Trujillo is a city of 790,000 people (2014) in Northwestern Peru, very close to the Pacific Coast. Trujillo was founded in 1534 among 4 (of 3,500 archaeological sites in the valley) Chimu (and earlier remarkable cultures) settlements to enable the Spanish to ally with them against the Incas. Due to its geographic location it is also known for its seafood and the beaches of its famous surf and beach resort Huanchaco.
The Moche or Mochica culture developed between 100 BCE and 700 CE, in the Moche valley, having as its headquarters the territory that today is called Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Huacas of the sun and the moon), an archaeological complex that covers approximately 60 hectares and was the center of power of the Mochica culture; This culture spread to the valleys of the northern coast of present-day Peru. The Moche societies developed a complex technology of irrigation canals, with which they demonstrated extensive knowledge in hydraulic engineering and expanded the agricultural frontier. In addition, they made intensive use of copper in the manufacture of weapons, tools and ornamental objects. The Kingom of Chimor developed between the years 1000 and 1200 and occupied the territories previously inhabited by the Mochicas, whose main urban center was the great adobe citadel of Chan Chan, which served as the capital of the kingdom, until the year 1470, when the kingdom of Chimor was incorporated to the Inca empire a siege in Chan Chan led by the inca emperor Túpac Yupanqui.
There is one airport, one seaport, and many bus terminals a short taxi ride from the city centre.
- Trujillo airport has connections to Lima, Chiclayo, Cajamarca, Tumbes and Chagual for Huamachuco. Two airlines offer daily flights from Lima to Trujillo : LATAM and Avianca.
The airport Carlos Martínez de Pinillos is on the Huanchaco/Trujillo road, 5-10 km from them. There is a fairly universal ATM in the departure check-in area, small restaurants, and souvenir shops. The departure tax is included in your ticket fare.
If you must hire a car it is best also to hire an experienced local driver familiar with local driving habits who values his vehicle, human life and health.
Trujillo is on the Pan-American Highway with numerous connections south to Chimbote (2 hr), Lima (9-10 hr) and north to Chiclayo (3hr 30min), Piura (6-7 hr), Máncora (9-10 hr), and Tumbes (11-12 hr) on the border with Ecuador. Also to Otuzco (2 hr) and Huamachuco (5 hr) to the east, Cajamarca (7 hr), Chachapoyas (15 hr), Tarapoto (25 hr) and Yurimaguas (30 hr) to the north east, and Caraz (7 hr) and Huaraz (8 hr) to the southeast.
- Transportes Linea [dead link] is a good value bus company to most destinations in north Peru. There is a fairly universal ATM in their departure lounge on Avenida America Sur.
- Ormeño[dead link] has buses to Lima, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires in Argentina, and north to Mancora, Tumbes, & Guayaquil (Ecuador) daily (US$60) and Cuenca and Quito (both Ecuador) weekly. Both companies have 3 or 4 quality classes.
- Movil Tours comes from Lima. Leaves Trujillo at 15:00/16:00 via Chiclayo (3 hours) for Tarapoto/Chachapoyas. They & Transportes Linea have good night buses to Huaraz. You can catch a 06:00 Transportes Linea bus to Chimbote to catch the 08:00 bus up the spectacular Cañon del Pato to Huaraz in the day with Turismo Huaraz.
- Cruz del Sur reaches some of the main national destinations (north and south) and it also offers services to Colombia (Wednesday and Sunday), Ecuador (Tuesday), Chile, and Argentina (Monday through Saturday).
- ITTSA has luxury buses to Piura (7 hours, S/30 semi-cama, 09:00-16:00), Chiclayo (3hr 30 min, S/20 semi-cama, 09:00-12:30) and Lima (9 hours, S/60 in semi-cama 9:00-18:00).
15 cruise ships arrive in Salaverry, 17 km southeast of Trujillo, during the summer months each year. As many as 3 have arrived in one day.
