Peruvian Ciudades del Perú
Location, extension and population | Brief historic overview | Main attractions of the capital city | Other attractions of the department of La Libertad | Typical dishes and beverages | Tourist calendar

The department of La Libertad is located in the north of the country, extending from the Coast up to the High Jungle or Mountain Rim. It limits to the north with Cajamarca, to the south with Huánuco and Ancash, to the East with San Martín, and to the West with the Pacific Ocean. On the Coast, the climate is warm and spring like, with an annual average temperature of 19.9ºC (66ºF). In the Sierra, the weather is dry, mild during the day and cold at night; in the Jungle, it is tropical and rainy, with temperatures that surpass 24ºC (75ºF).

La Libertad has an extension of 24,241 km² (9,350 sq ml) and a population of over 1'200,000 people.

The capital is Trujillo, known as the City of Eternal Spring, due to its pleasant climate. Other important cities are Pacasmayo, Santiago de Chuco, Otuzco, and Huamachuco.


In this department, vestiges of the first most significant pre-Hispanic groups of the northern region have been found. Great civilizations, as the Mochica culture, flourished in the valleys of Moche, Chicama, and Virú from the third to the eighth century AD. The so called 'realistic ceramics,' including the famous huacos-retratos or portrait-huacos, belong to this period. Also to this period belong the huacas or 'pyramidal tombs,' which exhibit a great knowledge of architecture.

Fortaleza de Chan Chán. La Libertad.From the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, the region witnessed the great evolution of the Chimú culture. Chan Chan (Sun Sun), the capital, was the largest adobe metropolis of pre-Hispanic America and the second in the world. This civilization also stood out for its excellent work in metal, mainly gold, and its advanced farming techniques, displayed in a large system of aqueducts. After finding great resistance, the Incas finally managed to conquest this reign in the fourteenth century.

Trujillo was founded at the arrival of the Spanish to the valley, late in the year 1534, receiving in 1537 the title of 'city.' It stood among the most important cities of the Viceroyship when it developed into one of the richest regions in the north, as the beautiful and rich mansions prove.

Trujillo was the first city in the north of Perú to proclaim its independence on December 29, 1820. During the Chilean invasion, the Battle of Huamachuco took place as a corollary to the Breña Campaign, where Leoncio Prado was captured and executed.


Fortaleza de Chan Chán. La Libertad. Fotografía: Michael Tweddle / PromPerú.MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF THE CAPITAL CITY
Chan Chan
is the capital of the reign of Gran Chimú and is known as the greatest mud city of pre-Hispanic America. It has an extension of 20 km² (7.7 sq ml) and an estimated population of 60,000 people. The ruins include plazas, housing, warehouses, workshops, labyrinths, walls, excellent roads, and pyramidal tombs or huacas.

Plaza Mayor or Main Square. It is considered the largest in the country, with a granite and marble monument in honor of the heroes of the independence standing in the center. The Cathedral or Basílica Mayor, first built in 1666 and destroyed by an earthquake in 1759, was restored between 1768 and 1781. It houses a valuable collection of paintings of the Cusco style.

Monsaterio del Carmen. Built in 1724, this fine architectural complex is one of the richest in the northern part of the country. It contains around 150 paintings, for the most part belonging to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Iglesia de Santa Clara and Iglesia de San Agustín, built in 1548 and 1558 respectively. They house fine carved wood altars, paintings, and examples of baroque architecture.

Iglesia de la Compañía. It dates from the seventeenth century and was part of the Jesuit convent. In the inside beautiful arcades can be seen.

Casonas or Mansions. Having been a city of great Spanish influence, the casonas built in Trujillo during the first years of the Republic preserve traits of Colonial architecture in their large patios, ample parlors, sober façades, and beautiful window gratings. Most outstanding among these Republican mansions are Palacio Iturregui, Casa de Mayorazgo, Casa Urquiaga, Casa Bracamonte and Casa Ganoza.

Among the museums, the most important are the Museo Arquelógico de la Universidad de Trujillo, Museo de Zoología, and the Collection of José Cassinelli.

