Las Playas

I went on a trip to the seaside recently, to some beaches near Chiclayo in Perú. As there were only two clients for this trip, the tourist company, Sipán Tours, provided us with a car and driver instead of the usual minibus. Also, because David, the other client, did not speak any Spanish, they provided an English speaking guide, Christopher. It was a very pleasant day.

I was surprised when, on our way to the beach, we stopped at an ostrich farm, although I did make a connection with sand, where ostriches allegedly bury their heads. There was no evidence of this at the farm, however.

The farm is not a sanctuary and the birds, ostriches and emus, are reared for their feathers, their skin and of course for their meat. My previous experience of eating ostrich meat was not pleasant, so I declined the offer to try it.

DSCN2208Young emus…

DSCN2209…and a solitary young ostrich.

DSCN2214Not so young and very inquisitive.

DSCN2223A much larger and much less friendly ostrich.

From the ostrich farm, we moved onto the beach at Pimentel, which was really pleasant. So much better than the only other beach I have visited in Perú, at Lurín in Lima, which was badly polluted.

DSCN2231The pier is open to the public for a small admission fee.

DSCN2232The beach is popular with surfers.

The waterfront has many restaurants, as you might expect in such a popular seaside town with a strong fishing tradition. I finally decided to try ceviche, which is a national dish of raw fish marinated in lemon. It was delicious and I am looking forward to having it again. Unusually, for me, I did not take a photo of the meal but have located one which is similar to the meal we had.

Ceviche de pescado (La Punta, Callao)
By Jorge G. Mori ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

DSCN2245After lunch, we went to look at the Caballitos de Totora. Reed boats used by the local fishermen.

DSCN2239Fishermen returning home…

DSCN2243…with today´s catch.

DSCN2237This attracts a crowd of prospective customers…

DSCN2248…and a crowd of scavengers.

DSCN2260From Pimentel, we travelled to nearby Santa Rosa where the fishermen use much larger craft…


DSCN2229…with which the reed boats have to compete.

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Cabalgata is Spanish for a horse ride – normally in the form of a procession.
Cabalgatas are a company in Lurín, Lima Province, Perú, where they provide horse riding tours of various lengths, plus shows featuring the Peruvian Paso horse which has a distinctive gait.

I had opted for the 2 hour ride which was an hour riding through the valley and another hour along the beach. There is an option of a 3rd hour during which you travel through the dunes. I was fairly sure that I would have been saddle sore after 3 hours.

I was excited, as I have been in Lima a month now and have not been out of the city.Hardly been out of Miraflores, although I do like it here. Having been told that once you get away from the city, the sun shines, I rushed out the night before to get some sunblock. Well never mind, the sun did make an effort a few times during the day but it was mainly overcast. Fortunately, I had a lightweight jacket with me so I was protected from the chill by the ocean.

The day got off to a shaky start. The taxi which was booked for 9AM was late. It finally arrived at 9.20 due to, el trafico. No disrespect intended but the Peruvians are well known for their tardiness, which makes me wonder why they are always in a hurry when they are driving.

We arrived late at the Cabalgatas stables by the same margin but of course it was not a problem, as we were not expected to be on time. The journey had taken about an hour and my driver, Jairo was very amiable and chatty. He also waited while I went on my tour and returned me to the penthouse afterwards, for a very fair price. He also doubled up as a photographer.IMG_0007 The horse, by the way, is “Conquistador”. He was very good and did everything that I wanted him too. Just not at the time I wanted him to do it.

After we went through the valley, Claudia (who runs Cabalgatas), returned to the stables with most of the group, leaving me to continue to the beach with Samuel, my guide.We were later joined on the beach by another rider

IMG_0014as we rode along next to the Pacific Ocean.

I had a great day and the only disappointment, which has no reflection on Cabalgatas, was the state of the beach. It looks like they use it as the equivalent of a landfill site. Except it is above ground and extends for several hundred metres and looks just like a tip. I am sure there is a valid reason for it but as a tourist, that reason evaded me.

More information and photographs are available on Cabalgatas blog pages.


Barranco is another district of Lima, neighbouring Miraflores and is described in various publications as being bohemian and home of many Peruvian artists. For me, and not wishing to appear too much of a philistine, it was somewhere to walk to and maybe take some photographs. I was invited to accompany Mike, who runs the South American Explorers club here in Lima. He likes to go for a walk regularly, for exercise and I need to keep building my strength for challenges I may face later in my travels.

From my penthouse to Barranco and back, I clocked up almost 14kms. Fortunately, although it was somewhat hazy, DSCN0687_341 the sun was shining and it was a good day for walking, if there could be such a thing. We walked out of the centre of Miraflores towards el Malecón, where I walked last weekend and headed south. It was not as busy as last Sunday but I imagine many of the people were working. They do seem to work very long hours here.

It must have taken us an hour and a half to reach Barranco, stopping at  Larcomar on the way for a pit-stop. Consisting of shops, bars a cinema and the all important servicios, Larcomar is built into the cliffs facing the Pacific Ocean. At the oceanfront, Barranco and Miraflores are separated by a gulf IMG_0121, so you have to walk inland a little way to cross a bridge. I didn´t mind on the way there but I resented those extra paces on the way back.

Apparently, Barranco was very fashionable, a hundred years ago and more. An affluent area and a popular place to live and to visit. Many of the buildings have fallen into various states of disrepair since though, as Barranco was largely deserted it seems by those wealthy residents.DSCN0700_354

More recently, the influx of artists and artisans, has seen some restoration and it is a very popular place for evening entertainment, with a number of restaurants and clubs. There are some rather stark images between the carefully restored and the sadly neglected but there are also some quaint reminders of times gone by. Although some could have you wondering if they were coming,IMG_0125 IMG_0126or going.

The partly restored church IMG_0133, might look even less dilapidated if it were not for it´s rooftop scavengers who are probably stripping the roof quicker than it can be covered.DSCN0697_351

After crossing the Bridge of Sighs, I inadvertently got into a conversation with a guitar playing local busker, who was waiting for his percussionist, who had been persuaded to take a photograph of a couple next to a statue. It was not really a conversation because his accent was so strong, I could not make out a single word. It has been quite a while since that has happened. It soon became apparent that he wanted to perform for us. I declined and Mike and I headed off, only to be pursued by the dubious duo. They had us boxed in as we were headed for a dead end, so we gave them a few coins and they played for us.IMG_0138Finally managing to understand their accent, when they asked us where we were from, I replied, “Inglaterra”. The drummer responded straight away with his one word of English, “Beckham”. It made me feel quite nostalgic for the good old days when most non – English speaking people knew two words – Bobby Charlton. I pointed out that David Beckham and I have something in common, we are both recently retired. Chuckles – at least they understood me.

It was time to head back to Miraflores and I have to say, I was glad to get back. It was a great walk though and another is planned for next week.

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