Please see a list of destinations we have compiled at SAE (below). The costs of the buses have gone up slightly incidentally. Obviously, if you have a car, the journey times will be considerably reduced.
There are also groups of Peruvians who go on weekend excursions throughout the year that we would be delighted to put you in touch with. For example, yesterday, I went to Antankallo waterfall in Matucana with a group called Grupo Wayra. Undoubtedly, there is no better way to get to know the country than with the people who know and love it the best.
Canta and Obrajillo
Perched on top of a hill overlooking the Chillon river valley. Canta is surrounded by rolling green hills and is a 2 to 3-hour hike to pre-Inca ruins of Catamarca. Camping and trekking is possible through the high mountain pass of La Viuda (4,784m). Bring food, water and warm clothing if you are going to stay overnight or hike further into the mountains. Accommodation available in Canta at “Kalpacho”. Three buses daily to and from Lima (El Canteño company, San Roman 151- 153 Lima). The bus takes 3 hours. Buses also leave from the door 5 of the UNI (Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria) between 5am and 6:30am. Tickets cost s/.8 and are various companies to choose from..
Three kilometers from Canta is the town of Obrajillo, a charming labyrinth of winding streets, overhanging balconies and colonial mansions. Accommodation for travelers is available at house of Melchoer Vento or alternatively, about a half kilometer along the river which runs through town, a good spot to camp is beside a waterfall and a large meadow shaded by eucalyptus trees. For transport see Canta.
Chosica is a nice afternoon escape from the city and takes between 1 to 2 hours to reach. Sitting above the fog hugging Lima during the winter, it is popular with Limeños seeking some sun at the weekends. There are a few restaurants overlooking the central park where you can catch up on your postcard writing. It is also where you can get buses to various destinations for other treks near Lima.
Catch a bus at Av. Grau (s/. 2.5).
San Pedro de Casta and Marcahuasi
(perfect for the weekend)
San Pedro de Casta
(3,750m) is the closest town to Marcahuasi, a huge plain at 4100m above sea level. On the mesa, there are many enigmatic rocks formations with the shapes of animals and people, including a Frog, turtle, the Indian, the Three Virgins, etc. You can also find “La Fortaleza” (the fortress), at 4,180m. San Pedro there are hostels and restaurants located on the main square. If you arrive late at San Pedro, it is recommended to stay overnight there. There is a tourist information center, but it is quite difficult to get any information and they don`t speak English. However, they will ask you to pay an entrance fee (s/. 10). Buses to San Pedro leave at 9am and 3pm 4 blocks from the plaza in Chosica (see Chosica to know how to get here). They charge s/. 6 per person and it takes approx.4 -5 hours.
(3km from San Pedro de casta) takes 1-4 hours on foot (or rent a donkey for s/. 20). There are 2 different routes to get there. One is a pretty ‘steep’ shortcut but it might take you even longer than the other one, especially if you decide to climb up with a backpack. You can camp there but don’t forget to bring a lot of water and food. The nights are chilly there so don`t forget warm clothing.
Famous for its spas, forests and cheese, Churin is worth the 6-hour journey from Lima. The road to Churin passes through wonderful rock formations and sub tropical vegetation.
Buses leave from Av. Carlos Zavala # 100, 104, and 140, and cost s/. 12-15. Bus companies include Espaldín (428 5857), Estrella Polar (426 5490), Beteta Junior (428 8832). Lodging in Churìn include Hostal El Internacional (237 3015) or Las Termas (225 1602). A few kilometers before the Churìn there is a village called Chiuchìn where you will find spas (Picay and Huancahuasi), and you can hike to a beautiful lake at 4,500m. You may rent a horse to carry your things.
If you like moutain biking, you can do a 12km-long route from Chiuchìn to Huancahuasi. Lodging in Chiuchin include Hostal Doña Hermiña (441 1645).
