The north of Peru has often been described as the Egypt of South America, due to the abundance of pre-Inca treasures found in this area. Settled on the Pacific coast, Trujillo is one of Peru's largest cities, with a popu- lation of 690,000, and is the perfect start- ing point for anyone interested in exploring these ancient treasures. Founded in 1534 by Diego de Almagro and named after the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro, this colonial city was inhabited long before the arrival of the Spanish. From Trujillo one can travel to the historical landmarks of both the ancient Moche and Chimú cultures. Of particular interest are the archeological sites of Huaca del Sol y Huaca de la Luna, El Brujo and the mud-brick city of Chan Chan.
The city of Trujillo offers all the sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis, while main- taining an undeniable small-town feel. The greenness of the city contrasts nicely with the Andean mountains draped in brown, and a variety of restaurants, bars, hotels, churches and museums invite visitors to ex- plore and enjoy Trujillo's modern and his- torical landscapes. The city is best explored on foot, and most of the popular plazas, ho- tels, restaurants and colonial casas antiguas are located in Old Town. Allow at least half
a day to wander around Trujillo's colonial core, where you'll find a score of well-pre- served homes and churches located to the north of the Plaza de Armas.
Art enthusiasts and history buffs should definitely plan a visit to Iglesia y Monas- terio El Carmen, which offer Trujillo's best collection of colonial art. Located nearby is the Museo Arqueológico, which special- izes in Peruvian history from 12,000 BC to the arrival of the Spanish. Be aware that in Trujillo siestas are taken seriously and most sites are closed from 1-4 p.m.
If you desire an escape from the honking taxistas and bustle of city life, check out nearby Huanchaco, a small fishing and surf- ing village teeming with hotels, guest houses and restaurants, famous for its narrow- pointed fishing rafts. Another point of de- parture from Trujillo is Puerto Malabrigo (Chicama), known to surfers as the best surf beach in Peru, and located just 70 kilometers (43 milles) north of the city.
The city, 563 kilometers (350 miles) north of Lima and now known as Trujillo has been a thriving metropolis as long as people have lived there—and that is a long time, going back millennia. The fertile earth of the Río Moche valley, a linear oasis running north- south through northern Peru's arid regions, served as the cradle of many early civiliza- tions, most notably the Moche (pronounced Moh-Chey), whose strong agriculture and fishing-based economy led to the rise of one of the largest pre-Columbian empires, from 200 BC to 700 AD—before the rise of Chimús, and the later Incas.
The Moche became expert craftsmen, ex- celling in ceramics (offering detailed de- pictions of all facets of daily life for the Moche, including some of the most sexu- ally explicit figures in the western hemi- sphere), textiles and metallurgy. The large pyramids in the centers of their towns were tributes to their gods, but today serve as tributes to the Moche aptitude in building and design. Now their legacy is historical ruins, some of the biggest and most de- tailed in all of Latin America.
The Spanish arrived in 1534, and Diego de Al- magro named it Villa Trujillo, after Trujillo in Extremadura, Spain, birthplace of Francisco Pizarro. Three years later, Charles I of Spain officially designated Trujillo a city. Its coat of arms claims Trujillo as la Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera, The City of Eternal Spring. Tru- jillo soon became a major trading and com- mercial port. Indeed, its success was such that in 1685, a wall was constructed along the city perimeter to curb pirate raids on Trujillo. The enclosed sections of Trujillo are now a his- toric colonial center, featuring elegant classic houses, churches and public squares.
Trujillo is now the second largest city in Peru, home of the famous marinera dance, which combines European and indigenous styles, and is the taking off point for Peru's largest crop export, asparagus. Trujillo has a reputation of being a cleaner city than Lima, and the charm of its colonial heritage is enhanced by its proximity to archaeologi- cal wonders such as the ancient city of Chan Chan, and the Huaca del Sol pyramid.
Three areas serve as the central points for bus offices. On Avenida del Ejército, just past Avenida España, are the offices for Ormeño, Cial, Civa, Oltursa, Flores and Vía. The office for Cruz del Sur is around the corner on Ama- zonas and Emtrafesa, two blocks from Túpac Amaru 185 and across from the cemetery.
