Peru
Huanchaco

Here you’ll find travel reports about Huanchaco. Discover travel destinations in Peru of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

6 travelers at this place:

  • Day58

    Huanchaco vibes

    October 31, 2016 in Peru ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    After my sister left, I spent my last week in Peru visiting Roxy and Matteo in the beach town Huanchaco. Besides surfing a lot and trying out many great local specialties, we hiked/ climbed up a mountain top and camped there for a night. The view from up there was incredible, with a sky turning from a burning red into a starlit night. Only some kind of huge bird was keeping us awake while it was out hunting :).
    The impressive adobe city Chan Chan, which is even older than the Inca sites, was definitely also worth a visit. We celebrated our last evening with a halloween party and were thus wearing our makeup accordingly. Now it is time to explore the other side of the continent - Brazil here I come!
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  • Day197

    Hanging Out in Huanchaco

    February 11, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Huanchaco is a coastal town, about twenty minutes from Trujillo by taxi. The journey was actually faster than our negotiations with the taxi driver to get us to Huanchaco, as we struggled to communicate that we didn't want to leave immediately. We tried to explain that we wanted to leave later, around lunchtime, to give us time to explore Trujilo's historical centre. In the end, we got our message across and seemingly both parties understood.

    We arrived at our hostel in Huanchaco and discovered a veritable Noah's ark living in the complex. We were greeted by the friendly cat, Fidel, who had been abandoned, along with the hostel for over twelve months. Apparently Fidel approved of the hostel renovations and decided he would stay put and become the hostel guard cat. To keep Fidel company, there were also two tortoises and three rabbits, including one intersex bunny with a wonky eye like Paris Hilton. The beach and ocean could be seen from the hostel balcony, with perfect sunsets over the Pacific ocean.

    After checking in, we wandered down to the shore to check-out the local delicacies on offer. As we sat eating our lunch, we partook in some people watching, observing some of the unique fashion on display by the locals and the itinerants passing through town. Jason pointed out one woman who was wearing such tiny shorts that Ricky was unable to see them because her handbag was bigger than her shorts. There was certainly more material used to make the handbag than the rest of her outfit. At this point, we saw a familiar sight in the distance in the form of our Canadian friends, Dave and Terrie, who joined us for lunch and who would be our neighbours at the hostel for the next six days and nights.

    On the first evening, we discovered a secret that Terrie had been keeping from us: the cake man. Each night at 7pm, one of the local bakeries traverse the streets of Huanchaco selling their cakes, tarts, biscuits and all kinds of delicious sweets. We had heard the sounds of a horn but Lima had desensitised us to all kinds of tooting and beeping. We suspect Terrie wanted to kept it a secret to get in first and clean out the cake man. We made up for missing the cake man over the next five nights. We could have opened up our own bakery with the bounty that we returned with. Each night, we waited patiently for his call to action and at the slightest sign of him we scurried down the steps, fearing that we may miss out on the tasty sweets. All nightly activities revolved around the schedule of the cake man. It was as if we were possessed by Marie Antoinette and took her suggestion to eat cake to the extreme.

    Sweets had quickly replaced the liquid calories of beer, caiprinihas and pisco sours. There's no wonder that our waistlines have expanded faster than you can say “let them eat cake”. Even our families have noted the extra kilos of our pastry baby bulges but, like crackheads looking for another hit, we are addicted and can't inhale the sugary sweets quick enough. To counter the excess calories, we enrolled in the yoga classes on offer at the hostel but we’re afraid that the horse has already bolted. Maybe we can get liposuction in Mexico before we return home. But in the near future, it may be necessary to fatify our clothes [to adapt clothes to accommodate an expanded waistline, usually involving sewing an extra panel of material into the clothes].

    After exploring the historical areas and clearing out every bakery in sight, we adventured further afield and took a day trip to Trujillo, along with Dave and Terrie. We split up with Dave and Ricky heading to the Huaca de la Luna, a Moche monument located about twenty minutes from Trujillo, while Jason and Terrie remained in Trujillo to shop and to see the sights. The evening was capped off with more food from the street vendors in the centre of town, a first for Terrie who has been placed under the evil influence of Jason. The kebab sticks, papa rellenas and picarones became a staple part of our diets for most of the time in Huanchaco, along with the cheap two course menu del dias.

    The next day, we wandered to the outskirts of the town to explore the streets and to walk off some of the excess calories, or more to the point to make room for more calories. The town didn't have a supermarket but we lost count of the number of shops selling baked goods. We stumbled across one bakery and got roped into being photographed wearing a sash in front of a painting. At first we thought the store owner wanted a picture to put on their social media site showing that gringos had frequented their establishment. But this wasn't the case and he ended up taking the photo with Jason’s phone. The store owner pushed and shoved us into place as Jason, Ricky and Terrie stood around wondering what was happening. We had no idea why the store owner insisted on taking the photo; we never asked for it and it just left us puzzled.

