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Peru City Guide: Trujillo

Trujillo is by far the biggest city in northwestern Peru and the second largest in the country after Lima with more than 900,000 inhabitants in the larger urban area. The “city of eternal spring” is the economic hub of the north and attracts many visitors each year both for its beaches and its impressive remains from the pre-Columbian cultures of the Mochica and Chimu, like the Temples of the Sun and Moon. In this article we take you on a visit to Trujillo, an important part of any great trip to Peru.

Though officially founded in 1534 by the Spanish, the history of Trujillo goes back to times even before the Incas. The nearby archaeological site of Chan Chan hold the remains of where the Chimu civilization once built the largest adobe city in the ancient world with around 30,000 inhabitants and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986. On the other (southern) side of Trujillo we find the equally impressive Temple of the Sun and Moon built in the 5th century by the Moche civilization. The Temple of the Sun alone was built using more than 130 million adobe bricks rising to 150 feet above the surrounding landscape.

Other tourist attractions include the colonial Spanish historic center with its cathedral and surrounding mansions that are famous for their wrought iron window covers and simple facades combined with opulence on the interior. The Casa Calonge mansion was actually the home of Simon Bolivar for some time and his desk and some personal belongings are still on display there today.

Huanchaco Beach is a traditional beach resort for families on the one hand but is also one of the premier surfing destinations in the world. Local fishermen have been building little vessels out of reed called “Caballitos de Totora” for over 3,000 years now that they ride straddled on the waves rolling into shore. Peruvians therefore claim Huanchaco as the real birthplace of surfing. An experience not to be missed as part of any great trip to Peru.


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