Let me introduce you to the beautiful city of Trujillo, the capital of north Peru. This is the city where I was born and grew up until I was 5 years old. After we moved to the Netherlands in 1991, I went back several times to visit family and friends. It was lovely to wander through my old neighborhood and enjoy the atmosphere of Trujillo’s main square. Being treated with all the gastronomic delights of the region made the relive my childhood memories again.
Trujillo is known as the ‘Capital of everlasting Spring’ because of its mild (micro)climate throughout the year. However the temperatures reach high in the summer between December and mid-April. Trujillo is also home to the Marinera Norteña, Peru’s favorite national dance. It’s a dramatic and romantic paired dance in which a couple makes sweeping gestures and hold white handkerchiefs. When visiting this region, you’re able to appreciate some spectacular shows which sometimes include Peruvian Paso horses!
Trujillo’s colonial architecture
Trujillo’s historical centre has a gorgeous main square, the ‘Plaza de Armas’. In the middle you’ll find the prominent Freedom Monument made by sculptor Edmund Moeller. The monument honours the independence of Trujillo in 1820. The beautiful colonial buildings at the Plaza de Armas immediately capture your attention at first sight with their bright yellow and blue colors. They really add a charming and vivid atmosphere to this green part of the city, which is definitely one of my favorite places in the historical center. Trujillo’s beautiful cathedral (built between 1647-1666) is a real eye catcher, same as the Municipality and the ‘El Libertador Hotel’.
Throughout the city center you’ll find more examples of colonial architecture often incorporating beautiful ironwork and wooden bay windows with balusters. There are several monumental mansions you can not only admire from the outside, yet also from the inside. Take your time to appreciate the interior of Trujillo’s colonial houses like Casa del Mayorazgo, Casa de Uquiaga and Palacio Iturregui.
Arts and culture in Trujillo
Trujillo is also known for its lively arts community, hosting the annual national book fair, the National Marinera Festival (Peruvian dance) taking place mid-January, Trujillo Spring Festival and many other cultural activities. While visiting the city, don’t forget to visit the Museum of Modern Art founded by the famous Peruvian artist Gerardo Chávez López. The museum has a nice collection of the artist’s art works and has changing expositions.
Food and restaurants in Trujillo
For tasting Peru’s delightful national dishes, you’re at the right place in Trujillo and surroundings. The northern cuisine is considered one of the finest in Peru. Trujillo (including the city of Chiclayo) are simply the best places to have unforgettable gastronomic experiences.
Not far from the city of Trujillo lies the Moche valley, located on the banks of the Moche river. The fertile land provides this region of a great diversity of crops and fruits, from which Trujillo benefits. Don’t forget to taste the typical northern dishes ‘Cabrito’ (lamb stew) and arroz con Pato (duck stew) at for example Mochica Restaurant located in Trujillo’s historical center.
After visiting the impressive Moche Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon) in the Moche valley, make sure to plan a delightful lunch at one of the many restaurants in the village of Moche (countryside). Ask your driver to take you to an open air restaurant to taste a traditional ‘Pachamanca’. This traditional Peruvian dish contains potatoes, guinea pig, lamb, vegetables and is baked with the aid of hot stones. The dish originates from the central Peruvian Andes but it has become a tradition to serve it at several restaurants in Moche on Sundays. Also, in Moche they prepare one of the most exquisite platters of ‘cebiche’ and ‘cecina’ (dried and fried meat).
Top sights in Trujillo
Here’s a list of places you shouldn’t miss out when staying a few days in Trujillo.
-Plaza de Armas and colonial mansions.
-Shopping streets: Pizarro, Ayacucho, Calle Bolivar, street market (mercado) at the Avenida Los Incas.
-Museo de Arte Moderna: contemporary art museum by the celebrated artist Gerardo Chávez.
-Museo del Juguete: Toys museum preserving more than 150 toys from different times in history (including ancient Peruvian toys). A great place to visit with children.
Make a pit stop for a cup of coffee at a charming café located in the same building: Bar Museo del Juguete.
-Visit the numerous lively cafés, restaurants and delicacy shops in Trujillo.
Café Van Gogh: owned by a Dutch couple who prepare one of the best coffees in town! The paintings that serve as decoration are made by the owner of the cafe.
Casona Deza Café
Museo Café Bar
La Llave Café: a lovely café at Plaza de Armas with ‘keys’ as main theme. Also great for lunch.
Restaurant El Celler de Cler
Restaurante El Mochica: for a nice dish of Cabrito/Pato (lamb/duch stew). Also live marinera shows.
Runa’s Martini Lounge for drinks at night.
Puccini, el Bar del Gato
Dulcería Doña Carmen for those with a sweet tooth who love pastries and for lovers of homemade ice creams there’s Heladería El Chileno, where you should try the ‘lucuma’ fruit flavor!
* The above stated tips are listed by my dear friend Andrea Callegari, a local journalist living in Trujillo.
Sightseeing in Trujillo’s surroundings
A visit to Fundo Palo Marino should be on your to do list for its professional Peruvian horse shows combined with traditional marinera dance. Stay here for lunch and savor the traditional dishes from the region: great quality and an outstanding atmosphere for a good price.
Shows every Monday to Sunday, including festive days: 11:30 a.m. | 1:30 p.m. | 2:45 p.m.
Visit the archeological sites where the pre-Columbian Moche and Chimu cultures developed before the Inca conquest: -Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon). Learn more about the Moche culture in the adjacent ‘Museo Huacas de Moche’. Website: www.huacasdemoche.pe
Book a memorable stay in the beautiful hotel De Sol y Barro next to the pyramids!
-When driving from Trujillo towards the beach of Huanchaco, stop at Chan Chan, the largest adobe city in the ancient world. This site has been designated as a World heritage site by UNESCO.
For beach and seafood lovers, the laid back village of Huanchaco is a real must. Enjoy the sandy beach and get immersed in the world of surf. Don’t forget to take a ride on the ‘cabbalitos de totora’ reed boats with a fisherman.
> Read more in this blog about Huanchaco.
Here’s what Lonely Planet says about Trujillo.
Watch this video of Trujillo and its highlights: