22 October 2017:
Salaverry, Peru:
A Visit to the Chimú Capital of Chan-Chan

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

In relative terms, Peru is a South American success story. Peru is classified as upper middle income by the World Bank, moving upward.

Its total GDP is somewhere around the 39th largest in the world, with a per capita GDP above $12,000.

But there is a major divide between the relative prosperity of the coast and abject poverty in the high Andes.

The economy is based mostly on exports: copper, gold, zinc, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, services, and fish meal.

Silver Muse docked at Salaverry, a small industrial port town.

There’s not a lot to recommend in Salaverry, other than a parking space for our ship.

The focus of our visit is the old Spanish Colonial city of Trujillo, about 14 kilometers or 8 miles north.

Also, the amazing ruins of the adobe cities of the Mocha and the Chimú capital city of Chan-Chan.

Today, on a pleasant early spring day in Peru, I went with guests to Chan-Chan, a huge Chimú site. We toured one of the sprawling temples and explored the artwork and architecture of a place frozen in time from about 1450.

CHAN-CHAN

Some of the internal artwork under preservation at Chan-Chan.

Watching over us, a pair of buitres, vultures whose ancestors probably were here six centuries ago.

CENSUS DAY

As it happened, today was the day of the Peruvian National Census, conducted once every 10 years. In an interesting arrangement, all citizens, residents, and tourists are required to stay in their homes or hotels between 8 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon as census workers spread out across the nation.

In a last-minute ruling, the government altered the rules slightly, allowing tourists arriving on the day of the census to come ashore and spend time (and money) in a few select places. And so we did.

At Chan-Chan, I came across a special representative of the Tourist Police, hard at work.

TRUJILLO AND SALAVERRY, PERU

Trujillo, Peru. Photo by Corey Sandler
Coastal Peru. Photo by Corey Sandler
Trujillo, Peru. Photo by Corey Sandler
Trujillo, Peru. Photo by Corey Sandler

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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