Whether stopping briefly in breathtaking Trujillo on your South American cruise or planning a longer stay in Peru, you are going to want to experience all the city and surrounding area has to offer through the attractions in Trujillo.
I was fortunate enough to visit Trujillo in December 2019 on an epic South American Cruise through the Norwegian Cruise Line, and let me tell you, this historic, desert town is absolutely stunning!
In this article, I will go in-depth into the top attractions in Trujillo for you to explore on your South American adventure.
Catedral de Trujillo
One of the most exquisite architectural masterpieces in Trujillo is the Catedral- one of the top attractions in Trujillo, Peru.
Rebuilt in the 1770s during the Spanish colonial era, this breathtaking cathedral is a must-see stop for historians and art-lovers alike. Featuring Baroque-style altars and intricate paintings on its ceiling, the Catedral de Trujillo is still a lively center for locals and tourists alike.
The cathedral was built around Trujillo's town square, similar to many Spanish colonial towns. Many tours of the city will include a stop here at the Catedral de Trujillo, one of the top attractions in Trujillo. So don't forget to pack your camera and prepare to witness awe-inspiring art and architecture.
Be aware that the Catedral de Trujillo will not be open all day, so make sure to check its hours of operation on your fabulous Peruvian vacation at the attractions in Trujillo!
Plaza de Armas de Trujillo
To check out the bustling cultural area surrounding the Catedral de Trujillo, spend a couple of hours exploring the Plaza de Armas de Trujillo.
Known as one of the most beautiful plazas in South America, you will definitely want to stroll the streets and explore the shops located in Trujillo's Plaza de Armas-- one of the top attractions in Trujillo. This colorful square has been the main plaza of Trujillo since conquistador Pizarro founded the city in 1534.
Here you will find tree-lined streets offering shade and plenty of benches to rest. In the center of the plaza, you will notice a remarkable statue of a naked man holding a torch symbolizing freedom (shown in the image above). At his feet, you will notice plenty of other sculptures created in the realism style representing the area's art and labors.
Visitors should prepare for an exciting adventure surrounded by the picturesque colorful buildings found in the plaza filled with European style and beautiful gardens.
As a highly historic archaeological zone, Chan Chan is a fantastic example of pre-Colombian America, once serving as the capital of the Chimu Kingdom.
This empire reached the height of its power in the 15th century before its eventual fall to the world-renowned Incas. Chan Chan's central area consists of 10 walled enclosures known as citadels, formed by a Pull Stone Island Homme.
Make sure to stop in the museum where you will find pottery depicting fish, llama, hairless dogs, and pelicans alike. You will also enjoy the impressive images of the indigenous people displayed. A 10-minute video playing within the museum is all you need to learn about the exquisite history of Chan Chan in Trujillo, Peru.
Make sure to wear your hat and sunscreen when visiting Chan Chan during your epic adventure in Trujillo, Peru, to avoid the intense Peruvian sun.
Temples of Moche
Another one of the stunning attractions in Trujillo, Peru is the Temples of the Sun and Moon, collectively known as the Temples of Moche.
Found around 3 miles south of Trujillo, these two pyramid-style structures were originally constructed by the unknown Moche people. Ruling the northern coast of Peru between 100 and 800 AD, most of the details of this mysterious civilization has yet to be uncovered. With the Temple of the Sun being the larger of the two, this is where most of the government and administrative tasks are suspected to have taken place.
Experts suggest that it only took three days of work by over 250,000 workers to build this impressive structure comprised of 70 million adobe bricks. On the other hand, the Temple of the Moon is speculated to be used for religious and other ritual ceremonies in the community. This temple is filled with awe-inspiring murals illustrating Ai Apeac, the Moche creator god.
When visiting this impressive Trujillo attraction, make sure to head to the museum first to learn the historical perspective and then proceed to explore the relatively new excavation site.
Our next favorite spot in Trujillo is a pre-ceramic archaeological attraction serving as the first evidence of human settlement from around 14,000 BC.
While the majority of the site consisting of construction dates between 200 BC and 600 AD from the Moche period, you will also discover a magnificent museum dedicated to the "Lady of Cao" right within the premises. This popular Trujillo attraction was created for the mummy of Señora de Cao found in nearby El Brujo to educate visitors from around the world on the area's rich history.
With this museum being almost two hours away from Trujillo's city center, you will want to dedicate a full day to this attraction. If you want, you can easily pair the museum with the nearby Huaca de la Luna to fully experience this area of Peru.
Make sure to ask your tour guide for the amount of time you will be at this magnificent site during your adventure in Trujillo as you definitely want to receive the full, historical experience.
Huaca del Dragon
The Huaca del Dragon is a popular tourist attraction in Trujillo located near Chan Chan in Moche Valley.
This spot is also known as Huaca del Arco Iris and served as a religious monument, ceremonial, and administration center. The actual temple is located inside the walls. This Chimu pyramid was created out of adobe. As one of the top attractions in Trujillo, you can not miss this amazing pre-Incan historic site.
The best way to see Huaca del Dragon is through a guided tour of the area. This way, you will learn about the pre-existing civilization that occupied and built this magnificent historic landmark. This attraction's has very elaborate designs on the outside depicting various anthropomorphic figures and other rainbow designs.
Most of the visible structures in this area date back to the 12th-15th century or the Chimu period. Therefore, you will definitely want to add Huaca del Dragon to your top attractions to see in Trujillo list!
Casa Urquiaga (Casa Calonge)
Located along the popular Plaza de Armas, Casa Urquiaga offers rare sights of the political history of Trujillo.
This massive mansion offering three courtyards and countless rooms is truly a must-see attraction when you visit Trujillo. This sprawling mansion has numerous rooms fashioned with chandeliers where visitors can take a trip down Trujillo's rich history.
The second you enter Casa Urquiaga, you will get a sense that the everyday life of the Colonial-era political members was elite. Aside from the magnificent architecture and the Insta-worthy blue exterior, Casa Urquiaga holds a crazy amount of historic artifacts under its roof.
Constructed back in 1604, Casa Urquiaga holds a small collection of ceramics and gold from the Moche and Chimu empires. The interior also features extravagant period furniture from the 17th and 18th century. This includes the desk of world-renown Simon Bolivar-- the notable leader who led Latin America to its independence from Spain.
As a historic city located along the northwestern Peruvian coast, this area offers some of the best attractions in Trujillo.
These top attractions in Trujillo are definitely must-see stops in Peru. With Peru being one of the most affordable countries in South America, all of these wonderful sites should not make a major dent in your wallet.
Make sure to get organized for your adventure in Trujillo by utilizing a handy travel planner. Our completely free, printable travel planners and packing lists will help you plan your vacation immensely with day itineraries, budget planners, and more!