Machu Picchu may get all the glory, but ruins even older than the Cusco giant can be explored without ever leaving downtown Lima. Indigenous peoples started building Huaca Pucllana in 400 A.D.â€”nine centuries before the Incas started setting stones at mighty Machu Picchu.
Those earliest residents gathered, traded, made community decisions, worshiped and sacrificed women and children at Huaca Pucllana for 300 years. They abandoned the site when the Wari empire conquered the area in 700 A.D., and built a cemetery for its elite on top of the pyramid. The Incas moved in some three centuries later.
Although Huaca Pucllana is ancient, its grounds opened for tours only in 1984 and excavation is ongoing. On the top, take in a panoramic view of downtown Lima and a birdâ€™s eye view of just how intricate the ruins are. Huaca Pucllana once stretched nearly eight square miles. Development whittled it to less than two and a half. Thereâ€™s a small flora and fauna park on the grounds, and a gift shop with a small selection of native crafts. Staff has built animal pens for animals that were used (or eaten) through the centuries, including guinea pigs.
Calle General BorgoÃ±o block 8 s/n, Miraflores
The archeological site is in Miraflores at the end of Calle General BorgoÃ±o block 8, between block 4 of Avenida Angamos Oeste and block 45 of Avenida Arequipa.
Guided tour in English, Spanish, Japanese, French or Italian included. Tours run at specific times no matter how many visitors, so you may luck out with a semi private or private tour.
If you want to grab a coffee or snack and savor the sight after the tour, the mid-range Restaurant Huaca Pucllana is right beside the ruins. The ruins are lit at night and nearly every table has a view.
Adults $4.50; university students and teachers (nationals) $2; children and retirees $0.40
Relative price: Mid-Range
Open Hours from:Wednesday-Monday 9 a.m.
Open Hours to:Wednesday-Monday 4:30 p.m.
Travel Skills: None
Peruvian nuevo sol