Lomas de Lachay National Reserve (Lachay Hills)
Address: The entrance is located just after kilometer marker No 105 on the Northern Peru Pan-American Highway. Coordinates at the entrance are Lat: -11.41037, Lon: -77.38866. View on the map below.
Biodiversity: 157 (?)
Photography: Great photo opportunities. However, light conditions can be challenging on foggy days, which are the norm early in the season.
Contacts: Admin Office: Panamericana Alt km 105, Huacho – Huaura.
Bird-Watching Photography Hiking Camping Wildlife Observation
Hiking Trails Interpretation Center Parking Lot Latrine Campgrounds
What Can I See?
These are the most characteristic birds at Lomas de Lachay National Reserve. The photo gallery includes conspicuous, common, and those considered a specialty bird for the site of a list of approximately 157 species that have been recorded at this site. Species included in the photo gallery give an idea of the birds likely to be seen and photographed on a visit to this site.
The caption for each photo contains the species name, measurements, abundance, and habitat type where the bird is more frequently seen.
Bird list for this site (eBird)
These are the most characteristic mammals at Lomas de Lachay. The photo gallery includes the most conspicuous and larger species likely to be seen on a visit to this site. However, bear in mind that these mammals are largely nocturnal.
The caption for each photo contains the species name and relative abundance.
Ravines with rocky outcrops
This habitat includes areas with taller scrub-like vegetation and scattered native trees such as Tara (Caesalpinea tintorea) or introduced trees such as Eucalyptus sp. The scrub vegetation here is interspersed with large boulders. This habitat types is the most biodiverse and is crossed by the major trail. Photo: Carlos Castro.
Prairie-like Seasonal Shrubland
While most plant species in Lomas de Lachay are found throughout the site, there are areas where certain plants dominate and are the more common plant species. This is the case of the Prairie-like Seasonal Shrubland found at the entrance and around the checkpoint areas. This uniform shrubland is devoid of trees, dominated by yellow flowers (Nasa urens) at the end of the season, and becomes a desert with dead twigs during the dry season. See Lomas Habitat. Photo: Zulema T.
A community of cactus is found on the back or western side of the reserve at the area called Guayavito. Columnar Cactus (Haageocereus pseudomelanstele) dominate the plant community. This habitat has low plant biodiversity but supports a population of the Peruvian endemic bird Cactus Canastero (Pseudasthenes cactorum). Photo: Monica Romo.
Ravines with rocky outcrops – Dry Season
Lomas de Lachay undergoes a dramatic transformation from lush uniform green at the beginning of the wet season, hues of various colors at the middle and end of the wet season, and a desert-like landscape during most of the year. During the dry season, trees bear leaves but most other plants die. Most birds and other wildlife leave the site with only a few year-round residents staying through the long dry season.
1. View of the checkpoint located at approximately 6 km from the highway.
2. There are three campgrounds with grills and picnic tables.
3. View of the interpretation center and office.
4. Main trails are well signaled and heavily used. Some lesser trails are less used and not as well signaled.
Map of Lomas de Lachay National Reserve
Explore layers (click on ) or icons on the map.
La Perdiz trail: Is the longest trail and goes around the entire site. It takes about 2.5 hours to walk.
El Zorro Trail: Goes to the waterhole.
La Tara Trail: Goes along ancient Teatino cave paintings and native Tara trees.
Visit Lomas de Lachay National Reserve
The 5,070-ha Lomas de Lachay National Reserva also known as Lachay Hills was created in 1977 with the objective of restoring and conserving wildlife, and to promote recreation in harmony with nature. This site also protects archeological remains of the ancient pre-Inca culture Teatino. It is the only example of Peruvian coastal hills or “Lomas” ecosystem” in the National System of State Natural Protected Areas. This site is a natural formation with native and highly seasonal vegetation that relies on fog from the ocean as their primary source of moisture. Plants and some resident animals here are adapted to tolerate severe dry conditions during the summer.
This site is composed of the main entrance road leading to the interpretation center and office. There are three campgrounds equipped with BBQ grills and picnic tables. There are three easy-to-walk main trails of different lengths, which are signaled. The parking lot and latrine are near the interpretation center.
Plan your Trip
It takes a little over two hours to get to Lomas de Lachay from Lima, in good traffic conditions.
Lachay is heavily visited over the weekends throughout the year and the place can turn crowded and chaotic with many school children walking all over the place. Monday through Thursday are days with smaller crowds.
We recommend getting to Lachay as early as possible, spending the morning and part of the afternoon. Some visitors bring a picnic lunch on site and stay longer or stop on the way back to Lima for a late lunch.
There are trails of various lengths going through the entire site. Ask about each trail and figure out how to combine them according to your activities. Rangers at the office are willing to help with information about each trail and the site’s landmarks.
