The Casa Hacienda San Jose in Chincha was a brilliant place to stay… and the only thing that was not great was its sometimes bloody and confronting history as a slave plantation.
Don’t let that stop you, this is an excellent kid friendly destination in its own right some 2. 5 hours south of Lima and the perfect place to stop on route to Pisco or Nazca.
From the moment you pull into the elegant driveway, and climb the steps (think Gone with the Wind) you are transformed back in time. This is not a foreign tourist attraction as much as it is a getaway for Lima’s wealthy middle to upper classes. Declared a World Heritage site in 1970 but subsequently damaged by earthquakes the hotel re-opened its doors not long ago. The exquisite restoration is captivating as you truly step back in time.
The polished floor bedrooms feature impossibly high ceilings illuminated by natural gables, whose shutters open using long ropes. Huge beds, with the softest linen, await you, as does gorgeous furniture and fittings with an antique appearance. Wake up in the morning to the sound of doves cooing. The nights completely quiet, you don’t hear a sound, you are in a hacienda of olden times.
However, it’s not just the elegant restoration or atmosphere that captivates, there is plenty to see and do for the whole family.
Suitability for kids – Casa Hacienda San Jose
We enjoyed a guided walk of the house, its gorgeous little chapel, catacombs and the punishment room. (Don’t let the kids listen to that one – the punishments to the slaves were horrific.)
We stayed over the weekend principally because of the free activities on offer for the kids, including African dance class and lessons on the Cajon (a typically Afro Peruvian percussion instrument). We also enjoyed walks amongst the avocado and mandarin plantation and the pianist who played in the restaurant. On the Sunday a buffet with Criolla dance and music was a complete success with the kids.
The Pool area was magnificent (but too cold for a swim in July) as was the brilliant playground.
The history of Hacienda San José dates back to 1688 and by the late 1700s the plantation had more than 1000 slaves. In 1821 the valley of Chincha was surprised to see General Don Jose de San Martin and his troops disembark in Pisco freeing the slaves who joined the uprising against the Spanish, which led to Peru’s independence.
Yet the blood had just begun to flow, during the War of the Pacific (1880) the slaves killed the last heir of the original owners on the main staircase of the manor… With the Agrarian reform of the 1970’s the glorious – and wealthy plantation saw its final demise, before being restored to its former glory as a tourist destination.
Practical notes & recommendations – Casa Hacienda San Jose
(Note, as the other guests were all Lima folk, there seemed to be only Spanish spoken during those offerings. You would need to organise an English speaking guide.)
We recommend talking to your guides and local people for greater insight into the lives of the Afro Peruvian people, their meals, and their culture. We would recommend staying more than 1 night and getting out to the local Afro Peruvian restaurants.
In booking this location we discovered that Saturday night rates are MUCH higher than every other night. in the end we decided it was worthwhile in order to gain access to the free classes – but be warned. Also, Saturdays book out WELL in advance.
Price Range – Casa Hacienda San Jose
We paid $150 US a night for a suite which comfortably accommodated 2 adults and 2 kids.
For a full property description please check out Casa Hacienda San Jose Chincha
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