- Access Routes
- Historical Overview
• Location: The department of La Libertad is situated in the north of Peru.
• Area: 25 962 km2
• Capital: Trujillo (34 masl)
• Altitude: 3 masl (Salaverry) Lowest town. 4 008 masl (Quiruvilca) highest town.
• Average annual temperature: 18º C (30º C maximum and 16º C minimum).
• Rainy season: June to August.
• By road: Lima-Trujillo (561 km) – approximately 8 h by car along the North Pan American Highway.
• By air: Daily flights available from Lima to Trujillo (approximately 45 minutes).
The population of La Libertad dates back 12 000 years, as proved by the archaeological ruins found in the Paijan, La Cumbre and Quinhua Plains. Chala and Yunga regions were the sites of the great Cupisnique, Salinar, Virú, Chimú and Mochica cultures. The famous examples of ceramic vessels (depicting faces) and the pyramid temples belong to the Mochica or Moche culture (third to seventh centuries AD); the latter are proof of the great architectural skills acquired by the Mochicas. Subsequently, this area was inhabited by the Chimu culture (twelfth to fifteenth centuries AD). With Chan Chan as its capital, this was the largest adobe metropolis in pre-Hispanic America and the second largest in the world. These people were also prominent goldsmiths and their extensive network of aqueducts reveals their highly advanced farming techniques. After encountering much resistance, the Incas conquered this kingdom in the fifteenth century. Founded in 1 534, when the Spaniards arrived in this valley, Trujillo became one of the main viceroyal cities. Trujillo was the first city in the north of Peru to proclaim its independence on December 29th, 1 820. Now an economic and cultural center for the north of Peru, it is famous for its Marinera and Resbalosa folk dancing festivals, and a breeding ground for Peruvian Pace Horses; moreover, the traditional “caballitos de totora*” or reed boats can still be seen on the lovely local beaches.
Attractions in the city
Corner of Jr. Independencia and Jr. Orbegoso. Visits: Monday to Sunday 7:00-12:00 and 17:00-19:00. Situated in the Main Square, this building dates back to 1 686. It is a large temple that contains valuable works of art. Prominent among these are the high altar, Cusco School paintings and some sculptures.
El Carmen Monastery
Corner of calle Colón and calle Bolívar. Visits: Monday to Saturday 9:00-11:00 and 16:00-17:00. Built in 1 759, this is one of the most beautiful architectural complexes in the city. It is formed by a temple and a cloister that contains about 150 canvasses, most of them from the XVII and XVIII centuries, several of which pertain to the Quito School.
La Merced Church
Jr. Francisco Pizarro 550. Visits: Monday to Sunday 7:00-12:00 and 17:00-20:00. The façade of this church has superimposed architectural orders, the pendentive represents passages from the life of San Pedro Nolasco. The rococo style organ in the high choir stall is the only one of its kind in the city.
San Francisco Church
Corner of Jr. Independencia and calle Gamarra. Visits: Monday to Sunday 7:00-12:00 and 17:00-20:00. The high altar, the polychrome altarpieces, the eighteenth century pulpit and the lectern from which San Francisco Solano predicted the earthquake that destroyed Trujillo in 1 619, are all worthy of admiration. Prominent are the figures that decorate the church, depicting characters from the Scriptures or, in the gallery across the church, the lives of the saints. The ancient convent is the current site of San Juan School, where poet Cesar Vallejo once taught.
Jr. Pizarro 668. Visits: Monday to Saturday 8:00 10:00. Built in the nineteenth century, this is the best example of neoclassic civil architecture, which remains unchanged to this day. It is now the headquarters of Club Central, the first social center in Trujillo. Outstanding are its columns, railings on the windows and Italian marble statues.
Ganoza Chopitea House
Jr. Independencia 630. The most representative house in the city, given its architectural and decorative properties. Its polychrome baroque portal is crowned with a rococo gable and two lions, therefore it is often referred to as the House with the Lion Portal. It has mannerist style murals, imperial windows and a neo-baroque balcony.
Jr. Pizarro 610.
Visits: Monday to Saturday 9:30-13:00 and 17:00-20:00.
Referred to as the Civic Sanctuary of Trujillo, because it is where Marques de Torre Tagle planned the city’s independence in 1 820. It was the site of the first Constituent Congress and the Government Palace for Riva Agüero. It is currently the site of permanent cultural exhibitions.
Trujillo University Archaeological Museum
Jr. Junín 682.
Visits: Monday 9:00-14:00, Tuesday to Friday 9:30-13:00; Saturday and Sunday 9:30-16:30.
One of the best equipped museums in Peru, with cultural expressions from the department’s various pre/Hispanic periods, particularly pottery, textiles, metallurgy and artwork with feathers.
Jr. San Martín 368.
Visits: Monday to Friday 7:00-19:00.
