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Huanchaco

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South America : Peru : Northern Coast : Huanchaco
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Huanchaco is a village on the northern coast of Peru famous for its surfing and the local fishermen's "caballitos". It is a place to relax after visiting Trujillo's colonial centre & archaeological sites. It´s got a nice mellow beach vibe, lots of places to sleep and eat and is just 20 minutes by bus from Trujillo's centre.

Huanchaco in January
Huanchaco beach
Girls in Huanchaco

Get in

The long distant bus terminals are all in Trujillo. Frequent kombis & taxis cost PES/1.50 & PES/12 respectively, from Trujillo or the airport. Taxi drivers prefer to persuade tourists to come to Huanchaco, as there are more opportunities to overcharge from the Trujillo bus terminals, & obtain return trips. For surfers, buses leave Trujillo's Santa Cruz terminal for Puerto Malabrigo (Chicama) every 2 hours. 'Transportes Linea' [1] have the most frequent buses to Pacasmayo, & 'Ormeño' [2](& others near Ormeño) are the most frequent to Mancora.

The Airport is located between Trujillo and Huanchaco. Huanchaco is located outside of Trujillo, which is 560km north of Lima. Flying into Lima leaves one with two options on how to get to Trujillo. There is an hour flight to the Trujillo airport that costs about 80 dollars or you can take an eight hour bus ride to Trujillo which costs between US$7 to US$27.

When to come

Note that while Peru's northern beaches are supposedly marvellous during the coastal summer (December-March), the winter brings cloudy days. Wetsuits mean that you can surf even during coastal winters, but during the months of June-September, be prepared to wear long sleeves in the evenings, and don't expect sunny days.

Get around

A short taxi ride costs PES/2.50, or jump on the kombi as it goes around town & off to Trujillo. Kombis and Buses to Trujillo costs 1.50 soles, Colectivo Taxis cost 2 soles, and Taxis cost between 8 and 13 soles.

See

  • "El Muelle", or the pier, is a landmark of Huanchaco. This steel pier was construced in 1891, it is 108 meters long. It was purchased by Victor Larco in 1902. Due to an economic boom in Huanchaco in 1914, the pier finally became property of the state in 1923.
  • The second oldest church in Peru (1535-1540) overlooks the pier & bay.
  • Every day fishermen use their "Caballitos de totora", reedboats shown in ceramics that date from 500BC.
  • Colonial Trujillo which was built between four Chimú archaeological sites.
  • Go watch a local pickup game of soccer in Cancha Naranja, or other canchas around the village.
  • Experience a real Latin American market with fish flopping around, then being butchered right in front of you. This market place is known as "mercado".

Do

Learn Spanish- the town has several Spanish teachers. Most of them have adverts placed around the town ( often on lamp posts, or in local businesses - e.g the Otra Cosa restaurant ( a vegetarian place ) has a guy who teaches there most days ). You should "shop around" as the teachers generally have differing styles, methods and costs. Most charge between 10-20 soles ( about $4-$8 ) per hour. Ask at Hostel Sudamerica, across from the pier. They will give you the details some local Spanish teachers. Great experience from there. The teachers who advertise heavily around town aren't that great.

Learn to surf, or just watch others. Swimming can be difficult, however, as the waters are very rocky.

There are surf shops nearby where one can easily rent a surfboard.

Taking a ride in the Caballito de Tortora is another fun activity. Since Huanchaco has plenty of fisherman, there are plenty of Caballitos (traditional peruvian fishing boats made of reed). When riding on these boats one experience the feeling of riding a little horse made of reeds. Ask someone to take you out, or demonstrate for maybe US$2 or 3.

Photography is something many do while visiting Huanchaco. There are many things to photograph such as the sea, the old wharf, the fisherman in their caballitos, and the old urban zone that is full of history. e road from Huanchaco past Chan Chan continues to Colonial Trujillo. Another essential thing to do would be to see the Moche Pyramids of El Brujo, Huaca del Sol & Huaca de La Luna.

