Trujillo is a lively colonial city a few miles from a surf-friendly coastline. It is an excellent base for exploring some of northern Peru’s ancient ruins. Often dismissed as a passing point for hostel hunters heading to the small beach town of Huanchaco fourteen kilometers away, Trujillo in itself offers plenty of things to keep visitors occupied for a couple of days.
For an introduction to its colonial architecture, a good place to start a visit is on the Plaza de Armas -- the main square. Here stands a large cathedral and a number of pretty coloured old buildings, many featuring the area’s trademark protruding wooden balconies and lattice-covered windows.
There is a busy indoor market just behind the Plaza de Armas and a never-ending street market on Avenida Los Incas used predominantly by locals hunting for bargain groceries. Both are a good place to head for a budget meal and to sample local street food.
Trujillo hostels are not as numerous -- nor generally as good value -- as those right by the beach, but there are still plenty of options for tourists who would rather stay amidst the hustle and bustle of city life. Accommodation tends to be within a short walk of the main square and easy reach of public transport, though the ridiculous number of taxis here (there are hundreds, everywhere!) will undoubtedly prove useful to anyone arriving via the bus stations and wanting a quick ride into the centre.
Just outside the city, and accessible by public transport, are the remains of the pyramids Huaca del Sol and Luna, built around 500 AD. The Moche ruins are still being excavated and the entry fee to the site includes a guided tour of Huaca de la Luna in either Spanish or English. There is also an archeological museum with an interesting display of artifacts discovered in the pyramids.
Also within easy reach is Chan Chan, the only slightly more modern ruins of an ancient Chimú city constructed from mud and sand. Not much remains of the weather beaten site, but the enormous scale of Chan Chan and its sandy walls gives the impression of walking around a giant crumbling sandcastle.
If it’s waves you want, then there are surf schools dotted along Huanchaco’s beach. Here you can see fisherman using what some claim is the original surfboard, a type of traditional boat made from tightly bound branches. Visitors can also part with a few soles to have a go. Huanchaco is about a forty-minute bus ride from Trujillo -- the easily-spotted, bright yellow buses run very often in both directions.
Hi, I'm Laura T,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Trujillo hostels. Welcome.