Huanchaco is a sleepy little coastal town located on the outskirts of Trujillo, it’s larger and more industrialised neighbour. Like the countryside surrounding it, Huanchaco is a pale dusty place a bit like Ica. It owes its existence to one of the many small river valleys that bring life to this part of the world.
In years gone by Huanchaco was a large port, but that was a long time ago. I imagine that for a period of about a hundred years the town struggled to find its identity; the rich businessmen would have migrated to the city leaving poor unemployed dockworkers and fishermen eking out a living. Sometime in the intervening years however the tourists started to come to the town and life has picked up pace.
During the day there is not much to do in Huanchaco. You can browse the local artisanal markets and stroll along the beach, but the weather is normally quite hot and the beach is mostly empty at the middle of the day. You might be able to see surfers bobbing in the water waiting for the next big wave to bring them in, but other than that it is tranquil. A bit like Spain during siesta time, there are people, but they are not necessarily doing anything.
As a result of the inaction most tourists actually head out of town to explore the area during the day. Some of the highlights include the Huaca De La Luna and the Huaca del Sol (old temples to the moon and the sun, which are two of the largest adobe structures I’ve ever seen in my life).
As the sun makes its downward journey towards the horizon, life picks up pace in Huanchaco. The markets start to become a bit busier (though they are never really heaving) and people come out onto the beach to watch the surfers and the setting sun. However, it is not just the surfers that attract people to the beaches, it is also the small Peruvian fishing boats made of reeds that are unique to Huanchaco. These small boats look a bit like over sized surfboards, which is more or less what they are. These days’ fishermen are just as probably more likely to take tourists out on them than go fishing with them, but it adds to the towns’ novelty.
Sunset at Huanchaco is something special. The sky lights up in a mixture of vivid reds and oranges, before it sets behind the peer. As they say, a photo says a thousand words, but it was definitely one of the best sunsets I had ever seen.