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Discovering Trujillo, Peru: Must-Visit Highlights and Attractions

If you find yourself on a South American cruise with a brief stop in Trujillo, Peru, or if you’re planning a more extended stay, you’ll definitely want to dive into the rich cultural and historical offerings of this city. During my own visit to Trujillo in December 2019 on a Norwegian Cruise Line journey, I discovered that this desert city, brimming with history, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

Let’s delve into the key attractions in Trujillo that you should not miss on your South American sojourn.

Catedral de Trujillo

Catedral de Trujillo será escenario del concierto por navidad de la  Orquesta Sinfónica de la región - Noticias - Ministerio de Cultura -  Plataforma del Estado Peruano

Trujillo’s crown jewel in architecture is the Catedral de Trujillo. Reconstructed in the 1770s during the Spanish colonial era, this cathedral is a testament to artistic and architectural mastery. It features Baroque-style altars and detailed paintings on its ceilings. The Catedral de Trujillo, located in the city’s main square, remains a vibrant hub for both locals and tourists. Remember to check its opening hours when you visit!

Plaza de Armas de Trujillo

Plaza de Armas de Trujillo - Tours en Trujillo Peru - Excursiones

The Plaza de Armas de Trujillo, known for its beauty and historical significance, is a must-visit. Established in 1534, this plaza is surrounded by vibrant streets, shops, and stunning European-style architecture. At the plaza’s center stands a statue symbolizing freedom, surrounded by other realistic sculptures. It’s an ideal place to absorb the local culture and enjoy the lush gardens.

Chan Chan

Discover the impressive Chan Chan ruins

The archaeological site of Chan Chan, the ancient capital of the Chimu Kingdom, is a testament to pre-Columbian America. Consisting of 10 walled citadels, Chan Chan offers a glimpse into the empire that thrived before succumbing to the Incas. The site’s museum houses various artifacts and provides an insightful video about Chan Chan’s history. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen for this outdoor exploration.

Temples of Moche

The Temples of the Sun and Moon, also known as the Temples of Moche, are about 3 miles south of Trujillo. These ancient pyramidal structures, built by the mysterious Moche civilization, are steeped in history. The larger Temple of the Sun likely served as a governmental center, while the Temple of the Moon was a site for religious ceremonies. The latter features murals of Ai Apeac, the Moche creator god.

Museo Cao

This fascinating museum showcases the “Lady of Cao,” an important mummy found in nearby El Brujo. The Museo Cao provides visitors with an in-depth look at the Moche period’s history and artifacts. Located about two hours from the city center, it’s worth dedicating a full day to this site, possibly combined with a visit to the Huaca de la Luna.

Huaca del Dragon

The Huaca del Dragon, near Chan Chan in Moche Valley, is an ancient religious and administrative center. Known for its intricate designs depicting anthropomorphic figures and rainbows, this Chimu-era pyramid is a sight to behold. Guided tours are recommended for a full historical understanding of this pre-Incan site.

Casa Urquiaga (Casa Calonge)

Situated near Plaza de Armas, Casa Urquiaga is a window into Trujillo’s political history. This colonial-era mansion features opulent interiors, including a desk once used by Simon Bolivar. Visitors can admire its striking blue exterior, explore its rooms adorned with 17th and 18th-century furnishings, and view a collection of Moche and Chimu artifacts.

Trujillo offers an array of stunning sights, making it a highlight of any Peruvian journey. These attractions not only represent the city’s rich history but also provide a memorable experience without breaking the bank, as Peru is known for being one of the more affordable destinations in South America.

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