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Pachacamac in Peru

The most important archeological site in coastal Peru


Started by the Lima culture around 200 CE, the Pachacamac ancient settlement includes large temples, a cemetery, and mysterious pyramids. Pachacamac is located 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Lima, in the Valley of the Lurín River. The site which covers about 600 hectares was named after the god Pacha Kamaq, "Earth Maker." The settlement flourished for over 1,300 years until the Spanish invasion.

Pacha Kamaq was considered to be the god by ancient people who lived in this part of Peru before the Incas. A god who made the first man and woman and also a god of fire and earthquakes. His looks were so scary that humans couldn't look at him. Pachacamac was centred around Pacha Kamaq temple and the god’s oracle, who was able to predict the future and share advice and prophecies. The temple was also used for worship by the Wari people in 650, and later the Inca who conquered it in 1470. Inca even included the god Pachacamac in their pantheon and allowed the religious ceremonies in the city to carry on.

In the 1890s, archaeologists discovered Pachacamac and found many large buildings and burials. Quite a few pyramids with ramps and plazas dating between the late 1300s and the mid-1400s were also found. The three most famous pyramids are the Painted Temple, the Temple of the Sun, and the Old Temple of Pachacamac. The Temple of the Sun is 30,000 square meters and was built in a trapezoid shape, likely by Inca. Human sacrifices may have also taken place there, although there is no proof.

Unfortunately, in 1533 Spanish invaders looted the settlement and ruined many buildings. Today, visitors can see the remains of 20 different sites—temples, mausolea, and burials.

When you plan your visit to Pahacamac, choose a time during October through May as the summer is unbearably humid in this area.

Practical info

What is the history behind Pachacamac?

Pachamac was named after the Earth Maker God and was a settlement with large temples, pyramids and a cemetery that started around 200 CE. The Lima culture developed it for over 1,300 years. It declined with the arrival of the Spanish in 1533. The early people living there before the Incas believed in the deity Pacha Kamaq. Show more

What are the main activities to do in Pachacamac?

Visitors can tour the archaeological site that includes temples, pyramids and artifacts. The Museum showcases the ceramics, textiles and metallurgy found there. Guided tours are available plus a botanical garden and animal farm near to the site to visit. Show more

Where is Pachacamac located?

Located 40 km southeast of Lima, Pachamac lies on the Valley of the Lurín River. Built over 600 hectares, the site is in a dry, rugged terrain with scenic views of the surrounding valley and hills. Visits can be done by car or bus from Lima. Show more

When is the best time to visit Pachacamac?

October to May is the best time to visit Pachacamac. Summer humidity can be unbearable making it difficult to visit. The rest of the year is cooler and comfortable but falls within the rainy season. Be prepared for potential rain and mud. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin