Sugar cane was first brought to Peru from India by the Spaniards in the seventeenth century and quickly took root as the region’s main crop. Until early in the twentieth century, the haciendas were connected with Trujillo by a British-operated rail line, whose lumbering old wagons used to rumble down to Trujillo full of molasses and return loaded with crude oil; they were, incidentally, never washed between loads. Although the region still produces nearly half of Peru’s sugar, it has diversified as well. These days, Chicama is also well-known for the fine Cascas semi-seco wine it produces. The haciendas are also renowned for the breeding of caballos de pasohorses reared to compete in dressage and trotting contests – a long-established sport that’s still popular with Peruvian high society.

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