Huanchaco, Trujillo and the Festival de la Marinera

Welcome to Trujillo, the city of everlasting spring. 32ºC, it feels like the hottest of summers here. The bus from Naranjos arrived at 11 AM after making a stop in Chiclayo. My nostrils got impregnated with the smell of salt and fish: finally, the ocean.

I was supposed to spend a few weeks in Chiclayo working with The Green Lion again, but unfortunately the project was canceled last minute. So, I continued South to Trujillo, where I was eager to arrive for the 57th Festival de la Marinera.

Held every last week of January, the festival is all about the traditional Peruvian dance that has been declared cultural heritage of the country. The Marinera is a blend of Spanish, Moorish, Andean and Gypsy rhythmic influences and you can’t help but feeling hypnotized by the colors women’s clothes and their movements.

The Marinera is a dance of seduction, where both the woman and the man wave their handkerchiefs while dancing around each other.

I was Couchsurfing at Sara’s place, a primary school teacher from Lima, back in Peru for a sabbatical year after living in Norway for the past two decades. In Sara I found a new friend and confident, and I spent four awesome days at her place.

Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1534, Trujillo has 709,500 inhabitants. Its beautiful Plaza de Armas and its glamorous colonial streets filled with colorful buildings are unique and worth a visit themselves.

Though, the main reason why most people pass through the coastal city is to visit one of Peruvian top-attraction: the Chimú adobe city of Chan Chan.

Build around AD 1300, Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, and the largest adobe city in the world. You can visit it by taking a combi from C/España. The ticket (10 S) includes entrance to the Nik-An temple, the Chan Chan museum, the Huaca la Esmeralda and the Huaca Arco Iris.

A bit further from the city, the Huaca del Sol y la Luna (entrance 10 S) is over 700 years older than Chan Chan and belongs to the Moche culture. The temple is filled with icons representing Aiapaec, the god of the mountains, feared for provoking phenomena like El Niño. To stop him from sending heavy rains, the Moches would offer him human sacrifices.

The god of the mountain according to the Moches

The god of the mountain according to the Moches

After a few days in the city, it was great to move to Huanchaco, only 12 km outside Trujillo. Once a quiet fishing hamlet, the town is now filled with fellow backpackers and hot, tanned surfers.

Huanchaco gave me the best of welcomes and filled my days with lots of interesting encounters.

I feel so blessed for every single day I’m living, I can’t believe this can be forever if I decide I want it to…

At sunset, the sun was like a huge red cookie dunked in a big cup full of milk. After a party by the beach, I went back to the hostel and stayed up until 4 AM talking to the other travelers. Everybody has some art to sell or some talent they use to sponsor their trips, whether that is painting, playing some instrument, tattoos or jewelry.

Windysson is from Brazil. He travels thanks to his paintings and tattoos.

 I am in awe at this huge community of travelers and it feels great to be part of it. I feel like I finally found my spot in the world, my spot being the world itself.

I thought Huanchaco was the perfect place to get my very first tattoo. I asked Windy to draw something representing the freedom that comes from traveling…



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1 Response

  1. Sara Maria says:

    I am happy you had such a great time in Trujillo – Huanchaco, and I am honored I’ve been a part of it. Travelling is indeed, the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Good luck on your next adventure!

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