If you plan to camp or use the grills, you will need to bring everything yourself, including your own tools to clean up the grills and tables often left unclean by previous visitors.
The bathrooms are basic latrines (a hole on the ground). There is a faucet with water. Both the bathrooms and water are near the interpretation center and office.
There is a small cafeteria that sells snacks within the headquarters.
There appear not to be a campground reservation protocol and it operates on a first-come-first-served basis.
Where to eat/Where to Stay
There is no places to eat or lodging available within Lachay. A small cafeteria appears to run on a temporary basis in the headquarters, but food and service appear to have much to be desired. To have an early start, some visitors spend the night in the city of Huacho, some 45 km north of Lomas de Lachay.
The best time to visit
July through October is considered the prime time to visit Lomas de Lachay National Reserva. The months of June and July are characterized by heavy fog throughout the day. The entire site looks green as plants begin to sprout. However, trails and campgrounds can be wet and even muddy.
September and October are less foggy, and there are flowers and birds everywhere. The entire place turns yellow as the most common plant Black Nettle (Nasa urens) is in full bloom. The yellow flowers also mark the end of the wet season and beginning of the dry season.
September and October are perhaps the best months to visit Lachay as all the birds are present, the trails and campground are drier, and the light for photography is better. In some years, the wet season can extend for a few more months.
How to get there
One can get to Lachay using public and private transportation.
- Public Transportation: Take a bus going from Lima to the city of Huacho and ask the driver to drop you off at the entrance to Lomas de Lachay. You need to remind them to drop you off, otherwise, they will continue to the city of Huacho. From the entrance, you would need to walk approximately 6.5 km to the checkpoint, and another 3 km to the interpretation center. On your way back you would need to retrace your steps back to the Pan-american Highway and flag a bus going to the city of Lima.
- Private Transportation: This is the recommended option as you will have more control over your time to arrive, enjoy the place, and leave in comfort. A group of people sharing costs would make the trip more affordable.
What to do/Where to go there
Visit the Mirador (View Point) and the Water Hole. Also, explore the prairie-like habitat before and around the checkpoint. Also, visit the Guayavito area that features a cactus community very different from other habitats along the popular trails. Also, visit the cave paintings along the La Tara Trail. The archeological site onsite is more distant and may require a guide to accompany you to reach it.
We recommend walking el Circuito de la Perdiz (Tinamou Trail), which takes approximately two hours or longer. This trail goes around the entire site, crosses other trails and goes by landmarks of interest. El Circuito del Zorro (Fox Trail) is a pleasant walk that takes only 20 minutes.
Use your cell phone and take a picture of the sitemap at the interpretation center for reference while walking the trails.
Where to look for birds
Lomas de Lachay supports a relatively high percentage of Peruvian and Regional endemic birds. Hawks, hummingbirds, and the abundant Rufous-collared Sparrow are everywhere, but some of the specialty species of the site are often associated with specific habitats.
- Prairie-like Seasonal Shrubland. While most plant species in Lomas de Lachay are found throughout the site, there are areas where certain plants are more common. This is the case of the Prairie-like Seasonal Shrubland found at the entrance and around the checkpoint. This uniform shrubland is devoid of trees, dominated by yellow flowers of the Black Nettle at the end of the season, and becomes a desert with dead twigs during the dry season. This is the habitat where Coastal Miner, Least Seedsnipe, Peruvian Pipit, Peruvian Meadowlark, and Tawny-throated Dotterel can be found.
- Ravines with rocky outcrops. The majority of birds are associated with this habitat type. The network of trails on site meanders this habitat type. The Peruvian endemic Thick-billed Miner, which is one of the most sought-after birds in Lomas de Lachay, favors the rocky outcrops mixed with shrubs and scrub.
- Cactus Hillsides. Another Peruvian endemic, the Cactus Canastero is restricted to stands of columnar cactus found at the Guayavito Area of the Reserve. This area can be accessed through specific trails or by car. See how to access the Guayavito area of Lomas de Lachay.
Where to look for Mammals
Mammals at Reserva Nacional Lomas de Lachay are rare are largely nocturnal. The Sechuran Fox is perhaps the most sighted mammal at and around the headquarters. The Mountain Viscacha is associated with large boulders along the trails. The Pampas Cat is rare and can be seen crossing the trails and also near the headquarters. To increase your chances to see mammals, ask the personnel at the information desk regarding the latest sightings of mammals.
What to wear and bring
Prepare for chilly temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius (60 Fahrenheit) and persistent drizzle during the wet season. Comfortable shoes or light hiking gear would be adequate to explore the trails. Do not forget a photo camera to make your own photo collection of flowers of this site.
Portions of the trails can be slippery particularly during the months of June and July.
There is no mosquitoes or other biting insects at this site.
If you are using public transportation, try to do so with a partner or a group. Also, when returning to Lima, get out to the road with plenty of time and daylight to catch a ride back.