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Chan Chan
Chan Chan

Chan Chan

star-5
57 Reviews
Jr. Torre Tagle 178, Trujillo, Peru

The Basics

The UNESCO-designated Chan Chan site includes four main locations, which are spread out over 5,120 acres (2,072 hectares). Visit the ruins of Tschudi Palace, which are still decorated with aquatic-themed friezes. Next, explore the Chan Chan Site Museum, which holds an array of excavated ceramics and architectural models that show visitors what the city would have looked like in its heyday.

Slightly farther away, you’ll find Huaca Esmeralda and the Temple of the Dragon (Huaco el Dragon), which is also known as the Rainbow Temple (Huaca Arco Iris). These two smaller pyramidal temples also boast original friezes and reliefs, and the Temple of the Dragon offers astonishing restored rainbow-shaped friezes.

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Traveler Favorite

Trujillo Combo Tour: Temple of the Dragon, Chan Chan and Huanchaco
star-4
$36.70 per adult
Excellent
Clara our guide was lovely, with passion and in depth knowledge of Trujillo and the Chimu people. Only downside was no port pick up or drop off for cruises, so suggest you pre book a taxi from port to town. It's about 45 mins, and should be 15 to 20 dollars.
Gerry H, Dec 2019

Recent reviews from experiences in Trujillo

star-4
Very nice tour
martinabongini, Oct 2019
Full Day Tour Huacas, Chan Chan & Huanchaco - Trujillo
The tour was good and well organised. I really appreciated the quick reply to my booking request, which took place the evening before the tour date.
star-5
Trujillo full Day Tour
Freedom82448, Oct 2019
Full Day Tour Huacas, Chan Chan & Huanchaco - Trujillo
Cruise line was inflexible about pick up and drop offs, but Julio worked with us to make the most of a short day. We talked on Whatsapp from the ship the night before the tour and he rearranged the day to make the most of the time we had. His English was excellent and he provided a custom private tour for less than half what the boat was charging. Well worth the time!
star-5
Amazing ruins
Garrad, Mar 2020
Tour from Trujillo:Chan Chan, Huanchaco, Sun and Moon Temples, and Dragon Temple
I loved this tour. We had a very knowledgeable guide, Jose, who took us around the amazing temple of the moon. It was almost empty. I'm surprised there weren't more tourists. The wall decorations are just I really wasn't expecting it to be so good. The temple of the sun is not open to the public. The museum was good though I don't understand the need to ban all photography. It seems like overkill. We stopped at a small workshop making the pottery. The temple of the dragon was great but very small. Lunch was surprisingly good at Huanchaco with a view over the ocean. Finally we visited Chan Chan. The site is enormous so you only see one small part which is open to the public. It is so beautiful. The designs are as beautiful today as they would have been 1000 years ago. Unfortunately some of the areas are closed to the public which is a real shame since I think they need to keep creating a buzz for this place.
star-5
Excellent
johnalberthughes, Feb 2020
Afternoon: Chan Chan Complex from Trujillo
Our tour guide was Maritza who clearly loves her job and welcomed my endless questions and answered them all. I don’t understand people who say this is a disappointment. It’s a really fantastic place to be. I only wish the tour went a little more slowly. We first visited the Huaca del Iris and then one of the big palaces. Pictures of the place do not do it justice. If you love seeing how ancient societies lived you should go. The sun is intense so sunblock up and wear a hat, but I didn’t find the heat a problem.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Chan Chan is located in the desert; bring sun protection and water.

  • There is an admission fee, but tickets are good for 48 hours and cover all four sites.

  • When walking through the complex, make sure not to touch the structures, as they are very fragile.

  • Wear comfortable shoes; exploring the site requires quite a bit of walking.

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How to Get There

Chan Chan is located about 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Trujillo. You can reach the site via taxi or take the Huanchaco bus (S/4) from Av. España in Trujillo. There are often taxis at the Chan Chan sites, but you may want to arrange for a driver to take you between the main locations as transportation is not always available. Many guided tours of the site include round-trip transportation.

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When to Get There

Chan Chan is open daily all year round from mid-morning until early evening. Trujillo enjoys a subtropical desert climate, with a warm season (January–March), and a cooler season (June–November). The city hosts an International Spring Festival in late September, which is one of Peru’s largest and most popular festivals and includes horse shows, fashion shows, and dance contests.

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The History of the Chimu Empire

The Chimú Empire reached its apex in the 15th century, shortly before falling to the Inca. At its height, Chan Chan was the largest adobe city in the world. The surrounding area was used for agriculture and boasted an extensive irrigation system. Many of the city’s adobe structures were destroyed, but evidence shows that the Chimú were master engineers and craftsmen and that many of the city’s buildings were decorated in gold and silver.

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