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The charm of Canta: Obrajillo

Tierras Vivas Travel > The charm of Canta: Obrajillo

The charm of Canta: Obrajillo

Canta y Obrajillo is the ideal destination to spend a weekend or a day outside of Lima. These beautiful towns, located in the valley of the Chillón River, are surrounded by the majestic Andes. It is worth traveling there: the views are impressive, the local cuisine is delicious, the people are hospitable and the routes are ideal for hiking. 


City and capital of the province of the same name, located in the central part of Peru, is a province in the Sierra de Lima. It is located only 110 km from Lima. Canta is located at an altitude of 2,837 meters above sea level. n. m. Approximately 13,000 people live in the province.

How to get there from Lima? – From Carabayllo, in the northern part of Lima, more or less at Km. 22 of Túpac Amaru Avenue, small buses leave, both to Obrajillo and to Canta (the price depends on the carrier and is approximately 15 PEN). From Canta to Obrajillo (3.5 km) can be reached on foot. 

History of Canta

Canta in the Past

The areas of the current province of Canta were inhabited by people who belonged to the Atavilla culture. At the beginning of the 16th century, they were incorporated into the Inca Empire. The Spanish who arrived here in 1535 took advantage of the agricultural potential of the region. The city served as a kind of barn for the employees of the Cerro de Pasco mine. Due to the merits of the inhabitants who participated in the struggles for the independence of Peru, Canta was honored with the title of heroic town. 

Canta Currently

Most of the inhabitants of the province are farmers. The region is becoming more and more popular and, thanks to its proximity to Lima, it can count on tourists, mainly Peruvians. The infrastructure is developing, there are restaurants, lodges and camps, whose location next to the Chillón River is very picturesque. In addition, food products and local crafts are sold. Horse lovers will feel very comfortable at Canta. 

More about Canta and Obrajillo

The name Canta derives from the Cauqui language and means hillside, decline or loop to catch vicuñas.

Trout abound in the Chillón River, often used in local cuisine.

In the picturesque San Juan de Obrajillo restaurant you can taste typical Peruvian dishes. In the photos below: grilled trout, pachamanca, humita and spicy guinea pig.

More data of interest

In Canta mainly potatoes, alfalfa and flowers are grown. Cattle are grazed, pigs and chickens are raised and there are many fish farms.

The rainy season begins in December and ends in April.

In Obrajillo you can enjoy delicious Andean cuisine, buy local cheeses, butter, honey and sweets, ride horses and camp near the Lucle river and waterfall (La Catarata campsite).

Obrajillo can be an excellent starting point for those looking for excursions further afield. The tourist offer of the local agency includes: Cordillera de la Viuda, Marcapomacocha and Ruinas de Cantamarca.

A few meters behind the San Juan restaurant is the entrance to the old Obrajillo cemetery, where you can see beautiful tombstones of the old inhabitants of the town.

In the center of Obrajillo, it is worth noting the charming church of Juan el Bautista from 1818 and the local architecture. Adobe houses and old wooden balconies have been preserved. 

Obrajillo Town

It is located just 3 km from Canta. It has a central square and church, as well as excellent places to camp very close to the Chillón River. Crossing the river horses are rented. The price of the service varies according to the route. 

According to studies, in pre-Inca times, Obrajillo corresponded to two ayllus: the Purunkas (rocky place) and the Karkas (place for agriculture on platforms). When the Spanish arrived (1533) they renamed the place San Francisco de Karkas. 

If you have ever heard of Obrajillo, it is a beautiful and picturesque town located northeast of the city of Lima, about 2 hours away. This beautiful town belongs to the District of Canta and is an excellent place for hiking, trekking and horseback riding. 

It is an ideal destination for lovers of nature, as well as adventures. It is also ideal for people who like trout fresh from the river and prepared instantly. 

In addition, it is a paradise full of greenery, rivers and natural and artificial waterfalls, where you can also camp. Nearby is the town of San Miguel, which you can reach on foot or on horseback. It has a beautiful viewpoint from which you can observe Obrajillo and Canta. 

In addition to its welcoming people, it is a very cheap place that you can visit with the family. 

Historical review

Obrajillo was founded in colonial times, thus constituting itself as an “obraje”, which was in charge of the Spanish, who forced the indigenous people to provide services with goldsmith work, weaving, among others. 

Obrajillo or “Obraje Pequeno”, was established as the first population with roots in Spanish customs, among its constructions you can see in its central square that a beautiful colonial-style church stands, and the houses of the locals have special roofs for the fall of rainwater and old balconies. 

