The drive from Cajamarca to the coast is on a good paved road the whole way and despite having to drive from 3000m down to sea level we made good time.
Huanchaco has one of the nicest campgrounds in Peru in a grassy lot with a swimming pool behind the Huanchaco Gardens Hotel. There were 2 peacocks living right by where we were parked and we got used to peacocks under our truck ! On arriving we were surprised to find three other sets of overlanders there. After we had been there a day another overlander arrived, this time someone that we had met about 6 months earlier in Mexico.
Huanchaco is a relaxed sea side resort which is a great place to kick back for a couple of days. The surfing is great but the water is a bit on the cold side. There are some good restaurants – on the expensive side though – apparently including the President of Peru’s favourite. This gave us the oppurtunity to have our first beers in Peru.
Between Huanchaco and Trujillo is one of the most important Pre-Incan cities, Chan Chan. Like we had discovered at Tucume the adobe walls of the city had been severely damaged by the rain over the years. Unlike Tucume however there has been a large amount of rebuilding and restoration at Chan Chan.
Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimu empire which came to pre-eminence around 1100AD. The Chimu were masters of irrigation and set up a series of aqueducts that brought water from the neighbouring Chicama valley to enable them to live in the desert. This was to prove their undoing as the Incas conquered them (in the 1470s) by cutting off their water supply and eventually peacefully conquering the city and leading to its demise.
The striking thing about Chan Chan is the sheer size of the city, although much of it is outside the actual park area and is just crumbling walls in the desert.
While we were in Hunachaco we met up with Stevie and Tree, www.sprinterlife.com, and their famous dogs Kiki and Mongo. It was great catching up with some fellow overlanders and we wish them loads of luck with the next phase of the lives ! Out truck is a bit bigger than their Mercedes Sprinter.