Connected to Sipán by dirt road, Zaña was an opulent town during the viceroyalty that might have been the capital of Peru if not for English pirate Edward Davis, who sacked the city in 1686. Many believed the subsequent decline of Zaña was due to the libertine ways of its inhabitants, earning it the moniker of la ciudad malita (the naughty city).
That suspicion was confirmed in 1720 when an El Niño flood, of biblical proportions, destroyed what remained of the city and forced the citizens to move to Lambayeque. Today what is left is a fascinating ghost town of archways and columns.
Getting to Zaña
Most local tours include Zaña, which is 47 kilometers from Chiclayo. Buses also go there from Terminal de Epsel at the corner of Avenida Oriente and Nicolás de Pierola in Chiclayo.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition