Just in the middle of the beautiful Peruvian capital is one of the largest archaeological sites to appreciate and marvel at, we refer to Huaca Pucllna. Every tour of the capital includes a guided or panoramic visit to this particular archaeological site. Its location between the modern buildings in Lima and different renowned establishments forms one of the greatest contrasts between the modern and ancient world. If you are wondering what this beautiful show is about, why it is so important, and where it is located, together with Machu Travel Peru we want to tell you all about this beautiful place and why you should not stop visiting on your trip to Lima.
Everything you need to know about the Huaca Pucllana Pyramid
- What is Huaca Pucllana?
- Huaca Pucllana history
- East and west sector
- Huaca Pucllana guided tour
- Site museum
- How to get there
- Schedules of visit
- Entrance prices
- What to bring
- Nearby enjoyable attractions
What is Huaca Pucllana?
The Huaca Pucllana is an awesome clay and adobe pyramid 25 meters high, disposed of 7 stepped levels and built by members of the Lima pre-Inca culture in 500 A.C. Located on the Peruvian coast, close to the Pacific Ocean, in the current Limenean district of Miraflores, the area was used as an administrative center to the surrounding irrigation zone, then as a ceremonial center and finally, as a cemetery by the pre-Inca cultures that occupied it later.
Courtyards are situated to the north of the pyramid. And 6 hectares of space where you will find an exhibition hall, a circuit of visits, and other attractions such as an interesting local restaurant. All of these form the best tour in Lima that you can take from Miraflores, we refer to the visit to this complex.
Huaca Pucllana history
1. Lima culture
It is known that the Huaca was built by the Lima culture around 500 A.C. This culture was a pre-Inca indigenous coastal civilization that remained in the Peruvian central coast region from around AD 100 to 650. The central coast of Peru is characterized by a desert climate, which forced primitive cultures to seek solutions.
This is the case with Lima culture. Due to its location, in an arid and desert zone, this culture stood out for its great irrigation management, creating extensive networks and aqueducts to carry water from near springs and rivers (especially from the Surco river) to their different villages. Therefore, what is known today as Lima was at that time rich farmland. So it was considered a fairly agricultural civilization.
Even, those who did not cultivate were engaged in fishing. In this form, they were able to develop their settlements in vast arid territories. Precisely, the Huaca Pucllana was used by this culture as an administrative center to verify their surrounding irrigation zones.
For the construction of this pyramid, the Lima culture used the bookseller technique. This consisted of placing adobe bricks vertically with spaces between them. Trapezoidal structures were also used, similar to those seen in Machu Picchu. These made the walls wider than at the top. In this form, the structure was capable of absorbing the different tremors that occurred in the region, over time.
2. Wari culture
During the 6th and 7th centuries, a new power was developing in the south of Lima. In what is now known as the Ayacucho region, central sierra of Peru, the Wari culture was beginning to emerge as a new dominant power, even contemporary to the Incas. What’s more, they came to seize much of the central coast of Peru. Despite this, much of the evidence suggests that the expansion of this culture was peaceful. Proof of this was that agreements and alliances with the subjugated towns were formed instead of conquering them violently.
In this sense, around 700 A.D. the pyramid had been abandoned from its ceremonial functions by the culture of Lima against the onslaught of the Wari; they entombed the pyramid, but the Andean pre-Inca culture dug the upper part and used it as a burial place for the nobility. During excavations in 2008, the first intact tomb belonging to this period was found. This tomb contained the remains of three people: a sacrificed child along with two adults wearing masks.
3. Ychsma culture
After the Wari culture, those who settled around Huaca Pucllana were the Ychsma culture. This culture was established from 1000 to 1532 AD and was a remnant of the now-extinct Wari culture. It is known that this pre-Inca culture was established in small groups along the valleys of Lurín and Rímac. The few persons located around the pyramid tried to refurbish it, maybe, trying to recover its former splendor. But the deterioration was very advanced and they were only able to recover the western slope of the complex.
In this sense, the Ychsma people used the pyramid as a kind of cemetery and offering center, trying to continue the use that its former inhabitants gave it.
4. Spanish invaders
It is known that the Incas considered the Huaca as a simple Huaca (Worship center for the tutelary gods) Consequently, they did not make any renovations to the Huaca. Then it was the Spanish who took power when Francisco Pizarro founded the city of Lima. In this case, seeing that there were no valuable remains (gold and silver) and that the Huaca did not constitute a center of importance in pagan religion, they did not touch it.
5. Huaca Pucllana today
Previously, this place occupied a much larger space. But the ignorance and interest in urbanization in recent years caused abandonment and disinterest in the area, invading it with contemporary constructions of noble material and losing sight of important vestiges and other much smaller pyramids around the area.
Since 1981, when the investigation work began, more areas were excavated and rescued, and the urban development over the area was halted. Today the Huaca complex includes numerous tourist areas, from an area for workshops, a restaurant overlooking the ruins, and a quaint souvenir shop.
East and west sector
This complex was separated by an extensive wall that runs from north to south, dividing the complex into west and east areas. It is believed that the west side hosted the 25-meter pyramid and was used for ceremonies and religious rituals. Instead, the eastern area contained warehouses, public squares for gatherings, and other buildings destinated for production.
Huaca Pucllana guided tour
The visitors will be able to explore the pyramid itself and the spacious walled rooms built with thousands of years old adobe bricks, all this tour will be developed in the company of a tour guide. Naturally, these bricks have a small level of deterioration, so they will see restorers constantly working on their replacement. Even, the visitors will be explained the process of how the bricks were made luckily, rain rarely occurs in the capital, one of the reasons this pyramid has been able to stay standing.
