We spent a ten day week in Peru in February, mainly to extend the amount of time we could spend in Ecuador. Since the devastating flooding in Macchu Picchu occurred just as we were planning our trip, our original plans needed to change. We ended up staying the whole time in Huanchaco, a seaside town near Trujillo in northern Peru.
Huanchaco is much like San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua – a quaint surfer town, full of tourists, ex-pats and beach bums. It was a very nice and relaxing holiday for us, and we spent the time enjoying the beach, doing a little surfing and bodyboarding and generally chilling out.
The indigenous peoples of the region used incredible reed boats, now called Caballitos de Totoro (little horses), to surf the waves while fishing. Today, you can hitch a ride on one of these boats for a wet trip out and back. However, they are still used by the local fishermen, and we often saw teams of them bobbing on the waves in the mornings.
Our friend Andrew happened to be traveling in Peru at the same time, and we were lucky to get to meet up for a couple of days. The three of us visited the ruins of Huacas del Sol y de la Luna and Chan Chan for a day, which were much more impressive than I’d imagined. Huaca de la Luna, which is actually a temple to a nature god rather than a celestial one, is remarkably well preserved in parts, due to its Moche builders habit of burying old versions and rebuilding bigger, better ones over top. The painted walls were most impressive.
Chan Chan, a site of the later Chimu culture, was equally impressive in its huge size and intricately carved walls.