Trujillo: A Blend of Epochs and Cultures

Below: A short video showing a bit of Trujillo, Peru

This was my first  experience of Trujillo, Peru. The last time I passed near Trujillo I was on my epic motorcycle journey and did not venture into the city. I only saw the very outskirts from the Pan American highway.  The air was filled with the smell of burning plastic (they burn trash to get rid of it in many parts of Peru).  I had been on the motorcycle tour for fourteen months and was intent on returning Northward to Ecuador and Colombia and so did not stop to see the city.

I found Trujillo to be a very pleasant surprise. It is a large city, yet it  has a surprising smaller,  village feel to it.  Great food, surprising archeological sites, friendly people, and a blending of the old and the new…  will be found in Trujillo.,_Peru

P1130964A typical bus window scene from Piura to Trujillo facing West

There are several bus services that go from Piura all the way to Lima. Finding a bus service that stops at a particular town along the way takes some doing.  I found that there were only a few that offered ‘direct’ service to Trujillo from Piura.

The service I chose was Ittsa. There was no indication that it would be any different from any of the other services. I bought the ticket the previous day from departure. When I arrived to board the bus I discovered that travelers must ‘precheck’  luggage too large to go as ‘carry on’. Then I saw that the Ittsa folks  have a metal detector and a security checkpoint complete with two (non government) employees going through the motions.

I ‘checked’ my large yellow case and proceeded to the ‘security’ checkpoint with my smaller blue case. I was told it was too big and had to be stowed in the luggage compartment and could not go with me as a carry on. I explained that I had traveled on many buses and airplanes with that case. I explained that it was especially designed as a carry on case.

The security man was adamant and suggested I check with the management. I got out of line, went to the office and explained the same thing… was given the same response; the bag could not board with me.

I could have then demanded that my other bag be removed and I could have demanded a refund. I did not.  I knew that this was a private company and that the decisions were not ‘mandated’ by law. I did not like it, but I chose to do the ride instead of spending another night and finding another service.

This is a bus service that pretends it’s an airline. There are ‘stewardesses’, food is served, movies are shown on overhead screens and terminals have ‘check in’ and luggage retrieval stations… just like an airline.  The ride was 8 hours from Piura to Trujillo.  Both bags came out of the bus and all was well.

P1130972The Ittsa bus terminal in Trujillo

Got a taxi from the terminal to take me to ‘el centro’ .  There are always several hostals to choose from near the center of town. I found one that fit my budget, a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas.

P1140244Plaza de Armas, Trujillo.  Trujillo cathedral (yellow) in background, constructed 1647-1666

My journey from Mancora to Piura to Trujillo was required to get me to my real goal of experiencing the Cordierra Blanca mountains <>.  I would be in Trujillo only a  few days before continuing on to Huaraz.

Learn about the archeological sites nearTrujillo:

P1140019Cerro Blanco Moche  in the background as seen from the Huaca del Sol sacrifical area

P1140058Ancient Moche carvings each panel is about 5 x 5 feet

Visited the Huaca de Moche museum before proceeding on to walk through the archaeological dig that has been ongoing for many years. The scaffolding and the roof structures have been built to prevent deterioration/weathering of the now uncovered walls. It is estimated that the Moche culture existed somewhere between 800 to 100 BC.  The Moche built aqueducts similar to the Roman version for channeling water to irrigate their crops.

P1140033Moche ceramic murals

The tour went back to town for lunch before proceeding to see some of the Chimu culture which came after the Moche.

P1140068Fresh fish ceviche, large kernel corn, yucca, and yam for lunch

Then on to Chan Chan: < >

First stop was at the Huaca Arco Iris O Dragon site. Below are some photos of that place. P1140093P1140097Above: workers building a roof structure to protect the impressive unearthed art of the Chimu culture Below: Large uncovered relief carvings depicting a rainbow… guessed to have been emitted by some dragon like creature(s)

We walked around this site for a half hour. The Arco Iris site is situated in a residential city environment.

We reboarded the bus  before proceeding to the main courtyard areas of Chan Chan a few miles away, and not near the city area. The entire area of Chan Chan is estimated to be around 20 square kilometers and had an estimated population of around 30,000 Chimu people.

P1140125Massive adobe walls of Chan Chan leading to expansive open ceremonial courtyard

Sounds of gravel and wind while walking Chan Chan site

P1140136Relief motif depicting fish of the Humboldt current.

The Chimu people were fishermen. When the Spaniards arrived there they encountered several groups of people who sailed in reed boats off the coast.

P1140151Artistic walls depicting various aspects of the belief system of the Chimu people extended for acres

After walking around this huge complex for over an hour we then headed to the small beach town adjacent to Trujillo, Huanchaco.

P1140204Local tourists entering the fishing pier at Huanchaco

P1140225Reed boats still made and still used by fishermen line the beach of Huanchaco

P1140214Surf and surfers to the South side of the fishing pier

The Moche/Chan Chan/Hanchaco tour was about 10 hours including the stop for lunch. My guide spoke only Spanish. I am sure there are many other options. I was very pleased, learned a lot,  and thought it was a very good value.

My few days and nights in Trujillo were very enjoyable. I can heartily recommend Trujillo to anyone near the area. You won’t be disappointed.  Much to do. Great weather. Great food options. Excellent museums.

I did not take in a  Marinera dance show nor did I see the skill of Peruvian Paso horsemanship… next time.

Next up: Huaraz and the Ancash region


4 thoughts on “Trujillo: A Blend of Epochs and Cultures”

    1. That ocean current flows North from the Antarctic and has an abundance of plankton and other food/nutrients… It’s always been a current, just happens to have been named after Alexander Von H. because he was the first European scientist to trek and write about many features of S. America.

  1. Love your posts, as always. The “Humboldt current” depicted in ancient art? COOL! 😉

    And those reed boats! Wild.

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