Official taxis are yellow with postcard-sized municipal stickers of the city's coat of arms on the windscreen, and also the majority have the telephone number of its enterprise. They may have a surprising array of tactics to take you to more distant, expensive, isolated hotels & destinations to monopolize your future custom. The taxis from the airport (dark blue) and more expensive bus companies (who privilege some drivers) may be the most ambitious. If they see you are frugal they may drop you off near to the terminal to return to find more lucrative passengers.
A taxi should not cost more than US$1.50 from any bus terminal to Trujillo, or US$4 to Huanchaco. Taxi drivers prefer to go to Huanchaco as there are more opportunities for overcharging, and obtaining a return trip. A taxi should not cost more than US$6 from the airport to Trujillo or Huanchaco.
Taxis may charge US$5 per hour around the urban part of the Province of Trujillo, and more reliable and expensive taxis and drivers are required for greater distances than 15 km from Trujillo centre.
Buses and combis to Huanchaco cost S/1.50 from Trujillo downtown, and they can be taken around España Avenue.
Cruise ships may carry 1,000, 2000 or 3,000 people, who might expect to pay US$10 per hour for a taxi.
To enter the port gates taxis require a permit (days ahead) from the Captain of the Port, so drivers usually wait outside the port gates, less than 1 kilometre from the jetties.
Cruise companies keep quiet about arrivals, use cumbersome 50 passenger bus groups, sell their own tours for US$140 (compared to US$40 with local travel agencies), so between 0 - 100 taxi drivers may be waiting at the port gates. There are no more than 13,000 taxis formally registered in the Province of Trujillo.
Most taxis are yellow, tiny Ticos, better suited to inner cities than highways, or superseded Asian models. Note the registration number to find them again. Most drivers do not work in tourism, speak English, know journey distances, times, opening hours of attractions nor colonial city centre streets. See taxis & warnings below.
- 1 Huacas de Moche Archaeological Site Museum. 09ː00-16ː00 daily. About the Huacas de Moche site that was the pre-Colombian city known as Cerro Blanco.
- 2 La Huaca de la Luna, Carretera campiña de moche, Moche. 09ː00-16ː00 daily. Adobe ruin built by the Moche people that is part of Huacas de Moche archaeological site.
- 3 La Huaca del Sol. 09ː00-16ː00 daily. Purported to be the largest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas, it is another adobe ruin of Huacas de Moche like nearby La Huaca de la Luna though not as well preserved. Dates to a time before 450 CE.
- 4 Huaca "El Dragon", Complejo Arqueológico Chan-Chan, Pedro Murillo S/N, La Esperanza. 09ː00-16ː00 daily. Impressive set of ruins of an ancient Chimor mud city, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- 5 Trujillo's Colonial Center. Traditional Spanish-style main square surrounded by the most important buildings of the colonial period of the city such as the Trujillo Cathedral Basilica. Free.
- 6 El Brujo Archaeological Site (about 52 km northwest of Trujillo on highway 104), ☏ . 09ː00-17ː00 daily. More ruins, another museum, and grand views of the Andes and coast.
- Museo Cassinelli Located in the basement of the gas station Repsol Óvalo Mansiche is not far from the centre, this is private collection of Moche ceramics. +51 282222 Nicolas de Pierola 607.
Spanish, Quechua or other languages at the universities, pan flutes, marinera and other folklore at the National Institute of Culture.
If you prefer to learn Spanish in a setting slightly quieter than the hustle-and-bustle of Trujillo, try Huanchaco (about 20 minutes from Trujillo, should cost S/1.50 by bus) which has several good Spanish teachers who teach volunteers and tourists.
Beware of anonymous links with no names, addresses nor evidence of qualifications for languages, tourism nor accommodation.
Trujillo is a city with an increasing economy, modern financial centers can be found near the city center.
WindAid is a social entrepreneurship group. They design, build, and install wind turbines for communities in Peru who are in need of electricity and light. They offer various volunteer opportunities.
Trujillo has a large local shoe making industry. Venture down to the shopping district, in and around Pizarro road and Ayacucho Road and pick up some hand made beautiful leather shoes.
- Other leather goods, woodcarvings and replicas of Precolombian ceramics.
