Paita is a city in northwestern Peru. It is the capital of the Paita Province which is in the Piura Region. It is a leading seaport in that region. It is located 1,089 km northwest of the country's capital Lima and 57 km northwest of the regional capital of Piura. Starting in 2014, it has entertained ideas for the separation Paita from Piura Region, proclaiming itself "Miguel Grau region".
The seaport city Paita is located at 05°05′28″S 81°06′23″W on a small peninsula south of the mouth of the Río Chira on an area of 1,785 km².
Paita faces on the Bay of Paita, and is sheltered from southerly winds by a headland called Punta Paita and by a large hill called Silla de Paita.
90 km to the south east is the capital of the Piura Region, Piura, and 160 km to the south is located Chiclayo, commercial centre of the Lambayeque region.
The population of the seaport Paita was 3,800 in 1906, 20 000 in 1993, 122 127 in 2007 and 168 900 in 2015
Paleontologist Edgar Herning (1960) collected remains in 1978 considering this a highly evolved cultural group, reporting that 9000 years ago there were primitive villages of the coast of Paita like Colan, Tayta and Amotape.
From 1578 to 1588, Paita was the Spanish capital of the northwestern Peruvian coast, before the permanent attacks of English pirates and corsairs made it necessary to relocate the capital at Piura.
The port of Paita is best known to many Peruvians as the former home of Manuela Sáenz, Simón Bolívar's lover.
In 1875, a railway line of 97 km length was completed from Piura to Paita, but it was destroyed in the war with Chile from 1879 to 1883 and reconstructed in 1884. A street railway opened on 30 August 1891 and ran until the late 1920s.
Today the port of Paita is Peru's fifth largest port and an important container port. It is located in a geopolitically important position on the Pacific coast.
Paita has one of the best natural harbours of the Peruvian coast and runs regular mail steamers between Valparaíso and Panama.
On 24 September the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes is celebrated, lasting a week and including pilgrimages in honor of the catholic iconic image.