We crossed from Ecuador into Peru by the recommended route via Tumbes. It ended up being a little more adventurous than expected including changing buses, walking around border towns, taxis and empty migration zones.
Our first stop in Peru was Mancora, a surf town with nice beaches, warm water but rather aimed at international tourists than locals. We spent 5 days there practically doing nothing at Psygon Surfcamp just outside of town. We relaxed, tried kitesurfing, ate yummy Peruvian food and went out for drinks with our traveling friend Vera from Brooklyn whom we had met in Ecuador. Our hostel had a great sushi restaurant so we had our first Peruvian ceviche – yum!
From Mancora we took our first night bus to Trujillo down South. Night buses in Peru are similar to flying business class, large seats, screens and on board service.
Trujillo is a colonial city off the main touristic route, and the third biggest of Peru. The old town has some impressive colonial houses and balconies and the pedestrian area was a nice change to the trafficy routes. Trujillo also features two pre-Columbian archaeological sites – Huaca de la Luna and Sol and Chan Chan. Its location at the Moche river and close to the sea made it attractive to ancient civilizations. The two sites couldn’t be more different.
Huaca de la Luna y Huaca del Sol
We caught a cramped collectivo (minivan) to the site for only 1.50 PEN (50cts) together with locals.
Upon arrival there are two parts to visit – the museum featuring artifacts found in the ruins as well as a guided tour of the ruins of the Huaca de la Luna. The Huace del Sol is not yet accessible for tourists.
The Moche civilization built here two temples and a village during their rein 1500 years ago. A new layer of the temple was built each time a ruler died. Nowadays tourist can see the top 3 layers including painted walls, sacrifice and ceremonial platforms and altars. The moches eventually disappeared when heavy rain of El Niño consisted for 10 years despite numerous human sacrifices and the people turned to new beliefs.
The site is financed by private companies and due to lack of financial support only a small part has been excavated.
At the sea is the UNESCO site of Chan Chan “Sun Sun” which was the capital of the Chimor empire (900-1470) and home to 40 000 people.
The site is partially reconstructed so you can witness the outlines of temples, graves, water systems etc. After the Inca conquered the town, the Chima culture disappeared.
As an official world heritage site this place is significantly better accessible even though to us the Huaca de la Luna was more interesting to see.
- Surf in Mancora – the water is still warm
- Eat sushi at the restaurant at Psygon surf camp
- Steak in local mint sauce in Trujillo at El Celler de Cler
- Visit archeological sites in the morning. Huaca de la Luna university guided tour is included. Chan Chan: skip the museum (go to the one at Huaca), and don’t pay more than 20PEN for a tour.