A display of various species of fauna typical of the region, such as birds, fishes, reptiles, insects and camelidae.
Outskirts of the city
Chan Chan. (Janj-Janj in the Mochica dialect, meaning Sun-Sun)
Located in the Moche valley, 5 km northwest from the city. Visits: Monday to Sunday 9:00-17:00. About a 10 minute drive from Trujillo, this was the largest mud city in pre-Hispanic America. It was the capital of the Gran Chimu Kingdom and covered 20 km2, from the proximity of Port Huanchaco to Mount Campana, with an estimated population of over 100 thousand people. The citadel consists of squares, dwellings, warehouses, workshops, mazes, walls, excellent paths and pyramid temples. Its enormous walls were intricately decorated with geometric figures, zoomorphic and mythological characters. The archaeological complex was declared a Cultural Heritage of Mankind. There is a museum on the site.
El Brujo Archaeological Complex
Situated in the Chicama Valley, 59 km from Trujillo, about 1 h and 25 minutes by car.
Visits: by appointment only.
This is one of the most valuable archaeological monuments on Peru’s northern coast, since this is where a number of cultures developed since the pre-Ceramic period (5 000 years ago), until the viceroyal period.
Huaca del Sol
This burial ground is situated in the Moche countryside, 8 km from Trujillo, about 15 minutes by car. It is an unevenly shaped pyramid more than 20 m tall. According to tradition, it was built in only three days, using 250 thousand men and about 70 million adobe bricks. It preserves the beautiful harmony of its volumetric features, with platforms placed at regular intervals. It was used for funeral and ceremonial purposes and possibly also as an administrative and dwelling place for the elite.
Huaca de la Luna
8 km from Trujillo, about 15 minutes by car.
Visits: Monday to Sunday 9:00-17:00.
This burial ground is also situated in the Moche valley, opposite Huaca del Sol. It is much smaller, but there are still some murals left on the top of the walls, with clearly defined outlines, depicting the face of the god AI-APAEK.
It is a 21 m tall monument of superimposed temples, a treasure chest of marvelous surprises, in which archaeologists discovered a tomb containing more than 40 sacrificed warriors.
Huaca El Dragón o Arcoiris
5 km from Trujillo, about 15 minutes by car. Decorated with anthropomorphous figures and stylized figures resembling a centipede.
Huaca La Esmeralda
Situated in the El Cortijo Cooperative, 3 k. from Trujillo, about 8 minutes by car. It comprises various superimposed terraces, to which access is gained by ramps.
Huanchaco Beach Resort
Situated 13 km northwest of Trujillo, this area is famous for its caballitos de totora*. Like all beaches on the northern coast of Peru, this is a favorite spot for surfers.
Caballitos de Totora
Artisanal totora reed rafts from Mochica times used by fishermen to fish in the sea. Two types of fishing is practiced: one using bait (individual fishing) and another using a fishnet (requiring two men).
The northern Marinera dance, cock fights, Peruvian Pace Horses, etc.
Mostly straw and carved leather items, as well as wood carvings, silver filigree, robes, ponchos and woolen shawls from Otuzco, Huamachuco and Pataz.
• Cebiche (chopped raw fish marinated in lime, with onions and hot chili peppers).
• Seco de cabrito con frijoles (tender goat stew, marinated in chicha de jora and vinegar and served with beans cooked in onions and garlic).
• Shambar (wheat soup with pork, pulses, coriander and hot chili peppers).
• Sopa teóloga (chicken soup with soaked bread, potatoes, milk and cheese).
• Frijoles a la Trujillana (black beans with sesame seeds and red chili peppers).
• Pepián de Pava (turkey stew with rice, tender crushed corn, coriander and hot chili peppers).
• Pescado a la Trujillana (steamed fish with an egg and onion sauce)
National Marinera Competition (January)
A competition in which members of dance academies from all over the country participate. A queen is elected and there is a prize for the best typical costume. This is the best opportunity to enjoy the display of northern “marinera” dancers.
Surfing Competition (March)
This takes place in Malabrigo breach, 70 k. north of Trujillo, which has the longest waves in the world. Surfers from different places compete in this event.
International Spring Festival. (September / October)
Competitions of the different variations of the “marinera” dance are held during this festival. Throughout the week, all the streets and houses are decorated, there are float parades, and teams of school children dance through the streets, led by the Spring Queen.
Virgen de la Puerta de Otuzco Festival (December)
This virgin is considered to be the Patron of the North of Peru and the Queen of World Peace. The main celebration is on the 15th, referred to as THE DAY, when the image of the virgin is taken down from its altar, whilst the public chant canticles, pray and deposit miracles and jewelry. This is followed by a procession. .
• Land Transport
• Health Centers
• Police Stations
• Handicrafts Markets
• Post Office