  • Visit Trujillo's colonial centre
  • Moche Pyramids [3] The best conservation project in Latin America in 2006.
  • El Brujo [4],
  • Chan Chan World Heritage site [5]

Make sure you go with an accredited guide, as there are French, Dutch and German people posing as guides etc., paying commission to bricheros, who are professional tourist parasites. Legitimate businesses and professionals displaying required accreditations and qualifications are normal in Trujillo businesses offices.

Volunteer

Many local volunteer opportunities are available. Street Kids in Peru (in trujillo) helps the homeless to finish their primary & secondary education. The Otra Cosa Network [6] and Espaanglisch [7] do projects from English teaching to helping at an orphanage. OR if you are willing to stay for six months to one year, LaCasaCorazon is a laid-back,long term, relationship building community whose two five year plan projects include building an alternative school.[8] Created in 2003, SKIP (Supporting Kids in Peru) is a British non-profit organisation helping economically-disadvantaged children and their families to realise their right to an education, in El Porvenir, Trujillo. [9]

Buy

The artisans/vendors sitting by and around the pier sell many trinkets that are native to Peru. The exchange rate as of 8/12/2008 is US$1 = 2.85 Peruvian Nuevos Soles. One can usually buy a keychain for the price of about 30 cents. The workers in these artisan stands are bargainers. They are usually willing to negotiate lower prices, so practice your bartering skills! These locals of Huanchaco primarily shop for food at the local Mercado. It's a marketplace full of different stands, each vendor offers a little something different to sell and have their own prices. To buy clothing, one would most likely travel to Trujillo. There are not many clothing stores in Huanchaco. The little shops are mostly targetted for tourists. Also cool to buy are the fair trade postcards of Fairmail. These photo cards are made by local underpriveliged teenagers who get half of the earnings to finance their education. Check [10] for selling points. Note: if you want to mail postcards without going all the way into Trujillo, there is a tiny Serpost post office on the north side of the (currently dirt) alleyway called Manco Capac a half block from the beach, between Union and Atahualpa.

  • LaCasaCorazon (volunteer community), [11]. alternative laid back relationship building volunteer community. The two projects underway include a five year plan for a school.

Eat

There is much delicious food to taste in Huanchaco and other parts of Northern Peru. The dishes are mainly fish or seafood and are more expensive than Trujillo, from where it is supplied. A tourist will most likely find himself enjoying the local culture while becoming quite familiar with restaurants located in front of the ocean and in the ancient zone. Like most latin cultures, the Peruvians find eating to be an important part of the day. The best time to go to eat would be around 1:00 PM for "almuerzo", the dinner/lunch.

  • La Barca Seafood is a specialty - they have nice ceviche! They also serve an exclusive, specialty ( and impressive! ) dish called "Pescado a La Barca" which is a whole fish stuffed with king prawns, calamari and other shellfish, served with a special house sauce. The restaurant itself is built with a gallery-style layout using lots of wood, creating a maritime atmosphere. They have a good selection of wines, drinks and beers, with both promotional ( less expensive ) and "carta especial" ( more expensive ) menus. Located just next to the Los Esteros hotel, about five minutes' walk from the Pier, at Calle Antonio Raymondi 111, El Boqueron for those of you who like to look at Google Earth!
  • Big Ben , this is a white table cloth, upper class restaurant. It is located right in Huanchaco just a street back from the beach. This restaurant is visited frequently by the president of Peru. He claims it is his favorite place to eat. There are many traditional dishes served here such as, Chicharrones, Ceviche, and Tiratido.

Huanchaco Beach - ask for the excellent ceviche a la crema. It is a little expensive, but quite worth having a look.

