Peruvian Cities
Moquegua, MOQUEGUA
Location, extension and population | Brief historic outline | Main attractions in the capital city | Other attractions of the department of Moquegua | Typical dishes and beverages | Tourist calendar

The department of Moquegua is located in the southwestern part of the country. It limits to the north with Arequipa, to the south with Tacna, to the east with Puno and to the west with the Pacific Ocean. Its territory comprises parts of the coast and the Sierra. The weather in the coast is dry and warm, while in the Sierra temperatures are high during the day and cold at nights. The average temperature is 25ºC (77ºF).

Moquegua has an extension of 16,175 km² (6,245 sq ml) and a population of over 134,000 people.

The capital is the city of Moquegua, with a noble past readily shown in the old adobe mansions, with ochre and white walls and the peculiar mojinete ceilings. Other important cities are Ilo, Toquepala, Cuajone and Omate.


The region in which the department of Moquegua is located today was inhabited before the arrival of the Incas. According to chronicler Garcilazo de la Vega, it was Inca Mayta Cápac who organized the military expedition to expand the domains of the Cusco monarchs along this part of the coast.

Since these were fertile lands, capable of supporting a larger population, the Inca army officers in charge decided to establish the towns of Cuchuna and Moquegua. In doing so, they were also protecting the Inca domain over the conquered lands.

There is no accurate data on the Spanish conquest or the founding of the city of Moquegua by its army. Presumably, it was founded on November 25, 1541 by Pedro Cansino and his wife, Josefa de Bilbao.

The port of Ilo, which was created on that very same date, grew in importance as several mills were set up in 1713 to process the wheat produced in the region.

Moquegua had an outstanding performance during the Independence War. Accordingly, the Supreme Governmental Assembly granted it the title of 'city' on January 19, 1823.

One of the most distinguished leaders of the Independence War was Moquegua born Field Marshal Domingo Nieto. He fought heroically in the battles of Junín and Ayacucho. In his honor, the Presidential escort regiment is named after him.

During the War of The Pacific, Moquegua suffered the invasion of Chilean troops. This army looted all buildings --churches included--, tortured the women, and took the jewelry of the people.


Plaza de Armas
. This main square is one of the monumental spaces of great tourist attraction. Its holds a beautiful ornamental fountain, designed by the famous French architect Gustave Eiffel.

Iglesia de Santo Domingo. It houses two carved retables; and in one of the altars, the mortal remains of Santa Fortunata are venerated.

Casa del Regidor Perpetuo de la Ciudad. This eighteenth century mansion, notable for its façade engraved in stone, displays at the back the family coat of arms and typical mestizo style flowers.

Casa de Alayza. A house of unadorned architecture belonging to the end of the eighteenth century.

Casa de la Familia Fernández Cornejo y Fernández de Córdova. This mansion, located in the Plaza de Armas, was built in the eighteenth century.

Casa de los Diez Canseco. Old mansion that in spite of not having the original façade, still keeps its artistic doorway, entirely carved in stone.

Casa de Angulo. This 1894 mansion, built under the influence of the end of the eighteenth century style, is elegant and huge.

Casa de Fernández Dávila. This one-story mansion, built in 1883 and simple in its design, holds a grand doorway and four barred windows at the front.

Samegua is 5 km (3 ml) away from the city. This locality with numerous fruit orchards offers a pleasant and colorful landscape.

Torata. At only 24 km (15 ml) from the center of the city, this picturesque district is home of rustic buildings showing the traditional mojinete roofs. The Torata church is impressive; the pulpit and beautiful wooden carved altar pieces are outstanding.

Cerro Baúl. This hill is an impressive and peculiar geological formation. The perimeter of its peak seems cut at a right angle, looking like a baúl or trunk.

Cuajone. At 32 km (19.8 ml) from the city, this sheer cliff cooper field can be fully appreciated from a belvedere, built as a sidewalk.


. This beautiful province of the department is located in a gorgeous bay, resting on top of underground rocks.

La Glorieta. This is a traditional esplanade to view the impressive Ileño littoral and the intense harbor activity.

Punto Coles is an observation site of the sea fauna, where great numbers of guano sea birds and herds of sea lions can be seen.Las aguas termales de Putina. Moquegua

Los Olivares. This location is well-known for its olive production. The trees, with perimeters of over six meters each, are enormous and the olives are very big and of wonderful quality.

Fundación de Cobre. This cooper foundation belongs to Southern Peru Cooper Corporation. Designed to produce blistered cooper, it is considered one of the most modern in the world.

Refinería de Cobre. This refinery is located at 9 km (6 ml) north from the Ilo port and produces cooper refined with a 99,99% fineness.

Fuentes Termales de Omate, Ullucán, Ichuña, Cadenas and Putina. These thermal springs, very popular for their curative properties, originate from the hundreds of volcanoes in the area.


The Moqueguanos are known to be expert gourmets and very mindful of their culinary tradition. They have a way in the serving protocol that cannot be defeated by the most elemental rules of courtesy: all dishes are placed in the center of the table and the one that is closer to each person is the first to be tasted.

Their most distinctive dish is charrada, prepared with beef trifles, heart, chinchulin or tripe, gizzard, veins, gut. Each piece is fried separately and can also be served independently with cooked potatoes and grounded chili.

Other local dishes include, roasted rabbit and patazca moqueguana, that carries slices of pork, whole and ground mote, chuño (potato starch), chaque, a variety of squash, and chili.

Among the sweets, the penco and the guargueros are best known.

Among their typical drinks, the macerado, a macerated Brussels apricot and grape brandy, is a necessity.


February 2.
Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria. A date in which the people of Torata and devotees from other towns pay tribute to their patron. Music bands play folklore pieces in her honor, and dancers perform for hours acknowledging her blessings.

June 5 and 6. Anniversary of Tarata.

October 14. Santa Fortunata. The Moqueguanos celebrate this date with great devotion in the presence of the mortal remains of Santa Fortunata. She rests in an urn in the church of Santo Domingo. On the eve, the locals prepare for the verbena (night festival) and the burning of fireworks announcing the holiday.

November 25. Tourist Week and Anniversary of Moquegua. The local people celebrate with military marches, grass-root festivals, parades with colorful floats, fairs, and village dances.