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Discover Peru before you get here.

Chan Chan the “adobe” city

Posted by Carmen Maria Guevara Protzel on Nov 18, 2015 6:33:58 PM


By far, the largest Pre-Columbian city in South America, Chan Chan is an archaeological site. 

In the Peruvian region of La Libertad, 5 km west of Trujillo, near Huanchaco beach. Chan Chan was the capital of the historical Chimú culture. The city has 10 walled citadels which housed ceremonial rooms, burial chambers, temples, reservoirs and residences. It is triangular, surrounded by 50–60-foot (15–18 m) walls. There are no enclosures opening north. The tallest walls shelter against south-westerly winds from the coast. North-facing walls have the greatest sun exposure, serving to block wind and absorb sunlight where fog is frequent. The numerous walls throughout the city create a labyrinth of passages.

Visitors to Chan Chan can enter the Tschudi Complex, a later citadel. Other Chimú and Moche ruins are also in the area around Trujillo.

Around mid July 2015,  31 human burials were discovered in northern Peru’s archaeological complex, Chan Chan. The burials are dated back to more than 600 years ago, the Late Chimu period (1200-1400 AD) These burials may lead to burial may reveal significant details about the culture’s funerary contexts. To read more about the discovery we invite you to read Hillary Ojeda article.

Also, on November 11, 2015 Hillary Ojeda wrote for PeruThisWeek that National Geographic considers Chan Chan a must-see place “Chan Chan was recognized in National Geographic’s Traveler magazine as one of the “10 places to see now”, according to El Comercio. To read more about this we invite you to read  this article.

You must remember that on 28 November 1986, UNESCO designated Chan Chan as a World Heritage Site. Other places in Peru considered World Heritage Sites are :

City of Cuzco 

Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu           

Chavin (Archaeological Site)        

Huascaran National Park

Manu National Park

Historic Centre of Lima   

Rio Abiseo National Park

Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana

Historical Centre of the City of Arequipa  

Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System     

In order to have the possibility to visit the site we offer the following programs.

Moche Route Tour 3D/2N : Chiclayo and Trujillo    

Discoverer the Wonder of the Peruvian Archaeology in the North Coast.
We explore and enjoy the amazing archaeological sites and diverse cultures of the north coast. With one night in Chiclayo and one in Trujillo, this itinerary includes visits to Túcume, the Sipán archaeological site, and the Museum of the Royal Tombs. Between Chiclayo and Trujillo we stop in Paiján to enjoy a colorful show by world-famous Peruvian paso horses. Near Trujillo we visit Chan Chan, the sprawling 500-acre complex of adobe palaces built by the pre-Inca Chimú culture, and also the majestic Moche Temples of the Sun and the Moon.

Archaeology and Nature Tour 4D/3N: Trujillo, Chaparri and Chiclayo  
This itinerary combines some of the most spectacular highlights of Peru´s desert archaeology with a taste of one of the planet´s rarest forest habitats, the arid "Tumbesian" woodlands of Peru´s north coast. We visit the glorious cities and temples of the Moche and Chimú civilizations, and glimpse the vestiges of an opulent Spanish colonial era in the modern city of Trujillo. The middle part of our journey takes us to a lodge in the Chaparrí nature reserve, set in the fascinating Pacific dry forest, and home to rescue projects for the threatened Andean Spectacled Bear and the critically endangered White-winged Guan. Finally we reach the city of Chiclayo, whence we launch our exploratory journeys to the pyramids of Túcume and Sipán and visit the spectacular collection of Moche treasures at the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum. We end our visit with a flight to Lima.

Lost Cities of the Northern Peru 6D/5N        
Beginning with a focus on some of the earliest and most dramatic archaeology of Northern Peru, we wend our way from Lima up the Pacific desert coast, to Caral, a candidate for "first urban center of the Americas", then make a detour across the high Andes and down into the Upper Amazon basin, to visit the mighty and still awe-inspiring complex of Chavín de Huantar. We then return to the coast to visit the glorious cities and temples of the later Moche and Chimú civilizations, and glimpse the vestiges of an opulent Spanish colonial era in the modern city of Trujillo. Our tour ends in Chiclayo, with visits to Sipán, where the most sumptuous tomb of the Americas was discovered in 1987, and the Royal Tombs of Sipán museum, where these artifacts are displayed. We return to Lima by air.

Immerse in Northern Peru Cultures 7D/6N   
This journey focuses on the sequence of magnificent desert kingdoms of Northern Peru which gave birth to Andean civilization. Here an ancient people created enigmatic and diverse realms. During an early period they were peaceful trading and fishing communities; later they were feudal states where ritual warfare and macabre sacrifice took place alongside opulent splendor and the creation of some of the world´s finest ancient pottery, goldwork and jewelry. We will see many of the hundreds of adobe pyramids they built, and visit museums displaying the glorious treasures they left buried in the desert sands. We will also glimpse the vestiges of an opulent Spanish colonial era in the modern city of Trujillo.

Treasures of the Northern Kingdoms 8D/7N
This journey through the landscape and history of Peru's little-known northern region is a revelation and a magical experience for many of our visitors. The program is intended for travelers with a special interest in archaeology, and a taste for adventure. This region is still new to tourism, but we have taken every care to provide as comfortable a stay as possible, with air-conditioned vehicles, expert guides and the best possible accommodation. 

We mingle trips on foot and/or horseback with light motorized excursions and longer road journeys, visiting astounding locations and rarely seeing more than a handful of other travelers at each place.

Our favorite that combines Cusco & Machu Picchu with Northern areas tours to Chan Chan.    

Ancient Treasures of Peru 11D/10N 
Soon to be released.
Excellent program for archaeology and history lovers. You will explore some of the most important ancient cultures of Peru, including the Moches, Chimus and the amazing Incas.

Please  remember that our tours Not Included:

  • Air tickets
  • Airport taxes.
  • Meals not mentioned in the programs.
  • Services not mentioned in the programs.
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, beverages, tips, etc.


For domestic flights, we suggest to contact Exito Travel, a wholesaler based in United States. They are familiar with our operations and are used to book flights for our clients according to their respective itineraries. When booking your tickets, please provide them the information on your trip itinerary and they will do all the necessary bookings. If you book with a different agency this may lead to some logistic problems as it is important that the group travel together on the same flight.

All tickets issued in Peru are subject to 18% sales taxes but if you purchase the tickets through Exito Travel, no taxes are charged. You can make all the arrangement directly with them.

Contact: Exito Travel

We are waiting to hear from you. We have a team for Travel Advisor prepared to assist you organize your trip.

Feel free to Contact us


Carmen Maria Guevara Protzel

Topics: Trujillo

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