Trujillo is another big city with a population of over 700k found along the coast of Northern Peru. It’s a sort of colonial city with the most impressive area being the main plaza with its colourful flowers, vivid structures and overall size. We didn’t find it as manic as Chiclayo so it was a nice change. We mostly used it as a base to visit the Chan Chan ruins and Huanchaco.  One to two days is enough to visit Trujillo in our opinion.

What to do in Trujillo in two days

Visit the adobe city of Chan Chan

Chan Chan is a pre-Colombian archaeological site near Trujillo. The Chan Chan city is thought to have been built by the Chimú culture who ruled that area from approximately 850 to 1470 AD until the Inkans invaded. It is considered to be the largest adobe city in the Americas. In its heyday it was a place of extreme wealth but unfortunately after the Inkans and then the Spaniards, it was left to decay, so only the remnants of this once magnificent city can be seen.

For 10 soles you can visit the Chan Chan museum, Chan Chan archaeological site, Huaca Arco Iris and Huanca la Esmeralda. We visited the Chan Chan museum and site. The ticket can be bought at any of the above mentioned sites.

The adobe walls of Chan Chan

Chan Chan Museum and Archaeological site

The museum is small so a short visit is all that is needed to see a few artifacts on display and a huge replica of the expansive city that once was. There was some brief history on their agricultural, fishing techniques. Overall it was a bit of a let down so if time is pressing it can be skipped.

The famous reed boats

The museum has well preserved artifacts

The archaeological site is about a 2km walk from the museum. A lot of the site is not open to the public and many areas are now blocked off. There was no free information about the site whatsoever so in order to gain a better understanding it may be valuable to purchase a small booklet with brief information in Spanish for 3 soles or hire a guide for 40 soles.

Chan Chan streets

There is some intense restoration work on-going so we didn’t know if we were looking at original structures or restored ones. In saying all that it was cool walking through the paths around the site imagining what life must have been like all those years ago. And equally amazing that these sand structures have survived so many years. Let’s hope it remains for years to come.

Restored or original? We think restored!

Spot these hairless dogs in the Chan Chan site!

Eat chocolate cake from Nellys Café

Hands down probably the best chocolate cake we have tasted, even beating the cake in Filandia in Colombia. It cost 7 soles and was totally worth it. Check out their information below and pay them a visit.

Wander around the Mercado

A trip to the local market is always on our list of things as there is always something new and different to see and its a chance to use some of our Spanish. We got some fruit for our lunch for the next day, 4 bananas and 4 mandarins for only 2.50 soles, deal!

Enjoy the main plaza – Plaza de Armas

This is a really nice plaza with beautiful flowers and colourful buildings as a back drop. The yellow Cathedral de Trujillo really stands out.

The beautiful plaza and cathedral

There are many colourful buildings in Trujillo

Walk along Paseo Pizarro

The pedestrianised street, Paseo Pizarro is nice for a stroll and browse as there are many different restaurants, shops and even casinos to chose from.

Take a trip to Huanchaco

Huanchaco is a beach town and is probably a nicer place to stay in comparison to Trujillo.  It is a smaller town making it easier to walk around with more restaurant options.  It has the added attraction of a beach with surfing as an option also. We tried our first ceviche here and it was delicious. It was pretty cloudy when were there in June so a day trip was enough for us. The San Pedro fisherman festival was on when we arrived so it was very busy. As part of the festival they send a statue of San Pedro out on a big reed boat with a priest to bless the town and the fishermen. Other locals set sail alongside the priest in the much smaller traditional reed boats and more light fireworks. To see the small traditional reed boats being used in the water was an added bonus.

The craziness of the San Pedro festival

There was alot of people there!

From our hostel we hopped on Bus B which passes Chan Chan museum, road to the archaeological site and continues on to Huanacho. Confirm with your hostel what bus to take as it depends on your location and route of bus. Hostel to Chan Chan museum was 1.50 soles. Huanchaco to Trujillo was 2 soles.

Huanchaco is a well known surfing destination

Where we stayed in Trujillo

We stayed 2 nights in Hostal Wanka, solely for its name. Not really, but sort of! The staff are friendly and it has good internet. Bus to Chan Chan or Huanacho is right outside and a short walk brings you to the pedestrian street as mentioned above. There is some traffic noise but our earplugs sorted that out.

Other things to do

Visit the archaeological sites of Huaca de La Luna, Huaca del Sol, Huaca del Dragón.

Beautiful architecture awaits in Trujillo

Let us know your thoughts on Trujillo and comment below. Next up on our journey through Peru is Huaraz, a hikers paradise.

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