The dunes of northern Peru roll right up to the feet of the Andes range and are kissed by the rolling waves of the Pacific. These days most of it is still barren but there are a few towns, cities, and farms that line the coast and the main highway. In the midst of this vast desert a giant ancient city was built by the Chimu people: Chan Chan. Located about 5km west of Trujillo, you quickly see the landscape change from industrial installations to desert with strange brown walls in the distance.
Honestly, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the Chan Chan ruins. But that’s probably because I wasn’t in a plane looking down on them. The site is huge and while it’s possible to visit many of the restored buildings, it was obvious to me that the best way to appreciate them would be from the air so that the scale and size of the site can be taken in. It’s just too big to connect with on the ground. Oh and the city is built out of adobe, not sand. Even though it really does look like a city of gigantic sandcastles.