Huaca Esmeralda

North Coast

Halfway between Trujillo and Chan Chan, this Chimú temple is south of the main road, four blocks behind the Mansiche Church. Huaca Esmeralda was buried by sand and discovered by a local landowner in 1923. He attempted to uncover the ruins, but the 1925 El Niño began the process of erosion, which was exacerbated by floods. Although little restoration work has been done, it's still possible to make out characteristic Chimú designs of fish, seabirds, waves and fishing nets.

Green-signed B combis to Huaca Esmeralda leave Trujillo every few minutes; they pass the corners of España and Ejército, and España and Independencia. The area is not always the safest, so consider going in a group or taking a taxi to the door. Esmeralda is the only temple in the combined ticket where you cannot pay admission, so don't visit it first.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby North Coast attractions

1. Huaca Arco Iris

1.12 MILES

Also known locally as Huaca del Dragón, Huaca Arco Iris is in the suburb of La Esperanza, about 4km northwest of Trujillo. Dating from the 12th century,…

2. Museo de Sitio Chan Chan

1.23 MILES

The Chan Chan site museum near the Palacio Nik An contains exhibits explaining Chan Chan and the Chimú culture. It is on the main road, about 500m before…

3. Iglesia de Santa Ana

1.38 MILES

Iglesia de Santa Ana is made of adobe and was one of the first iglesia for indigenous worshippers within a Spanish colonial city.

4. Museo de Zoología

1.39 MILES

This museum is mainly a taxidermic collection of Peruvian animals (many so artificially stuffed they look like nightmarish caricatures of their former…

5. Iglesia de la Compañía

1.44 MILES

The Iglesia de la Compañia and surrounding monastery were constructed by Jesuits in the 1630s and originally took up the entire block just off the Plaza…

6. Iglesia de Santo Domingo

1.51 MILES

Iglesia de Santo Domingo is an interesting church near the Plaza de Armas. The original church, built in the 16th century, was one of the first…

7. Basilica Menor Catedral

1.53 MILES

Known simply as ‘La Catedral,’ this bright, canary-yellow church fronting the plaza was begun in 1647, destroyed in 1759, and rebuilt soon afterward. The…

8. Casa de Mayorazgo de Facala

1.53 MILES

The 1709 Casa de Mayorazgo de Facala mansion now houses Scotiabank, and is a great example of colonial architecture.