Travels

The enigmatic ruins of Chavín de Huantar

Chavin It is the most representative temple of the Chavin culture in Peru. With more than 3000 years old (1200 BC) today it is completely extinct as well as the language they spoke at that time. It was considered for a long time as the oldest civilization in Peru, until at the end of the 20th century the tables changed to Caral estimating that this one was even 2000 years older.

Visit to Chavin de Huantar

We were in the city of Huaraz, in the middle of Huaylas alley or what is the same, the Santa Valley. Located on the edge of the Andes and with the wonderful views of the Nevado del Huascarán, the highest peak in Peru, it was the perfect location for an excursion to Chavin. The approximate cost is 50 soles and does not include access to the ruins, some 10 soles more.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar - Querococha Lake

We leave very early taking south direction at 8 in the morning. We had to travel 110 kilometers along curvy roads and cross a mountain pass over 4500m by Cahuish tunnel, assuming this whole trip about 3 hours since the bus we took stopped at several locations to pick up some more customers.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar

The truth is that the trip was short, stopping on some occasions to quickly see great landscapes like the Querococha Lake and later the tunnel mentioned above whose end was a most fun road, passing many sandy stretches and always observed by a sculpture of a Christ on top of a hill.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar - Chavin

After arriving in Chavin, the first thing we did was eat something and hydrate. That day was quite hot and the sun was hitting very hard since we were quite high, about 3177 meters above sea level.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar

Then we went to the entrance, we paid the 10 soles of the entrance and we enter fully into Chavin, a place quite empty of tourism and that at first sight you can see how most of the complex is buried underground or collapsed. To a large extent it is due to an avalanche of rocks and earth produced after the detachment of a glacier in the Rúrec lagoon, without discounting that the ruins were used as quarry 200 years ago‚Ķ


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar

As we walked through the ruins, our guide told us that the place was not chosen at random. A priori one thinks that being bordered by rivers Mosna Y Wacheqsa as well as the quality of its soils for cultivation would be one of the great reasons. Apparently after thorough studies, something related to the religion of that time decided its location.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar - Chavín Castle

I quickly realize that there is hardly any stelae here. Each and every one of them were transferred to the local museum of Chavin that we would later visit and that is located on the outskirts of the town. The truth is that not only the steles were missing but most of their temples are still underground and the main temple is barely visible, the Chavín Castle. Luckily there is a foreign archaeologist helping to restore the place with the help of his students every summer.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar

But the best of Chavin It is under our feet. A huge tunnel network and open to the public makes it a true Gruyer cheese. It is also ideal to combat the strong heat we had that day!


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar

Touring them was a real pleasure and even more when we arrived at one of the greatest treasures of the place, the Chavin Monocytic Lanzón, one of several menhirs who met and who represent as no ... their gods. To get an idea, this wonder is more than 3000 years old.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar - Monolithic Lanzón

Once out of the tunnels we approach to see the heads stuck around the castle. These represent the transformation of priests into divinities and although we see only one does not mean that there was only one priest in the entire life of the temple. Many other heads are in the museum.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar

Eager to see more we headed to the museum, a couple of kilometers from the ruins and whose entrance is completely free. There we discover everything that has been found after a series of excavations. In addition the museum has a sad history and is that it was donated by the japan government after the attack on a hotel in the area by the guerrillas where several casualties were settled.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar - Museum

The nailed heads that we missed, steles, figures, ..., etc. are safe in the museum. A great place to end the day and take the road back to Huaraz in the middle of the night.


The enigmatic ruins of Chavin de Huantar - Museum

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Practical data - Chavín de Huantar

When to go to Chavín de Huantar?

The best time is to do it in the dry season, which covers the months April until the end of September. In October, the rains begin, even though it is a dry place, there is no problem to visit it, except for having a problem in the access tunnels.

How to do it?

For the cost you have, it is best to do it through a tour that we can hire in Huaraz. We really liked itChavin Tours, pioneers in this kind of activities throughout the Huaylas Alley.

Where to eat?

Chavín has several restaurants at a good price. Some of them are tourism oriented and their prices are a little higher than usual.

What does it cost?

The approximate cost of a tour is 50 soles. The entrance to the temples is from 10 soles

If you find yourself tired from the height, buy Coca leaves to chew them

What to wear

With a jacket, sun protection and water is enough. There are those who wear Looktamol to help reduce the effects of altitude sickness or even chewing coca leaves that you can buy in any market. There are people who wear theSorojchi Pills, much more expensive but more effective than coca leaves.

Other excursions in the Cordillera Blanca

If you want to see glacial lagoons we recommend you visit theLlanganuco Lagoons.

However, if what you really want to see is a glacier, we recommend the Pastoruri Glacier.