Huaca Pucllana, a pyramid in the centre of Lima that hides many secrets (the latest discovery is impressive!)

On a trip to Peru, Lima is often overlooked by tourists, who only stay a night or two before heading off to visit the country's most popular tourist sites. But the city has plenty of surprises in store and is well worth a few days' visit. Steeped in history, the capital of 11 million inhabitants was home to several civilisations before the Incas, some of which left archaeological remains right in the heart of the city. A total of 350 archaeological sites are scattered around Lima. It's hard to see them all in a short space of time, but one of them is well worth a visit to walk in the footsteps of several pre-Inca civilisations, but also to discover architectural ingenuity. Head for the Huaca Pucllana site, to discover the ruins of a pyramid that has nothing to envy those of Egypt.

The Huaca Pucllana site in Lima, Peru

- © Adwo / Shutterstock

A little history...

Although we often talk about the Incas, other civilisations have left traces of their passage with large-scale constructions that are virtually intact today. This is the case of the Huaca Pucllana site, built by the people of Lima between the 1st and 6th centuries. It served as an administrative and economic centre, with a trading post, as well as a ceremonial centre for sacrifices.

When they were conquered by the Huari people, known for their ceramics and textiles, the latter appropriated the site and turned it into a cemetery before being driven out themselves by the Yschma people, who seemed to perform ceremonies there, although they did not leave as many traces as the other two peoples.

A reproduction of pre-Inca daily life at Huaca Pucllana

- © Adwo / Shutterstock

Located in Miraflores, one of the city's most upmarket districts, the Huaca Pucllana site is a must-see in Lima. Before its discovery a few decades ago, the site was buried on a mound of sand used by the locals for leisure activities, between a football pitch and a motocross track. The pyramid is strikingly different from the pyramids we know or imagine in Egypt. Unlike them, the stones have been placed vertically rather than horizontally. Built from Adobe stone, a stone made from earth mixed with sand and water, the pyramid built by the people of Lima used this vertical placement technique to prevent seismic activity.

The seven-platform pyramid edifice was built between 800 and 1000 AD. At the time, the site covered an area of 20 hectares, but only 6 hectares remain today. Research is still underway to uncover other remains on the site. The latest is a tomb with two Wari mummies discovered in 2013.

The Huaca Pucllana pyramid in Lima

- © Fallon Bouvier / Easyvoyage

Travel back in time with our tours

Guided tours of the site are organised to learn more about the life of different civilisations and the purpose of the pyramid. The monument served both as an administrative centre and as a religious building in which ceremonies and rituals were performed.

To immerse visitors in the pre-Inca period, there are reproductions of scenes from the period in several places. The figures, representing the people of Lima and the Huari, dressed in traditional costumes and depicted in everyday situations, take visitors on a real journey back in time. Animals that were already present in pre-Inca times can also be seen on the site, such as guinea pigs and llamas. You will also discover the tomb housing the Huaris mummies, discovered in 2013 in a reproduction.

A reproduction of pre-Inca daily life

- © saiko3p / Shutterstock

Impressive discoveries

Since the site has been subject to archaeological excavations, many discoveries have been made: tombs, ceramics, as well as bones and skeletons. Recently, archaeologists found another tomb at the top of the pyramid. Inside, they discovered a mummy at least 1,000 years old, with well-preserved bones and hair! Laying next to her, the researchers found ceramic objects with decorations never seen on previous objects discovered at this site in the heart of Lima.

The Huaca Pucllana pyramid in Lima

- © Fallon Bouvier / Easyvoyage

Practical information

🚌 Getting there: public transport does not serve Huaca Pucclana, so you have to get there by car or take a taxi from the hotel.

Times: guided tours take place in English or Spanish from Wednesday to Monday from 9am to 5pm. They cost 12 soles or around £2.50 per adult and 6 soles or £1.30 for under-12s. There are also night tours from 7pm to 10pm.

📍 Address: Calle General Borgoño, cuadra 8

🍴 Eating out: there's a well-known restaurant opposite the archaeological site, with a view of the pyramid lit up at night. You can also simply enjoy a drink there.

Where to stay near Huaca Pucllana?

Hotel Lexus

Located just 4 minutes' walk from Huaca Pucllana, Hotel Lexus is best placed to offer views of the archaeological site from its rooms. The rooms offer the comfort and service that tourists have come to expect, as well as excellent value for money. You can choose between double rooms, suites and executive suites, all with plenty of space. A restaurant and cocktail bar invite travellers to enjoy the hotel. Free parking is also available. Expect to pay around £60 per night for two people.

Hotel Lexus Lima

Hotel Lexus

A simple hotel with spacious, comfortable rooms!
by Faustine PEREZ
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