The north of Peru is blessed with an abundance of pre-Inca treasures. Settled on the Pacific coast, Trujillo is one of Peruâ€™s largest cities, with a population of 800,000, and is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in exploring these ancient ruins. Founded in 1534 by Diego de Almagro and named after the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro, this colonial city was inhabited long before the arrival of the Spanish. From Trujillo, travelers can visit the historical landmarks of both the ancient Moche and ChimĂş cultures. Of particular interest are the archeological sites of Huaca del Sol y Huaca de la Luna, El Brujo, and the mud-brick city of Chan Chan.
The city of Trujillo offers all the sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis, while maintaining an undeniable local feel. Its variety of restaurants, bars, hotels, churches and museums invite visitors to explore and enjoy Trujilloâ€™s modern and historical landscapes. Most of the popular plazas, hotels, restaurants and colonial houses are located in Old Town, and it is easy to get around by foot. Allow at least half a day to wander around Trujilloâ€™s colonial core, where youâ€™ll find a score of well-preserved homes and churches located to the north of the Plaza de Armas.
Art enthusiasts and history buffs should definitely plan a visit to Iglesia y Monasterio El Carmen, which offer Trujilloâ€™s best collection of colonial art. Located nearby is the Museo ArquelĂłgico, which specializes in Peruvian history from 12,000 BC to the arrival of the Spanish. Be aware that in Trujillo siestas are taken seriously and most sites are closed from 1-4 p.m.
If you desire an escape from the honking taxis and bustle of city life, you might want to check out nearby Huanchaco, a small fishing and surfing village teeming with hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, and famous for its narrow-pointed fishing rafts. Another point of departure from Trujillo is Puerto Malabrigo (Chicama), known to surfers as the best surf beach in Peru, and located just 70 kilometers (43 mi) north of the city.