There has been a settlement at Huanchaco since prehistoric times. When the colossal UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chan Chan was a thriving city, Huanchaco was its port. Colonial era buildings indicate it remained important to the Spanish conquistadores. Some experts claim Huanchaco is the original home of the raw fish dish, ceviche. And in 2012, it was designated a World Surfing Reserve.
Yet the thing that attracts most visitors to Huanchaco are the traditional reed boats used by its fishermen.
Today, the characteristic reed boats go by the name caballitos de totora, which translates as reed horses. This is despite the fact they predate the introduction of modern horses to South America by over 2000 years. In fact, they were first made by the Moche People around 2500 years ago.
Caballitos de totora are actually found all along the northern Peruvian coast, but are particularly associated with Huanchaco.
The ‘boats’ get their name from the way the fishermen ride them. Unlike a canoe, which you sit inside, you ‘ride’ a caballitos de totora as you would a horse, with one leg either side.
The hollowed-out portion in the centre is used to carry fishing nets and other necessities.
In many ways, caballitos de totora are more like rafts than true boats. But whatever you want to call them, seeing them lined up along the sea’s edge in Huanchaco is like stepping back in time.
Thanks to Lina of TrujilloDelPeru.Com for showing us Huanchaco and its wonderful reed boats.
Do you consider the caballitos de totora to be more boats or rafts? In either case, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?
And if that’s not enough for you, the first three Jaspa’s Journey novels will soon be available to enjoy, both as ebooks and in paperback! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!