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Chan Chan

The largest adobe city

Chan Chan

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986, was built in 900CE and is the best archeological site left to us by the Chimú culture. They dominated the area from about 850CE to 1470CE, when they were conquered by the Inca.

Chan Chan is most famous for borders of stylized animals that archeologists theorize represented sea otters.

Chan Chan sea otters

The most unique feature of Chan Chan is that it is built out of adobe, and yet is still mostly intact. When the Inca conquered the area, they absorbed the city and its people without damaging the structures. However, it was looted during colonization and we lost a lot of important archeological evidence to their destruction.

You can visit the museum, which is on the main road from the airport, before or after touring the archeological site. If you don’t have a car, it can take 20 minutes to walk from the site exit to the museum. Sometimes there are taxis available but be prepared to walk.

Chan Chan guarded doorway


From Trujillo, it’s only about 20 minute drive towards the airport. Guides are readily available on site. The official government Chan Chan website had tons of information, but only in Spanish.

>1200: Pre-Inca Times

North Coast Archeology

Moche & Chimú


Historic city & world class surfing

Trujillo & Huanchaco In-3-Days

See the best of the city & the beach

Trujillo In-A-Day

City & Archeology

Text © Heather Jasper

Images by Heather Jasper, Wikimedia commons