    Apart from surfing and yoga retreats, the other attraction in Huanchaco is the historical site of Chan Chan, about ten minutes from the main part of the town. The complex was the capital of the Chimu civilisation and was used as the residence of the Chimu royalty. Most of the complex has been destroyed by natural forces as well as by the Spanish conquistadors and only a small section of the twenty square kilometre complex, the Nik An, is open to tourists. From Chan Chan, we took a taxi to the Huaca de la Esmeralda before picking up supplies in Trujillo and then returning home, via the Chan Chan Museum, to eat more cake.

    On our last morning, we weren't greeted by Fidel the friendly cat, which had been commonplace over the previous five nights. Later, we found out that Fidel had been poisoned and had gone missing. Eventually, after a number of hostel guests went in search, Fidel was found alive but in a bad condition. The poor thing had spent the night vomiting, hidden away from the rest of the world. Fortunately, the worse was over for him and he was able to receive the care he needed. When it came time to leave, we had to tear ourselves away from the cake as well as the calm, chilled-out surroundings of Huanchaco.

    Next stop: Chiclayo.
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  • Day20

    Huanchaco, Peru

    April 29, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    A more local side of Peru, a visit to some ancient ruins and the first bout of sickness for the trip.

    The overnight bus from Máncora was unfortunately punctuated with a sudden onset of severe stomach pains and consequently a couple of vomits...thankfully these long distance buses are equipped with toilets on board! It did make for a bit of a battle over the following couple of days to reintroduce foods again but at least it was relatively short lived.

    Trujillo is one of Peru’s biggest cities and is only 10km or so away, but we decided we’d prefer to stay in a smaller place rather than a big city. In the end our stop here was mainly to break up what would otherwise be a 16 hour journey to the Huaraz, but also to see some of the ruins in this area.

    Until the 1970s Huanchaco was supposedly a bustling fishing village but today it is relatively laid-back, although many of the boats called caballitos and made from totora (a type of reed) remain lining the beach. Otherwise the beach is pretty substandard compared to Máncora and Montañita in terms of lounging and sunbathing but there’s still a fair amount of people surfing here. In fact, an hour or so further down the coast is actually the world’s longest left.

    Chan Chan was the capital city of the Chimú Empire, an urban civilisation that appeared on the Peruvian coast around 1100-1300AD and is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas. At one point the city covered roughly 25km2 but now only spreads about 14km2. At its peak Chan Chan housed approximately 60,000 people before the Chimú people were conquered by the Incas around 1460. Later the Spanish looted the city, as it was well known for its wealth. One particular tomb of one of the Kings was found with an extortionate amount of gold inside. Every time a king died, his wife and servants would also be sacrificed and buried - so the palace would become a mausoleum and the next king would require a new palace. Over the years, nine different royal palaces were built. I hate to think how many people this means were sacrificed.

    We only saw a small portion of these ruins due to the fact that this was all that was open to the public but the size and scale of the place was insane, not to mention the detail in the clay walls. Originally these were thought to have been painted colourfully too but today no colour remains, although many drawings of various animals and lines do. Their building knowledge was very also clever for this time - some walls being up to 4m thick or designed in such a way to withstand the amount of earthquakes in the area. Given this site has only been subject to restorations in the last 30 years, they’ve definitely done a good job.

    Our ticket for Chan Chan also gave us access to a couple of other smaller ruins but without a guide they didn’t mean an awful lot to us so these were relatively short and sweet visits! In hindsight we probably should have booked a proper tour including a visit to the temples of the sun and the moon which we later found out were incredible as they still have coloured walls too but hey, can’t win them all.

    The rest of our time in Huanchaco was spent relaxing, perusing the markets for fresh local produce to make use of our hostel kitchen and a couple of visits to a bakery we stumbled across that did some great pastries, cakes and ice cream! You have to make the most of these things when you find them as they’re a rare occurrence in these parts.

    In the end I decided to go a day ahead of Kit and Bronte to Huaraz, partly due to the fact that there wasn’t a massive amount to do in Huanchaco but also to start acclimatising for some of the hikes I wanted to do. Somehow I ended up on a VIP bus, complete with VIP lounge pre-boarding with free crackers, tea, computers and the best couches I’ve seen in a while. Then on board I got given a pillow, blanket, hot tea and a snack bag. Very unexpected! The night buses here are actually very comfortable, with mostly ‘semi-cama’ seats which generally lie back to 160 degrees with leg rests as well do they definitely beat plane seats. Peru’s bus system was notoriously dangerous but has had a big overhaul particularly for long distance buses which requires them to display their speed, have seatbelts and not make extra stop to pick up any rogue passengers. Win for us really.

    Anyway, it’s definitely time for a break from the beach - take me back to the mountains!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Huanchaco, Wanchaku

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