Only 12 km (7 miles) from Trujillo, on the way past the entrance to Chan Chan, lies the desert port of Huanchaco.
Once a fishing village, Huanchaco has grown in popularity and size, and now boasts dozens of small hotels, hostels and restaurants catering to locals, surfers and overseas travellers.
Huanchaco fishermen still use caballitos, boats made from the totora reeds that grow in the marshy area at the north end of the town. They go out when the fish are biting and surf back a few hours later with their catch, selling it immediately on the beach and then stacking their caballitos along the beachfront to dry.
Adventurous travelers can rent a caballito for a few soles, ask a fisherman to paddle them out, and then surf back.
Built in 1540, the Santuario de la Virgen del Socorro is a white church on the bluff overlooking Huanchaco and is reputedly the second oldest in Peru. It is usually open during the day, and you can climb the belfry for good views. The church is a landmark for pilots arriving at Trujillo airport, just behind.
The surf here is gentle enough for caballitos and appropriate for beginning surfers. Wetsuits are recommended since water temperatures range from 18˚C – 22˚C (64˚F – 72˚F); it is warmest in January to March. You can rent a board, take lessons, or arrange a tour to one of the more difficult areas.
How to Visit: Trujillo Airport, with its good connections to and from Lima, is only a short taxi ride away from Huanchaco, so the town makes a good option for those who prefer a seaside base for visiting Trujillo and the surrounding archaeological sites, such as the aforementioned Chan Chan and Huaca de la Luna.
A short visit to Huanchaco is also included in a number of overland itineraries: