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Favorite Part of Peru: Northern Coast

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We asked fellow travelers and SA Expedition team members to tell us about their favorite part of Peru. Today’s post comes from Sadler Kirk, part of our finance team.

One of my favorite parts of Peru is the northern coast, more specifically Trujillo and the surrounding areas. Trujillo is known as the “City of the Eternal Spring” for its year-round warm weather and generally pleasant climate, and it is also the third largest city in Peru with a population of approximately 800,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Trujillo is about 10 hours one way from Lima by bus, and there is a wide range of buses that can take you. The reasons this city and its neighboring towns are one of my favorite places in Peru are numerous.

As I already mentioned the comfortable weather is a plus, but the food is also spectacular. If you ever go, you’ve got to try the ceviche and the cangrejo reventado in Huanchaco, a coastal community about 15 minutes from the beautiful historic center of Trujillo (I can personally recommend the restaurant El Boqueron, which has a great food and a panoramic view of the beach from the second floor), and if you’re up for it take a ride on a caballito de totora, which are the millennia-old reed water craft used by local fishermen, or you could always rent a surf board and take advantage of the ample amount of waves on your own!

Huaca-de-La-Luna

Trujillo is home to some incredible pre-Inca ruins. Most notable is the Huaca de La Luna, a multi-story millennia-old adobe brick ceremonial complex full of mysterious and colorful iconography from the Moche culture, and its recently-constructed museum, both of which deserve a visit. The Huaca de Sol is located nearby, but since there has been no excavation work done, there are no tours to visit it. When visiting archaeological sites in Trujillo, Chan Chan is an obligatory stop. The largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, Chan Chan was built by the Chimu culture and contains several adobe complexes, although only one has been restored.

Another reason to love Trujillo (for those interested in archaeology) is the site known as El Brujo. This set of ruins is actually about an hour north of Trujillo in a small town called Paiján. Though the road out of Trujillo is initially not what many would consider scenic, further up you arrive to the immense sugar cane fields of Casa Grande and Cartavio, sugar and rum producers respectively. And it is a few hundred yards from the coast in these vast sugar cane fields in different stages of growth (still burned and chopped by hand every two years) that the archaeological gem called El Brujo is located. Though are there several huacas in the site, only one has been excavated and is available to be toured.

Not nearly as impressive as Huaca de La Luna in terms of size or degree of archaeological investigation completed, the Huaca Cao shares the same Moche iconography and architecture. Its claim to fame, however, is not the huaca structure itself but rather what was found in it just a few years ago: a mummified woman with tattoos from the Moche culture, known as the Dama de Cao. Her well-preserved, millennia-old body and the personal belongings found in her inconspicuous tomb are all displayed in the small but quality museum located near the base of the huaca. To put it simply, I think even people who normally don’t appreciate this type of thing would be blown away by the level craftsmanship and skill used to make her jewelry and body decorations. Well worth the time and effort it takes to get to the site in my opinion.

Chicama-beach

If you continue north along the coastal highway, about half an hour away is the town called Puerto Malabrigo or Puerto Chicama. There’s not much to see or do here except surf the world’s longest left-breaking wave, something that’s best planned taking into account the swells since the normal wave action isn’t all that impressive.

Have we convinced you yet? Speak to a Destination Expert about curating a tailor made Peru itinerary just for you, or check out our most popular Machu Picchu & Peru tours here.

Thanks to Chris Feser for the title image of this blog.

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