Obrajillo is a small and beautiful town, through which the waters of the chillón river cross, the same ones that are abundant in trout, which is the typical dish par excellence. Many look for them as a place of rest and others for their delicious and fresh trout. It is surrounded by beautiful green mountains belonging to the valley of the screamer. 

Here you can also see the fish farm where trout are raised industrially. It is a place where you can learn about trout breeding techniques, reproduction, protection, among others. You can also ride a horse, children and adults with their respective Guides. 

Likewise, Obrajillo and its surroundings have other beautiful places that you cannot miss: 

  • Its artificial waterfall.
  • Hidden waterfall of Huamanmarca, also called Velo de la Novia.
  • Fish farm
  • The small hydroelectric
  • The town of San Miguel and its viewpoint (Mandatory Visit) 


The town of Obrajillo is located 2 hours from Lima, it is 5 minutes from Canta by car. It is a mandatory stop if you decide to visit Canta, and you cannot miss it. 

To get to Obrajillo, you must pass through the towns of Santa Rosa de Quives and Canta, which you can visit before your arrival at your destination. 

How to get?

By private car

To get to Obrajillo from Lima, you must take Av. Túpac Amaru to Comas and/or Carabayllo (Northern Cone of Lima). If you come from Av. Universitario you can go to the end of it and then take Av. Túpac Amaru. From there the road is direct. You will pass through Yangas, through the town of Trapiche where there are many Country Centers, you will pass through Santa Rosa de Quives. Before reaching Obrajillo you will necessarily pass through Canta, from there there is a detour to the left that will take you to Obrajillo, you just have to ask the locals from Cante who are very friendly people. 

Currently the track has been repaired and your vehicle will not suffer to get to Obrajillo. However, in the rainy season it is good to find out about the weather due to the fall of mudslides in the area that could block the road. 

This route can be done with a simple traction mobility. 

By bus

If you go by bus, you must take your bus or combi to the District of Carabayllo, “El Progreso” area. On the same Tupac Amaru Avenue at Km. 21, there are companies that take you to Canta (Approximate fare of S/. 10 soles). From canta there are taxis or cars that take you to obrajillo for S/. 2 suns. 


The weather in Obrajillo is hot during the day (until 5pm the weather is hot). At night the temperature starts to drop and you must have a warm garment with you. 

What activities can I do in Canta? 

Once you get off the bus, you can start your day of sightseeing by visiting Plaza de Canta. 

You can also take a tour of Obrajillo, a town that is 3 km away. from Canta and 11 minutes by car or 25 minutes on foot. There you can stroll through the town square, go horseback riding and visit the Velo de Novia and Lucle waterfalls. 

If you want to spend the night in the place you will find perfect places to camp very close to the Chillón River. 

The falls are within Obrajillo. By ATV you can get there in 10-15 minutes or 30 minutes on foot. 

Only in the case of the Velo de Novia waterfall, it will take you approximately 10 more minutes of walking, but the view is worth it. 

Archaeological Site of Cantamarca 

Another unmissable place is the Archaeological site of Cantamarca. This is a pre-Inca stone citadel and is located 17 km east of Canta, on the steep crest of one of the hills that surround the city (3,660 m a.s.l.), on the left side of the Chillón River. 

Chunchun Lagoon 

The emerald green of this lagoon is located 44 km east of Canta (Huaros district). Perfect opportunity to walk through the middle and upper valley of the Chillón River, and enjoy its beautiful landscapes. From the lagoon you will be able to see the snowy peaks of the La Viuda mountain range. 

Laguna de Calancayo or lagoon of 7 colors. 

Another destination is the Calancayo Lagoon, also known as the “7 Color Lagoon” due to its different shades between blue and turquoise. The route that you must follow lasts an hour on average within the path of the highway. On the route, you will be able to see in the distance the famous Cordillera de la viuda. You have to dress warmly because it is a very windy area. 

If you don’t want to camp in Canta or Obrajillo and you prefer lodging or a hotel, you have some options. 

To spend the night we recommend Obrajillo, since it has a great panorama to enjoy with your family or friends. 

Also take into account that you can return from the same town of Obrajillo, there also pass buses and transport back to Lima. 

Essential things you should not forget 

Camera, comfortable and warm clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, repellent, ideal shoes for walking, aquashoes (if you enter the river) and cash.

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. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem. 

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