We have already refuted the common belief that the city of Lima is grey (“Lima is not Grey”), but we do have to admit that the foggy weather in winter (especially June – August) can be quite depressing. The perfect antidote is our third Day Tour from Lima to the colorful town of Antioquía, named the largest altarpiece in the world by the Guinness Book of Records in 2007.
It’s hard to believe if you haven’t experienced it yourself. It can be the foggiest day of the year in the coastal districts of Lima, you start driving east or inland and all of a sudden the fog and the clouds disappear and make way for the sun. That is why the towns just east of metropolitan Lima are a popular weekend destination during the cloudy winter months. Add probably the most colorful town of Peru and an Inca archaeological site to the sunny weather and you have the perfect way to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of Lima with art, history and tranquility.
Antioquía: A life-size altarpiece
The colorful town of Antioquía in the Lurín Valley is about 3 hours from Lima by car. Thanks to the colors of its streets and houses decorated with angels, flowers and many brightly colored animals, Antioquía entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2007 as the “largest altarpiece in the world”.
But, how and why did Antioquía become such a colorful town? In 2004 the local government wanted to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants and stop young people from leaving because of a lack of opportunities. They decided to bet on tourism and came up with the idea to invite artists to paint the walls of the Espíritu Santo neighborhood of Antioquía. The houses, the colonial church, schools, lodgings, restaurants and the municipality had a colorful makeover.
Today, more than 120 façades are painted with Spring designs, guaranteed to lift your spirits. Also, a great spot for a photography shoot or Instagrammable selfies.
Inca administrative center
Besides the town itself, there are plenty of other things to do on your day tour. There is, for instance, the archaeological site of Nieve Nieve in the nearby town of San José de Nieve Nieve. This used to be a large administrative center of the Inca empire that dates from 1470 to 1600 AD. Because of its strategic location, the Incas could control the roads in the area leading to strategic points such as water sources.
The small town of Cochahuayco is also worth a visit. In this agro-industrial town, you can visit the processing plant where they produce local delicacies such as apple cider vinegar and quince jam. But its church, the Santiago de Cochahuayco Temple, which was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation, is the town’s main attraction.
In Antioquía, you can also practice adventure sports such as camping, trekking, mountain biking, off road motorcycling, canopy and canoeing.
What to eat and buy in Antioquía
Of course, like everywhere in Peru, there are several amazing local food specialties that you should try. Start with a chupe de camarones (shrimp soup), followed by spicy guinea pig and as dessert the pumpkin mazamorra. Don’t forget to buy some local apple cider vinegar, quince jam, juices and pickles to take home and try later.
When to visit Antioquía
The weather is good all year round in Antioquía, but the best season to visit is between the months of April to December, when the weather is unbeatable.
Another great time to visit Antioquía is between January 4 and 6, when the Fiesta de Reyes is held, its most important festivity.
Are you looking for a day tour in Lima? Check out our Lima tours!