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This is Huanchaco, Part 4: Housing

by Jessie Kwak | 22 February 2010 13 Comments

This is the last article in a four-part series on the fishing-and-surfing village of Huanchaco, Peru: how to find long-term housing.

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Check out Part 1 (Introduction to Huanchaco), Part 2 (Surfing in Huanchaco), and Part 3 (Volunteering in Huanchaco).

Living in Huanchaco

If you can’t tell by how much time we’ve spent talking about it, Huanchaco is a great place. There are basically two options for long-term accommodation: staying in a hostel or renting a room. Whether you’re in need of a base camp for surf trips up the coast, wanting to volunteer in the nearby area, or just needing a break from traveling, here’s a guide to finding “home” in Huanchaco.

Hospedajes and Hostals

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Huanchaco is home to many great cheap housing options. What is offered everywhere varies wildly, but the best options have a private, secure room with kitchen access and wifi.

Note that prices rise dramatically after December 15th as Huanchaco swings into high season. Rooms more than double in price at some places, and long-term housing can be harder to come by. If you arrive a few weeks early you’ll be able to lock in better rates.

DORM: beds for 10-15 soles a night (US $3-5). Discounts for longer stays can be pretty minimal, but go ahead and ask. A few places also offer use of the kitchen, including Chill Out (324 Los Pinos), Las Camelias (348 Las Camelias), and McCallum Lodging House (305 Los Ficus).

PRIVATE ROOM: Rooms range from S/.350-500 (US $125-180) a person, with better discounts for couples or pairs of friends. Prices vary wildly, and in the low season couples can find rooms with kitchen access, private bath and wifi from S/.400 (US $145) for two people.

Most hostals are located in the area of Los Pinos/Los Ficus. There are smaller options in the back streets throughout the city, and it may be easier to negotiate a lower monthly rate here.

Questions to keep in mind:

  • Do you want to cook? Restaurants in Huanchaco are pretty inexpensive so long as you stay away from the seafood joints on the malecón, but kitchen access can be invaluable.
  • How much privacy (and security) do you want? If you’re looking for some time alone search out something off the main strip. You can always stop by the livelier places for a beer.
  • If you’re looking to meet people, look for something with a good common area. My Friend (533 Los Pinos) and Casa Suiza (308 Los Pinos) both have busy restaurants that attract partiers, while and others such as Chill Out and McCallum Lodging House have more mellow common areas that attracts fellowship.

Apartment

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This is a harder section to write, since there are so many different options. Every week it seemed as though there were new signs advertising rooms for rent on doors and telephone poles.

  • Apartment hunting
  • What’s included, and what will you have to pay extra for (gas, water, wifi)?
  • Is there a kitchen?
  • How noisy will it be? If it’s on a main road, you’ll be dealing with buses without mufflers
  • What other things will you need? Dishes, sheets, towels, furniture, fridge, stove, gas…. Will your landlord provide them?
  • What’s the repairs policy? Will you have to pay for them, or will they be the landlord’s responsibility?

Some are merely a room in a house, but there are great deals to be had for apartments. The best are rented furnished (amoblado).

Rob and I showed up from an overnight bus and had an apartment by 5 that afternoon. Basically we just walked down the main strip and asked respectable-looking business-owners (mostly surf-shop guys) if they knew of anywhere we could stay. Everyone made the effort to actually walk us to the location and introduce us personally to the people renting the place.

We were shown everything from a windowless room in an unfinished house (S/.600 a month) to a damp room in the back of a surf shop, to totally unfinished apartment (S/.400 a month if we’d help work on the place). We ended up in a fully furnished two-bedroom place with our own entrance, 6 blocks from the beach (about as far as you can get in Huanchaco), a kitchen, and a front porch. Total costs: S/.455 ($158) a month, including spotty wifi, electricity, and water.

If you decide to stay

  • FOOD: Go to the market on Calle Manco Capac in the mornings for fresh fruits and vegetables, and most anything else you’d need. There are supermarkets in Trujillo, but try to support the little guys in the community you’ll be calling home.
  • WATER: Save waste, money, and headaches by getting a 20-liter water bottle. For a deposit you can buy these at almost any corner bodega. You can also call for water delivery―ask at any restaurant or hostel for a recommendation.
  • BUSES: Taking the bus into Trujillo is only S/.1.50 (US $0.50). There are four lines (A, B, H, and H with a heart). B goes north of the city on España, A goes south, and the two H buses head into the neighborhoods farther south of the city center. The combis of the same letter follow the same route. See Trujillo Nuts and Bolts
  • MONEY: There are two ATMs by the municipality building on the waterfront, but both charge a pretty hefty withdrawal fee. Your best bet is to go into Trujillo and use a Banco Credito del Peru ATM. But remember that most small businesses in Huanchaco won’t have change for larger bills like 50’s and 100’s. Try to change those in Trujillo.
  • BEER: If you enjoy a beer now and again (and have a fridge), the best deal is to buy a case of Trujillo for S/.36 (US $13), plus a S/.14 deposit on the bottles and the crate. Go to 406 Los Cedros (look for the big Trujillo sign) for your own personal beer case.