  • Club Colonial, moved from the Plaza de Armas to la Avenida La Rivera in front of the beach, Phone: 044-461015, E-mail:ccolonial@yahoo.com. This is a rather elegant cafe-restaurant with a terrasse, one can spend a nice evening here or drop in for a short cup of cafe. It also serves meals that are a mix of European and Peruvian cuisine.
  • Estrella Marina Long established and recommended restaurant has cebiche & other typical sea food on the balcony with the best view over the bay & its reedboats.
  • Otra Cosa, - a vegetarian place. Their falafel is the best. Only 7 soles for the small and 11 for the large. They have pancakes, shakes, museli with fruit and yogurt, yummy. Organic, fair-trade products, they donate their tips to local charities, fresh baked pies, DVDs to watch (free), book exchange, internet, right on the beach, English-speaking employees and owner AND you can take Spanish lessons there- just ask for Sam, who usually teaches Spanish there and gives his classes in the restaurant itself, so you can order a coffee while you're studying. It's towards the north end of the Huanchaco strip ( i.e. about 10-15 minutes walk from the pier, and sits about a minute away from the Naylamp Hostel/ Hospedaje Naylamp ). The Otra Cosa restaurant is linked to the volunteer organisation of the same name and can provide information about the program. There are also rooms to let with breakfast included- ask inside the restaurant for prices.
  • My Friend, restaurant in the hostel of the same name. Said to have the biggest burgers in the world! Or at least in Huanchaco. They also have a constant spaghetti special for 10 soles. It comes with garlic bread and a soda. Toppings and different sauces available for the spaghetti.They also have smoothies, omelettes, and waffles with fruit. They ask for tips here, since it's mostly all gringos that eat here. The service is way better at night.
  • The Tramboyo Restaurant, one of the sea food restaurant and very nice service you can as for the nice cebiche and special PAELLA and joing the peruvian cuisine .
  • Nameless Burger Joint, On a corner on Avenue Los Pinos, two blocks from the Sea, this burger joints serves up burgers a la Peruvian Northern coast and is one of the cheapest meals you can grab in Huanchaco. A triple, that comes with burger, chorizo and eggs costs US $1.
  • La Casa Suiza, About 3 blocks up from the beach on Los Pinos. Best Pizza in town! with home-made dough and tomato sauce. The crust is actually like pizza crust! Reasonable price (starting at PES 16 for 35 cm in diameter). They also make their own european-style crusty dark bread, although they are generally reluctant to sell it to carry. It saved me from eating only seafood and rice for my entire stay.
  • Chill out, About 3 blocks up from the beach on Los Pinos (about a block further back from "My Friend"). Likely the only indian curry restaurant in Huanchaco and probably the best Curry in Peru! For 10 soles (about 3.5 USD) you get vegetarian or chicken curry, coconut rice, naan, and mango chutney. They also have good homemade american style hamburgers with toppings like Avacado, Blue Cheese, Pineapple, comes with fries for 9 soles (3 USD). Shakes, soda, beer, coffee, etc. It got it's name from it's super chill but social environment. Also has dorm accommodation and some private rooms. Rates start from PES 15. http://chilledperu.com
  • Nameless Local Restaurante, One block back from Muchik Surf Shop on the beach. They have a daily 5 Soles special. They close down once all their food runs out, so it's best to get there before 3. The earlier you get there, the most options are still available. My absolute favorite is getting the Sopa de Pollo for entrada and the Pescado Sudado (frecsa, not fried) for the main course, it comes with some type of bean or lentil or pea, always changing. Sometimes you get a free drink too. Like mango apple juice or inca cola. Their ceviche is very good as well.
  • Polleria La Barra, 2 blocks to the north of the 'fruit bar' or 'my friends'. It's a yellow building with outdoor eating. 9 soles for a quarter chicken, fries, and some salad, which can be split between 2 hungry people. 2 soles for a half liter or Chicha de morada maiz - kind of like koolaid with a kick.
  • Casa Tere, in the plaza de armas of the town, close to the biblioteca. It has decent pizza, but it's expensive for Huanchaco (26-34 soles for a grande).
  • Ah Gusto, On los pinos across the street from My Friend. It's a small place, with friendly staff, offering straightforward food- pizza, pasta, chorizo etc. If you don't like the food, you don't pay!
  • El Generoso* A block or two south of the plaza de armas, on the corner. They have something called a burrito. It's not really a burrito, but a nice change when you're sick of rice and fish. It has cheese/ham/mushrooms inside a tortilla. Also their Jugo Surtido is cold and yummy. They have burgers and sandwiches that are pretty good as well. Their chimichurry topping going great with the burgers.

