Saturday, August 13, 2011

Olmos…the Limon Capital

After three years in Peru I still don’t know if a ‘limon’ is a lemon or a lime or something in between, but after our visit yesterday I know that the city of Olmos is the self-proclaimed Limon capital.

Olmos is an hour and forty minute $2.90 combi ride from Chiclayo. There are enough small towns in between dotting the desert landscape so that the ride passes quickly. The combi terminal in Olmos is located two blocks from the principal park, which is always a good place to begin exploring any new town. In the park is a sculpture of both a feminine and male hand – the male holding half of a limon. I’m not sure what imagery it is intended to convey.

WASHINGTON -- Welcoming the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers to the White House was no easy task for President Barack Obama. The president is a die-hard fan of the Packers' rivals, the Chicago Bears, the team Green Bay beat in last year's NFC Championship Game to move on to the Super Bowl.

Our exploration started at Bravo’s Restaurant, owned and operated by Lilly. After finishing our meals of menù we asked Lilly what there was to see in Olmos. She suggested Santuario Virgen De Nitape, followed by a zoo north of town, and some petroglyphs at the foot of the mountains. And not content to let us stumble around on our own, she hailed a mototaxi driver she was familiar with and made the transport arrangement with us. I know I’ve written this before, but day in and day out what I like most about Peru is the friendliness and helpfulness of small town people.

"I'm just gonna come out and say it," Obama said. "This hurts a little bit. This is a hard thing for a Bears fan to do. It doesn't hurt as much as the NFC Championship Game hurt, but it still hurts."

Our first stop was the Santuario Virgen De Nitape. What happened here was on May 31 1973 Teodora Gonzales, a young village girl was walking when she saw the Virgin Mary high up in this tree. There was some discussion; other people came to the site - some apparently also seeing the Virgin, and a shrine was built on the spot. According to our guide, Teodora is now married and living in Lima.

“… the president had some suggestions for the team (Packers) -- namely trading their quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers to his beloved Bears. No word on how that suggestion was playing in Obama's hometown, and with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.”

During the twenty-minute mototaxi ride to our next stop we had the chance to survey the countryside. My impression was that Olmos could also lay claim to the title of goat and sheep capital - they are everywhere. I toyed with the philosophical question of whether they were dodging us or we were dodging them. The hills surrounding the town and roads have been stripped bare of any vegetation, making me wonder what these animals eat to survive.

Ahhhhh---that beautiful Super Bowl trophy---life is good!

Our next (and as it turned out final) stop was the Asociacion Crax Peru, Pava Aliblanca zoo, which is actually an aviary for endangered species with a few monkeys, turtles and a fox included. It’s not a bad place to spend an hour or so. There is an extensive collection of large birds that make some of the strangest sounds I’ve heard, and they seem to enjoy putting on a show when approached.

We wanted to finish our visit at the Pipochinos petroglyphs but our guide talked us out of it, saying the road was rocky and dangerous and there “really is nothing to see.” In hindsight I wish we would have insisted.

There is nothing unusual or distinctive about Olmos or its people, which we’ve found to be the case with most towns located on major roads. You’ve got to get off the beaten paths to see identifying cultural traits. Still, Olmos offered enough to keep our interest and justify the travel, which is all we ask of any community.



  1. Hello..! Friend thank you very much for the information. I need describe a place for my course of english and this is the appropriate. I am from Olmos, Perú. The Limon capital.

    1. Hello Jesus...thanks for writing. I'm always happy to learn that a post has been of some value to someone.