Huacho and Lomas de Lachay
Huacho is the closest town to Lomas de Lachay, a national reserve teeming with bird life. Facilities include a visitor center, trails, camping, and picnic spots. Between September and October, the plants are in bloom and are very beautiful. Buses depart from the avenidas Carlos Zavala and Montevideo, or at the Parque Universitario, and takes 1 hour. Once in Huacho, take a taxi (s/. 4-5) or get off the bus at the detour to Lachay (ask the driver), and then walk 3km into the entrance to the reserve.
Cieneguilla, 20 km east of the city, is a popular place to escape Lima’s smog and enjoy the gardens, restaurants, and horseback riding. For a traditional highland meal, try Pachamanca, a dish of meat and vegetables slow-cooked in an earthen pit, buried with wood and hot stones. Take a bus that says Cieneguilla from Av. Javier Prado (East side of the street). Travel time is about one hour (s/. 2).
Pachacamac has many ruins to explore. There is a small museum near the reconstruction of the “Temple of the Virgins.” Buses and colectivos leave from Avenidas Montevideo and Ayacucho for the hour-long busride heading 31km east of Lima. Or you can try to catch one from Panamericana Sur (buses will say Lurin / Pachacamac). Cost s/. 2. Ask to be dropped off at “las ruinas,” just before the town of the same name.
This is the most popular place for white-water rating on the Chillón river, where the national championships are held every February. Several places offer rafting and kayaking. Try “Camping San Jeronimo”, “Aldea” or “Adventure Perú”. Rafting costs about $15 per person for 1-2 hours. The river is highest from November to April (levels 4-5) and low from May to October (levels 1-2). Kayaking upriver is excellent. There are numerous accommodations. Outside town there is “Embassy Rio” and “Rio Alto” which cost more, but have hot water and rafting, as well as discos! Nearby you will find “las Viñas,” a nice place to stay. They offer white-water rafting ($10-12) and a restaurant where they serve all meals. While in town, “Los Casuarinos” and “Grau” are cheaper and clean. There are several other hotels in the valley and also some places to camp. Local festivals include “Festival de la Uva” on the first Sunday in March and “Festival del Nipero” during the first week of October. Have pisco in Lunahaná, which you can buy in one of the little viñas just a few kilometers from Lunahuaná. They have also some variety of honey which you can buy straight from the producers. From Lima take a bus headed or Pisco or San Vicente de Cañete on Av. Carlos Zavala. 3h journey. From Cañete it’s about another 40km to Lunahuaná. Take a colectivo inland to Imperial and then another bus to Lunahuaná (1 hour).
Yauyos and Huancaya
Available camping with near waterfalls and lake destinations just three hours beyond Lunahuaná, altitude of 3,249m, An early morning hike to the waterfalls is recommended. If you prefer to spend the night in the town of Yauyos, ask around for rooms (s/. 10-15). Huancaya, at 3,800m, is considered the first panoramic reserve in Peru, lots of mini waterfalls and nice vegetation. From Lima, some companies go once a week and cost s/. 18. Buses leave from Yauyos each morning (s/. 5) for Huancaya 50km away.
Pucusana, Chilca and Las Salinas
Is a pleasant fishing village and seaside resort, which is a little quieter than the other resorts farther north. There are several restaurants and hotels, although the beach itself is not recommended for swimming. The yacht club on the north side of the village can be accessed via a small tunnel through the hillside where there is a much more pleasant beach for swimming. Alternatively, a 20-minute ride in a colectivo can be taken to the town of Chilca where there is a very long, quiet stretch of clean, surf-pounded beach. The town itself is a couple of kilometers from the beach and has little to offer apart from a few shops to buy supplies. A half-hour walk south along the beach will bring you to Las Salinas where it’s a little safer to venture into the water and where there are a few basic hotels and restaurants. Las Salinas is also well known for its baños medicinales. As for archaeological sites, there is a 2-hour climb to the temple of Lapa Lapa. You need to take the route starting in the town of Chilca just at the back of the school.
Colectivos for Pucusana leave from Av. Montevideo and Ayacucho and take about 1:30-2 hours. Or take a San Bartolo / Pupusana bus at any point of the Panamericana Sur.