One of the main attractions within the site is the different tombs discovered. Even secrets are still being discovered in the area thanks to archaeologists who continue their work on the site. Therefore, they have found human remains in different offerings.
Continuing with the tour, the visitors will see a description of the first humans in the region through life-size statues arranged in some areas of the complex. Being able to enjoy this attraction is one of the best things to do on some vacations in Peru.
Also, inside the complex, the visitors can enjoy a tour of the museum which shows different vessels, ceramics, and remains of instruments found there and used by the inhabitants of the Lima culture and the later cultures, besides learning about their lifestyles and their ceremonies in which they offered tribute to their gods. Moreover, the visitors will enjoy a beautiful restaurant and a shop with crafts about Huaca.
An exclusive restaurant overlooking Huaca. Lima is the gastronomic capital of Peru, and always after each activity, the visitor is usually hungry, therefore the administration of the complex, through the initiative of Arturo Rubio, makes this fantastic restaurant available. This doesn’t have to envy any five-fork ones in the Peruvian capital and is run by two talented chefs, Marilu Madueño and Andrea Massaro. They present the best Peruvian cuisine in different dishes like Aji de Gallina (Peruvian chicken stew), Lomo Saltado (Beef stir-fry with rice), and the classic Ceviche (Pieces of fresh fish marinated in lemon juice and rocoto) among others. The prices are similar to other Lima restaurants and the flavor experience is wonderful and unique. This is the best way to complete your experience in Huaca.
How to get there
The Huaca Pucllana cannot be in a better place than in Miraflores. The district is one of the most tourist zones in all of Lima, there you will find the most recognized Peruvian restaurants, hotels commercial centers, besides being the middle-class district per excellent in the Peruvian capital. Also, if you want to continue with your Lima journey, you can check the best things to do in Barranco here, because this district, together with Miraflores, form the most tourist zones in Lima and are located very close to each other.
Address: General Borgoño Street, block 8, Miraflores district, Lima.
- Walking: The visit to the complex is one of the best day trips from Lima. Therefore, if you want to take a walk to the complex, we can take the main square of Miraflores, also called Parque Kennedy (Kennedy park) as a starting point. From it, you can walk straight 7 blocks in a northerly direction and be done!
- Taxis: If you want to take a taxi from your hotel (In Miraflores is located at most of Lima’s hotels), first do it through a taxi application (remember that taxis in Peru don’t work with a taximeter). The cost to get to Huaca is around $6 to $7, one-way and the trip lasts around 5 to 10 minutes.
- Public transportation: There are many public transportations, usually buses (the Peruvians call them Combis) passing next to the complex. However, these are full all the time and offer poor conditions for travelers (dirty, worn seats, little spaces), in addition to being susceptible to theft by pickpockets. We don’t recommend, in any case, this type of transportation.
Schedules of visit
- It is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 09:00 am to 16:15 pm.
- Closing holidays: January 1, Good Friday, May 1, July 28, December 25, and National Election Day.
- All visit is in group and with preview booking in the following link.
- The groups are formed by 20 persons, at maximum. If you are less than this quantity, you will have to wait for the group to reach 20 people. That is why a prior reservation is made.
- Despite being children or babies, they occupied a space in the group and enter the list of 20 people.
- General price: The price is a general cost of S/ 15 or $4 per person. Children under 5 years old enter free.
- Reduced ticket: Those persons with disabilities, teachers, higher education students, and boys and girls from 5 to 12 years pay only S/ 7.50 or $2 per person. Of course, they will have to show a document to testify her/his condition at moment to enter the complex.
What to bring
As the visit must be carried out walking on sand, we recommend bringing the following items.
- Comfortable shoes
- Trekking pants
- A windbreaker
- A hat
- A sunblock
- Reusable water bottle for hydration
Nearby enjoyable attractions
1. The Larco museum
The tourist attraction in Lima are many and fortunately, these are close to Huaca Pucllana, for example, the Larco museum. It has an extensive collection of antique items and objects belonging to the pre-Inca cultures who settled in the current Peruvian territory for more than 5000 years. From displays of mummies from ancient cultures to ceramics thousands of years old can be appreciated there.
2. San Francisco Church
The Church of San Francisco is one of the best-preserved Peruvian Catholic churches since the colonial age. It was built at the end of the 17th century and has some incredible catacombs to appreciate. The catacombs are believed to have been part of the original cemeteries in Lima (when it still didn’t have a cemetery). The site is estimated to be home to more than 70,000 skulls and bones. Many of which are exposed to visitors.
3. Casa Aliaga
Another place of interest to visit is Casa Aliaga (Aliga house). This is the oldest house in all the Americas. It was built during the 16th century but has undergone numerous renovations due to earthquakes and the passage of time. However, it maintains its original decoration arrangement of objects.
4. Surfing and Paragliding in Lima
Even if you are a sports fan, you can enjoy surfing on its beaches or even one of the best activities: paragliding in Lima. There is no best time to visit Lima, but summer in Peru (From December to April) can be a great time to enjoy its beaches and clear skies. You can enjoy your holidays in the best way in this beautiful city that does not rest.
“THE PYRAMID SHAPE IS SAID TO HOLD MANY SECRETS AND AMAZING PROPERTIES. ONE OF THEM IS A SENSE OF WONDER ”
We hope together with Machu Travel Peru to have encouraged you to visit one of the oldest archaeological complexes in the city of Lima. Being in the middle of one of the most touristic districts of the city, you will not need to move much. This site is a must-see for anyone looking for the best things to do in Lima. In addition, as you already know, it has a restaurant that is worth trying. You can consult about our city tours with our qualified advisers, who will explain step by step how to enjoy everything that Peru has to offer. Our team of consultants will be happy to help you realize the trip of your dreams.