THE QUIET TREASURE OF SOUTH AMERICA: NORTH PERU

SANDY BEACHES, MOUNTAINS, VALLEYS, DESERTS, EXTRAORDINARY ARCHEOLOGICAL FINDINGS, AND INTERESTING MUSEUMS ARE LOCATED IN HERE.

The north coast of Peru that owes its fame to Machu Picchu, which is the masterpiece of the Inca civilization, and the mountainsides in north are the least notable but most colorful areas of the country in the aspects of culture and geography. Sandy beaches, mountains, valleys, deserts, extraordinary archeological findings, and interesting museums are located in here. The natural atmosphere with no mass tourism is surprising. The cities, towns, archeological ruins, museums, and unique dishes of North Peru have people think the country has some qualities that they cannot be underestimated.

The Witch Market
Peru is such a country that one cannot ignore the power of superstitions, which might make life both easier and harder at the same time. The Witch Market in the city of Chiclayo has all kinds of ‘abracadabra’ staff: herbs for stomach problems, plant roots for headaches, and potions… They even sell potions to bring back lovers who have left. You can see good-luck amulets everywhere. A powder that is good for everything from business to curses, from bad luck to victory, and a quiet life is sold widely and on its label it says that it should be taken on Tuesdays and Fridays after reciting a certain prayer for three times and this is the only way to have it work!

The Royal Tombs, eternal resting place for kings
Although Peru is identified with the period of the Inca Empire, many archeological ruins that belong to the pre-Inca period take place around Chiclayo. The magnificent Museum of Sipan that features the findings from the 3rd century royal tombs that are located in Lambayeque, which is 11 km north of Chiclayo, is a must-see. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that this museum is one of the most impressive museums of South America. The Sipan king was their leader as well as being the governor and warrior priest 1700 years ago in Peru. The museum presents the religious beliefs, organizational skills, and superiority of the Moche culture, which is the most important pre-Inca culture. The museum is structured in the shape of a pyramid since it was inspired from Moche temples. Each piece that the king of Sipan took to his eternal journey along with him is displayed in here. The tomb consists of large amount of gold and silver objects, jewelry, ceramic and engraved wooden objects as well as the skeleton of a young guard with a golden shield. The skeletons of two young women, a dog, and a lama accompanied the king of Sipan who was found in a wooden sarcophagus. His chest, which is covered with gold, silver, and bronze, is embellished with priceless gems and golden necklaces.

An elegant city, Trujillo
Trujillo, among the most beautiful cities of North Peru, is the capital of the Libertad region. The city that is surrounded with fertile lands stands out with the best examples of the country’s colonial architecture. The city presents the magnificence of the Renaissance with its squares such as Plaza Mayor where the elegant Saint Martin’s Church of the Middle Ages is situated with its rooftops and towers. Crane nests on the towers of Trujillo are the symbol of the city. The past of the city goes back to the Roman period. A few prominent families with a military background colonized it during the 13th century after it was taken over from the Arabs. Many of the colonial houses are visited as museums today. The interior of the Gothic Santa Maria la Mayor Church is untouched since the 16th century. Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city, takes its most colorful form as the night falls. The sun down creates striking effects on the buildings that surround the plaza.

North is rich in archeology
It can be told that the north coast of Peru is the Egypt of South America. The vicinity of Trujillo is full of archeological findings from the pre-Inca cultures: the pyramids of Chan Chán, Huaca de la Luna, and Huaca del Sol Moche. They had been built with extraordinary skills. Chan Chán, which is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and 5 km away from Trujillo and the capital of the Kingdom of Chimú, is named as the largest adobe city of the ancient world. Among the adobe ruins, which are spread in 20 square kilometers of land, it has been known to exist approximately ten thousand residences, palaces, boulevards, gardens, and aqueducts. Moche, which is 8 km away from Trujillo, is in the middle of nowhere; however, the place is among the most important archeological sites of the region by means of its clay and adobe pyramids. Huaca de la Luna, which means the Pyramid of the Moon, is the smallest of the two pyramids and covered with engravings that resemble animal and human figures. Huaca del Sol, which is located nearby and it means the Pyramid of the Sun, used to be the royal palace of the Moches. The pyramid that used to possess legendary treasures once has been plundered for centuries.

Peruvian curves accompanied by Marinera dance
It is possible to become familiar with the Moche traditions at the village that is nearby Huaca de la Luna. If you spend a few hours with the hospitable family at Restaurant Campestre, you can make sure that they are going to wide open the gates of their hacienda –a farm that can be lodged in– for you. You can enjoy the Marinera –a dance that is unique to the north coast of Peru– and Caballos de Paso –Peruvian riding horses that amble– show on the weekends.

A fishermen’s tradition: reed boats
The beautiful beaches near Trujillo attract surfers. Don’t miss to visit the nice coastal town Huanchaco. The fishermen who go on fishing by their unique reed boats present extraordinary views. You are going to see the reeds as you reach the end of the beach. The fishermen are protective of each other and they take the necessary precautions to conserve the reeds, so they last longer and everyone benefits from them.

ACCOMMODATION
Hotel Libertador, located at the Trujillo square, is the best option to accommodate.

TASTE STOP
The north Peruvian cuisine never becomes monotonous. Try the seafood at Restaurant Big Ben, located at El Mochica, Huanchaco in Trujillo.

TASTE STOP
Club Colonial with its tropical fruit crepes is among the best restaurants of North Peru. It is also an ideal location to view the sunset.