As I sat on an overnight bus that I boarded in Lima, Peru, I wondered what the next three months of my life would entail. I was headed to the northern Peruvian city, Chiclayo, to work at a local school and university, Juan Mejia Baca. I didn’t know much about the city before I got there, so I was anxious to arrive and delve into the culture. After about a month here, I’m already falling in love with the people, the culture, and the food. I’ve had some time to explore the area, and here are my top things to do in Chiclayo:
Hang out at the Plaza de Armas
This is the heart of the city, and one of the best places to people watch. If you have some time to kill, grab a spot on a bench in the Plaza and enjoy the nice weather and enjoy the scenery around you. There is also a beautiful cathedral you can explore on one end of the Plaza. This is also a good place to grab a bite to eat on a weekend.
Visit the Pomac Forest
This is a natural reserve dry forest full of ancient pyramids. The pyramids have been worn down over the years, but they still stand tall and hold a bit of their form. Climb to the top of one to get an amazing view of the whole forest and the other pyramids. The forest also has an ancient tree, which they call “The Millennial Tree” which is interesting to stop by.
Visit the archeological sites
There are several tombs, temples, and archeological sites in the area that are of significance. The most famous ones are Sipan, Túcume, Batán Grande and Huaca Rajada. The most significant and important of these is the tomb of Señor de Sipán. When his tomb was discovered it was called the “King Tut of South America,” because the treasures found rivaled those found in the tomb of King Tut.
Go to the beach
Chiclayo is about 7 miles from any given beach, so it’s easy to grab a taxi and head to the coast for the day. Puerto Eten has an old pier and beautiful cliffs, as well as a clean beach. The beach at Pimentel is a bit more crowded and is known for its surfing. The pier here has been fixed up and is fun to walk down and spot local fishermen on the pier as well as out in the ocean.
Spend an afternoon at Mercado Modelo
This thriving marketplace is extensive and interesting. It features all types of shopping, whether you are looking for crafts, clothing, or produce. It is also home to some fascinating herbal remedies and medicines that are made by the area’s local witch doctors.