My day started early heading from Miraflores towards Lurin district (about 45 minutes by car) to visit one of the most famous archaeological sites we have in Peru (a country known as a culturally and architecturally rich Inca, pre-Inca territory) PACHACAMAC. Not another mud-brick temple in the central coast, this is a place that has, miraculously, preserved thousands of pieces of ceramics, fabrics, jewelry, mummies, and a big group of temples dating back from I to XVI century of our era, all underneath the sands of our desert coast. This huge complex has over 16 constructions, some of them not yet investigated, according to archeologists only 5 % of the site has been excavated. These excavations had continued (licitly and illicitly) for almost 500 years, and continue giving us more evidence of the life of the ancestors of humanity in this part of the world.
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The site is huge, you need several hours to see it all. I recommend you to save at least a morning to give an appropriate visit to this place, your visit should include the site museum and the main temples located along the tourists circuit established by the museum, the temples on this site belong to different periods of the pre-hispanic occupation of Lima city, and finally a walk up to a hill to see the construction known as Temple of the Sun made by the Incas.
Some of site museum's treasures
We had several cultures in our Pre-Colonial Era, to understand this part of our history visit first the museum. You can hire a guide from the Site or go alone, some of the showcases in the display have codes that you can scan with your cellphones to obtain more info about the exhibit.
Next, you can make a stop at the museums gift shop, the ladies that work at the store are part of a project called SISAN, they all belong to the low-income vicinity and have been empowered by Sustainable Preservation Initiative (click on name for more info) with technical courses to create souvenirs and recreate design-patrons from the pre-Inca cultures of this zone, giving these women at the same time the opportunity to be economically more independent, giving their families a better life. Prices are adequate, they only take cash, preferably in local Soles.
The adventure starts while exploring the archaeological site, the tour may take you about 45 minutes by bus. If you rather walk the whole tour may take you 2 hours approx…By the way, a new project called BiciTour is making possible a visit to this site on bicycles, this project is an initiative of National Geographic. On bike visits are led by young people from the nearby community to shorten a bit the time to see the whole site combining culture with some exercise, this option is only available Saturdays and Sundays. What a great way to integrate communities with tourism in a very responsible way!.
Temples in process of excavation
Why this place is so important? no other pre-hispanic site along the coast of Peru still has its original idol, the one worshiped by its natives (my non-Spanish ancestors) in situ, yes, the wooden stick-like Idol in the museum may be, according to the archaeologist, the original one worshiped by pre-hispanic Peruvians. The conquest brought the extirpators of idolatries, they destroyed all the idols, temples, and any evidence of the cult to the native Gods, that destruction started about 40 years after the conquest in 1532.
So, bring comfortable shoes with you, some cash for shopping, water, your shades and hat for the sun… now you are ready for an adventure in Pachacamac.
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