The ceremonial city of Cahuachi is located at the lower section of the Nasca Valley, virtually in the middle of the desert north of Nasca. Since 1982, the Centro Italiano Studi e Ricerche Archeologiche Precolombiane (CISRAP), headed by Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Orefeci, has been excavating this ancient city of the Nasca people.
The archaeological complex extends 24 square kilometers (9.3 sq mi), covered by huge pyramids, temples and platforms. Cahuachi has a great importance, as it was there where the ancient Nasca culture developed. Artifacts, such as ceramics, textiles, musical instruments and dozens of burial sites containing mummies dating back from 2000 years ago indicate that the Nasca Lines builders lived in this ceremonial center.
So far, the pottery found in Cahuachi show shapes of humans beings, animals and bowls, depicting an amazing iconography. The figures painted on the vessels resemble the lines etched on the Nasca desert. In addition, many of the Nasca Lines point towards Cahuachi, leading archaeologists to believe that the Nasca people used them as sacred roads to reach the Nasca desert (where the figures are located), perhaps to draw more animal divinities or simply to pray their gods to send rain over their hostile environment.
Construction of the Cahuichi complex spanned from 400 BC to 400 AD, when the site was abandoned due to flooding. The sheer size of the pyramids parallels the scale of pyramids built by the Moche and Sic├ín in Northern Peru. Much of the site and its structures have been defaced by looters, but in spite of this, Orefici and his team have uncovered a number ancient Nazca artifacts and tombs, including one of a young sorceress.
28 kilometers (17 miles) northwest of Nasca town
Ruins, Nasca lines
Access to Cahuachi is semi-restricted, due to on-going excavations. If going independently, permission must be obtained from the Centro Italiano Studi e Ricerche Archeologiche Precolombiane (CISRAP), based at Museo Did├íctico Antonini. The museum also leads tours to the site ($27 one person, $5 each additional person, plus $22-30 transportation for all). Tours with private agencies cost $30-35. There is no official public transportation to the site.
Tours are usually only conducted in Spanish. Check around for a tour agency that can accommodate your language.
Relative price: Free
Open Hours from:Daily 8 a.m.
Open Hours to:Daily 4 p.m.
Travel Skills: None
You Need to Bring:
Bring along water, snacks and protection against the sun (hat, sun screen).
Peruvian nuevo sol