The origin of Chepen goes back to the pre-Hispanic period, as most of the cities of the coast region. Its historic legacy is shared out among the cultures chavín, mochica, wari, chimú and even inca. Each one of those cultures dominated the territory sometime, being conquered or just disappearing. Most of the cultural influence in Chepen was by the mochica and chimu cultures. On the last years, before the Spanish invasion, the inca people conquered the region, subdueing the chimu, leaving their traces on the archaeological remains found. Chepén, San Pedro de Lloc and Jequetepeque are considered among the oldest places and historic places of the region Libertad. The legacy from its origins still remains in little peasant communities, descendants from the first natives that settled on the area.
Travel tips for Chepen
You should bring sunscreen to protect your skin, a hat to protect your head and face and sunglasses. Those are the basics for having a pleasant stay in warm days.-Besides being a coastal calm city-town, there is a lot of racket due to the unreliability of the business that you will see in the main avenues and streets of the city. If you look for calm and relax avoid this kind of places.-The settlers of Chepen are called “chepeneano”.The most common vehicle in the northern city is the “mototaxi”, a vehicle very used in most of the cities of the inside country for being low-cost and easy access. Something you have to keep in mind is that the situation of traffic in Chepen is quite chaotic, due to the informality of the services and the number of vehicles that saturate the streets in peak hours. If you take a mototaxi you will pay from s/ 1 to s/ 3.The dangers that can affect to the visitors of this northern city are social, since thefts and assaults happend constantly in some areas that are considered as “high risk” for tourists. Before going to those streets that you don’t know, ask to the locals. They will warn you about the dangers so you will be ready for possible thefts. In the areas of high urban traffic, avoid to have valuable objects in sight as cell phones, cameras or show you have big amounts of money.
Best time to visit Chepen
The best time to visit Chepen is in June, when takes place the driest season. And its also the celebration in honor of San Sebastian, the patron saint of the city. So you can participate on the activities that are organized.
Climate in Chepen
-The climate in Chepen is warm and dry depending on the season, with maximum temperatures of 95 °F (35 °C); and in winter the coldest days drops to 55.4 °F (13 °C).-The warm thermal sensation can be intense in summer, specially being a coastal city of desert climate as is Chepen.
Things to do in Chepen
Chepén city is known as the "Northern Pearl", due to its rice production, renowned product of its agricultural activity. It's located on the hillside of Chepén hill and next to the Panamericana Norte highway. It's a destination with tourist attractions inside and outside the city. On the center of Chepén you will find archaeological remains and ruins from a wall made of stone, trace of the pre-Columbian cultures that settled on the region. You can also go all over the Vía Crucis way, decorated with 23 statues that show the itinerary made by Jesus to the cross. This route is the main attraction of Easter in Chepén. You will find at 5 minutes from the city another archaeological destination in the Complejo San José de Moro, main site of archaeological dig where experts from all the world come looking for Moche's culture remains.
Nightlife in Chepen
Coco Drink Lounge & Bar
Location: Calle Trujillo 298 Hours: 6:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. Price: doesn’t say The Coco Drink offers varied cocktails, standing out the chilcano in a nice atmosphere, animate by the DJs music. You will also have a great view over the Plaza de Armas of Chepen from its terrace-bar, where the fun moments are unforgettable.
Mama Pancha Chepen
Location: Jr. Manco Capac 18 Hours: doesn’t say Prices: doesn’t say A different alternative for your nights in Chepen is visiting Mama Pancha. In this place you will find the best atmosphere with actual music, bus also exclusive and theme shows with celebrities.
Where to eat in Chepen?
Restaurante Los Patos
Location: Av. Pacasmayo 158 Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Price: doesn’t say This restaurant is one of the most popular in the northern cities, due to the typical flavor of the food. They also have restaurants in Chiclayo, Chepen and the Panamericana Norte.
Location: Calle Lima 374, 2nd floor Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m. Price: doesn’t say The best of the meats you find in this restaurant that offers typical plates that you can accompany of a drink. The specialty of the house, as the name says is the anticuchos con salsa.
