Canoncillo: meet the forest in the northern desert of Peru
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Canoncillo: meet the forest in the northern desert of Peru

Home / Travel Blog / Canoncillo: meet the forest in the northern desert of Peru
Canoncillo: meet the forest in the northern desert of Peru

El Cañoncillo Forest, northeast of the San Pedro de Lloc district, Pacasmayo province, in the La Libertad region, is a beautiful spot where you have the opportunity to practice adventure sports while enjoying nature. Some of the activities you can do in this destination are sandboarding, climbing and motocross. Arriving from the city of Trujillo will take you about two hours.


Surrounded by incredible dunes, this place surprises visitors with its dry forests of carob trees up to 8 meters high. There are more than 1,300 hectares that combine wildlife, archaeological sites and adventure tourism.


Why visit Cañoncillo?

Cañoncillo is located in the province of Trujillo, an extensive dry forest with more than 3,000 hectares, which has two magical lagoons of crystal clear water. Likewise, this territory is home to a great variety of plant and animal species. Within this last group, foxes, white-tailed squirrels, owls, black and white herons, and more than 62 types of birds appear.


Similarly, this forest is made up of majestic trees over 20 meters high and 5 meters in circumference, approximately. In some of them, you can find fruits such as carob, which is used to make coffee and algarrobina. Also, it is said that this fruit is of great importance for feeding livestock.


For its part, this wonderful natural space has an incredible archaeological zone, in which you can see historic buildings such as squares, corridors and walls from the pre-Hispanic era. In addition, the Cañoncillo Archaeological Complex is surrounded by hills and dunes, which make this a perfect place to spend an unforgettable vacation.


What are the best plans to do in Cañoncillo?

Within this conservation area there are several natural attractions such as lagoons, dunes and trails, which allow different activities to be carried out. For this reason, we present some of the most popular, in order to encourage you to discover this incredible forest in the middle of the northern desert.



One of the most fun plans and in which you can have direct contact with nature is trekking. Through this activity you will have the opportunity to get to know the landscapes that make up this territory. In addition, you will find different medicinal plants, carob trees, and a wide variety of birds and mammals that you can observe with ease. Similarly, you can take the opportunity to visit the Cañoncillo Archaeological Complex and learn a little about the history of this land.


Although practicing trekking requires a degree of demand due to the conditions of the terrain and the temperature, we assure you that it is an activity that you will enjoy, since you will be able to explore one of the most beautiful areas of the country.


Enjoy the lagoons of Cañoncillo 

Among the greatest attractions of this forest are its two lagoons: Gallinazo and Larga, which are surrounded by abundant vegetation.


In the Gallinazo lagoon you can enjoy a refreshing bath of pure water, taking advantage of the hot climate of this area. The experience is really pleasant, thanks to the peace that is breathed in this part.


Likewise, in the second lagoon that is located 1 hour away on foot, you have the option of taking a boat ride, in which you will discover the flora and fauna that are part of this natural attraction. However, if this option is not in your plans, you also have the possibility to sit on the shore and contemplate the calm waters of this lagoon.


Live an extreme experience 

Cañoncillo is also a territory destined for adventure activities. One of the most popular is sandboarding, a sport that consists of sliding down sand dunes or hills on special boards.


Due to the gigantic dunes that Cañoncillo has, this is one of the unmissable plans for adventure lovers. So if you are one of them, you only need a board and all the willingness to start sliding down the huge mountains of sand. But, do not forget to take all the security measures to live an unforgettable experience.


Finally, other of the most extreme and fun plans that can be done in this desert is to climb the surrounding hills and practice paragliding. Of course, we assure you that with these activities you will feel how the adrenaline invades your body.


How to get?

The journey in your own car from the city of Trujillo can take an average of two hours. You must go to San Pedro de Lloc and then take the route San José – Tecapa – Cañoncillo. If you decide to take public transportation, in Trujillo you can take the buses of the Empresas Línea (Av. América Sur 2855) or Emtrafesa (Av. Túpac Amaru 185) to Pacasmayo.


Already in Pacasmayo, at the terminal you must locate the buses that go to Chepén, all of them pass through the whereabouts of the San José – Tecapa crossing. You get off at this point, and take a moto-taxi to the forest. The cost of the journey in tickets is S/20.


What is the entrance price?

You can visit this tourist attraction from Thursday to Sunday from 9 a.m. Until 4pm. The entrance has a cost of S / 2.


What activities can you do?

From taking pictures to camping, this forest is perfect for all kinds of travel experiences. Other activities that cannot be missing from your itinerary are climbing, trekking, sandboarding (boards are rented for S/10), motocross and ATV rides. They offer the guided service from S/25.


What implements should you bring?

In your travel backpack you can not miss a sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses, cap or hat. It is recommended to go with sports and comfortable clothing. Other essentials are a bottle of water and snacks for the road.


Best Tours in Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

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