Chiclayo's archeological wonders
Chiclayo: ancient home to
the Lord of Sipan

Tourism, Travel, & Information Guide to the
City of Chiclayo, Peru and Surrounding Region.

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Trivia & Quick Points


Facts & Information:
       Agriculture/ Economy       

Travel & Tourism:
       What to Do & See

       Where to Stay

       Getting There & Away       
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- Region: Lambayeque

- Province: Chiclayo

- Language: Spanish

- Latitude/ Longitude:

- Time Zone: PET (UTC-5)

- Area Code: 74

Peruvian Travel Guides

> Peru for Less:
Adventures and tours in Peru.

> Peru


> Peru: Land of the Incas

> Peru Travel Adventures

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Peru & Chiclayo Links

> Peru Travel Adventures:
Adventures and tours in Peru.

> Tico Travel:
The Peru surfing experts.

> BCI Travel guide to Puno, Peru

> BCI Travel guide to Piura, Peru

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Introduction to Chiclayo:

Peru's fourth largest city, Chiclayo is the capital of the Lambayeque region located on the northern coastal plain of Peru. It is 95 feet above sea level. As of 2015, the city population is approximately 600,000 inhabitants, with the surrounding metropolitan area having somewhere around 1,000,000 persons.

A sunny and warm climate with fresh ocean breezes embraces a geography including impressive mountains and expansive beautiful beaches with spectacular waves, (quite popular with surfers).

It is a land of legendary ancient civilizations and a wealthy colonial society reflected in its majestic and traditional constructions...

Chiclayo Region streamThe city of Chiclayo is well known for its beautiful colonial architecture, delicious seafood specialties, and natural medicines, although it is the surrounding area's impressive archeological sites and ruins which undoubtedly brings the most tourism interest.

Trivia & Quick Points:

  • Chiclayo and surrounding region are probably most well known for their archaeological sites and treasures, such as Sipan, Túcume, Batán Grande and Huaca Rajada.

    The most significant of these archeological discoveries is the tomb of the Señor de Sipán-
    in which the amount of treasure found there rivals that found in the tomb of King Tut.

  • The surrounding Lambayeque region of northern Peru includes expansive beaches with excellent waves and has become quite a popular (yet relatively unexploited) surfing destination.

  • The thriving marketplace commonly known as the Mercado Modelo features all kinds of shopping- from appliances and clothing to an impressive array of fascinating natural medicines and herbal remedies concocted from the area's many local shamans and healers.

Facts & Information:Moche art figurine of Peru


Chiclayo was founded in 1560 as a rural Indian village by a Spanish priest. Until the 19th century, Chiclayo remained a small town in comparison to the nearby city of Lambayeque. Since then, however, the city of Chiclayo has grown into a major modern metropolis.

The Lambayeque region of Peru, in which Chiclayo lies on the coast, gave rise to the great Mochica culture from 0-600 AD. Legend has it that the god Naylamp sailed here together with a vast retinue thousands of years ago to found his empire.

In fact, many ancient civilizations saw the strategic advantage of controlling this region, which today is a major business hub in northern Peru, where trading routes come together from the coast, highlands and jungle.


Chiclayo and other towns in northern Peru are centres of witchcraft and well known for their archaeological sites, such as Túcume, Batán Grande and Huaca Rajada. In 1987, in Huaca Rajada (more often referred to as Sipán), an exceptional Moche mausoleum was found.

In fact, a total of four tombs have been found in Sipan's Huaca Rajada. The huaca is a mausoleum built by the Moche culture that ruled the northern coast of Peru from the time of Christ to 700 AD, centuries prior to the Incas.

The Lord of Sipan

The most significant archeological discovery in the region was the tomb of the Señor de Sipán, discovered close to the coast, in the middle of Lambayeque Valley, just 35 kms. east of Chiclayo. Sipan tomb in PeruThe Señor de Sipán, or "Lord of Sipan" wore funeral clothes adorned with gold, silver and jewels.

Dubbed “The Golden Wonder” by Times magazine, National Geographic published an article named “Discovering the Richest Tomb in the New World” in its 1988 edition. The amount of treasure found in the tomb rivals that found in the tomb of King Tut.

