Presentation of the destination
Paita is a city in Peru found in the northwest part of the country. It is the capital of its province, the Paita Province, and it lies in the Piura Region. It is the most important seaport in its region and it is the fifth biggest port in all of Peru. It also has one of the best natural harbors in the country and the bay is protected by hills which gives it some protection from strong winds. The population of Paita is about 72,510 people. The area was first inhabited starting 9,000 years ago by a number of different indigenous groups. Later, during the time of Spanish colonialism, Paita was the Spanish capital in the area until it was relocated to nearby Piura due to frequent attacks on the coast by English pirates. Temperatures in Paita reach their highs of 34°C (94°F) in February and March and lows drop to 17°C (63°F) in August and September. The official languages in Peru are Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. The currency used in the country is called the Nuevo sol. Majority of the population in the country identifies as being Amerindian at 45% of the population.
Points of interests / things to see
Catacaos is a town located in the Piura Region. It is found 66 km (41 mi) from Paita. Catacaos has proclaimed itself the handicraft capital in the region because of its art market, which is the best found in northern Peru. The market occupies several blocks around the Plaza de Armas and there is a multitude of things available for sale. Items include gold and silver jewelry, wood carvings, weavings, ceramics, leather products and more. Weekends are when the market is busiest but that is also the best time to visit. In addition to the handicraft market, Catacaos is also home to a number of eateries and local restaurants offering a number of local specialties such as seco de chabelo (plantain and beef stew), copus (dried goat heads that are cured in vinegar and stewed), tamales verdes (green corn dumplings), and many more things. The gastronomy in Catacaos is also gaining in reputation throughout the region. The restaurants serving local specialties that are open for lunch every day are called picanterías and a number of them can be found off the Plaza de Armas, in the Jirón Zepita district. To get to Catacaos from Paita, first get to Piura. There are buses and colectivos that leave the town of Piura for Catacaos and the trip takes 15 minutes and costs about S2.
Chulucanas is another town found in the Piura Region. It is located due east from Paita, about 115 km (71 mi). Chulucanas is located near the border between where the Sechura Desert starts and the Andes Mountains end. Within Peru, Chulucanas is very famous for its ceramics which have now officially been declared a Peruvian cultural heritage item and are gaining in fame outside of Peru as well. The ceramics made in Chulucanas have a distinct look and they are earthen-colored, round, glazed and depict humans on the pieces. One of the best places to go to purchase ceramics is just outside of town at a small village known as La Encantada. People that live in La Encantada devote themselves almost solely to handicraft making. La Encantada was also home to Max Inga, a famous local man who studied indigenous forms of making pottery and was the one that was mainly responsible for the resurgence in the popularity of making ceramics. In La Encantada visitors can also see how the ceramics are made including collecting the clay and applying mango-leaf smoke that gives the pottery its unique black and white pattern. The pottery is beautiful, but also very fragile and it is not ideal to have to carry it along on the rest of your journey around Peru. To get to La Encantada from Chulucanas, visitors can teak a mototaxi ride for about 30 minutes. There are buses that run from Piura to Chulucanas and the journey takes about one hour and costs S4.
Piura is the capital city of the Piura Region and it is found 53 km (33 mi) from Paita. Piura has earned the nickname “the city of eternal heat” because it has hot temperatures all year round, between 28°C (82°F) and 34°C (93°F). It is found in the middle of the Sechura Desert which gives the town a unique sense of complete physical isolation. Piura was the first city founded in Peru by the famous Spanish conqueror, Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru who defeated the Incan Empire. It also was the third city ever founded in South America by the Spanish and it was founded in 1532. Piura today still maintains an air of colonial charm with cobblestone streets and colonial houses. However, before the arrival of Pizarro and the conquering Spanish, the area of Piura, like the rest of northern Peru, was inhabited by indigenous groups that had lived there for years. The principal cultures and groups that had lived in the area were the Muchik culture and Vicus culture. The area was briefly under the domain of the Inca, for about 40 years, before the Spanish came. Piura is also famous for its gastronomy and different types of seafood and fish dishes as well as for its handicrafts. Piura is a unique town in which to spend some time exploring the colonial streets and trying the local specialties.
The Museo Municipal Vicus, or the Vicus Municipal Museum, is a museum in the city of Piura, 53 km (33 mi) from Paita. The museum is four stories tall and is dedicated to displays on the Vicus culture. The Vicus culture was an early culture found in modern-day Peru. They mainly inhabited what today is the Piura Region and were found along the northwestern coast of Peru. They were around during the time roughly dating from 1000 BC to 300 AD. They were most famous for their products made of ceramic, gold and copper. Since they lived in the desert, they used the clay that they could find to make a number of different pottery items and dyed them using local products. The pottery that can be found today in the town of Chulucanas closely resembles the ancient pottery of the Vicus culture. Underneath the Museo Municipal Vicus is the Sala de Oro, or Room of Gold, where there are some gold objects on display. One of the most impressive items on display is a gold belt with a belt buckle of a life-sized gold cat head. Address: Huánuco 893 Opening hours: Museum: Tuesday through Saturday 9:00-17:00. Sunday 9:00-13:00. Sala de Oro Tuesday through Friday 9:00-17:00 Entrance fees: Museum: free. Sala de Oro: S4
Macará is a city in Ecuador, just across the border from Peru, and it serves as one of the important border crossing points into Peru. Macará is found 192 km (113 mi) from Paita. The border crossing town on the Peruvian side is at La Tina and crossing the border into Ecuador is pretty straight forward and hassle free. There are a number of buses that run from towns throughout northern Peru to Macará. Macará is a small town with a population of 12,986 inhabitants and not overrun by tourists even though it has beautiful weather year round. Macará is in an agricultural area, most importantly an area of rice production. In the month of August is the Integration Fair found in Macará which attracts a number of visitors from both Peru and Ecuador and it is a very festive time of year. One attraction in the area is the birds and a number of birdwatchers come to Macará and its environs to have the opportunity to bird watch. The area around the town is a dry tropical forest which is home to a number of different bird species. Macará is also a popular destination with nature lovers as there are mountain bike and hiking trails around the town.
