Pachacamac: A Full day option right next to Lima
During their Peru cultural journey, travelers often neglect Lima in favor of other picturesque cities such as Cusco and Arequipa. However, you should not dismiss Lima so quickly. There are a few noteworthy ruins and ancient pre-Inca temples to visit. Enter Pachacamac – a full day option right next to Lima. Sounds like a plan, right?
On the way to Pachacamac
On a 30 minutes drive from Lima lie the important ruins of Pachacamac. Which makes it a perfect full day experience! The short drive begins on the green areas and urban buildings of Miraflores. Heading through the suburbs, the scenery changes abruptly. You’ll suddenly remember that Lima is a real desert city. The small towns give way to the arid desert. It makes it easy to spot the imposing adobe walls of Pachacamac’s as they started to rise in the distance.
The best way to get to Pachacamac from Lima is by driving. This can easily be arranged as part of a tour, by renting a car, or by taxi. A day trip can be done as a full day visit. To get the most out of your experience, we recommend hiring a tour guide who can teach you about everything you’ll see and expertly guide you through the large site.
The Pachacamac Origins
Some might say that Peru is full of archaeological sites and consider Pachacamac as just one more pile of ancient rocks, but believe us, it’s not.
Named after the Earth Maker, Pacha Kamaq (creator God), the word Pachacamac itself means the soul of the Earth, the one who cheers the world. It is not difficult to imagine how this immense place could receive the multitude of pilgrims that came from distant lands such as Ecuador and Chile. They all believed that God could solve their problems or answer their doubts, becoming the oracle.
Pachacamac was able to predict the future and control the movements of the earth. The local ancestors believed that a single movement of his head would cause earthquakes. One could not look directly into his eyes, and even his priests entered with their backs to the idol.
A Tour through the Ruins
The archaeological site of Pachacamac covers a sprawling 600 hectares of land.
Pachacamac is a massive pre-Columbian citadel complex and used to be a hub of culture, trade, and pilgrimage. Here you´ll find stone palaces, adobe-shaped buildings, and impressive temple pyramids. When the Incas arrived in 1450 AD, they expanded Pachacamac, turning it into a sprawling city of ceremonial buildings, palaces, and government buildings.
As you begin to approach the walkway that led to the entrance, you´ll have the sensation of heading back in time hundreds of years to the height of the Inca Empire. Today, you can still see still many of the original structures at Pachacamac as all remain remarkably intact.
The first site section is considered the religious area, including sacred temples and a large cemetery. Here you’ll visit three of the main pyramids: the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon and the old Temple of Pachacamac. Temple of the Sun (the highest structure of the site) represented the male entity and only high honor nobles, and priests were allowed to go in. The Temple of the Moon represented the Female and the Yin and Yang balance, but women were only allowed to this temple to be sacrificed.
The Temple of the Moon was previously used to host young women (8 to 10 years old) who were brought to be taught by older women how to take care if men, the house and perform other womanly considered duties.
Discover Pachacamac views
The well-preserved palace walls speak of a time of opulence and wealth. Climb up the Temple of the Sun and checkout the spectacular panoramic views. Surrounding countryside and Pacific coastline are just amazing.
This expansive site is still under excavation. Going through this whole site takes about 3 hours or so, so take it easy, you have plenty of time. The water supply system was very advanced. It has ditches, and reservoirs.
One of the most recent buildings, dated from the Inca period is the Acllawasi. A structure elegantly built with an adobe and stone base. Acllawasi was housed by the acllas, women chosen for their beauty and handicrafts and dedicated to the service of the state.
In the Museum of Siege, the visitors will have the chance to see ceramics, textiles, and other remains found during the excavations.
A long as you walk through these fascinating ruins you’ll imagine all that still lay beneath the sand waiting for you. There is so much more to learn about this once vast empire. Exploring Pachacamac provides travelers with a chance to walk in the footsteps of a mighty people. It is a unique experience and a meaningful way to get close to Peru’s rich history.