The city of Trujillo has a bit of an identity crisis; stuck somewhere between beach town and archeological playground, there is also a heavy Colonial presence that dominates the center of the city. Luckily for travelers visiting Trujillo, it’s possible to experience all the different identities over the course of three action-packed days.
Day 1: Temples and Ruins
Trujillo is known more than anything else for its well-preserved temples and ruins. It only makes sense, then, to begin the day at Chan Chan—the largest adobe city found anywhere in the world and the capital of the Chimu Empire. While smaller temples—such as the Temple of the Dragon—are included in the Chan Chan entrance fee, the main highlight is Tschudi Palace and its exquisitely carved alleyways and walls. In the afternoon, travel back almost 2,000 years to the days of the Moche Empire, and stare in wonder at the hand painted murals at the temple of Huaca de la Luna.
Day 2: El Brujo and Colonial Trujillo
Before diving into the Colonial charms, spend the morning taking a drive to the temple complex at El Brujo. The distance from the city makes for fewer visitors, although the excavated tombs and cultural relics offer no less fascination or intrigue. Back in Trujillo after the morning at El Brujo, spend the afternoon enjoying the sites that were so eloquently constructed by the Spanish. Tour the interior of Casa Urquiaga to get a feel for the Colonial elite, and examine the collection of religious artwork at the historic El Carmen Church. By night, stroll the happening Plaza de Armas with its soaring monuments and statues, and photograph the yellow Trujillo Cathedral illuminated against the night sky.
Day 3: Sand and Surf
After two days of Trujillo history, enjoy a day of action and adventure along the wild Peruvian coastline. Take a sandboarding tour to slide down dunes that loom above rural villages, or spend the day exploring surf culture at the coastal suburb of Huanchaco. While here, take a ride on a caballito de totora to experience the world’s first surf craft, and end the day with a plate of ceviche while watching the sun sink into the sea.