After a 13 hour journey over the Andes we arrived in Trujillo bus terminal around 9am. We stayed in a small bed and breakfast type hostel a little bit out of the centre. Upon arriving we were greeted by the owner Ernesto who explained all the activities to do in the area and more importantly how to get around using the collectivo van system saving us a lot of taxi money! There were 2 main things that brought us down to Trujillo, the Huacas de la Luna y del Sol (sun and moon temples) and the Chan Chan archaeological site. There is also a cool beach town called Huanchaca 30 minutes away but having recently done beaches we gave this one a miss.
After some breakfast and a shower we decided to head out to the Huacas. To get there we first got a collectivo van for 35p each followed by a Tuk-Tuk (or moto-taxi as they like to be called here) for 2 soles to the main entrance. Immediately we were taken aback by the landscape, it seriously looked like we were on another planet. The morning clouds had not yet lifted adding to the surreal surroundings. We got our tickets which included a guided tour for 10 soles (2.50 pounds) and went in. We were told we would have to wait 25 minutes for an English speaking tour, unfortunately we were told to run up and catch up with the group that had started a few minutes before. Whilst not impressed we didn’t think we would have missed much as we could see the group at the top of the hill having not been into any of the temples yet. By the time we got up though they had and to add to the slight annoyance we were in a big group with a child who kept crying making it impossible to hear our guide. We spent about 30 minutes walking around this impressive temple from centuries ago with beautiful painted murals in good condition that have withstood time and grave robbers.
The Huaca del Sol is still being excavated and is at least 5 times the size of the Huaca we went into, hopefully this will soon be open to the public. There seemed to still be a huge amount of work to be done to it though. After finishing up the tour we got in a collectivo van to take us into Trujillo town centre for an explore and some lunch.
Trujillo town centre was really nice especially in the old town centre, with lots of colourful colonial buildings and churches. For lunch we found a nice spot with a 10 sole set menu. We had a tuna omelette, chicken stew, dessert and fresh apple juice as well. After lunch we had a nice walk around the town taking some photos. After a quick stop at the supermarket we went back to our hostel for a quiet evening of admin and travel planning.
The following day we set out to Chan Chan in the morning. Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimor Empire from 900 A.D to 1470 before the Incas conquered it and incorporated it into their territories. Fun fact, Chan Chan means Sun Sun due to the constant sun in the Moche Valley region, this is also the main reason why the site is in such good condition. The lack of rain has helped prevent erosion and with the newly added roofs, this site should carry on being well protected.
On our walk in from the main road we could begin to grasp just how big the city was at its zenith. Despite being a 20 min walk from the site, we could clearly see stone remains from buildings all the way out. We couldn’t get close enough but it seemed like there was excavation work going on the other side of the road too. Really impressive start and we weren’t even in the site yet!
We got to the site, paid our very cheap entry fee and decided against a guide as we were more interested in the sights and going around at our own pace. Oh and the money saving too! The site is the largest Adobe site in all the Americas and the 2nd biggest in the world, the first thing we see upon entering is the huge main square. You are allowed to walk around pretty much the whole square apart from some platforms. From here we went behind the main square to a huge area covered by some roofing in order to protect the site from the elements. It was an incredible site seeing all the drawings built into the stone walls in such detail.
The next part of the trail was what looked like one of the biggest (empty) swimming pools we’ve ever seen. There has to be some water running through the site somewhere as this was more like an oasis given how many trees and plants were growing here, quite an incredible site to see. This brought us to the final part of the site – the houses. The area of these small square shaped ruins went on for a hundred meters or so in length and 20 or so wide. We wondered how many people they managed to fit into one.
With our self-guided tour at an end we made our way back into town to get some lunch and head back to our hostel. And this brought our stay in Trujillo to an end. The next morning we got a day bus to Peru’s capital, Lima. Stay tuned for lots of food!