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Huanchaco is most famous for its reed boats, surfing, and as the origin of the tasty seafood dish - ceviche.
A quaint and very old fishing town on the coast of Peru with a long history, Huanchaco is "tranquilo" (quiet) during the off-season winter months.
However, during the summer, from December through March, weekends and holidays can be really crowded, nosiy, and bustling. The most important beach for sunlovers in the city of Trujillo, Peru (pop. nearing 1 million), scenes like the one below are the norm in town.
Lin and I (David) from Inside-Peru.com moved to Huanchaco in August of 2013 with plans to stay indefinitely. Because Huanchaco retains a small-town flavor yet is only minutes from the amenities of a large city, it is just right for our changing needs as we become more mature (read 'older') beach people.
In this photo of the "coat of arms" of Huanchaco, you can see what are considered the cultural main points of this town.
Huanchaco's distinctive landmark church was built during the colonial period of Peru's history.
Originally constructed in the lower part of town, it was later moved to the bluff above the town to the Huaca del Pez Dorado, a religious site of the ancient Chimu Empire.
Built in 1537, the Iglesia de Huanchaco is the second oldest church in Peru.
These reed boats, known as Caballitos de Totora (Reed Ponies) are straddled by local fishermen who paddle them out through the surf... and then ride the waves back in after fishing. Read more...
There are multiple surfing schools here. Some guarantee your money back if you don't stand up on a wave. Since the waves to the north of the pier are always mellow and it is just a few steps off the main drag with easy access, Huanchaco really is an ideal place to learn to surf.
National and international surfing contests are held regularly here; one of the biggest being the ISA World Longboard Championship.
Huanchaco is popular for longboards because of long walls just right for tip riding, a style of riding long boards developed in the early days of surfing popularity and now experiencing a resurge of popularity.
On any given day, you will see a few shortboarders, longboarders, boogie boarders, and perhaps stand-up paddle boarders out in the long lineups.
Below we'll post a few videos we've taken that help you get an idea of what the surf and beach are like here at Huanchaco on fferent days and swell sizes.
Huanchaco is a very popular surf spot, not onlly with local surfers from Huanchaco and Trujillo; it's also the beach where many international tourists catch their very first wave and actually learn to surf.
Huanchaco has waves pretty much all year around. There are few days that you can't paddle out and catch some fun waves. On other days you probably will rather sit on the beach and watch, as it gets pretty big sometimes.
Read more: Surf spots and surfing in Peru
Huanchaco is also famous as the original home of ceviche - yes, this seafood treat that's known worldwide comes from this small beach town on the Northern Peru coast, according to some sources.
But, wait! Doesn't ceviche warrant a whole page of its own?
You bet! Go to Best Peruvian Ceviche Recipes for lots of tasty information that will make you long for sun, sand, and seafood.
When Lin and I arrived in Huanchaco in August of 2013 we needed a place to stay while looking for an apartment to rent.
A friend that we had met here took us to two hotels she personally could recommend. The Oceano or more formally the "Hospedaje Oceano," was the one we chose.
We stayed at the Oceano for over 3 weeks and felt right at home. Although the room was small, it was clean with its own bathroom and hot water. There is also a kitchen that we used mainly to make coffee and salads each day.
Since it only has about 5 rooms to rent (more are being added), there isn't a lot of noise and traffic. The owners, Carlos and Esperanza, take care of you personally and are really friendly. Carlos also speaks basic English, which is a plus for many.
As well as renting some rooms, Carlos and Esperanza have great food and coffee, including espressos.
Los Cerezos 105, Huanchaco
Another plus is that Carlos, a retired food engineer, makes award-winning cremoladas, an icy fruit refreshment that beats sherbert by far, with exotic real fruit from all over Peru. Perfect the hot days of summer.
iI is very affordable to stay at the Oceano - in the off-season we paid about $10.00 USD per night for a double bed room.
And you are just a 2-minute walk from the beach and surf spots.
Here's a map that might help:
As you come into Huanchaco, the beach road becomes one way and the traffic turns right.
If you're on the bus, get off as soon as it makes the turn, then walk one block along beach road to the Oceano (see bus video below)
To take the bus from Trujillo, look for the orange/yellow buses that say Huanchaco on them.
It should cost about S/ 1.70 soles per person (about 65 cents USD, but subject to change).
About 15 or 20 minutes should bring you to the ocean.
As you leave the center of Trujillo, you'll pass a mall on the left that's a good place to shop.
Next, don't miss looking out your window (either side) because the highway goes right through the famous Chan Chan, a huge city of adobe that stretches out of sight in both directions.
The video begins as you approach Huanchaco and indicates where to get off the bus for quickest beachfront access.
See also: Finding a Rental Apartment in Huanchaco