Chiclayo is Peru’s fourth largest city after Lima, Arequipa, and Trujillo, and is close enough to Trujillo that it’s possible to visit both on the same trip. While perhaps not the most exciting city itself, Chiclayo is an ideal base for exploring the archaeological sites, ruins and ancient wonders the northern Peruvian desert plain has to offer. Chiclayo’s history is something of an anomaly in Peru, in that it was not founded or taken over by the Spanish. Instead, it has been home to many ancient indigenous cultures over the years including the Moche civilization, the Sican culture, and the Cinto and Collique ethnic groups. After Peru gained independence from Spain, Chiclayo’s status was elevated from a village to a villa, and it eventually became the capital of the Chiclayo province, earning itself the title of the “Heroic City” for its involvement in the war of independence. Today, Chiclayo is an important commercial and financial center in northern Peru.
As with many places along this stretch of the Peruvian coast, the best time to visit Chiclayo is in the summer from January to March, when the weather is at its most pleasant. Chiclayo’s climate is mild and dry most of the year, but the beach is the best in the summer when you can fully enjoy Peru’s rustic coastline. Outside the summer months, Chiclayo tends to be overcast during the day and cool at night. Many city fairs happen in the middle of April, and tourism week takes place in September, while October is the month that motocross takes over the city. We can advise you on the best festivals taking place in the city so you can plan around them.
Chiclayo’s airport receives flights from Lima, Trujillo, Cajamarca, Tumbes and Chagual for Huamachuco, as does the airport in nearby Trujillo. Flights operated by LATAM and Star Peru connect Trujillo to the capital. Transfers from the airport to your hotel will be arranged as part of your itinerary, and domestic flights will also be included. Chiclayo also lies on the Pan-American Highway.
Chiclayo is a busy city with a lot of traffic congestion and its fair share of chaos. The town centre is the Plaza de Armas, or Parque Principal, and a lively open street market, the Mercado Modelo, lies just four blocks north of the main square, which is great to stroll around and browse. The town is best explored on foot, but to visit Lambayeque or the major archaeological sites in the area, it is best to get a private transfer, which we can arrange for you. Northern Peru is also famous for its local cuisine, so make sure and try some traditional specialties like “arroz con pato,” or duck with rice, and the local variation of ceviche, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice. Drink chicha, a local corn beer which is served in gourds.