If you feel like you have visited enough ruins after the many archaeological sites around Chiclayo, then take an afternoon to explore the living culture of some of the nearby villages, like MonsefĂş, Santa Rosa or Pimentel.
Begin the journey with a stop in MonsefĂş, an artisan village 14 kilometers (7.5 mi) south of Chiclayo. On the main plaza is a high-relief mural sculpture by William BuendĂa, which honors the craftspeople of this pueblo. Around the Plaza de Armas is the brown and pale ochre church (1896), a small museum next door (open only before and after masses) and the central food market. While wandering down the streets, peer into the workshops of the artists and stop in to talk about their work. Four blocks from the plaza, at Calle Izaga and Avenida Venezuela, is the large artisan market. For several blocks, stalls display the straw, cotton and wool weavings noted in MonsefĂş.
After picking up on a few gifts, wait by the side of Avenida Venezuela for a combi to take you down the road. As you near the coast, the landscape changes drastically. Now ribbons of greenery drape the desert. Fourteen kilometers (7.5 mi) of prime beach hug the coast here, from Puerto EtĂ©n to Pimentel. Midway is Santa Rosa, a hamlet devoted to fishing. The beach is lined with wooden boats being refurbished by its residents and caballitos de totora (reed watercrafts). The church (1918) has been eaten by the salt and wind. Stroll through the narrow streets and chat with the men crafting new caballitos and mending nets. South of the beach is El Farol, a popular surfing place. There are a few basic accommodations. To continue your coastal expedition, head to the roundabout a block past the seafront market and wait for the combi to Pimentel.
Only two kilometers from Santa Rosa and 11 kilometers (6.5 mi) from Chiclayo, Pimentel was once known as Caleta de la ConcepciĂłn de Chiclayo. This is the most popular beach destination for the city slickers. Along the broad, pale gray beach is MalecĂłn Seoane, the seafront promenade with gardens and modern low-rise condos. Throughout the town are the remnants of when this was Chiclayoâ€™s port, controlled by the powerful CompaĂ±Ăa de Ferrocarril y Muelle. Good examples are the late 19th-/early 20th-century mansions, the train station and a long pier (entrance into the fishing area prohibited during work hours; other times, $0.35 entry fee). The big draw is the surfing. On the boardwalk in the center of town several shops offer board rentals and lessons.
The south end of the beach is home to colorfully painted wooden boats and the totora reed rafts. Near the village are the Pampas de Pimentel, where several archaeological sites are. To the north of the beach is Huaca Agujereada and to the south is Huaca Blanca. To end your afternoon outing, pull up a table on restaurant row and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner while watching the sun set over the Pacific. It is worth spending a few days to relax in Pimentel. Of the four hotels, the most reasonably priced are Hospedaje PizzerĂa All Incontro (QuiĂ±ones 241-243. $3.75 per person) and Hostal Garuda (QuiĂ±ones 109. shared bath $6-8 per person, two people with private bath $17-30).
Each of the villages has fiestas. Try to make it for one to experience the regionâ€™s living culture more in depth.
â€˘ The last week of February in Pimentel is Caballo de Marâ€”races and other exhibitions of the caballito del mar, folk dances, beach sports, artisan, gastronomic and sand castle competitions and a beauty pageant.
â€˘ March 24 in MonsefĂş is SeĂ±or Cautivo de MonsefĂşâ€”a mid-year salute to the villageâ€™s saint
â€˘ June 24 in Santa Rosa and Pimentel is San Pablo y San Pedroâ€”the festivities devoted to the patron saints of fishermen, with special processions and seaside masses, regattas and other events.
â€˘ The last week of July in MonsefĂş is Fexticumâ€”a salute to the artistic and artisan production of the village, with food, marinera dancing and the election of SeĂ±orita Fexticum
â€˘ September 14 in MonsefĂş is SeĂ±or Cautivo de MonsefĂşâ€”monsefuanos procession the statue of the captive Christ is through the streets of their village. Artisan and gastronomic fairs help round out the festivities.
Needless to say, the beach towns are very popular with Peruvians during the summer holidays (mid-December through March) and Fiestas Patrias (end of July) vacations. Prices on lodging rise during this time.Population: MonsefĂş (23,500), Santa Rosa (5200), Pimentel (29,700)
Altitude: MonsefĂş (6 m/19.5 ft), Santa Rosa (4 m/14 ft), Pimentel (4 m/14 ft)
Phone Code: 074
Other Activity Types:
Sightseeing bus tour, Village
From Chiclayo: To MonsefĂşâ€”combis from bus stop on Avenida Bolognesi, in front of Real Plaza Mall ($0.60)
In transportation, about $2-4.
Relative price: Budget
Travel Skills: None
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