Trujillo & Chiclayo

You can’t help but feel like you’re in an adventure movie as you stand within the pyramids and mazes of the America’s oldest civilizations, looking at the incredibly preserved friezes that tell of ancient rituals of human sacrifice, with archeologists diligently at work hoping to beat the grave robbers. The Northern Kingdoms of Peru—centered around the cities of Trujillo and Chiclayo—truly leave much to be discovered, and it feels certain that an ancient gold artifact or mummy’s royal tomb hide just beneath your feet.

The region was once home to the ancient pre-Inca civilizations of Moche (ca. 200 BCE-850 CE), Lambayeque/Sicán (ca. 750-1375 CE) and Chimú (ca. 850-1470 CE). An incredible wealth of remains and artifacts displayed in truly great museums, and ruins dating back thousands of years make this region well worth getting off the beaten track.

The colonial streets of the old city of Trujillo have long inspired poets and political activists and boast a plentitude of churches and beautiful colonial buildings. But most visitors come attracted by the spectacular ruins just outside of town.

The ruins of Chan Chan—capital city of the wealthy Chimú civilization—was once the largest adobe city in the world, and the largest pre-Colombian city in the Americas, thought to be home to 60,000 inhabitants at its peak. As you explore the labyrinth of passageways, and ceremonial courtyards, with adobe friezes showing waves of fish and seabirds, one gets a deep sense of the ancient world.

The nearby Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon) were home to the Moche culture and despite being more than 1500 years old, they display astonishingly well-preserved polychrome friezes, in several layers and surprising natural colors. Built over centuries and different kingships, and still under restoration and cleaning process, the temples aim at telling the intriguing story of the history of a civilization. The El Brujo Archeological complex, which was home to the area’s oldest civilization and later occupied by the Moche, is an absolute must for history and archaeology lovers.

For some beach time, visit the nearby town of Huanchaco, home to the legendary ancient reed boat “Caballito de Tortora,” considered as surfing’s precursor and still used today by local fishermen. Fresh “ceviches” in local restaurants are a delight on warm days. The farther but famous Puerto Chicama is a hotspot for surfers, offering one of the longest left point breaks in the world.

Chiclayo is known for a long history of buried treasure and remarkable wealth, and is surrounded by Moche and Chimú tombs and temples that once housed incredible artifacts. Don’t miss the Royal Moche Tomb of Sipán, which was only discovered by archeologists in 1987 but first was looted by “huaqueros”—temple robbers. Still, much of the site was untouched by the time archeologists started to dig, leaving hundreds of amazing artifacts at its fascinating state-of-the-art museum. This is one of the many local sites where excavation is still in the works and much left to be discovered. Famous for its culinary tradition, don’t miss out on local cuisine – Northern gastronomy is a highlight for Peruvians themselves.

Trujillo & Chiclayo

  • Incredible wealth of remains from Pre-Inca cultures still in discovery and restoration process
  • State-of-the-art museums
  • Renowned Northern Peru’s gastronomy, with Fiesta restaurant in Chiclayo as its flagship exponent


Do not miss the top-notch museums and tasting the local culinary delights.

Enigma’s Top Signature Experiences:
History & archaeology, gastronomy.

Recommended for:
All, but especially fascinating for travellers interested in history & archaeology – excavations still in process in most of the area sites.

Best in city hotels or 3* rustic lodges.

Sea level.

No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 2
No. 1
previous arrow
next arrow

The above is just a flash glimpse on this part of Peru. Contact us for more information on this destination, experiences it can offer and for our team to design a tailor-made visit for you.


Discover Peru’s highlights and some of our favorites by browsing the different key destinations below.










Any destination you have heard about and you can’t find here? We have chosen to display the most renowned 
destinations but Peru is filled with an endless list of amazing places in areas with little or no tourist affluence, 
offering genuine local experiences and special-interest trips.

Please contact us for more information and discuss updated options.