Chan Chan and Huanchaco








            Chan Chan is between Trujillo and Huanchaco.  Huanchaco is only about 10 miles northwest of Trujillo.  It's all pretty close together and I recommend it.  The ruins of Chan Chan are fairly amazing to see.  One of the ten "Citadels" that is believed to be one of the later built and relatively intact compared to the others, the Tschudi Complex, is the main tourist ruin site.  It has been largely restored and provides a good glimpse to what the other citadels may have looked like at one time.  Chan Chan was one of the largest pre Hispanic cities in South America, housing around 30,000 people in it's prime.  The adobe brick built "mud city" was conquered by the Inca's in the 15th century, and of course the Spaniards shortly thereafter.  It was built between 850 and 1470 AD.

            Huanchaco is a great little fishing and surfing town.  Not much glitz or glam, just basic hotels, restaurants and trinkets.  It would be a great place for a one week vacation to learn to surf or just surf, which is what I probably would have done if I wasn't in a bit of a hurry to get north.  I'll likely return to Huanchaco sometime for a week of surfing and ceviche.

Click on the image and shred.


The mostly ruined, ruins of Chan Chan.

These very ruined ruins are both across the highway, and to the north of the Tschudi Complex.

Holes are left where people were looking for treasures. The graves of most complexes have been robbed.

Chan Chan covers about 20 square kilometers.

Inside the Tschudi complex, where the next 15 pictures were taken.

Thought to be throne of some kind.

Largest room of the complex. Guides seem to guess at whether it was a spiritual meeting place or simply a market place.

Corner closeup of previous place, depicting a small critter.

Pelicans and fish. Guides always talk about the spirituality of the fish and animals that were food for the Chimu (the folks that built this).

I'm sure there were spiritual aspects to their food but it's also just part of their life, so they made pictures of it.


A large part of the complex was designed like fishing nets because that's how they caught the fish, and it makes a cool picture.

Nets and critters.

Big tomb.

Details of previous picture.

Reservoir. Another part where the guides talk about water and spirituality. I think they drank water, so they had a reservoir.

Guessed to be a market area.

Spiritual guard guy.

More guards and critters on the walls.

This funky breed of dog is found in Peru. A live one is pictured on the previous page of pictures.

Spaniards always built churches amongst the ruins to remind the locals who the new god in town is supposed to be.


These narrow pointed fishing rafts, called "caballitos", or little horses, are made from the totora reeds.

They are made the same as they were 2,000 years ago, except now they cheat a little with styrofoam and some empty plastic bottles for extra buoyancy.

They leave in the early morning and then afternoon for fishing, leaving their caballitos out to dry between trips.

This is two halves of one caballito, shortly before being put together.

Leaving for the mid-afternoon catch.

They use a large bamboo shaft, cut in half, as a paddle.

Huanchaco from the 100 meter pier in the middle of town.

The 100 meter pier.

Another wave.

Grabbing the anchor for one end of his net.

He's stretched the net, about 30 yards of it, and is anchoring the far end of the net here.

Pulling everything tight.

Shredding, in the same neighborhood as the fishing.

Lonely cowboy, not much work in this off-season.

Huanchaco from the cathedral on the hill.