The second grouping of bus agency offices is on Avenida Mansiche, between Avenida Juan Pablo II and Ovalo Cassines. There are Ittsa (two stations: one for buses to Lima, another for north-bound buses), Chinchay Suyo, El Sol and Ethmopesa.
The third major area for interdepartmental buses is on Avenida América. Móvil Tours is near Ovalo Larco and Línea is midways be- tween Ovalos Larco and Grau. Línea has in- town ticket offices at Carrión 140, a half-block from Avenida Mansiche, and at Orbegoso
300. Open Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m.-noon, 4-8 p.m.
To Lima: Most buses leave between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to mid- night, the ride takes eight to nine hours. Many companies have different levels of service that are sold for different prices: Cial, $14-24; Cruz del Sur in addition leaves at 8:30 a.m. ($12-32); Ittsa, $19-37; Línea additionally has five buses running from 8 a.m.-noon ($12-40); and Móvil has special tickets for $27. Other companies that also
take the route to Lima are: Oltursa, Flores, Vía, Civa and Emtrafesa.
To Huaraz-Línea: 9 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 9 hours ($14-24), Móvil: 9 p.m., 8:30 p.m., also to Caraz, 8-9 hours ($14).
To Cajamarca-Emtrafesa: 9:45 p.m., 6 hours, Línea: 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., every 15 minutes from 10-11:30 p.m., 8 hours ($7-14)
To Jaén-Línea: 1:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 7 hours, transfer in Chiclayo ($6-8)
To Chachapoyas-Móvil: 4 p.m., 16 hours ($22)
To Tarapoto-Móvil: 3 p.m., 18 hours ($29-35)
To Chiclayo-Emtrafesa: half-hourly, 4:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., 3 hours ($5), Línea: hourly,
3.5 hours ($4)
To Piura-Emtrafesa: 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.,
11:30 p.m. for 6 hours ($3), Ittsa: 1:30 p.m.,
11:30 p.m., 11:45 p.m., 6 hours ($9-15), Línea:
hourly 6 a.m.-4 p.m. with transfer in Chiclayo,
2:15 and 11 p.m. direct, 6-7 hours ($10-12). There are also buses to Piura with Chinchay Suyo (on to Sullana) and Ethmopesa.
To Paita-Ittsa: 11:40 p.m., 7 hours ($9)
To Máncora / Tumbes-Emtrafesa: 7 p.m., 8-10 hours ($7-9), El Sol: (8:30 p.m.,
7 hours ($8)
Ormeño's north-bound international buses pass through Trujillo on their way to Guayaquil, Ecuador daily at 11:45 p.m. ($75), to Quito, Ecuador ($80), to Cali, Co- lombia ($145) and to Bogotá, Colombia on Monday and Fridays at 10:30 p.m.($170). More buses pass through Trujillo headed north to Cúcuta, Colombia ($180) and Caracas, Venezuela on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. ($180). For southern destinations (La Paz, Bolivia; Santiago de Chile; Men- doza and Buenos Aires, Argentina), buses leave from Lima.
Aeropuerto Carlos Martínez de Pinillos is off the highway toward Huanchaco (Tel: 51-44-
464-013). A taxi to the airport costs $3.35-5. Huanchaco combis drop you off about one ki- lometer (0.6 miles) from the airport. LanPe- ru has three daily flights to Lima (starting at
$129, 1 hour) (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Amaru 490, Tel: 20-1859).
Taxis around town typically cost $1, and more for longer distances. A combi ride within the city limits costs $0.25-0.40.
Visitors are warned frequently about walking beyond the Avenida España ring that circles the city, as well as walking in the vicinity of the bus stations. Other problematic areas, even in daylight, are the Buenos Aires Beach and the roads near Chan Chan, Huaca Arco Iris, Huaca Esmeraldas (especially) and Hua- ca El Brujo. It is better to take tours through agencies to these places or hire a taxi. Take exceptional care at the bus stop to Huacas Luna and Sol and at the Terminal Terrestre Interurbano, where many drug addicts and drunks hang out on the street, waiting to rob pedestrians. Best to take a taxi
Trujillo's iPeru office has good maps and information about the city and surrounding region Open Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Jirón Pizar- ro 402, Mezzanine, Tel. / Fax: 51-4-429-
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. With this status comes plenty of activities that can't be experienced anywhere else. Visit the remaining funerary towers of the ancient Colla people who once dominat- ed Lake Titicaca. The towers once contained the remains of tribal families and their be- longings. Island hop from floating island to floating island on a reed boat. Spend the night with local families who are warm and will welcome you to experience their tradi- tions. Buy unique handicrafts, clothes and jewelry from markets throughout the lake. Photograph the deep hues of the lake against the bright white snowcapped peaks. Visit old churches and even older ruins scattered around the islands and shores of Lake Titicaca. Taste local foods or learn native dances. This is just the beginning of what the shores and depths of Lake Titicaca have to offer!
