On January 14, we flew from Quito to Trujillo by making an overnight stop over in Lima. We found a deal on Avianca flights on Kayak for US$233/person and decided to forgo the 24+ hours of Ecuadorean and Peruvian buses. We flew first to Lima, stayed overnight and then flew out the next morning. Had we decided to fly only to Lima, the flights would have cost us US$600 each. -The wacky world of airfares.
The flight to Lima took 2 hours, the plane was clean, stewardesses were friendly and we got a hot meal and wine service. We chatted with this young Peruvian guy sitting next to us named Joan. He warned us about crime in Peru (he was being picked up in the terminal to avoid having to go outside). He recommended some areas in Lima and said he had heard that the sex hotels were good value. He wanted to know what Canada was like and what it took to emigrate. Joan was concerned about our safety and checked up on us the next day.
The airport in Quito is modern, clean and orderly with the arched ceilings you see in all new airports. Lima is another story- crowded old school terminal, tearful families saying goodbye or welcome back, porters, taxi touts, different kinds of policemen and wifi that does not work. We arranged for hotel pick up/drop off which was a good thing in the chaos and worth the US$20. The hotel was Padama Hotel in Callao near the airport. Joan warned us about Callao and lets just say I would not go out alone at night, but for a stop over it worked.
Next morning we took a 1 hour flight to Trujillo, a city on the North Coast area of Peru. It is surrounded by archaeological sites of 2 ancient civilizations. The road into town from the airport goes along the coastal plain. The first thing I noticed was the amount of garbage strewn on the sides of the highway.
Trujillo is the second most populous city in Peru with a population of about 700,000. There is an old colonial centre and more modern sections reaching out on all sides.
We stayed at the Due Hotel a small boutique hotel west of the city centre. The room cost US36/night on booking.com. It looked like a boutique hotel you would expect to find in Canada except for the fact that the window faced inward to the courtyard and the bathroom and the next door bathroom were linked by a high up window for ventilation. This meant sound transfer, and being someone who makes a lot of sound, I had to time by bathroom use to avoid embarrassment.
Eliot struck up a conversation with Patricia, one of the owners. She told us that she loves 80’s new age music. Turns out that she is not alone. In taxis and bars we kept hearing music from the 80’s especially Toto’s “hold the line”.
Trujillo itself is not that pretty. It is located a few km’s east of the coast and the roads outside of the town seem to be used for dumping garbage.
However, the attraction for us is that Trujillo is surrounded by archaeological sites from two important pre-Inca cultures, the Moche and the Chimu. These people worshipped the moon and the mountains (as opposed to the incas who worshipped the sun). The Chimu built a huge walled adobe city near the ocean called Chan Chan and the Moche build these pyramids (Huacha del sol and Huacha de la Luna).
On the first day we did a tour of the sites starting with the Huacha de luna which is like a stepped pyramid (see gallery below). We toured the excavations with a very enthusiastic tour guide that looked a bit like a Peruvian version of the Hawaii 5 0 guy. “These are not ruins.. everything is still here” He explained about the agriculture, irrigation, and human sacrifices (all cultures were doing it). In the afternoon we went to Chan Chan which is closer to the coast and is a huge adobe city, with public squares, alters, artificial lakes and administrative offices. The remains were very impressive in scale and the walls had all kinds of symbols (fish, and spiders) done in a stylized way that looked like MOJI.
On the tour we met an American/Peruvian couple that run a B&B near Cusco and some Brazilians.
The food in Trujillo was excellent. We had Ceviche (fish and seafood cured in lemon juice) and Chicharron (deep friend fish and seafood and “chifa” (chinese/peruvian fusion). The food was very fresh and full of taste.