The essence of Trujillo. Trujillo, Peru – Peru’s most important northern city, is summed up each year during the floral Spring Festival. Barefoot women wearing white lace skirts and blouses, with ornate gold filigree ornaments dangling from their earlobes, spin and whirl through the streets in the traditional marinera dance. Charming, simple, formal and delicate – all are characteristics of this coastal city, making it the perfect spot to explore Peru’s gentle but fiercely patriotic north. Trujillo is also noted for its colorful colonial architecture, with building painted in bright blues, yellows, reds and oranges. A circular street called Espana encloses the center of town, and most of the fascinating city sites are within this ring. Trujillo is an excellent place to sample ceviche ( a mixture of raw fishes marinated in a lime juice marinade) and other local seafood. On the fringe of Trujillo are the ruins of Chan Chan, possible the world’s largest adobe city that was, at one time, home to the Chimu Indian tribe.

Nearby Huanchaco Beach is a great spot for surfers, and an outgoing, friendly fishing village. The fisherman still utilize the handmade totora reed boats, called caballitos (little horses) because of the way they are ridden: riders do not sit on the boats, but straddle them on their knees. The design of these curved, peapod-shaped boats has changed little from the craft used by pre-Inca fishing tribes.

Further north is Piura, Peru, a hot commercial city best known for its folk dance, the tondero, and the black magic practiced by the descendents of black slaves. The tondero is a lively, barefoot Afro-Peruvian dance accompanied by strong rhythmic music and dancers in multicolored outfids. Many Lima business executives travel to this region every year to consult with the area’s brujos – witches, folk healers and fortune tellers.