You don’t have to go to Cusco to find remarkable Peruvian ruins; you don’t even have to venture too far from Lima. Just an hour from Peru’s capital lie some of the most remarkable and least-frequented ruins in the country. Here’s what you need to know about the ancient ruins of Pachacamac, one of Peru’s oldest sites.
The archaeological complex of Pachacamac is located around 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Lima’s city center. This enormous site is very impressive, with great pyramidal temples, dwellings, remains of frescoes decorating the adobe walls and other fascinating archaeological constructions built by different cultures. The site was the most important religious center of indigenous people on the Peruvian coast in pre-Hispanic times.
The area was settled around 200 AD, one thousand years before the Incas had anything to do with the area. The region was dedicated to the civilization’s most powerful god and quickly become a sort of pilgrimage for people living along the coast. The culture, known as the Lima Culture, began construction on temples and large squares for worship. Before long, around 600 AD, the Wari Culture came and expanded the growth of the city.
The city became such a center for devotion and worship upon the Incas’ arrival that they decided to incorporate the gods into their mythology. The cult gained such popularity, it forced the conquering Incas to let the religious fervor remain. To incorporate their gods into the equation at Pachacamac, the Incas built a remarkable temple overlooking the Pacific Ocean, called the Temple of the Sun. When the Spanish arrived, they had a less than tolerable outlook of the worshipers at Pachacamac and, in typical Spanish fashion, they destroyed buildings, plundered the sacred areas and forced the population to convert to Catholicism.
Today Pachacamac is one of Peru’s best-kept archeological sites and a great reminder of the remarkable civilizations that preceded the Incas. In addition to the Temple of the Sun, the site has plenty of ruins to admire. The most popular spots to visit are the Painted Temple and the Old Temple. For museum-lovers, there’s an on-site museum that displays artefacts discovered at Pachacamac, like ceramics, textiles and other religious pieces, and gives an explanation of the history and importance of the sites and temples in the area. There are knowledgeable guides who will greet you, and who offer tours of the entire grounds. Give yourself plenty of time to walk around and bring plenty of water and a hat—sunscreen always helps too.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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.