Published: January 6th 2006November 29th 2005
The North of Peru is described as the Egypt of S.Am as it houses many pre-Inca ruins and treasures. The best bit about this place is that many Gringos pass through it without stopping on their way to or from Ecuador so it still feels 'unspoilt'. I guess our experience here was majorly fuelled by our excellent time Volunteering with 'Bruce Peru' and the many wicked people we met, but we really like the city too. Compared to lots of South American cities, Trujillo has that compact, small town feel and locals are incredibly friendly and down to earth, which is not bad considering it is Peru´s second city (although a title disputed by Arequipa)
The city is located not far from a seemingly endless stretch of desert. This meant of course, no rain which was great, plenty of sun soaked days and mild evenings. Like all cities in this continent, most of the action is based around the Plaza which is dotted with colourful colonial buildings and churches painted in shades of yellow, blue and orange. Trujillo has it´s fair share of churches and travelling with my hubby who is a bit of a church aficionado we visited pretty
much every one.
The closest beach is Huanchaco, which is a fishing and surfing hangout. The beach is not all that in my opinion but it´s worth the trip just to see the narrow pointed fishing rafts returning to shore. The rafts are called Caballitos (little horses) and are made of totora reeds. You see the boats depicted on Mochica and Chimu pottery in the area. There are a few nice places to eat there, El Otro Cosa is one (good veggie choices) and Pis-Agua (or something like that) where we tasted our first Ceviche, a dish of raw, white fish marinated in lemon juice, onion and hot peppers.....Yum....
We had a few choice nights out in Trujillo, probably the most entertaining was to club which featured a male striper at 2.00am in the morning. Now, most of you will know my (prudish) opinions on this sort of establishment, but believe me, I was far from turned on! We went with a group of Volunteers and as you´d imagine being the only gringos in the club, we were easy picking. Fortunately the look on my face meant I wasn´t chosen but one of the girls, Flo, was. Flo
Chan Chan 2
These walls are tall... the ones on the outside go upto 12 meters high...
is a primary school teacher from the US, a lovely girl, a little shy and butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, so I was quite impressed she gave in and was led to the stage...like a lamb to the slaughter...the stripper then proceeded to perform all kinds of sexy antics with her..poor girl! she said at one point, he had her in a head lock with his sweaty thighs....not nice!!!
There are loads of tasty place to eat, and because it´s not a very touristy place, the prices are very reasonable. There is a great cafe culture in the city and you can find the most delicious cakes to be enjoyed with a great cappuchino (We highly recommend "Ovideo") . We took advantage of this 'treat' a bit too much. Yes we became addicted to the one they call "Sueño Chocolate" - or Chocolate Dream... and it really was a dream.
Another good reason to spend time in Trujillo is to visit Chan Chan, one of Peru´s most important Pre-Inca sites, only 5km from the city. Chan Chan was the imperial city of the Chimu people. It is the largest adobe (mud) city in the world, consisting of
Chan Chan 3
View over the administartion section. The criss crosses are to symbolise fishnets as they lived so close to the sea.
9 great compounds built by Chimu kings nearly 600 years ago. The city walls enclose an area of 28sq km containing the remains of palaces, temples, streets, workshops, gardens, houses, wells and canals and is very impressive (and bloody hot!)
We ended up choosing Trujillo as a base for our Voluntary work after reading an article in the Guadian Travel section and I am pleased to report that it lived up to all expectations. During our time there we saw local dancing troups in the main square, multicolured dancing devils making funny shivering noises, cracking whips and parading the streets, a classical brass concert by the local conservatoire and left a good few pounds heaveier than we arrived. After nearly 4 weeks it was time to blow the dust from our clumpy boots to begin our mountain adventure in Huaraz....
There are more photos below