Lambayeque, Chiclayo, Peru

Photo by: Philip Moses

The small pueblo of Illimo is located in the northern coastal department of Lambayeque, Perú. The origin of Illimo dates back to the ancient Sicán culture, remnants of which you can still see in various tombs, pyramids, and the “tree of a thousand years,” all located in the Santuario Histórico Bosque de Pómac (the Holy Historical Forest). Illimo is also the Beekeeping and Honey Capital of Perú.


Bosque De Pomac (The Historical Forest)

Lambayeque, Chiclayo, Peru

Bosque de Pomac
Photo by: Philip Moses

Step back into the ancient Sicán culture which dates back to 850 AC and explore the tombs of their culture and kings. Situated within the forest are numerous pyramids – the tombs and resting place for the Sicán royalty. Continue on foot or horseback and enjoy exceptional bird watching, free roaming cows, and goats, as you make your way to the Arbol de Milenario or tree of a thousand years. The Sicán predicted the tree would live for hundreds of years – they were obviously on to something, because over a thousand years later it still stands and continues growing. One could spend three hours or three days in the forest depending on your pace and preferences. 


Lambayeque, Peru, Chiclayo

Photo by: Philip Moses

Why watch when you can experience? Experience a half day or whole day of beekeeping. Start the day with learning a bit about the history of beekeeping here in Illimo and the finer points of what beekeeping entails and all the scientific wonder that is involved. Then head out into the forest, put on your safety equipment and get hands on with one of the world’s most fascinating creatures. Handle hives, see the queen, learn the honey extraction process, and harvest your own honey to be enjoyed later that evening. Not only is beekeeping a vital economic activity for the local people but an important part of the health of the local environment. (WARNING: DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE BEE ALLERGIES. YOU WILL BE WEARING A BEEKEEPING SUIT BUT THAT IS NOT A 100% GUARANTEE YOU WON’T GET STUNG)

If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more men!” Albert Einstein

A Video from a Beekeeping Suit

Festival de Apicultura or The Beekeeping Festival

Lambayeque, Chiclayo, Peru

Hombre de Abeja
Photo by: Philip Moses

During the third week of November the town celebrates its Beekeeping Festival to honor and showcase the town’s anniversary and rich history related to beekeeping. For four days, you will experience traditional Criollo music and dances, platos tipicos concursos (typical plates), horse shows, soccer matches, and above all, activities related to the art of beekeeping, including the now nationally known hombre y mujer de abeja (The Man and Woman of the Bees) contest. Men and women cover themselves in bees for a prize and earn the prestige to call themselves the hombre or mujer de abeja for the following year. The festival ends on a Sunday with a large baile (traditional Peruvian concert and dance in the town park).

Lodging Options

Beginning this September 2013, the circle of true community tourism will be complete with the implementation of the first ever eco-lodge – located in a local hamlet of the main town. Situated ten minutes from the forest, the lodge will benefit the people of the community in which it is located. The lodge was brought to the people through a series of collaborations and will provide a eco-experience, starting with the materials (all local) and the people involved in your experience (all local). This is a business for the local people and the goal is to better the quality of life for those involved, while giving you a genuine community experience. Dine on local specialty plates, pick your own fruit, and lay back in your hammock at the end of a long day beekeeping, exploring the forest, or a day of just taking in your surroundings.

For an advance look at the eco-lodge, check out the following webpage: http://ecolodgepomac.wix.com/ecolodgepomac

How to Get There

From Chiclayo: Illimo is located only 45 minutes from Chiclayo, the capital of Lambayeque. Simply ask to be taken to the paradero de los pueblos, which any and all taxi drivers within the city will recognize. From there, board one of the combis (vans) that departs every 15 minutes or so for Illimo. The combi will pull into the town square where your adventure will begin.