Written by Jessie Kwak

I am a farm girl who moved to the big city, and then just kept right on moving. I love camping, hoppy beer, and good conversations. See all posts by

13 Comments »

  • Roxanna said:

    Thanks so much for mentioning us in your article. Just thought I would mention that the Chillout is actually at 324 Los Pinos.

    Love to see you next time you are in Huanchaco.

    Roxanna

    http://chilledperu.com

  • Jessie Kwak (author) said:

    Thanks for the correction, Roxanna! Chillout is now correctly located. :)

  • Gaby said:

    Thanks so much for this info! My Aussie boyfriend and I have been travelling for 7 months and think we want to settle in Huanchaco, this gave us great presepective on what we could can look to pay for housing! Thanks again!

    Gaby and Joel!

  • Christina said:

    Hi Roxanna,

    This is exactly the kind of information I have been looking for. This is super helpful! Thanks for putting this information together. Do you think these prices are still current for this year more or less? Do you know what the internet connection is like there? Thanks very much! :)

  • Jessie Kwak (author) said:

    Hi Christina,

    Glad you found this article helpful! I couldn’t tell you for certain if the prices are still current, but the sense that I got was that prices in Peru don’t fluctuate too rapidly. The internet connection in Huanchaco is passable. A few cafes have wireless, like Chocolate Cafe, and probably most hostels do, as well. When we were there last (almost two years ago, yikes!) there was an internet cafe on the malecón that had a decent connection.

  • Christina said:

    Hi Jesse,

    I’m sorry I thought your name was Roxanna! Yeah time flies and I really appreciate your help! If we go I will need to install internet wherever we live as my job depends on it. Thinking early November – will let you know! :)

  • Jessie Kwak (author) said:

    No worries. :)

    We stayed in an apartment in Huanchaco that had wireless in it, and I met other people who lived in Huanchaco and worked from home via the internet (in jobs like web design and things like that). So I know it’s definitely possible, though I have no experience setting up the internet (our landlords did that), but there are tons of friendly locals and expats there to help you out.

    Enjoy your trip!

  • Christina said:

    Hi Jessie!

    We made it to Huanchaco and found a place pretty easlily, although we go there at the end of November most apartments were rented already, and we didnt see anything under 650 (although prices are meant to be lower after March) and that is including everything. We ended up paying 700 + expensas, but we have a living room we can play football in and 3 rooms!! Anyway hope you are well and thanks for your advice… Huanchaco is amazing!! :)

  • Jessie Kwak (author) said:

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying it! I really do miss our time in Huanchaco.

    Here’s wishing you the best!

  • samantha said:

    Hi ! Loved all of your articles, I am coming to Huanchaco from Cusco next week, and plan on staying a couple months. I was curious if you had any recommendations for work? I wanted to work at a bar, or something simple. I will also be volunteering there. Thanks so much !!

  • South America travel said:

    Looks like you really had a lot of great experiences in Peru! a truly expert in the country! what do you prefer from the Country? landscapes? tasty delicious food?

  • Mike said:

    Love Huanchaco, I,m coming back to Peru on August, I’ll take you tips on huanchaco housing, for Lima apartments I found this website very helpfull

  • Isabel said:

    I’ve been planning to move to Huanchaco for the last year. I’ve visited Peru 2x in the last year and a half and have become part of a family there. I did a lot of traveling the first time and loved it. The country the people, the food and of course the language. My second visit, I came for abuelitas birthday, she just turned 90! She had 12 kids, who live all over Trujillo and Lima. I’ve picked Peru for these reasons, but there are soooo many details to work out first. I love all the info you offered. My friends and I only really went to la playa for fun a few times during the day and to pick up piccarones in the evening. Living there will be a totally different experience and they worry about my safety. It’s their country, they would know, but are they being over protective?

    I just turned 30, originally from Ohio, USA and speak some (enough lol) Spanish. I am hoping to move for about a year, maybe more. While I’m there I want 5 things; to volunteer, become fluent in Spanish, explore the country, spend time with my friends, while being close to the soothing beach, so that I can reflect on my life. I’m already working on connecting with SKIP, but I am open to other volunteering options as well. I really need to find a place that will let me bring my dog. I’ve looked into it with the airlines etc, so I’m all good there… this is a MUST for me. He’s a tea cup chihuahua that doesn’t bark! Can you believe it :-) anyway, he’s like family and I need a place we can both stay. I’ve saved money all year, so while I really want to work, I won’t need to at first.

    Your blog already answered a lot of my questions, so I guess what I’m looking for are connections, advice, and specific insight. Do you have contact info for people I might connect with when I get there? Visas! I’ve being doing some research and I’m so confused. I can’t tell if I apply for a year, if they are going to give me one or if I have to come on a tourist/volunteer visa??? I know I should have that in order first, but it’s been a crazy few months. I’d like to leave for Peru the first week of April. What do you think about the visa situation? Also, I have some pre-existing medical issues. I’m working on the medicine situation on this end, but I was wondering what you knew about healthcare there(Trujillo). I guess those are the 3 main things I need to figure out in the next few weeks; visa, healthcare and some trustworthy connections in Huanchaco. Any ideas?