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Pacific Coast North of Lima

Even a few years ago, the Pacific Coast North of Lima was skipped by the majority of travelers who chose to jet-line to Lima or Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley instead of stopping off to enjoy the region's beautiful beaches and wealth of archaeological ruins. These days, many destinations on the northern coast are gaining popularity with travelers in search of sunshine and surfing, but also those interested in the area's pre-Columbian civilizations. Here you can visit Chan Chan, the largest pre-Colombian city in South America and which some archaeologists believe was the largest adobe city ever, in addition to a host of other interesting ruins that have been discovered within the last decade.

Máncora has gained quite a reputation on the gringo trail for its laid-back vibe and all-night party atmosphere. For a more relaxed time, check out Huanchaco, close to Trujillo, frequented by legendary surfers and those who want to learn how to surf from them. Some other interesting small towns include Huancabamba, where people come to participate in healing ceremonies with the village's many shamans, and Cabo Blanco, a fishing village visited by famed author Ernest Hemingway. Around Tumbes, visitors can spend some time exploring the surrounding dry forests and mangroves, adding another element of diversity here.

The major cities of the region, including Tumbes, Trujillo, Chiclayo and Piura, provide great bases for exploring the surrounding ruins, beach towns or national parks. The cities themselves collectively contain a mix of colonial and modern architecture, some interesting museums, a bigger selection of lodging and restaurants, and more complete services for longer-term stays. Tumbes is also the gateway to border crossings into Ecuador, making it a popular stop, if only for a night. No matter why you decide to dedicate some time on the northern coast, you will likely enjoy all it has to offer.

By Jena Davison

I am a curious, passionate and free-spirited travel writer, currently working as a Staff Writer and Editor for V!VA. Shortly after...

19 Jul 2012

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Peru's Best Surfing Spots on the Northern Coast

Surfing Lessons

The surf is up in Huanchaco if you can handle it. Peruvian longboard champions of times gone by now give lessons to those eager enough. Beware: the water is freezing, requiring a wet suit, and the ...
Huanchaco, Peru

La Escuela de Wawa

109979“La Escuela de Wawa” or “Wawa\'s School” is sponsored by Peruvian surfing champion, Fernando Paraud, also known as Wawa. Máncora, whose beaches and Pacific currents attract surfers the world ...
Máncora, Peru


109527In Máncora, surfing is practiced by men and women, young and old, like a religion. There are reliable swells at almost all times of the year and the beaches are blessed with the same generally warm ...
Máncora, Peru

Kitesurfing And Kiteboarding

There is also a growing kitesurfing and kiteboarding scene in Máncora. The wind is consistent, the waves always present and the water is usually warm – making Máncora a hot new spot for these ...
Máncora, Peru

Ruins for History Buffs along the Northern Coast

El Brujo

Once an important site used by the witches of Chicama, El Brujo (The Sorcerer) is a network of ruins and mounds dating back over 5,000 years. Situated in the Chicama Valley, 60 kilometers (36 mi) ...
Trujillo, Peru

Chan Chan

101573Located five kilometers (3 mi) west of Trujillo, Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in South America and the capital of the ChimĂş kingdom. It dates from around 1300 AD. Some archaeologists ...
Trujillo, Peru

Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna

For those interested in archaeological activities, the massive Moche pyramids of Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna (Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon) are a must-see. At 45 meters (147 ft) high, ...
Trujillo, Peru

Huaca Arco Iris

Huaca Arco Iris has garnered several names throughout modern times, as archaeologists and guides have tried to decide exactly what its feature decorations mean. The wave-crested, multibanded arcs ...
Trujillo, Peru

Huaca Esmeraldas

Huaca Esmeraldas formed part of the great Chan Chan citadel complex. Like Chan Chan, it was constructed by the ChimĂş. The outer walls of this temple have rhomboids framed with intricate designs, ...
Trujillo, Peru

Templo de los Jaguares

The path off the road leads along a blue agave cactus hedge. From afar, this site—dating back to about 1200 AD—doesn’t look like much, just an old stone wall. But once reaching the Templo de ...
Huancabamba, Peru

Archaeological Finds Fill the Museums on the Northern Peruvian Coast

Museo de Las Tumbes Reales de Sipán

114082The Museo de Las Tumbes Reales de Sipán is a stunning, informative and atmospheric exhibition on the discovery and subsequent excavation of the the tomb of the Lord of Sipán. Along with a replica ...
Lambayeque, Peru

Museo Nacional Sicán

Located in Ferreñafe, about 25 minutes from the city of Chiclayo, this museum\'s displays show artifacts from the Sicán culture. This includes a replica of a Sicán tomb and some of its contents, ...
Ferreñafe, Peru

Museums of Trujillo

Trujillo isn’t just about great archaeological ruins of long-gone empires. It also has a number of museums to suit every interest.Museo de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia de la UNT is ...
Trujillo, Peru

Museo Municipal VicĂşs

Museo Municipal Vicús is the city\'s cultural gem. A wide variety of archaeological finds are displayed here, accompanied by explanations of the development of the Tallán, Yunga and Vicús ...
Piura, Peru

Museo del Juguete

If you make it to Café y Museo del Juguete, definitely make the trip upstairs to the Museo del Juguete, where you will encounter a modest but interesting display of rattlers, whistles, figurines, ...
Trujillo, Peru

Museo de ArqueologĂ­a

Highly recommended by the guides of the ruin sites outside of town, the museum highlights the distinct pre-Hispanic cultures of the region. On display are reproductions of murals found in the ...
Trujillo, Peru

Museo ArqueolĂłgico Nacional BrĂĽning

Named after the German engineer who was head of the archaeology project that bore the majority of the contents of the museum, Museo ArqueolĂłgico Nacional BrĂĽning opened in 1966. More than 1,500 ...
Lambayeque, Peru

Casa Museo Gran Almirante Grau

Casa Museo Gran Almirante Grau is yet another house turned museum. It exhibits naval paraphernalia and other belongings of Miguel Grau Seminario, a war hero applauded for his accomplishments during ...
Piura, Peru
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