Restaurante El Trigal
Location: Lima 449 Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Price: doesn’t say
The tourist places to see in Chepen are:
Temple of San Sebastian
Location: Paseo el Maestro 106 Hours: doesn’t say Price: free entrance A modern church construction whose origin goes back to the 18th century. Inside there is an image of the patron saint of Chepen, San Sebastian; in January there is a patron saint festival in his honour and a fair that includes diverse cultural activities.
Fortaleza del Cerro Chepén y Vía Crucis
(Fortress) Location: at half km from the center of the city, above the peak of the San Sebastian hill Hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Price: free entrance You will get to know 2 tourist attractions at one time, climbing to the peak of this hill. To admire the called “biggest Via Crucis of the world” we suggest that you visit the hill in Easter, since is the moment when you can see the plays of Christ on his way to the cross. Another attraction are the remains of the archaeological center surrounded by a wall of more than 2 km of length. The remains found and the constructions made of stone are of mochica origin. Climbing the hill can be exhausting, since you will have to walk across 777 stairs, made of cement and stone, so it’s recommended to have a good physical condition to go across.
Archaeological complex of San Jose de Moro
Location: at 3.7 mi (6 km) to the north of the city Hours: doesn’t say Price: between s/ 6 and s/ 10 This old mochica cemetery is an area of exploration and archaeological research that has a little museum where are exhibited the main discoveries of this territory.
The things to do in Chepen
Beaches of Cherrepe
Location: at 22.3 mi (36 km) to the norhtwest of the city To get to this calm beach, hide of artisan fishermen, the route takes about 40 min by car. You can get there by taxi, paying from s/ 30 to s/ 50. The visit of this rock shore is a pleasant experience, due to the nice landscape, where you can see the harmony life of the sea man and the nature. Besides that on the surroundings you can appreciate a varied marine fauna, representative of the coast.
Typical dishes in Chepen
Arroz a la chacra
One of the emblem unmissable dishes of Chepen. To prepare it, they use meat, rice, beans, potato, ground garlic, oil, banana to be fried and yellow chilly pepper. When you taste this unique dish you will want to eat it again. Eat it with a “chicha de jora and a ceviche” as a side dish.
It’s a classic dish in different cities of the north, very popular since they take advantage of the odds and ends of kids for its preparation. With them they prepare a stew with onion, chilly pepper, garlic and coriander, all of it with tender corn.
This northern pottage is prepared with cow meat, pepper, white corn, ground yellow chilly pepper, coriander, onion, ground garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. The result is a delicious plate of concentrate flavor, if you like the meat stews.
How to reach Chepen
Chepen by train
There isnt nowadays a route by train to or from Chepen.
Chepen by flight
Chepen does not have its own airport, the closest airport is the Aeropuerto Internacional Capitán FAP Carlos Martínez de Pinillos, located in the city of Trujillo. The distance from Chepen to Trujillo is 82 mi (132 km) and the route takes about 2,5 hours, so it’s not an interesting route to follow.
Chepen by bus
To go to Chepen by bus you can take buses of the companies Linea, Turismo Dias and Turismo Cautivo, with departure in Lima or Cajamarca. If you leave from Lima the already mentioned companies sell bus tickets at s/ 50 to s/ 80. The travel takes an average of 11 hours. If you decide to get to know Chepen from Cajamarca you have the Linea buses. In this route the time of travel is only 5 hours and the bus tickets are cheaper, s/ 25.
Accomodations in Chepen
Location: Calle Lima 212 Price: doesn’t say The service and infrastructure of this hotel stand out in Chepen. It’s one of the few hotels that has the category of 3 stars, and it’s one of the most visited by peruvian celebrities who travel to Chepen for business.
Gran Hotel Dorado
Location: Av. Exequiel Gonzáles Cáceda N°628 Price: doesn’t say This 3 stars hotel has a modern infrastructure and comfortable rooms for travellers who look for a stay of several days in Chepen.
Important dates in Chepen
Festividad de San Sebastian
(January the 20th)
San Sebastian is considered as the patron saint of Chepen. The people from Chepen people make a mass in his honour and a procession where there are music bands to play serenades and accompany the image through the main streets of the city. Other activities of this festival are the burning of artificial fireworks, the gastronomy fair “Sabores Chepenanos”, the competitions of typical dances and the open-air dances. You will experiment the religious fervor at this festival, but also you will do cultural tourism and you will enjoy it.