Latin America Travel & Tour Information
Huanchaco and Chan Chan Travel Information
Thousands of years ago when the fishermen of the Chimú culture sailed off to ride the waves on their "little horses", small vessels built from local vines, it never occurred to them that they would be the forerunners of one of the most popular water sports: surfing.
At present, Huanchaco is Trujillo´s most outstanding beach resort, barely 12 km from downtown. This beautiful bay, overlooked by a picturesque colonial church, has gone in a few years from a simple fishing town to a favorite spot for many a traveler and surfing fan in search of a tropical paradise. An impressive sight is to watch the fishermen use the very same fishing boats the way their Chimú ancestors once did.
The best season to enjoy the warm beaches is from December to April. Rains may, to some extend, affect full enjoyment during the rest of the year. There are places to rent surfboards and other equipment. Even if you are not a fan of surfing, you will be inevitably riding your first waves.
Another of Huanchaco´s great attraction is its restaurants, places to find the most exquisite typical Peruvian specialties. Fish is usually fresh and excellent, brought straight from the local fishermen on their "little horses".
Chan Chan Ruins
One of northern Peru´s huge attractions is the legendary ruins at Chan Chan left by the Chimú culture. Located halfway on the road from Trujillo to Huanchaco, it was the biggest settlement in pre-Columbian America, plus the world´s largest adobe city. As its name suggests, Chan Chan or "Great Sun" lies in an area of intense solar exposure.
It is thought that around the year 1300 A.D., Chan Chan featured some 60,000 inhabitants and was ornamented with great quantities of silver and gold. The great city was divided into 9 citadels, though at present a good deal of their remains show signs of decay. In fact, Chan Chan was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and also considered endangered heritage.
Experts consider that the city was still very well preserved during Inca days, but the Spanish arrival gave way to ransacking in search of gold that continued into the 19th century and seriously aided the city´s decay.
It is possible to access the citadel of Nik An within the complex, formerly named Tschudi, partly reconstructed now. This site depicts the paramount importance of water in this culture. The two main currents of the Peruvian coast are represented on the walls: the cold southern Humboldt Current and the warm northern one, "El Niño".
Chan Chan Site Museum stands some 500 meters before the access to the ruins. It exhibits sections of the city and items of the Chimú culture, plus it displays an interesting collections of aerial photographs to actually grasp the ancient city´s dimensions.