FROM: Mancora, Peru
After toiling my way through the Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash, I was ready for some R&R. You know what they say about “all work and no play.” I’m really not all that sure it applies to me anymore but I’m not taking any chances. So I headed to the beach on the northern coast of Peru as I make my toward Ecuador.
My first stop was Huanchaco, a small surf town immediately west of Trujillo. I spent two quick days there relaxing and sightseeing.
The primary archeological site nearby is Chan Chan, an adobe village between Trujillo and Huanchaco that was constructed around AD 850 by the Chimu kingdom (pre-Inca). A World Heritage Site, Chan Chan once housed over 30,000 people and holds the distinctions of being the largest adobe city in the world and the largest pre-Columbian site in South America. The site has been severely degraded over hundreds of years but the scale and ornamentation remain impressive.
I also visited Huaca Arco-Iris, a religious site constructed by the Chimu. The site is small but has fairly well preserved design work along the interior walls. Worth the visit if you really want to see all Trujillo has to offer. Otherwise, it is probably better to go with Chan Chan and the Huaca del Sol y Luna, the other major attraction in the area.
From Huanchaco, I hopped on another night bus that took me further up the coast to Mancora. Another classic beach city, Mancora is compact and relaxed. No sightseeing here. Just a bit of work and some down time.
Next, it’s on to Cuenca, Ecuador. Now that I have my legs back, I may look into doing some more trekking. I hear Cotopaxi (5,897m), the world’s highest active volcano, can be quite the adventure.