Lomas de Lachay is a natural reserve located 105 kilometers (65 miles) north of Lima in the district of Huacho. Established in 1977, the protected area allows visitors to walk along trail systems in the lomas, an ecosystem unique to the coastal deserts of Peru and Chile. Vegetation turns lush and local fauna thrive when the condensation of sea fog from the Pacific Ocean settles upon the coastal hills, spread across some 5000 hectares (nearly 20 square miles).
Just two hours from Peru’s capital, Lomas de Lachay is an ideal destination for those looking to stay active, connect to nature and leave stress behind.
This beautiful place is known for its unique species of birds and and prominent population of reptiles. Winged species such as the band-tailed sierra finch (pictured below), variable hawk, cactus canastero and the Andean tinamou can be observed at Lomas de Lachay.
The fog-watered area is inhabited by larger animals as well, such as desert foxes and deer.
Flora native to the area is remarkable if not for its beauty then for the sheer fact it can survive the long dry season. These include tara spinosa (a thorny shrub with large, colorful flowers), heliotropium arborescens (garden heliotrope) and various cacti.
There are three trail routes marked with signs that one can follow and they offer a great view.
1. Circuito del Zorro (Fox circuit): 30-45 minute walk
2. Circuito de la Tara (Tara seed circuit): 1-1.5 hour walk
3. Circuito de la Perdiz (Partridge circuit): 2-3 hour walk
Camping spaces are available in this area the whole year. However, there are no equipment rentals nor food vendors, so visitors should bring a camping tent and sleeping bags, food and clothing appropriate for climate (depending on month visited).
There are two areas where visitors can camp and have their meals. If you want to take alternative routes, you should let the administrative center in Las Lomas de Lachay know in advance.
The best time to visit Lomas de Lachay is between June and November (the wet season) when the hillsides are green and the flora in full bloom. Between December and May (the dry season) there is not much to see as far as local vegetation. No matter the time of year however, this natural area is always an option for an active day or weekend trip.
From Lima, public buses head to the city of Huacho, but you will have to walk by foot to the reserve entrance. Taxi can also be hired to drive visitors straight to the reserve, following the Panamericana Norte until kilometer 105.
This article has been updated since its original publishing in February 2017.
Cover photo: Christian Cruzado/Flickr
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