24 Hours in Chaclacayo and Chosica, Peru
After several hectic weeks in Lima finding and moving in to a new place in Magdalena del Mar, I decided I needed a quick getaway.
I usually am tied down to Lima due to family responsibilities. This time, however, I was determined to get away.
A BREAK FROM LIMA - BUT WHERE TO GO
Our best taxi person (taxista de confianza) is familiar with the surrounding countryside. He suggested visiting the towns of jChaclacayo
being nice also but a bit farther away.
Totally tired and cranky and ready to be anywhere green and peaceful, I zipped onto my laptop and found a place I thought might be comfortable, slightly luxurious but affordable in Chaclacayo and only 45 minutes from Lima.
I called and spoke to a polite man who gave me a reservation: no credit card necessary. I was in heaven planning my tiny vacation - until our taxi guy showed up, and I said, “Do you think you could drive me to Chiclayo tomorrow?”
He looked nonplussed but calmly said, “Señora. You want to go to Chiclayo?”
“Yes, remember I told you I need to get out of town?”
“Sure I do, so you want me to drive you to Chiclayo?”
“Yes, please,” I said, starting to get impatient.
“Señora, Chiclayo is kind of far away, you know, it’s up north by Trujillo”.
At that point, I started laughing, realizing my mistake – Chiclayo was not Chaclacayo.
So after we had a good laugh I called the guy in Chiclayo and cancelled my reservation. He understood the confusion. I began my prep for my little Chaclacayo trip.
The Old Town Main Street of Chaclacayo
I found out that there was a good hotel in Chaclacayo called La Casona de los Condores. The hotel offered a pool, a Jacuzzi, a sauna and was located just about ten minutes from Chosica, a market town, very near a small bridge which crosses the Rio Rimac. I reserved a room at the last minute. It turned out to be lovely.
PREPARING FOR THE TRIP
I manage our household for my elderly father and we have a small staff. I got everything in place but asked the staff not to mention it to my father - colored pencils, a sketchbook, a pretty multi-colored Peruvian basket with a bottle of champagne, some salad, cheese, etcetera, my important stuff – so he wouldn’t worry too much. I was READY and overdue for a break.
In the AM, the usual routine started, with Yuri the nurse, Clarita the cook-housekeeper, and breakfast. I had everything but a bathing suit, but no worries.
I told my Dad that I was going on a little trip about an hour before leaving. When Javier showed up, I assured him that I would be in good hands.
ON THE ROAD
I started to feel the stress ease away in La Molina and further on, it was another country - green, hot, tranquil, and beautiful.
Since Javier knows the route well, he wanted me to see a place where there are trees, a small waterfall with cold water from the Andes and a huge green field.
Jeans rolled up, feet wet, and smiling, I really began to feel that I had escaped from Lima. No contaminated air, traffic, holiday frenzy, or even my laptop. Just me, my cellphone, and my favorite accoutrements!
We stopped at a grifo (gas station) for a quick restroom visit. Having lived in Lima as well as in Trujillo, my father’s home town, I had learned to be prepared with the necessaries. Girls, make sure you carry Kleenex, etcetera, as you are not going to find TP in the provinces most of the time, much less paper towels, not to mention a toilet seat. The good news? It makes your legs strong.
La Casona de los Condores is just off La Panamericana (the Pan-American Highway), and it’s nice. It was baking hot there, which felt fantastic after Lima fog. Off with the jacket, pale arms in the breeze, I was doing all right!
La Casona de los Condores
On arrival, check-in was hospitable if somewhat leisurely. I hit my room up on the third floor. It was comfortable with a big and lovely bathroom, nice terrace looking over the pool, and a café.
I had decided that I also wanted to hit the nearby town of Chosica, so Javier took me there next.
We took a little tour of the downtown, which is typical rural Peruvian style. There is a plaza with the usual church in the center, people hanging out all around but very relaxed, little traffic, and a great feria artisanal (craft market) with folks from Cuzco selling their fares for the holidays. I found that Chosica also has lots of small cafes and restaurants, shops, and a large local mercado (regular market).
After spending some time in Chosica, we headed back to my hotel. Javier and I agreed on a pick-up time around 1:00 PM the next day. He warned me to be careful about local taxis, etcetera, and I was then alone in a quiet and Zen-like environment.
Since it was late afternoon by then, I drank just a tad of champagne after lunch and fell into my “sobre” (a lady I know in Trujillo calls her bed her “sobre,” or envelope) for a siesta. Well, since I was pretty darn tired, I didn’t wake up until well after dark and only because the music from the café was wafting in through the open terrace door. The atmostphere was surreal and became more so when the train chugged by, the whistle blowing.
Iglesia Rosario de Fatima, Chaclacayo
At about 5:00 AM, I called the front desk to ask when the sauna opened He told me it was 24 hours, so I went down with a towel quietly and had the sauna to myself. After that, I took a leisurely walk in the town, bought a bottle of San Luis, some tamales de pollo (chicken) and de chancho (pork) to take home; and best of all, discovered a hotel around the corner that is an old estate; gorgeous, with green grounds. The doorman was super-hospitable and gave me the full tour, including the rooms.
The atmosphere was reminiscent of a castle, with stained glass windows, a dining hall that was quite medieval with its grand table set for the Noche Buena cena (dinner). I was intrigued and took a business card. Next, I had a very good breakfast with great service at the café.
The front desk got a taxi for me, and I went back to Chosica for a little shopping. After that, I was ready for some more water therapy but at this time of the day, I would need more adequate apparel. However, my body build is very American (American mom), and I unfortunately could not find an appropriately-sized bathing suit. I did finally find a nice sort of silky undershirt-style top to wear over lingerie that approximated a suit. It worked, so I had another sauna and Jacuzzi and went upstairs to do some drawing feeling relaxed, inspired and renewed.
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Javier picked me up. We drove me back to Lima, and I walked into my home a new woman.
MY IMPRESSION OF CHACLACAYO AND CHOSICA
Would I recommend Chaclacayo, Chosica, and La Casona de los Condores? Yes, sí, and mucho más! Hospitable people, hot dry weather, peaceful, fun, and very Peruvian. Just down the road a piece from Lima, we are lucky enough to have Chaclacayo. Visit - you may love it as much as I do! Hotels in Chaclacayo and Chosica