touristy Nasca and Arequipa, and is conveniently midway between the two. The Plaza de Armas, is surrounded by colonial buildings and accented by a fountain designed by famed French engineer, Gustave Eiffel. On the north side of the square are the ruins of the cityâ€™s original cathedral, now home to Museo Contisuyo. On the plazaâ€™s southeast corner is the co-cathedral Santo Domingo, where the body of third-century Palestinian virgin-martyr Santa Fortunata reposes (itâ€™s said her hair and nails are still growing). On the north edge of downtown is Cerro San BarnabĂ© where thousands of years of archaeological remains have been unearthed and site of an important battle during the war against Chile.
Moquegua has a pleasant small-town feel and plenty of sites to keep you here for a couple of days: ancient geoglyphs, a fine archaeological museum, colonial architecture and pisco wineries. Day trips may be made to the port city Ilo and its beaches, as well as to neighboring villages.
Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...