Huacas. The huacas del Sol, de la Luna, del Dragón, Esmeralda, Toledo, El Obispo, Concha and Caballo Muerto are very close to the city and help understand the ancient cultures of Perú. It is said that to build the Huaca del Sol in only three days, 250,000 men and 70,000 adobes were required.Caballitos de Totora. Huanchaco, La Libertad. Fotografía: PromPerú.

Huanchaco. An ancient port of the Colonial period, it is a very popular beach today, where local fishermen still use the caballitos de totora or totora boats that were ridden by the Mochica and Chimú for fishing. Other beaches worth visiting are Las Delicias and Buenos Aires.

Haciendas Casagrande, Cartavio and Chiclín. These plantations were famous in the times of vast sugar production in the country.


. It is a typical town of the Coast, with a tranquil life, a beautiful countryside, pleasant weather and fruits in abundance.

Otuzco. Located at 2,632 m.a.s.l. (8,600 ft), it is a city of very religious people. The greatest manifestation of religious faith in all the north of the country, the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Puerta, takes place in Otuzco.

Coina. Typical Andean region at the shores of the Chicama river. It has a dry and healthy climate. Also, thermal waters and rather unexplored pre-Columbian ruins.

Huamachuco. A Colonial city over 3,310 m.a.s.l. (10,800 ft), it keeps Inca ruins in the Viracocha Pampa.

Santiago de Chuco. At 148 km (91 ml) from Trujillo and located at 3,100 m.a.s.l. (10,100 ft), this city is famous for its celebration of the Fiesta del Apóstol Santiago, El Mayor, and also for being the birthplace of the poet César Vallejo.

Cachicadan. This painteresque place at 183 km (114 ml) from Trujillo is famous for its thermal waters, considered the best in quality of the country. They are rich in iron and the temperatures surpass 60°C (140°F).

Pacasmayo. Province where the wonderful ruins of Pacatnamú, Pitura, Tecapa, Pacanga and Chérrepe are found, as well as the house where the famous Italian explorer, Antonio Raimondi, died.

Chicama. A port located in the province of Pacasmayo. Its beaches are famous for attracting surfers from all over the world who come searching for the perfect waves.

El Brujo Archeological Complex. Located in the province of Ascope, it was built during the Mochica period on an area of 2 km² (0.77 ml). This complex includes a site museum showing the evolution of the Peruvian culture from 5,000 BC up to Colonial times.


La Libertad is known for the good flavor of its cuisine. It is said that 'good taste' is found in the north of the country, and that it is easy to prove. Moreover, there is not a restaurant or picantería that does not give a good serving of the dishes at reasonable prices.

In this part of the Coast, the different varieties of cebiches muy picantes (very hot) are outstanding., as well as seco de cabrito and sangrecita. Also, other typical food as shambard, a soup of pealed wheat with beef and pork meat. Another dish is la cesina, sun dried meat served fried with yucca, chili and onions. Likewise, the causa en lapa and sangre de pantera (the juice of the cebiche with sour orange) must be tasted.

To drink, the local beer is recommended or the corn chicha or jora chicha. As dessert, king kong and machacado de membrillo.


Last Week in January.
National Marinera Dance Festival. Hundreds of couples come from different parts of the country to participate in this traditional contest organized by the Libertad Club. The finals take place in the Gran Chimú Coliseum.

April 24. Beginning date of the Fiesta de Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo, patron of Tayabamba in Pataz. It lasts until May 1.

July 13. Anniversary of Santiago de Chuco, celebrated in the province that bears the same name, with regional fairs and great celebrations. It lasts until August 2.

July 29. Fiesta del Señor de la Caña, celebrated in Chiclín.

August 15. Fiesta de la Virgen de la Altagracia, also celebrated in Chiclín.

September 20 through 30. International Spring Festival. National and foreign artists participate. There are cockfights, gait horse contests, among other activities. It ends with a great parade with floats riding throughout the city.

December 15. Fiesta de la Virgen de la Puerta, celebrated in Otuzco. This is the greatest manifestation of religious faith in all the north of the country.