- Mall Aventura Plaza Trujillo: On the way from Trujillo to Huanchaco (Av. Mansiche esq. América Oeste) near PentaMall Mansiche. A supermarket "Tottus", a homecenter "Sodimac", 3 department stores (Saga Falabella, Paris and Ripley), a food court (McDonald's, KFC, Gelarti, Bembos, Burger King), Cinemark, banks, atms, and many other stores can be found here.
- Real Plaza Trujillo: Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut. Supermarket: Plaza Vea, Cineplanet, Oechsle, Estilos, Promart.
El Rincón de Vallejo, Orbegoso 303, cross with San Martín, one block from the Main Square . Has good, cheap typical food & set meals for breakfast, lunch, evening meals, dessert and coffee. Larger branch for groups at España 734, near corner of 1st block of Orbegoso.
Restaurant Romano, Pizarro 767, between Junín and Colón, near the Main Square . Has good, cheap typical food & set meals for breakfast, lunch, evening meals, dessert and coffee.
Romano Criollo, Estados Unidos 162 Urb. El Recreo, 5 blocks from the Main Square . Has good and variated food for lunch.
Squalos: Lunch only upscale locals favorite. Known for great seafood. Díaz de Cienfuegos 250 - Urb. La Merced
- Chelseas (historic downtown). An older restaurant with a great reputation. They have some traditional Trujillian dishes and great atmosphere.
- Pilsen Trujillo, now Backus & Johnston supports the Huaca de la Luna project.
- Ron Cartavio, the rum distillery supports the El Brujo Archaeological project.
- Chicha de Jora, an alcohol based corn beer is available in the local countryside.
- The chicha of Magdalena de Cao, near El Brujo, has been rated the best in Peru.
Clubs and bars
Trujillo's nightlife starts late. One can make it out Thursday night, but things reportedly don't start up until midnight, while Friday and Saturday are more popular. One of the most popular clubs is [dead link] AMA Disco Lounge. , located within the Real Plaza Mall. Beware of invitations to non-existent Salsa Festivals, parties and similar scams.
- Casa de Clara Cahuide 495, Santa María. +51 44 299997 / 243347 / 949662710  From US$5 per person per night excluding breakfast. Recommended as guides, for tours, information and good, economic meals in the best international guide books in English, Spanish, French, Italian, or German. Free, fast internet and wireless. Economic laundry.
Hotel Gran Bolivar +51 44 222090. Jr. Bolivar 957. A bit further out than the main hotels surrounding the Plaza Armas, this place is well worth the walk. Huge double room with terrace will cost about S/160. Free Wifi in all rooms. Good buffet breakfast. Reception all speak English.
- Beware of unsolicited approaches from people purporting to be from hotels, travel agents, surf and salsa teachers and invitations to parties. Surprisingly attractive young people have learned phrases in numerous languages to convince you they coincidentally have a similar profession, interest in your language or country; or their family & friends in your country. They may 'happen' to bump into you several times during your stay. The more backpacks, daypacks, cameras, moneybelts, sunglasses & jewellery you display, the more you look like a Christmas tree. They have been finding excuses to change false bills.
- Be careful at ATMs & on leaving banks, displaying cash in shops, etc. Do not carry around belongings any more than is necessary and try not to put them down unobserved/unattended during transfers, in restaurants, internet cafes, buses, etc.
- Official taxis have post card sized municipal stickers with the city's coat of arms on it. They may have a surprising array of lies and other tactics to take you to more distant, expensive, isolated hotels & destinations to monopolize your future. The taxis from the airport, port & more expensive bus companies are the most ambitious.
- Although they have one of the largest taxi fleets in Trujillo, be wary of "Americas" taxis. They have an awful reputation with regards to crime.
- Beware of touts offering tours or hotels, it is much cheaper and convenient to book tours and hotels yourself, to avoid paying their commission.
- Beware of fake reviews, with undue praise or criticism by such touts.
A cool breeze is deceptive: a sun hat and sun block are recommended for visits to the beach and ruins, especially in summer. During the coastal winter, expect cloudy days.