Restaurants to ask about are listed below.

  • Mama Mia
  • Brisas del Mar
  • Mardi Beach
  • El Muelle
  • Don Pepe
  • Lucho del Mar
  • Bungalows-Huanchaco Garden
  • Los Esteros
  • The Tramboyo Restaurant
  • Happy Days, (Behind the pier, main drag). Great coffee and desserts. Owned by an American and his Peruvian wife they serve up some amazing pizza (huge servings). Right behind the pier on the main drag it has a great view and exceptional service. The chocolate cake is moist and rich. It is about S30 for the biggest pizza.
  • Chocolate café, av. La Rivera No 752, Huanchaco (between pier and atm, across the road), 044-462420. European fusion. Excellent coffee/tea, breakfasts, lunches (mostly sandwiches) and desserts. Organic products are used where available, high quality food. Run by a family who are involved in improving the community. Prices are reasonable for the area (breakfast S/8-15, lunch S/6-15, dessert S/5-10, drinks S/3-8)

Drink

There are plenty of little bars along the main road leading into Huanchaco.

  • El Boqueron, serves cervezas among other drinks.
  • El Malecon, another bar found on the main road leading into Huanchaco.
  • Club Colonial, also a restaurant, has one of the best terrasses in Huanchaco, in front of the beach on Avenida la Rivera.
  • Sabes Bar Bar, music, pizza, pool table on balcony over-looking the sea, fresh coffee, open every night 8PM. Sabes? (large green neon question mark outside) is located on the main strip of Huanchaco. Owned by a friendly Peruvian - English couple. Popular spot for tourists.

Sleep

The hotel prices are generally much more economical than a similar room in a similar hotel in nearby Trujillo. This makes Huanchaco a good place to stay, particularly if you plan to stay a few days to explore the zone.

  • Huankarute, right in front of the beach, this hostel main purpose is to make every visitor feel at home. Single, double and triple rooms with inside or ocean view are available, all of them grant you access to the swimming pool, game room and wi-fi connection. American breakfast is included and some guest rooms have Jacuzzi tubs.

Take advantage of special prices during low seasons and discounts on more than two-days stays. Location: 233 La Ribera Ave. Website: www.hostalhuankarute.com

