The friendly city of Chiclayo.

Chiclayo market


Chiclayo wasn't the sort of place I'd really expected to like: with quarter of a million people, backstreets smelling strongly of urine and a constant sound of beeping taxi horns, it was 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 - 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 seemed to be 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 taxis you decide to trust.


Chiclayo streets sunset taxis

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


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