If you are in the big city and want to go on a short day trip to check out some old ruins then a voyage out to this site (a mere 31kms away from Lima) makes for a decent excursion. There are several old buildings and temples spread throughout a good sized area with a nice little museum to help put things into context. The site overlooks the Pacific Ocean and I'm sure on bright summer days the views are great - since I was there in winter all I could see was a thick layer of clouds and just a small glimpse of water. It is an impressive setting none-the-less. I'd say it's worth a visit if you have the spare time and haven't gotten sick of seeing all the other ruins & temples that are to be seen in this country.
The temple of Pachacamac is a Pre-Inca archaeological site 40 km southeast of Lima. To date at least 17 pyramids have been discovered. Artefacts have been dated to the Early Intermediate Period (200-600 AD) but the main city and administrative centre were built by the Wari (600-800 AD). The Wari empire declined but Pachacamac grew in importance as a religious centre and most of the common buildings and temples date between 800 and 1450 AD. Continual exposure to the El Niño weather phenomenon has damaged many of the structures beyond repair.
The site was originally used for the worship of Pacha Kamaq ('Earth Maker'), the creator god. The Inca continued to use Pachacamac as a religious shrine and added Pacha Kamaq to their pantheon of gods. They constructed the huge Temple of the Sun. This is built on the west side of the complex and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. There are a number of terraces where mummified bodies were sat to look over proceedings.
The Acllahuasi temple or the house of Mamaconas (women dedicated to the religious ceremonies) is still in quite good repair.
Pachacamac is a pre-Inca site with about 20 pyramids, and the most important archaeological site in coastal Peru (20 miles from Lima.) Construction started about 200 A.D. but most of it was built between 800 and 1450. Each succeeding group added a temple and the site grew to over 200 acres.
People came here on pilgrimage from all over to consult an idol that served as an oracle. The oracle was located in a painted temple. Wide roads to the site extended to Quito and Colombia in one direction, and to the ocean in the other. It was a 3-month walk. (When the Spanish came, they looted what they could and smashed the idol.)
The Incas arrived last and they were smart. They said “I had a dream that told me to build a sun temple here” and the locals said “OK.” They didn’t tear anything down—they just added the Sun Temple and the House of the Virgins of the Sun. The women went there young, learned household arts, and served as priestesses. (The women’s house has been rebuilt, the way they think it looked at the time. It is a large compound, with a labyrinth to reach the entrance.)
This site is an easy one for the less agile to explore--Most of the path is a gentle slope, and there is no altitude problem.
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9-5.
My travel guide arranged for me to have a day trip on a “shared car ride” to Pachacamac. However, this place can also be reached through the “colectivos” with “Lurin” as their destination, a one hour ride going east on Grau in Lima Centro. You must ask the driver to bring you to “las ruinas” (to avoid confusion with another town farther down from the ruins which is also called Pachacamac).
What I remember from the ride was going out of the city of Lima and passing through the highway which eventually leads to to the sandy ruins. The site is believed to have been built in pre-Incan AD 200 and 600 for the god Huari who had the power to destroy the earth through earthquakes. Once you see the ruins, you realize that excavation is not yet completed and archeologists are still working on the site (especially after large burial sites with mummies and artifacts were unearthed in 2002).
But the recently discovered burial sites were from the Incas who actually came later and did not destroy the site, but added the Temple of the Sun to the complex. For those who like being kinda- like “Indiana Jones”, this is a nice place to explore. However, I was suffering from diarrhea/stomach cramps at the time I was here and so I did not get to walk around as much and just took some pictures.
Pachacamac was a nice half day trip from Lima. We saw ruins of ancient pre-Incan pyramids. We negotiated a taxi ride to Pachacamac with a company our hotel used. I can't remember exactly how much it was, but it was pretty damn cheap for how far we went. English speaking tours are available, but you may have to wait for a while. The cab driver actually drove us and our tour guide around the ruins. There are these weird looking but cute hairless dogs that live there and are fed by the tour guides. They especially loved our tour guide and ran along side the car whenever she was in it. Those dogs are super fast and often beat the car to the next site.
Let the horse do the work! I went riding with Cabalgatas on my only trip 3 years ago. I had a wonderful time and alas my Leica was lost in the surf so no photos.
If you click on my intro page it will tell the whole story.
The ride started at Mamacona.
Pachacamar lies 25 miles away from Lima and is the site of ruins from Native American settlements. The site is considered a very important center for religion and contains a number of pyramids. Pachacamar when translated means he who animates the world.
Around 200-600 AD at least 1 pyramid stood on the site. Then around 600-800 AD the Huari Empire developed the site. Around 800-1450 AD the Huari Empire collapsed and the site grew in size. During this period many pyramids and structures were built. When the Incan Empire again expanded the site it became the Incan administrative center and a religious shrine. During this time the Mamacuna and the Pyramid of the Sun were built
Pachacamar is one site where you should hire a guide so you can understand the history of the ruins some of which are half standing and covered in sand. If you walk through on your own, nothing is clearly labeled so you will not get a sense of what you are looking at nor of the history of the place. The guides are only a few dollars and they take you for an hour long talk about the site.
The best part of the journey was standing on top of the Pyramid of the Sun and taking in the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. I imagine this would look even more spectacular at sunset.
At the end of the tour you see the newly excavated and reconstructed ruins of the Mamcuna or Templo de la Luna. It is surrounded by a garden and there are many birds flying around. It was here that the Mamcuna or holy women who took a vow of chastity stayed and learned how to serve.
All in all the site was worthwhile especially with a guide to explain what you were seeing. After the tour I went back for a half an hour to again see the views of the Pacific ocean that I loved.
To the untrained eyes, this ruins look like piles of stones and dirt. The desert like setting is unique though. You should get a guide if possible, you'll enjoy more understanding the history behind it.
Pachacamac archeological site lies south of Lima, near the valley of Lurin, which also is worth visiting.
The area is about 2 x 2 km.
At the entrance there is a small museum. You have better pay a guide who first shows the museum and then goes with you (in your car), which is the best and easy way to see the terrain. Without guide you are not allowed to enter for instance the Mamacona.
Mamacona, here lived women that were chosen for the Inka.
This building I liked the best.
See also pictures in the travelpages on
Ruinas de Pachacamac.
Pachacamac, a city built hundreds of years before the Incas empire extended over South America. Several civilization have been in the site one after another, adding their own structures to the prior, and keeping the sacred importance of the site generation after generation.
Third Week in May. The National Peruvian Gait Horse Contest. This contest takes place in Mamacona, a tourist resort at a walking distance from the Pachacamac ruins. There is also a wonderful exhibition of these gait horses, who descend from the fine Arab breeds and that in Perú got their very special style of pace.
This largest pyramid commands an ocean view. At the top were sacrificial alters where virgins were sacrified.
This is the only re-constructed building in the site. It was housed by women where they were trained to perform their tasks.