Trujillo Things to Do
HUACA EL DRAGON (ARCO IRIS) / HUACA LA...
These are partly restored temples of nearly the same style as Chan Chan but of much smaller scale. They are located some distance away, so you need to take one of the minibuses.
The entrance fee for Chan Chan includes visit to Huaca El Dragon and Huaca La Esmeralda.
It is good to engage a guide to explain the motifs and histories in more details. Watch out for the stylised 'rainbow' friezes in Huaca El Dragon (also known as Huaca Arco Iris which means 'Rainbow').
HUANCHACO: CABALLITOS DE TOTORA
Huanchaco is easily reached from Trujillo. It is a little fishing and surfing village. It is interesting to drop by for a visit because the village is famous for the pointy fishing rafts made from totora reeds, known as 'caballitos' (little horses).
Those used on Lake Titicaca are hollow where the fishermen sit inside the boat.
But these used here on the Pacific are flat and the fishermen ride them like surfboards. Imagine, heading out to the Pacific at 5am in the morning to try and fish in this!!!! FREEZING! And freaking impossible, if you ask me.
When I was there in the afternoon, the fishermen and their family members were selling the fish, crabs, prawns, etc... right off the 'caballitos'. Other 'caballitos' can be seen stacked against the end of the beach to dry in the sun.
Have a seafood dinner right here on the beach-front.
Chan Chan is a must-see. It is apparently the largest adobe city in the world from the Chimu culture. It exists from around 1200 to 1400AD, before the Incas conquered them. Unlike the Incas where the sun was the most important god, the Chimus worshipped the god of the moon, the sea, the land and the stars.
As the culture is mainly sea-faring and fish-eating due to the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the walls are highly decorated with unusual stylised motifs of sea creatuers like fish and sea lions, and the criss-crossing 'diamond' designs of the chunky walls represent nets used for fishing, which was very important to the Chimu culture.
There are 9-m perimeter walls that surround sacred enclosures with just one entrance that is quite narrow. Good for defence. There are storerooms where they used to store agricultural goods, a huge well that still contain water, canals, houses, temples, etc...
The only place you can really visit is the restored Palacio (Palace) Tschudi. It is quite huge and quite fascinating, although you can feel a tinge of sadness when you observe that the walls are very dilapidated and crumbling.
Imagine, these are all mud walls. With the strange weather phenonenom caused by 'El Nino', there are more rains in this era and they threaten to destroy this amazing imperial city.