Stand in the right spot and the glamorously colonial streets of old Trujillo look like they’ve barely changed in hundreds of years. Well, there are more honking taxis now – but the city still manages to put on a dashing show with its polychrome buildings and profusion of colonial-era churches. Most people come here to visit the remarkable pre-Incan archaeological sites nearby, spending just a short time wandering the compact city center.
The behemoth Chimú capital of Chan Chan is nearby. It was the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, making it the top attraction in the region. Other Chimú sites bake in the surrounding desert, among them the immense and suitably impressive Moche Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon), which date back 1500 years.
Beachbums may consider staying in the laid-back surfer village of Huanchaco, just 20 minutes up the road.