Trujillo’s main fiestas turn the town into even more of a relaxed playground than it is normally, with the marinera dance featuring prominently in most celebrations. This regional dance originated in Trujillo and is accompanied by a combination of Andalucian, African and Aboriginal music played on the cajón (rhythm box) and guitar. Energetic and very sexual – this traditional dance represents the seduction of an elegant, upper-class woman by a male servant – the marinera involves dancers holding handkerchiefs above their heads and skillfully prancing around each other. You’ll see it performed in peñas all over the country but rarely with the same spirit and conviction as here in Trujillo. The last week in January, sometimes running into February (check with the tourist information office in Trujillo, for any particular year), is the main Festival de la Marinera. During this time there’s a National Marinera Competition – el Concurso Nacional de Marinera – taking place in the city over several weeks, with dance academies from all over Peru.
The main religious fiestas are in October and December, with October 17 seeing the procession of El Señor de los Milagros, and the first two weeks of December being devoted to the patron saint of Huanchaco – another good excuse for wild parties in this beach resort. February, as everywhere, is Carnival time, with even more marinera dancing evenings taking place throughout Trujillo.