Colán is an authentic beach town in the Piura Region. It is located 15 km (9.3 mi) to the north of Paita. Colán is home to the oldest colonial church found in Peru. The beach in Colán is made of white sand and is a popular summer destination for Peruvians but it is pretty much deserted throughout the rest of the year. The water is shallow along the beach which makes it an ideal place for swimming. There are many good restaurants along the main street in town and Colán makes for a good stop for a few days. Those wishing to visit Colán can catch a colectivo, or minibus, from the main terminal in Paita to Colán. The trip takes 20 minutes and costs S3.
Sullana is a city found 61 km (38 mi) to the northeast of Paita. The population of the city is about 162,500 people. The city is located on the coastal plains of the Chira Valley. The Chira River runs through the area making it a very fertile land, especially around the city of Sullana. Some flora present in the area includes coconut palm trees, banana trees and paddy fields. Sullana is also an important cotton-growing area in the Peru. Historically the area has also been a very important agricultural area and a number of indigenous groups inhabited the Chira Valley before the Spanish arrived. Near to Sullana is the Poechos Reservoir which is a site that has different water sports such as water skiing, boating, fishing and swimming. The reservoir lies along the border between Peru and Ecuador and was designed as a place to hold water for the Piura Valley. Sullana is a well-connected city in northern Peru with bus routes to Piura, Ayabaca, La Tina (border crossing point into Eucador) and more.
Illescas Peninsula is located in northwestern Peru and is part of the Piura Region. The peninsula is scarcely inhabited and part of it has been declared a reserved zone to protect it. Illescas is also the name of the highest hill on the peninsula, Cerro Illescas, which stands at a height of 500 m (1,640 ft). The peninsula comes out of the middle of a flatland desert, the Sechura desert. Not very many plant species grow on the peninsula, primarily shrubs and trees such as mesquite trees. Some animals that are found on the peninsula include the Sechura desert fox and sea lions and some bird species such Humboldt penguins and blue-footed boobies. The only place of human settlement found on Illescas Peninsula is in the town of Bayovar, which is primarily a fishing town. On the peninsula is the Playa Sin Fin, or the “Beach without End” which is an uninterrupted sandy shore that lasts for more than 100 km (62 mi). The Punta Aguja is the name of the westernmost part of the peninsula and it is where most of the bird species as well as marine life are found.
Chiclayo is a city in northern Peru found in the Lambayeque region and the transportation hub for the area. It is located to the southeast of Paita at a distance of 268 km (166 mi). It was founded by Spaniards starting in the 16th century and has been a very successful city as it sits along the trade routes that connect the areas of the coast, the highlands and the jungle. Chiclayo is well-known for its witch doctors and markets of shamanistic herbs and other similar things. The Mercado Modelo is a market in Chiclayo that occupies a number of blocks and has a wide variety of interesting wares, including a witch doctor’s market that has amulets, bones, snake skins and hallucinogens, herbs and more for sale. Also to see in the city is the Cathedral and the Paseo de las Musas, which is a park that features statues of mythological figures.
Vacation rentals in Paita district (Piura)
How to get there ?
The main international gateway into Peru is in the capital, Lima, at the Lima Airport (http://www.lap.com.pe/lap_portal/ingles/index.asp). Lima has connections to other South American cities as well as North America and some from Europe. Travelers coming from other parts of the world may have to have a layover in the United States or in a different South American city. The Lima Airport is 1,039 km (645 mi) from Paita. The closest airport to Paita is found in Piura at the Guillermo Concha Ibérico International Airport which is 60 km (37 mi) from Paita. It is also easy to enter Peru by land from Ecuador crossing at the Ecuadorian city of Macará and the Peruvian city of La Tina. Once in Peru, the main form of transport is by bus, both for foreigners and locals. In general bus travel is pretty cheap and service runs frequently, but the buses themselves can be of varying quality with less-traveled routes being serviced by older and more uncomfortable vehicles. There are a number of different bus companies throughout the country and there is no one company that offers routes everywhere. It is best to avoid bus travel by night. One company that has a number of routes in northern Peru is Civa (www.civa.com.pe). Another common option for getting between towns or villages that are near to each other are colectivos which are minivans that run different routes, sometimes in addition to the bus route or at times to places that buses don’t travel to. There is a private rail company in Peru, PeruRail (www.perurail.com) which has a few routes throughout the country, mainly coming out of Cuzco. If you want to rent a car, it is not the best option to do it starting in Lima because Lima (the principal gateway into the country) is far from most other places. After arriving to Lima, it is better to catch another flight to the next destination or catch a bus and rent a car once you have reached a place near your destination.
Hotels in Paita district (Piura)