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Colonial Chiclayo, nestled in its crease of land just a short way in from the Pacific Coast, a stone’s throw from the Lambayeque deserts and a simple hop skip and jump to the forested backcountry of the rising Andes, is quite rightly hailed as the pearl of the Peruvian north—famed for its wealth of colonial architecture, its long history, jovial and endearing ambience and political outspokenness.
Many visitors head straight here to spy out the enthralling Lord of Sipan tomb, now one of South America’s most-visited exhibitions housed in its all-new and glimmering modernist-cum-Incan shell. Others come to explore Túcume, also called the Valley of Pyramids after the 26 pyramids that mark its sprawling archaeological site.
But there’s much more on offer from this northern enclave than just UNESCO sites and ancient tombs (though that should be plenty to keep you occupied!), and any Chiclayo tourist guide is usually quick to remind visitors of the city’s earthy and shamanistic tendencies. They can be found at the night-time stalls of the so-called Witch Market, or from the menus of every hole-in-the-wall eatery serving up portions of cebiche and Arroz con pato, and much more in plumes of spice and heady flavourings.