Trujillo, 310 mi/500 km northwest of Lima and one of Peru's largest cities, is mainly used by travelers as a base from which to visit Chan Chan, the ruins of the Chimu civilization, as well as numerous other archaeological sites. In addition, this northern city has fine beaches, a zoology museum (with some dubious taxidermy on display) and an archaeological museum. The Marinera festival (late January) and a series of festivals in August (especially during the third week) are fun events with street processions, music, bullfighting, dances and a variety of food.

Another nearby Chimu site is Arco Iris, a temple and possible burial site, which Francisco Pizarro had covered up with sand to keep it hidden. When it was finally uncovered, the original designs were wonderfully preserved.

On the outskirts of town are some adobe Moche temples. Unfortunately, the original buildings are rather damaged and crumbling—what you'll see now are reconstructions. Tours of the nearby Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Dragon are definitely worth the visit, however.

Huanchaco is a small fishing village 7 mi/11 km to the north where restaurants serve ceviche, and you can watch fishermen take their tortora reed boats out to sea.

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