The friendly city of Chiclayo.

Chiclayo market

Chiclayo wasn't the sort of place I really expected to like: with quarter of a million people, backstreets smelling strongly of urine and a constant sound of beeping taxi horns, it's not at first glance a very appealing city. Actually the fact we ended up staying there was mostly a misunderstanding with the buses and the fact that we'd heard of a cheap place to stay, so my expectations were low.

Hospedaje San Lucas has such a tiny entrance that we walked past a couple of times thinking it must have shut down before spotting the faint blue 'backpackers' on a yellow door frame.  However, after being greeted by a remarkably friendly lady and discovering we had our own room with bathroom for S40 (about £4 each), we decided to stay a while to see what Chiclayo had to offer.

Chiclayo beetle
Chiclayo cathedral

Unusually for a city of it's size, we found Chiclayo to be to be surprisingly friendly. Everyone wanted to talk to us and often just out of interest or to practice their English. Even most of those trying to sell something seemed happy enough with 'no gracias' and a smile. 

Although the city itself isn't very picturesque, there are several parks to relax in during the daytime. To the left is the city's cathedral as seen from the Plaza de Armas, which is probably the nicest place in the city to stop a sit for a while. In the South you can also find the slightly bizarre Paseo de las Musas. Although again a pleasant place to pause, I couldn't quite get my head around how out of place the classical marble figure statues seem in South America. 

Chiclayo market fruits
Chiclayo witches market

By far the most exciting place we found in Chiclayo was the Mercado Modelo (the city's market). Here you can buy anything, from red crabs to the infamous hallucinogenic cactus San Pedro, for a just a few sols. Probably the most interesting section is the witch-doctors' market where we found all manner of weird and wonderful things while wandering around- there were voodoo dolls, the head of a toucan, a snake, mountains of herbs and various strange looking medicines. Elsewhere you can buy clothes, shoes (though not big enough for Dan) and a great variety of interesting looking fruit and vegetables along with just about everything else you might need.


To me the market was the beating heart of Chiclayo  Even nuns shop here...

Chiclayo meat market
Chiclayo witches market
Chiclayo witches market
Chiclayo witches market
Chiclayo witches market voodoo dolls
San Pedro cactus Chiclayo witches market
Chiclayo witch doctors' market herbs
Chiclayo market
Chiclayo Mercado Modelo market witch doctors
Chiclayo Mercado Modelo wicth doctors' market

You really can buy anything...

Chiclayo market wires
Chiclayo burger

The market is the cheapest place to eat in the city, selling everything from sweets to a three-course lunch. It's a great place to try new things, but we were also quite excited to find these very tasty burgers near the cathedral costing between S2-S5 (£0.40-£1). Not the most cultural experience but after making the mistake of ceviche* for breakfast, it was nice to find something tasty, well cooked and familiar.  


*Raw fish with lime.  

Chiclayo sweets

Safety notes: Although Chiclayo is a friendly city it is obviously prudent to take sensible precautions.

  • Be aware of pickpockets in the market and other busy areas.
  • Try to avoid being out and about at night if you can help it, especially in the quieter parts of the city.
  • Leave your valuables locked up in your accommodation.
  • Be careful which taxi's you decide to trust. 

Chiclayo streets sunset taxis

Write a comment

Comments: 6
  • #1

    Nathan Anderson (Wednesday, 24 September 2014 11:07)

    Wow, that market looks awesome! So much delicious fruit...

    The witch doctor stalls looked very interesting. Did you talk to the stall keepers at all?

    This place looks really nice! I love when a place you expect nothing out of surprises you like that. That was Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia for me. Ended up staying for 3 weeks!

  • #2

    featherytravels (Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:22)

    Oh wow, three weeks! We were only in Chiclayo a couple of days, but it was so unexpectedly nice. We talked to the people in the market a little, it was interesting, but possibly the subject was a bit too challenging for my Spanish... Thank-you for the comment. :)

  • #3

    Agness (Saturday, 27 September 2014)

    I've never been there, but it looks like this city is so overcrowded and so vivid. Doing some shopping at farmer's market would be something I would like to do.

  • #4

    Katie Featherstone (Wednesday, 30 September 2015 16:12)

    It was strange how much I enjoyed it!

  • #5

    Shing (Friday, 27 November 2015 23:24)

    To say this place is a eclectic is an understatement! I think my eyes would be flittering around all the time, distracted from one thing to the next! Thanks for putting Chiclayo on the map for me, I'm hoping to travel around South America next year so I'll keep this place in mind - £4 each for a room and shower is incredible value!

  • #6

    Katie Featherstone (Saturday, 28 November 2015 02:24)

    Thanks Shing, I love your blog so much! I hope you stumble upon Chiclayo too. It's definitely an experience!

Phone Credit For Refugees and Displaced People is a volunteer run organisation. I can't stress their importance enough - please click on the image below and join the facebook group to find out how you can help. If you are not on facebook, you can still donate here


You can find Feathery Travels on facebook, twitter and pinterest.