This once-tranquil fishing hamlet, 12km outside Trujillo, woke up one morning to find itself a brightly highlighted paragraph on Peru’s Gringo Trail. Its fame came in large part from the long, narrow reed boats you'll see lining the malecón. A small number of local fishermen still use these age-old crafts, and you may even sight some surfing in with the day's catch. Though you can almost picture Huanchaco on postcards of days gone by, the beach is distinctly average. Nevertheless, the slow pace of life attracts a certain type of beach bum and the town has managed to retain much of its villagey appeal.

Today Huanchaco is happy to dish up a long menu of accommodations and dining options, and great waves for budding surfers. Come summertime, legions of local and foreign tourists descend on its lapping shores, and this fast-growing resort town makes a great base for exploring the ruins surrounding Trujillo.