Cerro San Cristobal
This is the hillside overlooking Lima, offering great views and a pleasant restaurant. You can take an ‘urbanito’ from the Plaza de Armas which leave every two hours from 10am onwards. Cost is about s/. 5
There are a few companies that offer tours around the Callao Bay to the islands where you can see sea lions and tons of birds. Islas Palominas are known as The Little Galapagos Islands. You need to book in advance and trips are available everyday.
To book, contact:
Av. Arequipa 4960 Of.202, Miraflores
Tel: 9949 4867 Tel/fax: 242 6655
4 hours tour, $30, recommended, you can swim with the sea lions. Try it.
Rubens 205, dpto 401
Tel: 476 5016
Tel: 429 7278
Avenida Sáenz Peña 150, Callao.
San Bartolomé and Bosques de Zarate
It’s a nice place to go if you want to get off from Lima. When you are there, you can do 2-hour trek to the waterfalls of Pala Kala. Buses to San Bartolome leave 5 blocks from the plaza in Chosica (see Chosica to know how to get here). They charge s/. 6 per person and it takes approx. 3 hours. This is a 1-day trip by train. The train leaves from the Lima Centro (Central de Desamparados, Jr. Ancash 201, behind the presidential palace) and goes to San Bartolomé Sunday only. Roundtrip train tickets (S/. 25) include access to the coffee bar, toilet, first aid, and stewardess. 8am departure, return at 6pm It is 2 hours journey one way.
Bosques de Zarate,
It is a spectacular 8 hrs trek from San Bartolome, it is a humid forest where you can found unique flora and fauna, the park is between the 2400 and 3100 meter over the sea level. The road is very small and difficult, camping equipment needed food and water, during rainy season and a few weeks after that (December to April) you can get water from the streams, don’t forget to purified.
If you want to spend a weekend out of Lima or maybe get to know something about the Hari Krishna religious movement, your choice could be Chancay Castel (El Castillo de Chancay). You can stay there for a night—the salons have been converted into hotel rooms. The community of Hari Krishna is located at km 75 of the Panamericana Norte. Lomas de Lachay are nearby. Take a bus from Acho (S/.3.50). Be careful in this zone.
Ica is a little town, 3-4 hours south of Lima in bus. It is famous for its vineyards and production of Pisco. Huacachina isa a 15-minute taxi ride away — an oasis in the middle of sand dunes and a great place to spend a relaxing weekend, try sandboarding, or do an excursion in a dune buggy through the desert.
Take any bus which heads south from Lima; Soyuz, Perú Bus, Cruz del Sur, Flores, Ormeño from the terminal at Carlos Zavala or Javier Prado Oeste (S/. 12-14). In Huacachina there are 2 hostels and a hotel. Hostel Las Arenas (s/. 12-15) has a little swimming pool.
Rúpac / Huaral
If you want to see really well-preserved ruins nearby Lima you can try a weekend-long excursion to Rúpac. First you have to get to Huaral, a one-hour journey from Lima (65km), and from there, take an omnibus or rent a taxi to the village of La Florida (you can also walk, but it takes 12 hours and the strong sun might make things difficult). The village is 45km from Huaral. Las Pampas is another village about a 30-minute walk from La Florida. You can stay for a night in what the locals call a ghost town, and put your tent inside the old school. Set off early in the morning to the ruins (3900m). It takes about 2-3 hours to get there. Not too many people know about it.
Transport: Turismo Huaral, El Huaraliano, San Cristobál (S/. 3.50). from the bus terminal in Acho (at Rimac) Panamericana Norte.
Desert hillsides looking out over the sea, located 185km south of Lima. In colonial days, slaves were brought to work on sugar plantations in the valleys. Today Chincha retains the rich African influenced culture including the cajone (drums made from a wooden box) used in typical music of the region. Very spicy meals abound, generally prepared by Afro-peruvian hands. Buses going South pass through Chincha.
This park features a zoo with animals from all the parts of Peru (adult = S/. 7.50; children = S/. 5). Av. Las Torres Ate Vitarte km 10 of la Carretera Central.