I have to be honest, I just loved Trujillo. In fact, I loved it so much that I became overwhelmed with city envy (you know, a bit like food envy) and I even considered giving up my exhilarating mountain life for these laid-back, leisurely beach vibes…For a life of sun, sand and surf.
This city of Trujillo certainly is a stunner, and worth checking out for a weekend if you have the time. With Mexican ‘Cantina’-style buildings ranging every colour of a pastel rainbow, and wide streets closed to traffic for sauntering, Trujillo glows radiantly in the beaming sunshine.
Known as “The City of Eternal Spring,” Trujillo tends to have pretty great weather all year round. Which is odd really, as it is only a short run up the coast from Lima, the city of eternal fog! Ah, Peru and its freakishly crazy micro-climates!
An 8 hour drive up the coast from Lima, this is a city that is easily accessible for a weekend by bus if you are in search of a little sunshine. It’s an ideal way to spend a little time before hitting the mountains for Peru’s famous sites such as Cusco or Machu Picchu. Here at Evolve Tours, we know Peru pretty well and can be sure you’ll have a fantastic time in Trujillo if you’re looking for a little city break before heading out into the mountains.
So, what should you do in Trujillo for a weekend if you only have a few days to spare? Well, it’s simple really: One day cruising the city, one day lazing on the beach, with lots of great food and some dancing in between! Here’s how I went about it:
Take a walk through the cobbled city streets to Mercado Central
Peruvians certainly love their markets. And they’re without a doubt an awesome way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Trujillo’s market is jam-packed with household goods, various electronics and fruit juice stands churning out the freshest mixes you’ll ever taste. It’s also a great place to people watch and chat with the locals who are eager to tempt you over to their stand.
So, why not take a stroll down Trujillo’s central market and get lost in this maze of local food and alpaca sweaters?
Go relax and read a book in the Plaza de Armas
Of course, with every central market in a city, there is also always a Central Square (Plaza de Armas). This is typically where a town will have their governmental buildings, along with their central church or cathedral. And Trujillo’s Plaza is a vibrantly vast space with colorful buildings all around from Indepencia Street to the dynamic cathedral on the corner of Jiron Orbegoso.
The square is certainly busy with tourists taking pictures of The Freedom Monument, but it’s a beautiful vast space ideal for sitting back with a book for a few hours!
Visit the pre-Incan ruins of Chan Chan
Peru’s pre-Incan ruins in any city are a must visit, and Chan Chan is a fantastic stop-over on the way to Huanchaco beach.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is apparently the largest adobe city in the world. It was built by the Chimu tribe around what is thought to be 850 CE and lasted until the uprising of the Incan Empire in 1470. You can grab a guided tour at one of the small museums next to the site for around 30 soles per group.
Listen to jazz at the Café Bar Museo de Juguete
This café bar is located beneath an old toy store only a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas on Jiron Junin. We were looking for somewhere quirky to grab a pre-dinner drink and potentially catch some live music. This place was perfect.
With décor looking as old as the city itself, all rustic wooden tables and chipped paint, the slick, stained wood furnishing gives the place a Cuban cigar-club feel. The walls are covered with a legacy of framed photos of old, Latin jazz legends like Mario Bauzá and Buena Vista Social Club, and there is live music daily.
Hang out on Huanchaco Beach and eat fresh Ceviche
There’s no doubt that you should spend a day down on the beach in Huanchaco. It is a gorgeous, coastal area displaying distant misty mountains and golden sand as far as the eye can see.
The area is no doubt pretty hip, teeming with dreadlocked beach bums and hippies playing guitars next to the petite artisan market that runs along the promenade. There’s also plenty of surfers, and therefore surf, so it’s a great place to rent boards and even get a surf lesson if you feel like getting active.
Of course, when you’re by the coast in Peru you must eat Ceviche, arguably their national dish. You can sit right on the beach eating this Peruvian speciality watching the waves that your food was fished out of hours earlier. We ate at Pisagua where they had a dinner combo menu for 8 soles. We ate ceviche and fried chicken while watching the sun set into the ocean. An ideal end to the day!
Eat and Dance to your heart’s content at Peña La Canena
I’m so glad we found this place because it was the most wonderful way to be fully introduced to traditional Peruvian song and dance. We ate like royalty there, ordering enormous plates of spit-roast chicken, chorizo and fried potatoes.
The venue is laid out in a circular arrangement with dining tables dotted around an open-air, delicately designed dance -floor resembling the entrance to a Spanish villa. We saw everything from Peruvian flute bands, traditional dancers and a fabulous woman singing some Peruvian classics. We ended up being dragged up onto the dance floor by several locals and we danced until the early hours!
So, if you only have limited time and you’re passing through this delightful city on Peru’s fine coastline, then there’s plenty you can squeeze into this short time frame. How about getting in touch with us for some advice on the area?
Alanna Byrne is a writer and NGO coordinator currently living in deepest, darkest Peru. Originally from London, UK, she has traveled from a young age and lived for two years in Toronto. She’s about to embark on more backpacking adventures, first across South America and then onto New Zealand and Australia. When she’s not racing around the world, she can usually be found reading in a quiet corner somewhere or in a crowd listening to loud music. Follow her adventures here: www.awritetoroam.com.
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