Although no longer exactly a tropical paradise, HUANCHACO, 12km west of Trujillo, is still a beautiful and relatively peaceful resort, though there is a thriving scene geared toward surfers and young travellers. Until the 1970s, Huanchaco was a tiny fishing village, quiet and little known to tourists. Today it consists of half-finished adobe houses, concrete hotels and streets slowly spreading back towards Trujillo, and makes an excellent base for visiting many of the sites around the region, in particular the nearby ruins of Chan Chan. While development keeps on going strong, its intrinsic fishing-village appeal hasn’t entirely diminished.

A good time to visit Huanchaco is during its June fiesta week, at the end of the month, when a large totora raft comes ashore accompanied by a smaller flotilla of caballitos. But the best weather here is arguably between December and March. The town is always lively, with people on the beach, some surfers, fishermen and a few travellers hanging around the restaurants.