Huanchaco, North Coast of Peru

Huanchaco

Location

Just a few kilometers north of Trujillo, the third largest city in Peru, Huanchaco is a pleasant fishing village and beach resort that has a lot to offer local and international tourists.  The town has been continuously used as a fishing village since before Spanish arrival in South America.   With the main road running parallel to the beach, and ever increasing numbers of restaurants, surf shops and artisans stalls, Huanchaco is becoming a nationally recognized vacation spot. The beachfront is also the location of the famous Caballitos de totora, the traditional reed fishing crafts that are thought to have inspired the modern sport of surfing.

Free Time

After dinner is free time. Socializing, reading, the beach, music, and night clubs are the main options for after-hours entertainment. Be sure to bring some books and music. The ocean is typically too cold for swimming, though some students take surfing lessons, which include the board and a body suit. Huanchaco is 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.  On Saturday we have tours of major archaeological sites in the valley. We definitely do NOT leave at 7:00. Rather we generally leave after a hot lunch and spend a few hours touring a site. Sunday is 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. Mayorista, a sprawling market near the center of town, also is worth a visit. Theaters in Trujillo show current US movies in English with Spanish subtitles, and there are clubs with live music. Buses and colectivos (vans) run every 15 or 20 minutes between Huanchaco. One way fare is about 10 or 20 cents. A taxi ride costs a couple bucks. At the end of the field school we will travel up the north coast to El Brujo, Túcume, and the Museum of the Royal Tombs of the Lord of Sipán. These sites are world renown for their important archaeological discoveries, including the burials of the Señora de Cao and the Lord of Sipán, as well as some of the most spectacular adobe pyramids in South America.

Communication

Calling home from Peru is cheap and easy. In addition to Skype at internet cafes, there are phone exchanges in Huanchaco and Trujillo, where calls to the US cost 10 cents a minute (however these have become harder to find with the prevalence of WiFi at cafés, hotels and bars around town). Email is the best way to stay in touch. There are several internet cafés in Huanchaco and our typical lodging location, El Hospedaje Casona, has had WiFi available for free in the past(this is not a guarantee). Email access is less than 40 cents for an hour at internet cafés. Mail is not recommended. 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.

Laundry

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.  Bring some warm clothes for evenings and nights as well as summer clothes (shorts, t-shirts, and a swim suit for the beach). Huanchaco is cool and damp in the summer with typical temperatures ranging from 45-75 degrees with varying amounts of sunshine.

Electricity

Peruvian electric current is 220 volts, not the US 110. You’ll need to buy a converter (available at Radio Shack, 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.

Drinking water, soft drinks, beer etc.

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.

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