How to Spend 24 Hours in Trujillo, Peru

A look at the city of Trujillo
A look at the city of Trujillo | © Urande / Pixabay
Brandon Dupre

The northern city of Trujillo is Peru’s third largest city, and easily has enough going on to keep you entertained for at least a week. If you only have a day to spare, here’s a guide to seeing all the ancient ruins, colonial architecture, beautiful buildings, and still have time to surf and eat some of the country’s best ceviche.

Take to the waves on ancient caballitos de totora reed boats

One of the oldest traditions in all of Peru is practised by the fishermen in the fishing village of Huanchaco, a 15-minute bus ride from Trujillo. There you’ll find the fishermen building reed boats to fishing in the water just outside of the beach, a tradition that has continued for 3,000 years. The fishermen and their boats have become the symbol of this beach town, and are one of the more iconic images in Peru. Take some photos of them and, if you work up the courage, some will even let you try and surf on their boats.

The Huanchaco reed boats

Enjoy local cuisine

Huanchaco has become one of the foodie capitals of Peru. You’ll find everything from fresh seafood, classics ceviche and interesting fusions. The beach town is also known for its great selection of vegetarian and vegan restaurants – they have some of the best picarones stands in Peru, just off the pier at night.

Explore the ruins

Before the Incas took over all of Peru, the area of Trujillo was ruled by two of the country’s first civilizations. The Moches ruled the area from around 100 to 800 AD, and their ruins can still be visited. Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna are the best representation of the Moche culture and their buildings. The most popular ruins to visit in the area are Chan Chan. They were built by the Chimu culture, the second civilization to inhabit the Trujillo area. The site is most frequented because of its grand size and the quality of its ruins. It is only a 10-minute bus ride from Trujillo or Huanchaco.

The ruins of Chan Chan

Learn to surf

If you want to learn how to surf, Huanchaco is a great place to give the sport a try. There are plenty of surf schools in the area, and there seems to always be some swell.

A sunset over the beach town of Huanchaco

Experience a night in Trujillo

Plan to catch the sun setting over the colonial center in Trujillo and then stroll the city in the cool night breeze. The historical center is known for its stunning colonial architecture and beauty. If you want to learn more about the city center and its surrounding buildings, you can take a walking tour of the area.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article