Often overlooked by travelers, Pachacamac receives just a smattering of visitors each day; this is something of a tragedy, as this breathtaking site is of utmost historical importance to the region. Not convinced? Here are 12 reasons why Pachacamac is worth the effort.
It’s only about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from downtown Lima, meaning an entire tour can be done and dusted in just three or four hours. Budget travelers with more time can jump on the southbound San Bartolo bus at Grau for just 3 PEN (US$0.90) and hop off right at the gate.
The site is huge
Covering some 600 hectares, Pachacamac is nothing short of enormous. Of course, it’s not necessary to visit every square inch of the site, although those after a bit of exercise could spend hours wandering the complex in awe. To give a better indication of the scale, an estimated 50 million bricks were used in its construction.
Some 1800 years old, according to the best archaeological estimates. That’s almost as old as Jesus!
The site is pre-Inca
The Moche and Huari people constructed most of Pachacamac long before the arrival of the Inca. Travelers in Peru see dozens of Inca sites on their trip, so why not check out some of the country’s other indigenous history as well?
It has an abundance of pyramids
Pachacamac is absolutely chock-full of pyramids. Although originally thought to have been used for religious purposes, archaeologists later determined them to be the homes of noblemen and priests.
And some amazing temples too
Built around the time of Inca occupation, the mammoth 30,000-square-meter (323,000 sq ft) Temple of the Sun is fascinating for its historical significance and sheer enormity.
It was dedicated to the creator god
Known as Pacha Kamaq, which translates to “Earth Maker,” the creator god is the most important figure in Moche mythology. Such was Pacha Kamaq’s prestige that the Inca actually adopted him into their own belief system, declaring him the child of the ever-powerful sun god known as Inti.
There used to be human sacrifices
Although there is no concrete evidence, archaeologists have good reason to believe human sacrifices were carried out at the site. They have found mummies with various offerings, as well as cotton string wrapped tightly around their necks, a strong indication these grizzly practices did, indeed, take place.
Learn some bizarre mythology
One legend, for example, states that Pacha Kamaq created the first man and woman but forgot to feed them, resulting in the man’s death (oops). The woman was understandably unimpressed, so she prayed to Inti to request godlike status as the mother of all people on earth. Her wish was granted, and she subsequently started popping out kids like crazy. Pacha Kamaq didn’t get along with these new offspring, so he began killing them off, one by one. Eventually, one heroic child gave Pacha Kamaq a monumental beatdown and threw him into the sea. Feeling humbled, Pacha Kamaq decided to cease his murderous ways and became the God of Fish instead.
Meet the Peruvian Hairless Dog
It may not exactly be cute, but the Peruvian Hairless Dog is so important to Peru it was declared part of the national patrimony. These guys wander around Pachacamac like they own the place, so an encounter is essentially guaranteed.
It costs 15 Soles
That’s about US$4.50. Compare that to Machu Picchu, which costs at least 10 times more.
It has a fantastic attached museum
The on-site museum showcases a number of artifacts recovered from the region, accompanied by detailed historical information in both English and Spanish.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.