Trujillo & Chiclayo
Introduction to Trujillo & Chiclayo
Trujillo and Chiclayo, in that order as you go north up the coast from Lima, are only a few hours apart and so it’s easy to fit them into one trip. This is ancient Mochica and Chimu territory, and you can see differences in the artwork and belief systems compared to the Inca highlands, with much more marine presence.
Trujillo, or the City of Eternal Springtime as it is known, is a charming city, filled with stately mansions, colonial balconies and cobbled streets. The city was home to Spanish landowners whose wealth drew the attention of pirates, and so a wall was built round the city that’s still stands today. Here you have to see Chan Chan, the largest mud city in the world. A great and relaxing place to stay near to Trujillo if you want a bit of beach time is Huanchaco where you can watch fishermen take out their typical caballitos de totora boats, and there’s also great surfing to be done!
Chiclayo, on the other hand, is not the most appealing of cities in itself, but it is the best base for visiting nearby archeological and natural wonders. It is of course also well known for its food which has the claim of being some of the best in Peru….arroz con pato is a must! Interestingly enough, Chiclayo, now called the City of Friendship, was one of the few cities in Peru not founded by the Spanish; it was a rural Indian village that has steadily grown over the years. The highlight of your trip to this city will be the Señor de Sipan Museum, which houses treasures from the tomb of a Mochica lord who ruled Peru over 1,600 years ago, considered to be one of the most intact discoveries in the world.
What not to miss in Trujillo & Chiclayo
Trujillo – Chan Chan
An ancient adobe city from around 850 AD that once housed 60,000 inhabitants. See the giant plazas, long streets and temples where Chimu kings were buried. Check out the friezes representing marine deities decorating the walls that look like giant and beautiful sandcastles.
Trujillo – The Huacas del Sol y de la Luna
The Temples of the Sun and Moon were the political and religious centers of the Moche Kingdom and have magnificently painted representations of different gods and deities, including Ai-Apaec, the decapitator!
Trujillo – Huanchaco
Huanchaco is a tranquil beach resort town located about 6.2 miles (10 km) from Trujillo in the Province of La Libertad. The area is a heaven for surfing enthusiasts and is also popular for its friendly, outgoing locals.
Trujillo – City
The off the beaten tourist trail city of Trujillo disputes the title of the second city of Peru with Arequipa. A hidden gem within Peru, Trujillo is filled with a number of charming, old churches and beautifully preserved colonial buildings that were constructed during the reigns of the viceroys.
Trujillo – El Brujo
El Brujo Archaeological Complex, just north of Trujillo, is an ancient monument of the region’s Moche culture. The original ruins were once filled with countless treasures and today, Peru’s most famous mummy, the Lady of Cao can be admired here along with the fascinating on-site museum.
Chiclayo – Señor del Sipan Museum
Arguably one of the best museums in Peru, and even Latin America, the Señor del Sipan Museum puts on an astonishing display of gold, silver and many other treasures.
Chiclayo – Tucume Pyramids
In the Tucume Valley, visit the 26 mysterious pyramids that were once part of a major center of culture for the Lambayeque, Sican, Chimu and Inca people, all of which inhabited the region at different times.
Chiclayo – Witches Market
This is like nothing you have seen before! Buy all sorts of potions and random animal parts that promise to cure ailments or, make any wish your heart may desire come true!
Chaparri Dry Forest
This model community-led conservation and ecotourism project where local people benefit from protecting their natural resources is one of our favorite places to visit. There’s an important speckled bear reintegration project where you can learn about how they were rescued from circuses and other types of captivation.
What you need to know
When to go
Trujillo and Chiclayo have a mild and dry climate and is good to visit any time of year, although if you want to fully enjoy the beaches, it’s best to go in the summer months (December- April).
How to get there
Trujillo airport has connecting flights to Lima, Chiclayo, Cajamarca, Tumbes and Chagual for Huamachuco. LATAM and Star Peru offer daily flights to Trujillo from the capital.
The city can also be reached via the Pan-American Highway and by bus. Numerous cities offer bus connections including Lima, Chiclayo and Huaraz. Although the bus journeys can be long, the buses are comfortable and safe.
The Chiclayo Airport is 0.93 miles (1.5km) east of town. LATAM and Avianca have daily flights that depart from Lima to Chiclayo.
Chiclayo is accessible by buses via the North Pan-American Highway. It is 484 miles (780 km) from Peru’s capital city Lima. There are regularly scheduled buses leaving to and from Trujillo, Cajamarca, and Piura. Taking the bus to get around Peru is a great way to go because you get to see the country and meet the locals who call this spectacular country their home.
Due to huge array of hotels availability, it is not difficult to find accommodation in Trujillo; nonetheless, it is best to make reservations ahead of time. This is especially true if you are traveling to the region during the month of September, when the “Festival Internacional de la Primavera y la Marinera” (the International Spring and Maritime Festival) is held and hundreds of foreign and local tourists flock to the city to celebrate. There are also several hostels to be found both in and around the city.
There is no need to worry about eating out in Trujillo as excellent local and international cuisine can be found in the stately streets of its historical center and in the outskirts. Transport around the city is either by bus or minibus, which cover specific routes.
You can also get around Trujillo by taxi which, unlike other cities in Peru, is exclusively provided by the familiar yellow vehicles. Be aware that there are no meters in the taxis, so fares must always be settled before boarding the vehicle. Official taxis can easily be identified on the windshield by their yellow postcard sized municipal stickers with the city’s coat of arms.
As Chiclayo is one of Peru’s larger cities, there are a good number of different hotels and levels of accommodation to choose from including large business hotels and converted colonial mansions. The large number of casonas in Chiclayo offer personalized services not found in the larger business hotels. There are also several hostels to be found both in and around the city.
Chiclayo has an excellent restaurant scene and boasts a distinctive local cuisine. As Chiclayo is located in the northern coastal region of Peru, restaurants serve up some of the best seafood in the country. In addition to classic restaurants, local delicacies can also be enjoyed at local “chicherías” literally corn beer bars where food is prepared over a wood fire in earthen pots. Chiclayo’s Central Market is one of the best in the north of Peru and the main part known as the Mercado Modelo is packed with food vendors. This is one of the best ways to try some local dishes and soak up the atmosphere of Chiclayo.
Calle Balta is the main street in Chiclayo but the markets and most of the hotels and restaurants are spread out over about five blocks from the main square, Plaza de Armas. Transport around the city is either by bus or minibus which cover specific routes and, the surrounding areas are also well served by public transport.
You can also get around Chiclayo by taxi or mototaxi. Be aware that there sometimes there are no meters in the taxis, so fares must always be settled before boarding the vehicle. You should always try and take only official taxis.