Caballitos, Huanchaco, North Coast of Peru

On the Project


Our Peruvian staff of local woman prepares typical Peruvian meals, 3 meals a day, 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday.  Our head chef, Eloisa Piminchumo, is renowned for her north-coast style cooking.  In 2015, she presented her recipes and cooking techniques at a workshop at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.   Bottled drinking water is provided in abundance and pitchers of fresh fruit juices are serviced at all meals.  

Breakfast consists of eggs, bacon or ham, fruit, yogurt, fresh-baked bread with home-made jams & butter. Beverages include juice, coffee, and tea (regular and herb teas).  

Mid-day we take a break from the field and lab for a hot lunch at the hostel. Lunches and dinners consist of two or three courses. The first course is either soup or salad. Some common main courses are lomo saltado (stir fried beef and vegetables), aji de gallina (chicken in a cheese and chile sauce), fish in various sauces such as ajo de mojo (a garlic sauce) or chorrillana (a tomato, chile, and onion sauce), and stewed duck (a north coast specialty). For those who wish to give it a try, guinea pig is available. The main course is served with white rice or potatoes or both. Peruvian food is not even remotely like Mexican food, so banish all thoughts of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. It is similar in some ways to Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Spanish cooking, but is truly a unique cuisine. Dessert is served with dinner a few times a week. Student don’t do any kitchen chores.

Vegetarian meals are available; however, we can’t provide vegan meals.


Students stay at the Hostal McCullum in Huanchaco near the beach. Students share double or triple rooms with private baths and hot showers (Don’t expect there to be hot water all of the time). The hostel has free wifi, although not lighting speed.  Meals are prepared and served at McCullum by the field school cooking staff. We also rent a house in Huanchaco for faculty and lab space.


On Saturday faculty lead tours of major archaeological sites in the area, including Chan Chan, Huaca de la Luna, and El Brujo. We definitely do NOT leave at 7:00. Rather we generally leave mid-morning and spend a half-day touring sites and museums.


Huanchaco is ideal for free-time activities.  It’s a quiet beach resort and fishing village with a population of about 20,000. June and July are the off season for tourism here.  It‘s the Peruvian winter from April through September.  

After dinner is free time, with the exception of occasional talks on local archaeology and history. Socializing, reading, the beach, internet, and music are the main options for after-hours entertainment. Be sure to bring some books and music. The ocean is typically too cold for swimming. However, surfing lessons and board and a body suit rentals are available in Huanchaco .

Sunday is also free time. Weekends are a good time to check out Trujillo. The city was founded in 1535. Much of early Spanish architecture is still preserved in the center of the city.  Mall de Adventuras is 15 minutes from Huanchaco; anything you forgot to bring can be purchased there.

Buses and colectivos (vans) run every 15 or 20 minutes between Huanchaco to Trujillo, with a stop at the mall. One-way fare is about 10 or 20 cents. A taxi ride to Trujillo costs a few bucks.  


Calling home from Peru is cheap and easy via Skype or Facebook.  International calling plans are available for your cellphone.  Check your provider in the USA before you go.  You can have letters sent to Correo Central, Trujillo, La Libertad, Peru (that’s general delivery) or the Correo Central, Huanchaco, La Libertad. However, letters take at least 10 to 14 days to reach Peru.


The Huanchaco has good, cheap laundry services. They charge by the kilo. Typically, 5 to 10 dollars per week should cover you unless you go through a lot of cloths. You should bring enough clothing to go one week without washing clothes.


Peruvian electric current is 220 volts, not the US 110. You’ll need to buy a converter (available at Best Buy) to run any electrical gadgets you bring down. Batteries are readily available.  Power in Huanchaco has become more reliable in recent years, but a flashlight for the possibility of outages may be a good idea.


The project will provide an abundant supply of purified drinking water; tap water is not safe for drinking. Soft drinks (all the major brands) and beer can be purchased at local stores. The drinking age in Peru is 18.