Huanchaco is a sleepy little beach town in the North of Peru. And is most famous for it’s proximity to the Chan Chan ruins. Buses leave town for Mancora in the evenings only, so we found ourselves stopped here for a couple of days on our way up the North of Peru. If you’re keen in visiting Chan Chan and you too find yourself in this little town here’s all the things to do in Huanchaco to pass some time.
1. visit chan chan
Chan Chan are pre-Incan ruins situated a 15 minute bus ride from Huanchaco. Located by the sea they are thought to have been a capital city for the Chimu empire. The huge walls made from adobe brick shelter the complex from the strong winds coming off the ocean. However, as adobe is made from organic material the complex is slowly crumbling away, made worse by additional rains and flooding. Once there you can hire a guide to walk you around the complex. Or like us, you can just wander around yourself and take in the beautiful geometric designs representing fish and seabirds and towering walls. It’s also a great little spot for a couple of gram-worthy shots too!
QUICK FACTS: COST: 10 sole (or $3USD) | TIME NEEDED: 3 hours | GETTING THERE: Take one of the local buses (they are red and say Trujillo on the side). When you get on ask them to drop you at ‘la entrada a Chan Chan’. It will cost you 1 sole.
2. Brunch at chocolate cafe
Now ya’ll know I’m a sucker for a good brunch. So when I stumbled across Chocolate Cafe, a quaint little spot in the middle of town, I was overjoyed. They have a number of economical brunch options, my favourite being the Inglaterra. It comes with eggs any way, bacon, mushrooms and tomato, along with fresh bread, coffee and juice. I added some avo on the side… Because, Australia.
QUICK FACTS: COST: 15 sole (or $5USD). | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour. | GETTING THERE: Take a stroll along the main street that’s on the beach. You’ll find Chocolate Cafe on the corner between Calle Colon and Calle Jr Liberdad.
3. wander around Trujillo
If you’re going to take the bus to Chan Chan, you may as well jump back on and head into Trujillo. While there isn’t too much to do there, it has a really pretty Plaza De Armas. As well as a huge array of shops (they even have a H&M). So I’d recommend spending an afternoon wandering around the town, grabbing a spot of coffee and doing a touch of shopping. Go on, you deserve it.
QUICK FACTS: COST: 3 sole (or $.50USD) return on the bus. | TIME NEEDED: 3 hours. | GETTING THERE: Take one of the local buses (they are red and say Trujillo on the side). And ask them to drop you in Trujillo. We got dropped at the most touristy street, Calle Jiron Obegoso.
4. take a surf lesson
Surfing is one of the main things to do in Huanchaco, so there are plenty of places to take a surf lesson. Also, if you’re already a gnarly surfer, it’s super easy hire a board and catch waves right from the main beach.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $10USD+ for board rental or lesson | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | GETTING THERE: Head to the main street along the beach and you’ll find plenty of places.
5. Dinner at menuland
MenuLand is the perfect spot if you’re after a cheap and cheerful burger and fries combo. It’s a quaint little restaurant with one bbq manned by your lovely host. They also make a mean pisco sour. And your burger comes with about 8 different sauces for you to try. Winning!
QUICK FACTS: COST: $2USD+ | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | GETTING THERE: Menu Land is located on Calle La Liberdad. Turn left off the main road along the beach.
6. people watch at the pier
Huanchaco is a quiet surf town. However, it seems most people tend to congregate around the pier. Therefore spend the afternoon watching street vendors, surfers and tattoo artists selling their wares. And then buy a couple of beers from a nearby tienda and watch the sun setting over the beach.
QUICK FACTS: COST: free | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | GETTING THERE: You can’t miss it!