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Zaña is called a ghost town—abandoned by the Spaniards in 1720 after the river flooded and destroyed what once was one of the most important cities on Peru’s North Coast. It was a trade and agricultural hub, with beautiful mansions, churches and plantations. It was so rich, British pirates attacked it in 1686. That entire world lies in ruins, the most impressive being those of the San Agustín convent.

When the Spaniards left, though, many African slaves stayed, and today their ancestors are one of the most important Afro-Peruvian communities in the country. The small museum recounts the history of slavery and the survival of African culture in the Americas, and has an impressive collection of musical instruments (Ca. Independencia 645. Tel: 265-346/431-042, E-mail:, URL: In November, Zaña hosts an Afro-Latino music and dance festival. Other holidays are the feast days of village patron saint Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo (April 27) and of San Isidro Labrador (May 15), and the town’s anniversary (November 29).

Zaña is located 51 kilometers (31 mi) southwest of Chiclayo. Combis (minvans) depart from the Epsel station in Chiclayo (90 min., $4). Zaña has basic hotels and restaurants.

(Altitude: 46 m/150 ft, Population: 1,000, Phone Code: 074)


Other places nearby Zaña: Huanchaco, Los Órganos, Máncora, Catacaos, Caral, Huancabamba, Las Pocitas And Vichayito, Lambayeque, Cabo Blanco and Paita .

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

23 Apr 2012

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