Attractions Nearby Piura, Day Trips and Excursions
Lying so high up in Peru
, the northerly city of Piura is close to a very unique set of attractions, including those of the Sechura Desert, and many commendable day trips are eminently possible. The small town of Catacaos is very close to Piura and is in fact just a mere 12 km / 7 miles to the south-west, with its Easter attractions and processions during the Holy Week of Semana Santa being particularly spectacular.
Serving as the main port for the Piura region, the westerly town of Paita is around 50 km / 31 miles away and can be reached in just under an hour, being the perfect destination for an impromptu day trip. Paita offers plenty of attractions and has a very interesting past, when buccaneers and pirates were constantly attacking it.
is to be found directly to the south of Piura and was actually established during the 16th century by a small community of Spanish missionaries. The Chiclayo of today offers great tourist appeal and attractions, much of which is directly related to the nearby royal tombs at Sipan
, some 30 km / 19 miles to the south-east of the city. Chiclayo's Mercado Modelo
is amongst the most interesting markets in Peru and is quite unmissable. Look out for the central cathedral
, which dates from the late 19th century and was inaugurated as recently as 1916.
Most tourists enjoy a day trip to Catacaos at some time during their holiday and come here to shop at the acclaimed arts market around the central Plaza de Armas. Catacaos has also become known for its culinary scene and contains a wealth of local Peruvian restaurants (picanterias).
The famous Mancora beach resort is around 130 km / 81 miles to the north of Piura and is where many tourists head to enjoy Peruvian sunshine and sand at its very best. Mancora really is the place to be seen and the sandy beaches stretch for literally miles and miles, so you can be sure to find plenty of space. Restaurants are in good supply around the resorts of Mancora, often serving freshly caught seafood.
Apart from some very old and significant houses and the Figura wooden figurehead from an actual pirate ship, most tourists from Piura come to Paita for its coastal attractions. Either side of the port are a number of enticing sandy beaches, such as those of Colan and Yasila, both of which attract hordes of beachgoers during Peru's summer season. Interestingly, Paita has an unmistakable feeling of the Wild West and the desert.
Sullana is a little city with lots of appeal and is filled with endless shopping opportunities. There are also a number of attractive public parks within Sullana, although apart from the regular markets, tourist attractions are rather light on the ground. Sullana offers extensive bus connections to northern Peru and to the border of Ecuador. Nearby, the Poechos Reservoir is a good place to come for water skiing, boating, fishing and even swimming. Each January in Sullana, the Feria Internacional de los Reyes is a major event and crowd puller.
Reserva Ecologica Chaparri
Tel: +51 (0)74 978 896 377
Head to the south-east of Piura and it won't be long before you come across the Reserva Ecologica Chaparri and its rare wildlife attractions, such as the puma, the collared anteater and the spectacled bear. The private nature reserve covers a vast 340 square kilometres / 131 square miles, and is home to almost 150 different species of birds, including Andean condors. The Reserva Ecologica Chaparri lies around 75 km / 47 miles to the east of Chiclayo, where buses and day tours to and from the park are readily available.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 17:00, spaces need to be booked in advance
Located to the south of Piura and Chiclayo, Trujillo
is a good place to stop off en route to Chimbote
, Huaraz, Huacho and Lima
. Trujillo stands right next to the archaeological site of Chan Chan
, which dates as far back as 1300 and remains the biggest of all the pre-Columbian cities within the Americas, once boasting a population of more than 60,000 people. Attractions
within Trujillo itself include a series of colonial mansions and churches around the Plaza de Armas, a grand cathedral, and a very good museum of archaeology (Museo de Arqueologia
). The 18th-century Casona Orbegoso manor house is also worth checking out.
The vast and frequently overlooked site of Tucume stands to the south-east of Piura and around 30 km / 19 miles to the north of Lambayeque, being reached along the Pan-America Highway. Tucume really is very worthy of a visit and is overflowing with ancient attractions. The Tucume site covers approximately 495 acres / 200 hectares and features everything from crumbling walls and spacious plazas, to ruined structures and numerous pyramids. Once the capital of the Sican civilisation, the Tucume site is particularly impressive when viewed from the Mirador lookout point, at the top of the Purgatory Hill (Cerro Purgatorio). An onsite museum contains a number of interesting relics.
The city of Tumbes is to be found directly to the north of Piura, and a mere 30 km / 19 miles from the actual border with Ecuador, standing alongside the River Tumbes. The origins of the city pre-date the Incas, with a community named as 'Tumpis' living here many centuries ago, which were believed to once have a population approaching 180,000. On the southerly outskirts of Tumbes, the somewhat overgrown archaeological site awaits, where the Tumpis people once lived. Close by are the remains of an ancient Inca fortress and similar attractions, along with its related Museo de Cabeza de Baca, where ceramics dating back more than 1,500 years are displayed.