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Canoncillo Natural Forest: The Last Oasis of Carob Trees

Home / Travel Blog / Canoncillo Natural Forest: The Last Oasis of Carob Trees

It is a private conservation area with dry carob tree forests up to 8 meters high in the middle of golden dunes. This forest is home to three lagoons that provide the perfect setting for wildlife: 62 species of birds such as the thick-billed grebe, the cuca heron, the red duck and the kingfisher, among others.


El Cañoncillo is located in the district of San Pedro de Lloc, on the left bank of the Jequetepeque River.


Thanks to the presence of its desert and its beautiful dunes, it is ideal for practicing sandboarding. Camping activities can also be carried out, however, it must be the same visitors who carry all the necessary instruments for said activity, since in the same attraction there are no establishments that provide them. In the case of food and drinks, they can be purchased in the Tecapa village or in the San José district.


Useful data

  • Location: Liberty
  • Altitude: 43 masl
  • Environment: Dry forest
  • Suggested stay: 2 days
  • Suggested clothing: Swimsuit, hat, light clothing, long sleeves
  • Ideal season: All year.

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 wide variety of plant and animal species. Within this last group, there are foxes, white-tailed squirrels, owls, black and white herons, and more than 62 types of birds.


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


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


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 ones, in order to encourage you to get to know 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 chance 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. In the same way, you can take the opportunity to visit the archaeological complex of Cañoncillo and learn a little about the history of this land.


Although practicing trekking requires a degree of demand due to the terrain conditions 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 pure water bath, 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, which is located 1 hour away on foot, you have the option of taking a boat ride, where you will get to know 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 of sitting on the shore and contemplating 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 must-see plans for adventure lovers. So if you are one of them, you only need a board and all the equipment to start sliding down the huge mountains of sand. But, do not forget to take all security measures to live an unforgettable experience.


Finally, another 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 adrenaline invades your body.


How to get to Cañoncillo?

Cañoncillo is located 2 hours on average from Trujillo. If you leave from Lima, you can take a direct route to Trujillo. Some of the companies that carry out this route are: Ittsa Bus, Excluciva, Civa and Linea.


When you arrive in Trujillo, you must choose a bus that will take you to San Pedro de Lloc, and then take a route to San José. At this point, you must board a bus to the Santonte town. Afterwards, you must hike for 1 hour, until you reach the Cañoncillo forest, following a trail, which is well signposted.


Tourist Services

On the other hand, in Cañoncillo you can camp and spend the night in the middle of this dry forest. Also, one of the best places to camp is near the lagoon, as there is a lot of vegetation and the view is enchanting. To do this, you must bring all the necessary equipment to spend a pleasant stay. Likewise, we recommend that you do this activity responsibly, avoiding leaving garbage and making bonfires. Do not forget that the conservation of these natural spaces depends on the use that we give them.


As for food, you can visit the Tecapa and Santonte towns, which are located fairly close to Cañoncillo. In these small towns you can buy what you need for the trip. Also, there are restaurant services, where you can enjoy a delicious homemade lunch.


What is the entrance price?

You can visit this tourist attraction from Thursday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Until 4pm. The entrance has a cost of S/2.


Facts about Cañoncillo

  • The best dates to visit the Cañoncillo lagoons are between July and August, since its flow increases during this season.
  • The Cañoncillo forest is a scientific research site, due to its archaeological sites and the species of animals and plants that exist in the area.
  • Tecapa and Santonte are two populations that preserve the traditional ancestral ones. Therefore, visiting them is an enriching experience.
  • Cañoncillo has an average of more than 100,000 species of plants that cover the 3,000 hectares.


  • To carry out any of these activities, it is important to have a guide to provide you with all the necessary advice.
  • Do not leave plastic or any type of residue that could contaminate the place.
  • Avoid making campfires.
  • Do not forget to bring a hydrating drink and some food that will help you with energy, especially when trekking.
  • If you are going to enter the lagoons, do not carry substances that could contaminate it.
  • Take care of the flora by avoiding taking the fruits of trees and medicinal plants without the advice of an expert.
  • Don't forget to bring sunscreen, a cap, sunglasses, and insect repellent.

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