Still shrouded in mystery, archaeologists have ascertained that the Lord of Sipan was a royal ruler 1600 years ago and that he was about 30 to 40 years old when he died, however, his precise identity and cause of death remain unknown.

For those interested, the priceless funeral artifacts unearthed from the tomb can be viewed at the Brüning Museum in Lambayeque,11km (87 miles) north of Chiclayo, whose Gold Room houses one of the finest collections of gold relics in the Americas.

In summary, these discoveries at Sipan represent, without a doubt, one of the most important archaeological findings of recent times, and the collection has traveled throughout the world in a series of impressive expos in Europe, the USA and Japan.

Other Archeological sites

While Sipan is indeed impressive, there are other archeological attractions in the area as well...

One major complex worth exploring is that of Túcume, also known as the Valley of the Pyramids, as there are 26 of them. There, visitors can take in remarkable archaeological sites and the natural landscape, as well as experiencing folk healing and other aspects of the fascinating culture and history that permeates the area. The preservation of the area's natural and cultural heritage can be directly attributed to the active participation of the community.

Agriculture/ Economy

The main agricultural products of the area are rice, sugar cane and cotton, which are grown in the many fertile valleys that surround the urban areas. Until Peru's economic decline in 1976, the port of Pimentel served as Chiclayo's main export line; sugar refined in Pomalca passed through Chiclayo by train and was exported to various destinations along the Pacific Rim. With the socialization of agriculture and subsequent demise of the Peruvian economy, however, Chiclayo ceased to export by sea- due in part to the shutting down of the regions only two railroads in 1975 because of their inability to compete with transport using paved roads.

Although the economy suffered for a while in the late 70's, all economic prosperity was not lost to the region... As fate (and technology) would have it, the same road that took away the railroad (and export) business, the Panamerican Highway constructed in the 1920s, began to play a new key role in filling the export gap of the region due to its easy access and connections between the mountain passes that allow access to the jungle and the sugar cooperatives of the valleys.

Travel & Tourism:Chiclayo main city square

Chiclayo Peru is one of northern Peru's more interesting cities, and its close proximity to other interesting northern coastal cities as well as its plethora of intriguing ruins, scenic countryside, and vibrant culture makes traveling in the area a rich and exciting experience. Undoubtedly, it is the archeological ruins in the area that draw the most tourism interest.

Highlights & Features of the City

Downtown Chiclayo...

features a thriving marketplace commonly known as the Mercado Modelo. Here, shoppers can purchase appliances and clothing as well as many natural medicines and herbal remedies, such as the famous “uña de gato” (Cat's Claw) in its raw fibrous bark form (suitable for brewing as a tea), and a myriad of other interesting products from the area's local shamans and healers.

The Mercado is located just 5 blocks from the Parque Principal (Plaza de Armas), and is open daily from sun-up to sun-down.

Click to Enlarge: Shopping_chiclayo_regionWhat to Do & See

In addition to its archeological wonders and shopping opportunities, the city of Chiclayo boasts some of the finest cooking to be had in northern Peru! (some local specialties include arroz con pato (duck served with rice) and the local variation of ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice).

Other Chiclayo social scenes include partying at the local private casino club and relaxing (music, poetry, etc.) in the impressive Paseo de la Musas, which features elegant statues of traditional Greek Muses in a grassy park-like setting.

(According to the Project Director Metropolitan "Chiclayo 2020", there are many future plans to expand and integrate the central nucleus of the city with its surrounding districts.)

Celebrations/ Events

Celebrations are popular in Peru and the city and region of Chiclayo are no exception... Some good ones to attend are:

  • Pilgrims and the Cross of ChalponThe festival of Santísima Cruz de Chalpón in February: (considered summer in the Southern Hemisphere), celebrated in the city of Chiclayo, is always a crowd pleaser.

  • The Holy Cross of Motupe Pilgrimage: Annually celebrated in early August in the nearby towns of Chalpón and Motupe. The event features an emotive pilgrimage (Santisima Cruz de Motupe) in honour of the local patron saint, and has since become the most important religious celebration in the Lambayeque region.

