On this Pachacamac tour, we travel 30 km south of Lima through a changing landscape. From the beautiful views of the coast to a dry desert. After about 45 minutes, we arrive at what was the main sanctuary of the Andean coast for more than 1500 years, the archeological site of Pachacamac.
First, we have a look at the collection of the modern Pachacamac museum with various artifacts of the different cultures that used to occupy this sanctuary. Then we head to the vast archeological site, which consists of the remains of more than 50 temples and other buildings.
Afterward, we head to a local community of artisans nearby. The first thing we do there is to have lunch at the house of a local artisan family. On the menu are a great local experience and delicious homemade typical Peruvian lunch. The menu is different every time, but it’s always authentic, fresh, and also a lot.
After entertaining us at lunch with some of his many stories, our funny host will show us his ceramics workshop. He also takes us to two more workshops of his talented fellow artisans, who make other types of Peruvian handicrafts, for instance, rugs and textile.
Buying is not expected but if you’re interested in taking home some fair-trade Peruvian handicrafts, this is your chance!
Without a doubt, Pachacamac is one of the most important archaeological sites of coastal Peru. It includes elements dating back as far as 200 AD. Because each succeeding culture added its own temples, there are remains belonging to different ancient cultures from pre-Inca and Inca times.
Today, Pachacamac shelters the remains of more than 50 temples and buildings making it the largest archaeological complex in Lima.
On our Pachacamac tour, your guide first shows you around the archeological excavations. Then, your driver will take you around this huge site with stops at different sights.
At some stops, we need to walk around a bit to have a good look at the remains of the temples. Besides the archeological ruins, you will be amazed by the great views of the surrounding area including the Pacific Ocean. It is hard to believe we’re so close to the metropolitan city of Lima.
After the Pachacamac tour, we head to a close-by local neighborhood that is home to many artisans from the area of Ayacucho. These people fled the violence of the guerrilla war of the 1980s and 1990s by moving to the outskirts of Lima. The guide will tell you more about this terrible period in Peru.
In this neighborhood, local artisans continue to make traditional handicrafts and art from Ayacucho. Before we visit some of their workshops, we have lunch with one of these local artisan families in their home.
With a full stomach, we visit a few workshops where they make textiles, ceramics, and other beautiful typical Peruvian handicrafts. The artisans love to show you their work and explain how they make these pieces of art.
In a place where the government is mostly absent, these people have built their own community and are developing and maintaining the local economy with their traditions and art. They are working hard to keep their traditions alive.
Certainly, you will leave this place very inspired and perhaps even with a few authentic and fair-trade souvenirs (completely optional of course).
I’m Alfredo, partner and expert tour leader at Alternative Peru, an educational and sustainable tourism company based in Lima; and founder of Social Andean Expedition, an initiative that provides solar energy to schools in vulnerable communities, through sustainable tourism programs. I graduated in Communications in Peru, and lived and studied in different Asian countries, where I worked as an advertiser, journalist and chef.
My long stay in other culturally rich countries encouraged me to take a deeper look into my own people, embrace my own culture, and return home to work for the less privileged in Peru.
I firmly believe in the transformative power of responsible tourism to strengthen the economies and dignity of the most vulnerable peoples of Peru, and I see the same values in RESPONSible Travel Peru.