Like all major cities in Latin America, Tru- jillo has its share of chain shopping malls and supermarkets selling typical global corporate products. For tourists with more specialized tastes, the Gamarra neighbor- hood has a number of clothing shops. The Museo de Arqueología and the Museo Cassinelli sell Chimú and Moche ceramics, and Avenida España offers a craft market. Neighboring Huanchaco has more options, including a folk art market along its beach that sells jewelry and other crafts.
As one of Peru's largest cities, Trujillo has a wide variety of activities within and sur- rounding the city to keep even the most stir crazy tourists entertained. In Trujillo's Plaza de Armas, you can watch the locals stroll about this quaint park. Trujillo has a couple of museums, including Museo del Juguete and Museo de Arqueología. The colonial mansions are also worth a visit, many have been maintained and give you a sense of what things were like here hundreds of years ago. Outside of Trujillo many archaeological sites are worth your exploration.
All of the downtown city streets lead to the plaza where a baroque-style center monument that salutes liberty, created by Edmundo Mül- ler can be seen. Or, as is always allowed, you can pass the day in this open and grandiose plaza. As with any public square, be careful of pickpockets and thieves.
As a historic commercial center, Trujillo is home to a number of colonial mansions. The following are visiting hours for the most popular: Casa del Mayorazgo, 9:15 to
12:30, Mon. to Fri. Casa Bracamonte, visits restricted Casa Ganoza Chopitea and Casa de la Emancipación, 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 to 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
(ENTRANCE: $1.70 Adults, $0.35 Students) Highly recommended by the guides of the ar- chaeological sites outside of town, the museum highlights the distinct pre-Hispanic cultures of the region. On display here are reproductions of murals found in Huaca de la Luna, which is presently under excavation. Open Monday,
9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, 9:15 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Junín 682. Tel: 51-4-424-9322.
If you make it to Café y Museo del Juguete, definitely take the trip upstairs to the Museo del Juguete, where you will encounter a mod- est but interesting display of rattlers, whis- tles, figurines, and other Chancay, Moche and Chimú toys dating as far back as 1000 BC.
Art aficionados should walk over to the gal- lery next door where there are paintings by Gerado Chavez and his lesser-known brother. Open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Inde- pendencia 705. Tel: 51-4-429-7200
Museo de Historia Natural de la UPAO has a collection of flora, fauna and fossils of the re- gion (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-noon, 3-5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-noon., Avenida América Sur 3145. Entry: free).
Museo de Zoología Juan Ormea Rodríguez has exhibits of taxidermy ani- mals and birds from the coastal and Andean regions (Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Jirón San Martín 368. Entry: foreigners $0.70, na- tional adults $0.20, students $0.10).
Museo de Arte Moderno exhibits local artist Gerardo Chávez's personal collection of works by Guzmán, Wifredo Lam and others, as well as his own work (Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sunday 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Pro- longación Avenida Francisco Villareal y Car- retera Industial Km 3.5, Tel: 51-4-421-5668. Entry: adults $3.35, children $1.70).
Museo Catedrálico has religious art and a mural-decorated crypt (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 4-7 p.m., Jirón Orbegoso 419, Plaza de Armas, adjoining the cathedral. Entry: adults $1.35, university students
$0.70, children $0.35).
Museo Cassinelli houses more than 6,000 pieces of pre-Columbian pottery, jewelry, textiles and musical instruments (daily 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 3-7 p.m., Avenida Nicolás de Piérola 607. Entry: free).
NOTE: Most museums are centrally lo- cated. For the Museo de Arte Moderno: on Avenida Los Incas, catch a north-bound "A-Huanchaco" combi. Tell the driver to let you off at La Villa Real, which is a half block from the museum ($0.50). A taxi costs about $3 one way.