Things have been shook up in Trujillo, Peru recently. In late February, a mild earthquake hit northern Peru; and while there were no significant injuries or damage, scientists are keeping their eye on the region. Trujillo is located in the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” where 85% of seismic activity takes place due to the shifting tectonic plates below.
Trujillo has recently been shook up in a different, less dangerous, but equally exciting way – the Huanchacho Longboard pro surfing tournament. Considered the birthplace of surfing in Peru, Huanchacho is believed to have a 3,000 year old surfing history, dating back to the use of Cabalitos de Totora. These are red canoes that skim the water’s surface letting riders catch fish, a practice still used to this day. In more current history, 2013 to be exact, the World Surfing Reserve added this area to its “Save the Waves Coalition,” a campaign that seeks to save the coastlines and educate people about its many uses and ecological value.
After you’ve struggled to paddle out for a few hours, it’s time to make your way back to land and head to the city center of Trujillo, the capital of the La Libertad Region, named after Peru’s declaration of freedom from Spain in 1820. This section of the country is the only one to contain all three ecotones: the coast, the highlands and the rainforest. Due to the high frequency of sunny days, it is also known as the city of the everlasting spring; with the great weather, big waves and diverse geography, it sounds like one of those hidden gems. Well, maybe you already knew about it, but it seems like a place I should venture to.
And what major city would be complete without its beautiful architecture? Trujillo is home to many beautiful works of public art, whether they are statues, places of worship or government venues. La Plaza de Armas is the focus of the business and city center, an area whose development can be traced back to the early 16th Century. One of the most striking statues in the downtown area is the Freedom Monument. It consists of three different poses of a man, symbolizing his struggle to overcome the chains of slavery: one is of the man crouched with his hands chained behind his back; the next is of him rising his hands and attempting to break the chains; and the final is of the man standing tall with his hands unclasped and raised over his head signaling victory. Another prominent work of architecture is the Cathedral de Trujillo, which resides under the control of the Archdiocese of Trujillo, and was constructed in the mid-17th Century.
In more modern history (aka 2011), Trujillo, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, enlisted itself in the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative. This project helps growing Latin American and Caribbean cities attend to their environmental, urban and economic development needs. The Initiative focuses on isolating “key bottleneck” areas that are roadblocks to progress. From there, they establish a list of goals and objectives, prioritizing the variables most conducive to short-term and long-term success, and then incorporate strategies to work together to initiate sustainable progress. With this investment in development, coupled with the designation for participation in the Smarter Cities Challenge by IBM and its long-established moniker of Peru’s Capital of Culture, Trujillo may be my favorite stop so far on our tour of this Small World.