    The celebration takes place over a period of days... On August 2nd, the parish priest and a group of faithful followers begin the pilgrimage to the hill of Chalpón, 10km away. The following day the pilgrims climb the hill to the cave that houses the holy cross and celebrate with a mass, before carrying the cross down the hill and slowly returning to the church in Motupe, arriving on 4 August via the small hamlets of El Salitral, El Zapote y Guayaquil.

    The main day of the festival is August 5th, where 'castles' of fireworks go off in the main square and bands play music till the wee hours. The pilgrimage offers a great opportunity to witness the mix of Indian and Christian customs incorporated into local religious ceremonies.

Surrounding Area

Monsefú is a nearby town that provides Chiclayo with most of the handcrafts artifacts and fireworks that are for sale in the "Mercado Modelo". (This term translates to "Model Market." Many large towns have a "Modelo," because it was meant to be used as a modern model market inspired in european central markets).

Another interesting place to visit is the nearby town of Pimentel, a modern beach resort which provides good opportunities for water sports such as surfing. There, one can also watch how the local fishermen still manage the waves with the caballitos de totora, the reed rafts that have been used along the north coast for thousands of years.

Surfing the Northern Coast

According to the adventure travel company Destination 360:Surfing Northern Peru is excellent"Surfing in Peru is on the rise in terms of popularity, but its roots start with the country’s first civilizations. As coastal Peruvian empires rose along the shore, they surely depended on the sea for food. Reed boat fisherman would return to land by riding the waves in ceremonial fashion.

Times certainly have changed, and now Peru surfing, which can be enjoyed year round, is enjoyed on modern boards instead of small reed boats.

If you are an experienced surfer, you will undoubtedly enjoy the world-class Peru surfing found on its northern coast, and beginners can find lessons and surf tours that will have them up and riding in no time." Click to learn more about Peru's fantastic surfing opportunities.

Where to StayFind a hotel in Chiclayo

Book a hotel room in Chiclayo Province- and many other destinations in Peru- with our online reservations specialists- Pacarama.

Find a hotel room in ChiclayoBecause Chiclayo is one of Peru's larger cities, there are a good number of different hotels to choose from in the city and surrounding area. Prices are quite affordable, as with most places in Peru, and range in quality from high end luxury to backpacker's hostels.

Most Chiclayo accomodations offer their clients an interesting "Peruvian ambiance", unique to themselves, along with friendly and professional service. (Most Peruvians are quite proud of their region's traditional hospitality.)

In general, all the "modern amenities" of life are standard (or at least offered as options) in most of Chiclayo's hotels (TV, Wifi access, safety deposit boxes, hair dryers, luggage storage, taxi service, telephones, hot water, fresh linens, etc.), with some also offering quality dining or restaurants on premises.


Getting There & Away

  • By Plane:
    Chiclayo Peru is served by the CAP. FAP. Jose A. Quiñones Gonzales International Airport. There are daily flights from Lima (1 hour), Trujillo (15 min), and Piura, as well as regular charter flights from nearby Cajamarca. Chiclayo is approximately 480 miles north of Lima, and while there are some very affordable bus rates for trips between the two cities, it is wise to look into flights from Lima if you wish to maximize your time. Rates for flights within Peru tend to be relatively low, meaning air travel is a good way to go. recommends comparing various airlines and ticketing agents with our Travel partner Booking Wiz. (see the widget on top right of page and try it!)

  • By Bus (Road):
    Chiclayo is road accessable via the North Panamerican Highway. It is 780 km from Peru's capital city Lima.There are regularly scheduled buses leaving to and from Trujillo, Cajamarca, and Piura. Always cheap but not always a pleasure, taking the bus to get around Peru is a great way to go... because... you get to see the country and meet the regular folks who call it their home.



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Fascinating and fun: see this Lord of Sipan geometric art website
Enter the Lord of Sipan Geometry site!
Geometry step by step from the Lord of the Incas...

Lambayeque Region Coat of Arms
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