Trujillo is a picturesque city with a visually striking colonial architecture. The region sits on a green valley surrounded by deserts and flanked by the Peruvian Andes. Likewise, Trujillo is often referred to as “The City of Eternal Spring” due to its authentic climate condition with sunny, warm and bright days.
However, this is barely a part of what truly defines the city of Trujillo. This location in northern Peru is home to several archeological sites that have preceded the Incas. During the Pre-Columbian era, these lands were inhabited by the Moche culture, which developed between 100 B.C. and 700 A.D.
The Moche civilization is recognized for having a great knowledge of hydraulic engineering, represented in their irrigation channels. Likewise, they left behind a great structure that extends to 60 ha. called Huaca del Sol y de la Luna, two constructions that represented the political and religious power of this culture, basically, the capital of the Moches.
Later, between the 1000s and 1200s the Chimu Empire raised. They occupied the territory just after the Moche culture disappeared and built the famous city of Chan Chan, a citadel composed of several walled palaces made entirely of adobe.
These ancient civilizations have surely marked our country and influenced the development of other cultures. However, Trujillo is not only famous for its Pre-Columbian attractions since it also holds a unique cultural expression.
This region is recognized for its many local festivals and their so-well-rooted traditions, where typical dances and music is represented in each of them. Nowadays, Trujillo receives over 200,000 tourists per year, making it one of the unmissable destinations in Peru.
Historic Center of Trujillo
Trujillo is the second oldest city of Peru since when colonization started, the Spaniards saw a strategic location in this town. It was founded in 1534 by Diego de Almagro. Likewise, this city is considered the cradle of the Power of Attorney in Peru.
Trujillo’s Historic Center is famous for its colonial architecture and colorful mansions that adorn the entire city. It extends to 333,5 ha. and has maintained its cultural, architectonic, and urbanistic heritage.
1. Plaza de Armas
It is the oldest and most representative public space of the city and as in most of the colonial distributions, this is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by the Municipal Palace, the Cathedral of Trujillo, the Archbishopric of Trujillo, and many other historical and religious monuments.
In addition to the surrounding structures, the main square is also recognized for having a freedom monument that, according to commentators, “represents the process of independence of the country, as well as the most precious thing about being human, the love for freedom.”
2. Paseo Pizarro
This is the most representative colonial street within the city centre. It extends to 9 blocks where you can appreciate the authentic spanish-influenced architecture of the town. This cobblestone street is closed to traffic and holds many restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, and souvenir markets.
Things to See
1. Huaca del Sol
It is believed to be the administrative center of the Moche culture and the residence palace for the Moche elite. Unfortunately, almost 70% of its structure was destroyed by the Spaniards that changed the course of the Moche river causing floods to later loot this ancient structure.
2. Huaca de la Luna
This is the most preserved temple in the archeological site. According to the findings, this was the religious center of this ancient civilization. A burial place was found Inside this “moon temple,” apparently for sacrificed warriors.
3. City of Chan Chan
It is the largest city made entirely of adobe within Pre-Columbian America. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 due to its historical and cultural importance. This ancient citadel was the capital of the Chimú Empire, which was later conquered by the Incas around the 1500s.
The Chan Chan Citadel is composed of several walled palaces. It has an extension of 20 km2, located 5 kilometers away from the city of Trujillo. One of the unmissable attractions of the so-called City of Eternal Spring.
4. Tschudi Palace
This ancient temple is located within the Chan Chan archeological site. It is believed to be a sea cult center belonging to the Chimú culture. Its walls are decorated with high relief figures of fishes that face to the north and south, from which archeologists have deduced that they represented the two currents that mark the Peruvian coast: The humboldt, coming from the south, and El Niño current, coming from the north.
5. Huaca Arcoiris
Also known as Huaca del Dragón, it is another Pre-Inca structure located in the outskirts of Trujillo. This ancient temple was a ceremonial and administrative center built entirely of adobe. Its walls are decorated with murals with anthropomorphic figures that represent a rainbow.
However, due to the lack of information about this ceremonial center, there’s a constant debate about whether this structure belonged to the Mochica or Chimú culture.
Must-Visit Museums in Trujillo
- Museo Huacas de Moche: It was inaugurated in 2010 and holds an exhibition of the ancient daily life of the Moche (Mochica) culture. The museum’s structure looks to resemble the ancient architecture of the Mochica culture. It is located a few meters away from the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna.
- Museo del Juguete: This museum was founded by the artist Gerardo Chávez in 2001. It has an exhibition of over 4,000 toys from Prehispanic times until the 1950s. This is the first toy museum in Latin America and it holds objects that were traced back to the Moche, Chimú, and Chancay cultures.
Address: Jr. Independencia 713, Trujillo.
- Museo Casa de la Emancipación: This cultural center is located in an old mansion within the famous Paseo Pizarro street. This museum offers a glimpse to the historical facts that occured in this location since it hosted the First Constituent Congress.
- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo: Es un museo que cuenta con proyecciones de artistas locales, y también de otros países. Parece una granja, con muchos jardines, el espacio es aprovechado para exhibición de obras al aire libre. El museo cuenta con obras del artista Gerardo Chávez, mostrando toda su trayectoria artística.
Festivals in Trujillo
- The Marinera Festival: This is one of the most awaited and recognized festivities in northern Peru, where international and national couples compete in different categories, being the Marinera dance the main attraction of the festival.
The Marinera is a typical dance from the north of the country that originated with the mix of different civilizations, slaves, and Spanish conquerors. It became a tradition in the 18th century, and since then it is celebrated in all Peru.
- Spring Festival: Another famous festival that takes place between September and October. It is considered the most representative festival of the city, where festival floats tour the city, they crown the Spring Queen, and there’s also a contest of Paso Horses.
Trujillo Peru Weather
The climate condition in Trujillo is characteristic of the Peruvian coastal side since it has mild weather and chances of rain are nearly nill. Temperatures range between 30°C and 14°C, days are sunny and warm, and the nights are chilly due the ocean breeze and the Humboldt current.
However, if Trujillo isn’t the only region you’re visiting during your trip to Peru, make sure to know everything about the weather in Peru and pack according to its different climate conditions.
How to Get There?
If planning to visit this cultural and historical city, you can easily travel to Trujillo by plane or bus. To help you organize your itinerary, we have gathered a few recommendations for you:
- Traveling by Bus: Trujillo is easily accessible by bus rides. If you’re coming from Lima, keep in mind that this will be a 8-hour bus trip through the warmest part of the country. However, if you’re up to this adventure, make sure to add other destinations in between so you don’t miss anything on the way.
- Flights to Trujillo: This would be the most advisable way to get to Trujillo since it takes only 1 hour to get there from the city of Lima. For those willing to experience this city at its fullest, we highly recommend taking a commercial flight. That way, you’ll get to know even more of this authentic city. Learn more about this adventure here →
If you wish to know what’s the best way to travel around Peru, don’t forget to check our informative guide and start planning your trip through this South American gem!
For more information about how to plan the perfect itinerary including Arequipa, check out our travel packages and discover a new way of travel with Viagens Machu Picchu.