  • Naylamp, at the north end of the beach. Camping, dorm, singles, doubles, triples with bathrooms. Double bed with private bathroom for PES. 30 (bargaining possible) low season. Really nice garden, hammocks, two dogs, two tortoises, internet (PES. 2 per hour), kitchen use, friendly staff, restaurant, clean. Right on the beach.
  • Hostal Bracamonte, A couple blocks back from the shore. Private rooms from US$14.50/person.There is a swimming pool, Game room with ping pong table and football table. There is a play area for infants and toddlers, with swings, slide and jungle gym. An outdoor barbecue, gives the people staying in the hotel a time to get together, eat and talk. Secure hotel parking is available. A van is available for tours and transport to the airport or bus station. A great Restaurant and Bar inside.This 3 star hotel is run by the Bracamonte family, they make you feel right at home.
  • Hostal Los 3 Delfines, Location:Las Cucardas 129-133.Price Description:Single, $7.50,Double with bath,$12, Triple, $18, Quad, $21 ,extra bed, $4.50. This hostal is known for twenty-four hour hot water. It is located two blocks up from Los Pinos from the beach, take a left, continue 1.5 blocks. Contact Information Zip: Phone: 044-46-1599.
  • La Casa Suiza, Located right at the entrance of town. Gazebo on the beach, Los Pinos 308. Very clean. Friendly place. This is a good hostel to go to if you are on a budget. High speed internet included for free. Price: dorm from PES. 15, comfortable double with bath, from PES. 40. Breakfast not included, but very copious an moderately priced. Contact Information Zip: Phone: 044-46-1285
  • La Esquina, Also a budget hostel, prices as follows: Single, $7.50, Double, $10.50. This hostel is located right in town walking back from the pier, Union 299. Contact Information Zip: Phone: 044-46-1081
  • My Friend Hospedaje Location:Los Pinos 553. This is a hotel-restaurant like hostel that has low priced breakfast.
  • Las Palmeras, a three star hostal located on Avenue Larco 1150. This is a beautiful infrastructure with a swimming pool, hot water, great room service, with a restaurant and cafe. Telefax:044-461199
  • Swissostal, - the owners speak some english, which is quite rare. Located a block or two from the beach, on av. ricardo palma. They have the place always locked up, so you have to ring the door bell for them to open it up when you come back to the hotel. You have to keep your key at the front desk. They are quite awkward in general. You could probably get a double/matrimonial for 50 soles a night, it's only worth it if you really want a good shower and someone who speaks english. Otherwise, you can find places with better internet for cheaper.
  • Las Brisas, Big 3 or 4 story building located just a 1/2 block back from the beach on ricardo palma. Internet is decent - wifi. Hot water sometimes. The staff doesn't seem to speak english at all, but they're nice enough about dealing with non-Spanish speakers. You can pay with Visa. You can get a double or matrimonial room with private bath for 50 soles/night (17 USD) in the peak season.
  • Hostal McCallum, Los Ficus 305. Run by Patricia and Manuel McCallum, this is a great option for those looking for a balance between peace and quiet and a social atmosphere. 4 blocks from the beach. Rooms run from 15-40 soles/night for a private room with hot water and wifi, depending on when and how long you stay.
  • Un Lugar Surf School, Calle Athualpa 225, [12]. Run by a local surf legend, it is the perfect place to unwind. The enviroment is very casual and has a pirate/beach theme. Rooms go for 15 soles a night. You can get surf classes, including photos. Pickup/drop off service can also be arranged. Phone cell 949577170 or hostel:044461117 (nextel 832*9884)
  • La Terraza de Huanchaco, 449 Las Palmeras (Right across from Bracamonte), (044) 501898, [13]. La Terraza de Huanchaco is a lovely lodging with an abundance of green space that offers comfortable and relaxing accomodations, from dormitory-style to private bed and bathroom lodgings. Nightly, weekly and monthly accomodations are available. 15 - 25 Soles per person.
  • Hospedaje Oceano (Oceano Hostel), Los Cerezos, 105 (Los Cerezos is the street on the left of Los Pinos, which is the main street), + 51 044 46 1653, [14]. Small hostel with friendly owners, decent rooms (with bathrooms), good price (15 Soles/person for all rooms (today is November 04, 2012), free wifi, kitchen facilities and good location. Great budget choice ...
  • Hostal Sudamerica, Av La Rivera.. checkout: 11.00. A front of pier. Dorm beds for 15-20 soles, kitchen, laundry, free wi-fi. 15-20 s..

Get out

Taxis run at all times of the day. Usually one will take a Taxi out of the Huanchaco when returning home because luggage takes up too much room in a combi. A taxi driver will usually charge one 8 to 13 soles to take you to the bus station in Trujillo, depending on the time of the day. The airport is closer so it may cost 6 or 7 soles.

From Trujillo one would travel to Lima, then to whatever destination she or he wishes.

The bus ride to Lima is between US$7 & US$27, the flight, about US$80.




This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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